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[IWIrW] Speaking of women sentai groups… Bubblegum Crisis.


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Or, "What if Joan Jett and Coco Chanel became New Wave terrorists?"

BGC has been a favorite of mine for some time. It is, in my opinion, everything right about the whole 1980s New Wave music video / cinematic cyberpunk / action anime zeitgeist. It oscillates cheerfully between well-conceived SF background to OVER THE TOP MADNESS, often in the same scene, and somehow makes it all work. Since I recently broke down and got the Crash DVD, I'm rewatching Crisis and Crash. I won't be watching AD Police unless there is popular request, because it makes me feel unclean. I wouldn't mind adding the ADP manga, though. I don't have Parasite Dolls or 2040, and won't be watching them at this time in any case.

It's a very visual show, with little dialogue and lots of music—and I'm taking a break between threads, and it's the crazy holiday season, and other such excuses. So don't expect much in the way of clever rewrites or illustrations; this'll be more of a "normal" IWIrW, with rambling commentary and fanZOMG. Still, we may see a little of my trademark oddness, here and there…

Since I've watched this before, here's quick bios of the lovely ladies to get the uninitiated up to speed. Caveat: I, er, might be interpolating my own opinions here and there. ;)

Sylia Vyacheslava-Katsuhito (Silver Saber)
  • Occupation: Fashion designer, under the name "Sylia Stingray." House brands include Ladys633™ women's wear and Silky Doll™ lingerie; she manages the Tokyo outlet personally. Also substantial investments, real estate.
  • Personal heroes: Batman, Iron Man, and Coco Chanel.
  • Hobby: Sentai shows. World's second-largest collection.
  • Team role: Founder, leader, mother figure. Also spymaster and head engineer.
  • Background: Father invented modern cyberbrain, assassinated in corporate espionage; Sylia inherited the fortune, a revenge quest, and Dad's secret research downloaded directly into her head. Ouch.
  • Notable relationship: Legal guardian of brother Mackie, who is…
    • …a gifted mechanic.
    • …in the "my eyes are up here, Mackie" stage of late puberty.
  • Other notes:
    • Absolutely brilliant, maybe transhumanly so.
    • I don't know where she finds time to sleep. Drugs may help.
    • Silvers her hair to look older.
    • Might have feelings for Priss, but if so, buries them deep; the mission comes first.

Priscilla Asagiri (Blue Saber)
  • Occupation: Frontwoman and songwriter for retro-80s rock band The Replicants. No recording contract yet, growing fanbase.
  • Personal hero: Joan Motherfucking Jett.
  • Hobby: Motorcycling; smashes a couple every year.
  • Team role: Striker, wild card, voice of conscience.
  • Background: Former bôsôzoku member; biker who taught her to ride (double entendre intended) killed in corporate plot; Priss's revenge quest led her to teaming with Sylia.
  • Relationships: Her girlfriends have a horrible habit of dying.
  • Other notes:
    • Yeah, really—Priscilla. She's not fond of it.
    • Smart, aggressive, indomitable.
    • Biker dyke and doesn't care who the fuck knows it. (I'm sorry, I don't buy that "dead boyfriend" story for a second.)

Linna Yamazaki (Green Saber)
  • Occupation: Aerobics instructor; later on, stockbroker.
  • Personal heroes: Gordon Gekko, Mary Lou Retton.
  • Hobbies: Shopping; dance. Actually an Olympic-quality gymnast and a skilled dancer, but couldn't make either pay.
  • Team role: Flanker. Incredibly adept; Sylia keeps having to invent new upgrades, because Linna outpaces the limits on the equipment!
  • Background: Came to the Big City; couldn't get on the Olympic team; couldn't get any dance roles; hated being an office lady; discovered by Sylia.
  • Relationships: Perpetual string of shallow relationships with high-power businessmen.
  • Notes: Facade of yuppie bitchdom conceals a heart of gold.

"Nené" Romanova
  • Occupation: Police dispatcher.
  • Personal heroes: Theora from Max Headroom; ken, rms, and kibo.
  • Hobby: Hacker. She PWNS the police's data systems.
  • Team role: Electronic warfare, both combat and strategic.
  • Background: Second generation immigrant (would it be too cheeky to call her "nisei?"); teen runaway; hacked into Sylia's systems, rewarded with invitation; forged I.D. to join the police force while still underage. She's 19 now.
  • Relationships: Likes Mackie. Desperate to be accepted by others as an equal.
  • Notes:
    • Cute as a button and twice as dangerous.
    • At first glance the most "innocent" appearing of the characters, but she's a Kenichi Sonoda character design and lives half her life on the internet; she likely has terabytes of archived porn and can suck the chrome off a boomer.
    • We never find out her real name; probably something like Katerina or Maria. But everyone calls her Nené, neh? neh?

