Bubblegum Crisis Anime Review
The premise of BGC (what is man? what is machine?) is an age-old premise that exists for such literary classics as Frankenstein. BGC merely executes the story in a more modern, and somewhat flashier, fashion. It it home to characters renowned for their emotional states that contrast oddly with the inhuman states of their peers. In many respects, BGC is a remarkable anime, and possibly even a valuable look at mankind's current state of alienation amidst its own technologies.
Of course, for each great aspect of the series, there is something that, for some of the audience, detracts from its value. For instance, the most popular character in the series is given far too much time to reuse old lines, redo past actions, and basically 'shine' the way she has 'shone' many times before. The MAIN character, however, is never given an episode of her own in which she can develop past what has been described to be a vindictive, bitchy state of mind. Naturally, Sylia, the main character, is thus less popular than Priss, the most popular character.
In actuality, the aforestated flaw of lack of time for Sylia on-screen may also be her saving grace. Who does not ask himself or herself about the many mysteries surrounding this woman? Who has not pondered at least a few times how Sylia can be so closely bound to the Boomers? With her air of mystery and bond with the Boomers, Sylia is easily the most important of the Knight Sabers, but at once she is also the least characterized. It gives more foundation to the statement that BGC exists for its fans.
As a philosophical piece, BGC falters mainly in that it has certain characters (i.e. Priss) speaking painful melodramatic dialogue in scenes that are almost tedious to view. Truthfully, I found Sylvie's death in episode five a very emotoinal scene. Then the same scene was repeated in episode six when Anri died. These things lose their impact when done too many times, and if BGC is guilty of one crime, it is using cliches and stereotypes to a maximum.
Much as it will probably get me hate mail for writing this, I think that Priss is BGC's weakest Knight Saber. The number of times character exactly like Priss have appeared in anime series before and after BGC is astounding, to say the least. She is predictable, over-glorified, and the things that she does (again and again and again and...) get boring after awhile. I would have personally preferred to see Linna and Sylia get more to do.
BGC also wasted at least two episodes giving the more popular characters time to show off their talents when more important things could have been done with the budget, time, and talent put into those episodes. Episode four was an embarrassment; it served no purpose expect to show Priss ride a motorcycle. Episode eight had some interesting insight into the world of the Knight Sabers, namely Nene and, to a lesser extent, Sylia, but it still was not worth being made. It would have been better had the story focused on an important or intriguing issue brought up in earlier episodes.
All that may sound very unflattering of BGC, and I don't mean it to, but for all the times I've seen a page list BGC as a series with an incredibly original basis, original characters, an original story, original events, et cetera, I laugh aloud. BGC is very derivative. Maybe a little TOO derivative. It's not at all a bad series, and it does derive the best the other movies, series, and stories have to offer, but in doing this, it gave up being a true masterpiece of animation the way that Neon Genesis Evangleion is. EVA also gave each character a past, present, and possible future, or at least used that character in a superior style to how BGC used similar characters.
Comparing BGC to other series is a surprisingly easy thing to do, actually. Many comparable series came after it (EVA, Sol Bianca, and Iczelion to name a few), but others were earlier works, many of them being Western productions. In most cases, BGC is superior to the listed shows, but in others, it is not purely because those others were less obsessed with making a profit and more interested in getting a point across to the audience.