I have recently finished watching 'Bubblegum Crisis' for the second time, on DVD, and I found myself both entertained and impressed.
The problem with most sci-fi and robot anime is that they are too heavy-handed and dark; as well, they often suffer from plodding and boring plots, to the point where they are not enjoyable to watch. Not so with 'Bubblegum Crisis'. The series is actually divided into two main storylines which comprise six episodes, and two side stories for the other two episodes. While the main stories require some concentration, they are interesting without being convoluted. _BC_ does not try to ponder the human condition or find the meaning of life, as other SF stories do, but simply creates stories that the viewer can enjoy. As well, there are some plot threads that are developed throughout the series, making events and characters more significant and more part of the story. While some may argue that 'BC' is nothing but science fiction lite, it keeps the viewer absorbed, which is more than I can say for most of the sci-fi anime I have watched.
I'd say that this series's greatest strength is its characters. Not only are they well developed, but they interact wonderfully with one another. Their differing and often conflicting personalities make the viewer identify with them, their lives, and their problems. We see people trying to cope with violence and destruction on a daily basis and simultaneously keep their humanity somehow. I believe that too many anime fall into the trap of trying to impress the viewer with things such as animation, sex, and violence, forgetting more important things such as character development and interaction. Like all the other best anime, however, 'BC' not only avoids this trap, but defines new standards.
'Bubblegum Crisis' also succeeds in its use of rock music, integrating it into the series and drawing the viewer in. Even though the songs are in Japanese, I still enjoyed them and was impressed by the quality of the songwriting. I should point out that these songs are some of the few I remember from any anime.
I thought the animation was excellent, especially for an OVA. The inevitable darkness of Neo Tokyo was nicely balanced by the brighter colors of the interiors of homes, shops, etc. This was another thing that kept the series from descending into sci-fi boredom. As well, the characters are animated according to their personalities, helping to develop them.
So I would call 'Bubblegum Crisis' a success because it manages to entertain all audiences, not just sci-fi and robot fans. In fact, it even entertained me.
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