Note that all four are good-looking women, all four are artists, and together they provide a cross-section of MegaTokyo social classes. Together, they fight crime! In battle armor, because in a dangerous world, a girl needs to carry protection.

Also, here are some of our recurring male characters:

Leon MacNicol and Daley Wong are both…
  • …detectives and platoon leaders with the Tokyo AD Police. (Daley has seniority.)
  • …Americans, lured to Japan with the promise of high salaries and extra rank. The Tokyo Police is desperate for qualified personnel; at least half the force were headhunted from overseas.
  • …good friends. They've keep up a running flirtatious banter; as I recall, in Crisis it comes off as two old friends joking (and laughing at the reactions of people who don't know that they are just joking), while in Crash it seems more like they're an item (but Leon strays). But it's been a while since I watched.

Leon thinks of himself as a heroic, cool, and handsome ladies' man of action; in reality, he's a very competent, hotheaded, and handsome nerd. The chief threatens to take his badge away about once a month.

Daley is a little more competent, fabulous, and trusted by the Department than Leon, but unfortunately he's supporting cast, not a main character, so we don't see him in action much.

And on the right is a generic male-former combat android, or "boomer." Made of smart metals and plastics and synthetic organics, and concealing numerous integral weapons systems; if made for it, they can hide their form under a flesh coating, like the Terminator. The AI is smart enough to perform small talk, but doesn't necessarily enjoy it.

Episode 1 Liner Notes
I don't recall if I ever actually read the liner notes—there's no need, everything's presented in the program. You pick up most of the background in the first minute of the episode, from the opening montage. But since I'm rewatching…

The notes start by invoking Tokyo history, mainly the previous times the city has been destroyed and rebuilt, which should be a big warning sign right there. It goes on to mention some then-current events, such as a real-life stupidly-mega-scale engineering plan to pave Tokyo Harbor. Then, fast forward to "fifty years from the present: 2032."

  • The Tokyo megalopolis is the world's most overcrowded city. (And far more ethnically diverse than it used to be. You know how in Bladerunner, L.A. has come to look like Hong Kong? Well, in this series, Tokyo has come to look like, say, San Francisco.)
  • Seven years ago, the Big One levelled the city. All those glorious massive-scale engineering projects, abandoned for lack of funds. In the series, you can see the ruptured faultline in overhead shots of the city. MegaTokyo is in the midst of rebuilding, so we're catching it at a bad time.
  • "Boomers"—androids—were originally designed to substitute for humans in space development, but the military promptly adapted them as walking tanks. There is a nebulous mention of "the power of matter fusion", which I will grouse about later on. (They're called "boomers" because the AIs tend to go berserk when overworked, undermaintained, or otherwise not used as intended by the manufacturer. Okay, raise your hands, technology professionals, how often is this likely to happen?)
  • GENOM is one of the world's most powerful multinationals, with a Tower of Babel HQ in Tokyo. Ladies and gentleman, our villains.
  • Not in the liner notes, but important: Tokyo had to implement a special Advanced Police Forced (AD Police) for boomer and other high-tech/high-violence crimes. Better armed, more visible, and less trusted than the "N-Police."

tl;dr: It's 20 minutes in the future and corporations rule the Earth; Sylia is a cool beauty and the sentai team leader; Priss is the headstrong rockergrrl; Linna is the yuppie with the heart of gold; Nené is the redheaded girl hacker; Leon is the hard-hitting detective who won't play by the rules; Daley plays Tubbs to his Crockett, but gay instead of black; boomers are robots who sometimes go crazy because stuff.


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Episode #1: Tinsel City

Quick montage that shows almost everything I just described above in about 60 seconds.
  • Setting the tone: It starts with a SKYSCRAPER EXPLODING!!! (Scheduled demolition, but so what?)
  • Media reference: "Playing tonight: Priss and the Replicants." I suppose the Bladerunners are playing tomorrow?

