Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040-Volume 1: Genesis (1998)

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Released 30-Mar-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Neon Genesis Evangelion; Martian Successor Nadesico
DVD Credits
Biographies-Character
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 97:43
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Hiroki Hayashi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case DV-4
RPI $29.95 Music Kouichi Korenaga


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, preview of next episode after credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Bubblegum Crisis 2040 AD is a fairly long anime series. This is the first volume, appropriately enough titled Genesis. I reviewed the second volume, Crusade, earlier - you'll find that review here - I won't repeat everything I said there. I hope to review the other volumes as they are released.

    This is not the first anime series called Bubblegum Crisis. In the interest of providing you with the most complete information possible, I tracked down the original series (only 8 episodes) and watched it. It is set about 8 years earlier, in 2032 and 2033, but it is not an earlier part of the same storyline. In fact, this series seems to be a remake of the original. There are many common elements, but there are some interesting differences. For a start, in the original series Linna is a part of the team already; this series begins with her efforts to join. In the original, there seems to be no time limit on how long the suits can be worn; in this one, there are very strict limits, to do with battery life. Also, in the original the Knight Sabers were not particularly idealistic - they were available for hire; now they are not. Oh, and the original does not explain the title any more than this one does (I had hoped...).

    The four episodes on this disc introduce all of the main characters, but they focus mainly on Linna, and her joining the Knight Sabers. The episodes are:

  1. Can't Buy a Thrill - Linna Yamazaki, a country girl just arrived in the big city (Tokyo) is rescued from a rogue boomer by the Knight Sabers, and thinks she's recognised one of them.
  2. Fragile - Linna pursues Priss, and tries out to join the Knight Sabers.
  3. Keep Hanging On - we get to see the construction of Linna's hardsuit, and her first try-out of it - a combat mission without any training.
  4. MachineHead - Linna tries to be friends with Priss, but settles for competitor. We get some interesting background on Linna, and Sylia.

    The first volume of a series must always contain a fair bit of exposition so we know who the characters are, and where they fit. This one does an excellent job of keeping things interesting - there's plenty of action, and some cute dialogue. The characters are sketched in quickly, but that's fine - we get to know each of them better as the episodes pass.

    I noticed the high heels on the hardsuits - an interesting touch.

    I'll have to go back and watch the second volume again - I think it will be even better now that I've seen this one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is animation, intended for broadcast on ordinary TV. Considering that, the quality is really quite high.

    This series is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced (understandably). That's the original ratio, as you might expect.

    The image is nice and sharp, with no visible low-level noise. (I have no idea how I'm supposed to judge shadow detail on animation.) Both the opening and closing sequences seem to be simulating a TV screen, and consequently have noise - that's intentional, so I don't count it.

    I saw no film artefacts. I saw almost no aliasing, which was good - some animation has heaps of aliasing on all the fine lines. I saw no MPEG artefacts. 

    The only subtitles are in English.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This disc offers two soundtracks, English and Japanese. Both soundtracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded, at a rate of 448 kbps - that rate is normally only used for DD5.1 - I suspect it was used for the benefit of the music.

    Dialogue (in English) was clear and easily understood. I don't understand Japanese, but the dialogue sounded quite clear. As I expected, there were considerable differences between the English dub and the subtitles. I preferred the dub (anime fans have just built effigies of me, and are sticking pins into them), because it made a couple of things clearer. Feel free to compare them for yourself - the audio setup menu gives you the choice of either soundtrack, with or without subtitles.

    The score is distinctive, and good. We get to hear Priss performing with her group, and there's lots of good loud music for the action sequences. The music is one of the features of this series.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not included in the soundtrack, but my amplifier tried to include them. There is enough bass in the soundtrack to stir my subwoofer into action. The surrounds didn't get anything particularly interesting. 



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras are limited.

Menu

    The menu is animated, with sound appropriate to the theme of the disc.

Character Profiles and Hardsuit Descriptions

    On this introductory disc we only get profiles for the four ladies of the Knight Sabers, and descriptions of their hardsuits. On later discs we get profiles for other characters.

Trailers

    We get trailers for two other ADV series: Neon Genesis Evangelion (several volumes already out) and Martian Successor Nadiesco (coming soon).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 disc misses out on:

    Unless you are a Spanish speaker I'd suggest that the R4 disc is preferable, given that it is PAL, and considerably cheaper.

Summary

    This DVD is a good transfer of the first volume in a long series. If you like cute girls taking on rogue machines in sexy combat suits, then start with this volume!

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are OK.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, August 03, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-737, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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