Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 is a Japanese anime series produced by Anime International Company (AIC). A retelling of the 1987 original video animation Bubblegum Crisis, the series premiered on TV Tokyo on October 8, 1998 where it ran for 26 episodes until its conclusion on March 31, 1999. Toshiba EMI released the episodes on both VHS and Laserdisc across 13 volumes, each containing two episodes. The first volume was released on January 21, 1999; the final volume was released July 26, 2000. The series was later released on DVD, however the Japanese versions were simply the American DVD releases encoded to play for Region 2.
The story takes place in Tokyo where much of the manual labor is done by robots called Boomers, which are run by a mega-corporation Genom. Linna Yamazaki, a new office worker, observes a Boomer that has “gone rogue”, causing destruction and attacking people. Although the AD Police are called in to stop the rogue Boomers, a renegade group called the Knight Sabers dressed in cybernetic, armored Hardsuits appear and save the day. Yamazaki joins the group which consists of: Priss, a rock star; Sylia, a boutique store owner and the group’s leader; and Nene, a computer whiz who also works within the AD Police as a dispatch operator.
Over the course of the series, the Knight Sabers go after the rogue boomers, which frustrates the AD Police officers Leon McNichol and his partner Daley Wong. Genom is not happy with the development. its leader Quincy Rosenkreutz and advisor Brian J. Mason seek to unlock more boomer technology. Meanwhile, the girls must deal with Sylia’s younger brother Mackey. Leon pursues Priss with romantic intentions, but does not know of her connection to the Knight Sabers.
Mason uncovers and reactivates Galatea, a humanoid based on Sylia’s DNA who is able to control all boomers. Genom cuts AD Police’s funding, resulting in a strike, however, Galatea’s influence causes boomers everywhere to go rogue, trapping the Knight Sabers and the AD Police folks inside their own building. The Knight Sabers follow and defeat Galatea at a satellite orbiting Earth.
List of Hardsuits
Hardsuits are powered battle armour developed by Sylia Stingray and Nigel Kirkland. Initially they are suits of armour that the four Knight Sabers step into while wearing body stockings as close contact with skin and “plumbing” connections are required. Sylia states that the reason there are no male knight sabers is because it was easier to find women who shared a similar shape to her than to redesign hardsuits for a different anatomy. After the suits are lost the replacement suits are instead applied to the naked women as a viscous liquid silver-coloured ‘biometal’ that morphs into the coloured hardsuit. The hardsuits and the motoslave are revealed late in the series to be a form of boomer, that the very first set of suits (not seen in the series) were all lost due to their wearers not being well suited for their use and that Sylia had to find people like her whose consciousness could meld with the boomers’ nascent consciousness (itself based on Sylia’s consciousness due to her father’s development process) in order to optimise their function. This requirement is revealed when the Knight Sabers receive psychic messages from Galatea and at times the four women are sometimes able to communicate telepathically. Sylia notes that the highly limited power supply of the hardsuits was to prevent them going rogue.
- Priss’s Hardsuit is specifically designed for the alley-style, hit and run fighting tactics she prefers. Her red-accented dark blue suit’s main weapon is a set of “knuckle bombs”. These are essentially shaped-charge explosive devices on the knuckles of her gauntlets, with which she beats against a Boomer until she can tear inside where its “core” (its heart) resides and destroy it from the inside out. Until Linna’s arrival, Priss was the primary combatant of the team and it is her suit that is used in Linna’s first test simulation.
- Linna’s hardsuit is a green color accented with orange trim, and is extremely maneuverable. As the newest suit of the group, it has some of the most advanced features, including a pair of long, ribbon-like cutters with nanometer-thick mono-molecular edges that can slice through almost anything. This newness is a double-edged sword however, for it fails on its first mission with almost tragic consequences for its owner. Linna’s suit also has heavily armored gauntlets, but she does not carry the knuckle bombs that Priss’s suit has.
- Designed more for field support and data acquisition than for combat, Nene’s hardsuit is an unusual reddish-pink and purple. Her weaponry includes a railgun that can shoot high sectional density armor-piercing metal spikes into her opponents, armored gauntlets, and an incredibly powerful computer system and scanner array that lets her handle almost any field intelligence operations required of her. Nene tries to prove herself as a fighter several times but overestimates her physical prowess and endangers herself and others. Eventually her suit is upgraded with several automatic functions that greatly increase her ability as a fighter.
- Sylia’s Hardsuit is not often seen in the series, as Sylia does not engage in actual combat as often as the other Knight Sabers. However, when she does, her hardsuit is equipped with a retractable Katar style sword blade that she uses to inflict fatal damage to any boomer who makes the mistake of getting too close to her, and her combat style is even more savage and brutal than Priss’s. Her suit is primarily a silver/white color with teal and pink accents. It also sports active stealth systems, and she is known to carry remotely detonated explosive charges.