This is the classic Bubblegum Crisis setpiece. Priss rocks the fuck out in true 1980s big hair and laser show style, intercut with a battle downtown between the AD Police and a rogue military boomer. Music! Violence! Technology! If you haven't seen it, you have to, at least once: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNp7CN_Hqjo
  • Media reference: Streets of Fire? Never seen it! We swear! Nor have we seen Terminator.
  • Character note: I believe this is the only time we see Priss in a skirt and makeup.
  • ZOMG 80s ultra-tech: Public videophone booths!
  • Visual orgasm of paramilitary technology: The AD Police are hard manly men with full body armor, high-caliber machine guns, armored cars, and mini attack helicopters. The boomer is a metal Michelin man with rocket boosters and a laser mouth. The boomer takes the cops to pieces within seconds.
  • Badass redshirt death: When the boomer is in the headlights of one armored car, the driver guns it, pinning the boomer against a wall. It doesn't die. He desperately fires his shotgun through the window at it. It doesn't die. It grins, hooks its fingers under the front bumper, and casually flips the armored car onto its roof.

The boomer runs amok, Leon tries to catch up to it, and the Knight Sabers gather.
  • Character note: Linna remarks to Sylia, "Priss is going to be pissed when she finds out we're not getting paid for this one." Sylia lets the comment pass unnoted, but is obviously thinking, "Gee, Linna, projecting much?"
  • Character awesome: The boomer lands right in front of Leon. Two squads of guys with machine guns couldn't stop the thing, so obviously the best thing to do is to immediately draw your revolver and aim for its head. Fortunately, it ignores him.
  • Terrifying redshirt deaths: The boomer jumps onto one of the helicopters, crushes the pilot's head with one hand, steals the helicopter's gun, rides the wreckage into the ground, walks out of the flames, and shoots down the second helicopter.

The Knight Sabers make a dramatic entrance, corner the boomer, kick the shit out of it, then disappear mysteriously. They make cryptic comments suggesting that the boomer was behaving unusually—not a rogue, but with purpose. Leon arrives late, and secures the crime scene.
  • I luv this show: In the first ten minutes of the OAV, we get three battle sequences and two songs! (Pity the second song bites.)
  • Dramatically-appropriate setting: A junkyard in the center of the ruptured fault zone. Symbolic!
  • Character note: Sylia really does have a passion for her art, because who else but a fashion designer would put platform heels on battle armor? These ladies' "hardsuits" are curved like a Coke bottle and color-coordinated like any good sentai team. Despite this, the suits look dangerous, not fragile at all—their style evokes not fetish wear, but high-performance motorcycles.
  • Character awesome: Sylia knows aikido! She dodges and deflects attacks with minimal effort, at one point simply catching a thrown manhole cover, one-handed, and tossing it aside lightly. But she knows striking arts, too; when it's time to take the boomer down, she goes straight for the center of mass with one single armored punch.
  • Character awesome / Over The Top: Priss knows no limit! She guns her motorcycle over the cliff edge, and it transforms into a giant robot and carries her to a soft landing, like Superman carrying Lois Lane. The other Sabers have to fly by themselves, like punks.
  • Character note: Leon thinks that the Knight Sabers are awesome. He watches the mecha battle with a grin, and totally would be taking cell phone video for YouTube if they'd thought of such in the 1980s.

Leon encounters Priss at an all-night burger joint, and completely fails to pick her up.

Leon: "Wow! Priss from the Replicants! I'm a big fan."
Priss: "Thanks."
Leon: "I caught your show tonight! Fucking awesome! Say, how about having a burger with me?"
Priss /holds up her value meal, like he's a blind idiot. "I already have one."
Leon: "Right, sure, well, let me go get—"
Priss /sluuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrp.
Leon: "This—"
Priss /sluuuuurrrrrrrrrpp. Slurp. Slurp. Slurrrrrrrp. Then finishes off the fries.
Leon: "This is so cool, me getting to make friends with you."
Priss /gets on her bike.
Leon: "My name's Leon. I'm with the AD Police."
Priss: "I never would have guessed, what with the AD Police badge, the AD Police-issue pager, and the shoulder-holstered sidearm which requires a police license to carry."
Leon: "Right, well—"
Priss: "I hate cops."
Leon: "Ha ha, well, not many people say they like the police."
Priss: "Maybe if you actually helped people now and then, that could change. Throw this away for me." /hands him the sode cup.
Leon: "If I do, will you have—"
Priss /revs engine.
Leon: "—dinner with me—"
Priss /is gone.
Leon: "—some…?"
Leon: :eek:

That very night, we see two different meetings at two companies: the U.S. Space Defense group, and GENOM itself. It appears that GENOM agents have stolen something from USSD, and USSD is considering hiring the Knight Sabers to get it back.
  • Background musing: So I guess the U.S. still has the defense agreement with Japan in 2032, and it extends into space?
  • Important note: The video footage at the USSD briefing is from that night's battle. We're not pulling the "secret sentai warfare" trope here; there are cameras everywhere. I suppose that provides a reason for the styled armor—if you're going to end up on camera no matter what you do, you may as well then look cool while doing it.
  • Amusing NPC reaction: Both conversations in these scenes are of that elliptical type common both to formal Japanese in general, and to any environment where "will this conversation end up in court?" is a frequent concern. But the USSD Commander suddenly realizes how much bullshit he's been shovelling ("I would be very nice if such a thing occurred, etc."), sighs, and ends the conversation with a direct statement: let's hire these people.
  • Introducing the villains:
    • Quincy, the Chairman of GENOM, probably in his seventies but tan and fit and sleeping well. We first see him on the phone, sweet-talking the future prime minister of [some country] into playing ball with GENOM. "Trade friction? Nonsense! The nations want our products so badly they're fighting over them!" We're just humble capitalists doing business like everyone else, selling things that people want. Be it cars, coffee makers, or weapons.
    • Brian J. Mason, Quincy's current right-hand man. Brian J. Mason (and it is always Brian J. Mason, for some reason, never just Brian or Mason or even B.J.) is your generic snake-like power-hungry executive, and oversaw the raid on USSD. Quincy makes a point of reminding him "that GENOM is a respectable company." i.e. Keep us out of the news, kid.

Sylia swims alone in her private pool, reviewing the events of the night… and old memories. Flashback to the night Daddy died.
  • I just like this scene: Quiet, sad-eyed Sylia, obsessively double-checking her plans for flaws, unable to shrug off the weight of the responsibility on her shoulders… then pushing it all aside to meditate in the waters.
  • Just sayin': Young Sylia was obviously spoiled rotten by Daddy. (When he was home, that is; looks like half the time he was gone for days. No mother in sight… Sylia may've been running the house virtually by herself for years, so being an orphan may not have changed much.)
  • Dawwwwwwwww kewt: Young Sylia logging onto her computer excitedly with headset. So cute.

Mackie bursts into Sylia's room at breakfast, having found a job offer from USSD in the newspaper. The team assembles at Sylia's place (she owns the whole building) and discuss the job.
  • Highly amusing: Sylia's bedside computer console plays an animation of a tweeting bird for an alarm clock. She grumbles and has to type three separate keys to switch it off—inefficient, but maybe it's intentional on her part. A minute after that, the computer punches up the volume, and plays an animation of a screeching bird. That gets Sylia up, and the computer switches to display the morning weather and stock reports. Sylia prepares gourmet coffee.
  • ZOMG 80s ultra-tech: Custom newspaper printout!
  • LOL 80s fashion: Check out Mackie's bright red trousers, neon green shirt, and stylish suspenders.
  • Just sayin': Sylia, your brother is a horny 15-year-old boy. If you don't want him glancing at your cleavage, you shouldn't eat breakfast in a negligee.
  • Character notes: Linna and Nené arrive together at the Silky Doll store, to meet with Sylia. Their priorities are revealed:
    • Nené makes a beeline for the table with translucent panties.
    • Linna drags her over to Sylia, and immediately asks, "How much is the offer?" (And then can't keep her mouth shut when she finds out. "Holy shit, ¥20,000,000?!I mean, uh…" /glances around nervously to see if anyone overheard.)
  • Gamer moment: The team explicitly expects Mister Johnson to screw them over from the beginning, and move straight to the "look for angles" stage.

Sylia and Nené ride the bus over to USSD HQ for the meeting with the Commander.

In their battle armor.

Nené /embarassed as hell. "…Sylia, everyone is staring at us…"
Sylia /utterly composed. "It's good advertising."
Nené: "…but…"
Sylia: "This stop, please, driver!"
Bus driver /!

They disembark and walk up to the gate, scare the shit out of the guard…

Sylia: "The Knight Sabers, here to speak with the Commander?"
Guard /draws gun, ducks for cover.
Nené: "We're his 2 o'clock appointment." /stage whisper. "It's kind of a secret."
Guard: "Uh…" /realizes that if they were attacking, he'd already be dead. "…I'll, uh, just call this in then, shall I?"
Sylia: "Please."

…and intimidate the hell out of the Commander.

Secretary: (via intercom) "The, uh, Knight Sabers, sir?"
Commander: "Excellent! Send them in."
Sylia and Nené /stomp stomp stomp.
Aide /!
Commander /!
Commander: "…Do you always dress like that?"
Sylia: "Of course, dearie! It's a dangerous world out there."
Aide: "They're women?!"
Nené /sways hips. "Hey, hey! Not even wearing armor can hide these measurements!"
Commander: "But they perform wonderfully, don't they…" /leers. At the armor. "Pardon me. Your armor is far superior to even our military K-11s—"
Sylia: "I know. Tissue for the drool?"
Commander: "—I was simply overcome. Let's get to business."
Aide /still looking at the armor. "…and here I was just going to get my wife a can of mace."
Nené: "Awwww, you're married? Too bad."
Aide /!

The Commander starts the negotiations… but it's a line of patter. The room is filled with exotic sensors, and a dozen expert technicians nearby are busily scanning the Sabers' hardsuits while they stand there.

Commander /PowerPoint slides. "—F.G. Frederick, age 25, one of our comm techs; Cynthia, age 6. Both have been kidnapped by boomer, but we have reason to believe that Frederick was actually an inside agent. We want them found."
Nené: "What's so special about the girl?"
Commander: "She—"
Sylia: "How about we save time by just assuming you told us an interesting lie, and we immediately discounted it?"
Commander: "Heh. Fair enough."
Sylia: "This Frederick, was he a boomer, too?"
Commander: "…I couldn't say."
Sylia: "Uh-huh. All right, then, what do you think is their motivation?"
Commander: "We believe they were after data pertaining to national defense."
Sylia: "That means the particle beam satellites."
Commander: :eek: "You know of them?!"
Sylia /rattles off the classified statistics of the SDI network, from memory. "It disgusts me to think that there are over 200 of those things over my head."
Commander /canned speech. "They're necessary to maintain the balance of power—"
Nené /bored, has been looking around the room with her scanners.
Nené: (via tight-beam radio) "Sylia! That's not a normal security camera. They're scanning us."
Sylia /instantly shoots out the sensor pod. In the tiny room, her shot is deafening.
Aide /!
Commander /!
Sylia and Nené /turn to go.
Aide: "Wait! Wait! Please! We apologize! Can you blame us for trying? But we really do want to hire you!"
Commander: "We'll double your fee!"
Sylia /stops. "…Keep talking."

After making a satisfactory arrangement, the two Knight Sabers walk out.

Sylia: "Are we being tailed?"
Nené: "No. But then, no need."
Sylia /?
Nené /points up.
In geosychronous orbit, a USSD spy satellite focuses its attentions on the two of them.
Sylia: "Of course. …Is this a good sign, or just a disgusting violation of our privacy?"
Nené /lasers a rude message in USSD's sidewalk, for the benefit of the eye in the sky. "It was your idea to be obvious, boss…"

At that moment, Mackie shows up, driving a cargo truck. He parks under a nearby overpass; within moments, Nené and Sylia are walking away in civvies, and Mackie is driving away with the armor on another route. Sure, the satellite can track them, but all three will shortly lose themselves under the massive buildings and crowds of the city…

The team agrees that last night's rogue boomer must have been a decoy to distract the AD Police from the raid on USSD. Sylia lays out a search area, and they set to it. While Priss is doing the round of bars, discotheques, and night clubs, she gets noticed by a couple of boomers in human disguise…
  • Character note: While briefing the team, Sylia specifically reminds Priss, "Solo action is strictly prohibited." Priss: "OKAY, OKAY! Jeez."
  • Creepy: The boomers who took Frederick and Cynthia have been hiding in a dive bar downtown. They left the corpse of the owner on the floor where they killed him, and occasionally step over him as they move about.
  • Interesting NPC reactions: The boomers aren't automata; they talk to each other, and even have personalities. One of the boomers keeps playing around with a can of beer—no need to drink it, he just likes pretending, apparently. Another boomer shakes his head in irritation at this. But though quirky, they're all cold.
  • Intelligent NPC behavior: They don't waste time with Priss; they just walk up to her when she's in a phone booth, and knock her unconscious. She barely has time to realize that they're not human.

Priss wakes up in the car, while the boomers are discussing what to do with her. ("I don't think she's police…") The moment she hears them mention their destination—Aqua City, the half-completed offshore district—she makes her move.
  • Character awesome: No hesitation; Priss kicks the driver in the head and hangs on for dear life. They're on the freeway, so the car flips and crashes, disabling one boomer. Priss limps from the wreckage, seconds ahead of the remaining boomer.
  • Gamer moment: A dutiful motorcyclist has stopped at a call box to report the wreck. Priss steals his bike. "I'll bring it back!"
  • ZOMG 80s ultra-tech: Remember, cell phones were unusual back then.
  • Highly amusing: Leon is in a police interceptor, driving back from some operation elsewhere. He sees Priss going the other way at speed. Take: "Huh. Priss." He sees a combat boomer in rocket mode, chasing after her. Double-take: "…BOOMER!" Bootlegger reverse, punch in the turbo, hit the lights and siren!

The rest of the team is back at Sylia's place, listening to the police band and nervously waiting for Priss to call in—she's overdue. They pick up Leon's report, and move out.
  • Optional Priss/Sylia OTP:
    • Sylia's the most worried of the team, but trying to hide it—staring out the window, tapping her fingers, chain smoking. "I've told her over and over again to call in every hour…"
    • When they pick up the police report ("A boomer chasing a racing bike!"), everyone else surges to their feet, but Sylia tries to be calm and rational. "That could be anyone… We have to stick to the plan."
    • Calm and rational lasts for all of thirty seconds.
      • Linna: "Sigh. You're right. We'll just have to wait for her to call in."
      • Nené: "But if it is Priss, she's up against a boomer without her suit!"
      • Sylia /!
      • Sylia /sets down her coffee and purposefully heads toward the armory.
      • Everyone else /chuckles, then follows.

Priss flees into Aqua City (Leon a few minutes behind). She coincidentally finds kidnapped Cynthia—who is drawing millimeter-accurate satellite photos on the walls, and claims to have no parents. Then the boomers walk in, and rough Priss up a bit, looking for answers. Finally, the Knight Sabers make their entrance.
  • Character note: When Leon is about to head alone on foot into Aqua City to investigate, he takes a weapon from the trunk of the police car: an anti-tank rifle. Be prepared!
  • Character note: Priss, who is usually a mouthy, suspicious punk to everyone but her friends, is kind and gentle to the little lost girl. She's also smart enough to guess right away that the girl ain't quite human.
  • Dawwwwwwwww kewt: Little Cynthia is especially proud of the perfect copy she made of Nené's naughty signature.
  • Disturbing: The conversation with the boomers has undertones of, "You're gonna get raped," but they aren't sexual beings… so you're worrying just what will they do? The female-model boomer takes particular pleasure in beating the stuffing out of this human female.
  • Character note: When the boomers get distracted by an argument over just how much to beat up Priss, she pulls parts from three separate pockets, and suddenly has a cut-down anti-armor carbine! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! reload BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Does she carry grenades, too? Probably.
  • Behind the tech curve: Unfortunately for her, these boomers can deflect or absorb conventional bullets.
  • Introducing our last villain: In walks Frederick, smiling. "I don't know which intelligence agency sent you, but if you're not willing to talk…" He tells the boomers to strangle Priss.
  • Dramatic entrance: So the Knight Sabers shoot that boomer's arm off, from above. No sign of who took the shot. The boomers jump up to the roof. (Priss immediately dives for cover, and grabs Cynthia when the boomers run off.) "WHO ARE YOU?" "The Knight Sabers!" The boomers charge.

The Knight Sabers take on the boomers, and do well. Then Frederick reveals that he's some bizarro tentacle boomer and merges with the city platform, transforming it into a giant creepy version of himself. Priss is separated from Cynthia, so she runs back to the truck, gets her armor, and flies down the monster's mouth to shoot out its core.
  • Media reference: Linna kills a boomer between her legs, similarly to how the replicant Pris tries to kill Deckard in Bladerunner.
  • Sylia is fucking insane:
    • Frederick: "You really did a number on my friends. What do you hope to accomplish?"
    • Sylia /absolutely serious. "To defend peace and justice, and rid the world of evil."
    • Frederick /fails to keep a straight face. "…A worthy objective…?"
  • Oh, Leon: Leon shoots a boomer before it can grab Priss (when she's still unarmored).
    • Leon: "I guess this means our date is on, right?"
    • Priss: "Cut the crap! Which way is topside?!"
    • The boomer starts moving again.
    • Leon /!
    • Leon: "That way! Go!" /frantically reloads.
  • Over The Top: Matter Fusion? The fuck? I can buy a machine with adapters for literally anything with an interface, I can buy a machine that can merge with other smart-metal/plastic devices, but a machine that can merge with normal concrete and steel construction materials, Tetsuo-in-Akira-style, leaps screaming over my personal suspension of disbelief horizon. And Frederick does it all in seconds. On the other hand, it is a fair symbolic representation of the cyberpunk technology-running-away-with-itself theme; I don't think Frederick's designers ever expected him to do this, and even Frederick seems to be exceeding his capacity, twitching, groaning. It also helps that the characters react to it as impossible: Sylia, an expert, exclaims, "That's a boomer?!" just before she gets flung into a wall.
  • Leon is fucking insane: Leon sits on the hood of his car and watches the fireworks, smoking a cigarette and clearly wishing he'd brought popcorn. I think this is his way of handling future shock, to treat it as entertainment.
  • Optional Priss/Sylia OTP: After blasting the core, Priss manages to fly free, and stumbles into Sylia's waiting arms.

Brian J. Mason passes by in a helicopter, just in time to see that Cynthia—who is, duh, a boomer—has already been partially assimilated by mega-Frederick. Guess what? Cynthia's a mobile targeting device for the particle beam sats. Terrified, she lashes out, and whole sea platform is nuked from orbit. Naturally, everybody important gets away just in time.
  • Okay, seriously: Who thought putting nuclear weapons in the hands of something with the mentality of six-year-old was a wise plan?
  • Wait a minute: Brian J. Mason's helicopter seemed awfully close to the blast center to just fly away unscathed. Oh, well, it made for a dramatic shot.
  • Nice bit of animation: Rolling flames, the sea pouring into the lower tunnels, all the glories of destruction with no human casualties to make you feel guilty. :)

The Knight Sabers stow their armor in the van, and watch the destruction for a while. Linna bitches that they probably won't get the second half of the payment, Priss is more concerned about the ramifications of all this, Nené just wants to go home and sleep. Sylia lets them rant for a bit, then cuts 'em off; "Time to go, people." They drive off in the van…

…and Priss is about to take off on the "borrowed" bike, when Leon stumbles out of the smoke, waving cheerily.

Leon: "Priss! Sorry to keep you waiting!"
Priss /?
Leon: "For our date! Where should we go?"
Priss /shakes head. "I wasn't waiting for you."
Leon: "Say no more! Dinner's on me."
Priss: "Breakfast, don't you mean? The sun's almost up."
Leon: "Breakfast, then. What do you fancy?"
Priss: "You were actually helpful tonight. Thank you."
Leon: "So, uh—"
Priss /zooms away.
Leon: "Brrr! Chilly. Gee, I wonder if she's a lesbian?"
Leon: "Because obviously no straight woman could resist my stirling technique."
Leon: "Oh, well…" /secures the crime scene.

Sylia and Priss wave to each other as they pass on the highway, ignore the horde of police and fire trucks screaming in the other direction, and Priss drives on alone into the city…

A kind of bluesy pop number (not that bad), as we scroll across the morning city from above.

Loose ends:
  • So, was Leon close enough to see the Knight Sabers changing, and guess that Priss was with them, or was he still back in the smoke? I know he figures out later.
  • GENOM is interested in the key to the world's orbital nuke platforms. That's a pleasant thought. (Note that this means they probably didn't have the contract to build the satellite weapons in the first place; Boeing or Lockheed or whoever must still be an independent company.)
  • Was Frederick acting under GENOM's orders at the end, there… or was he pursuing his own ends? Heh heh heh.
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Retired User
You say no fun illustrations and then you communicate Nene's entire personality with ink.

Say, have you watched 2040? It's... inferior to the original, I understand, but still interesting. A few thanksgivings back, buddies and myself watched the entire series from stem to stern in one day, with the help of a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper and a bottle of Jack Daniels. In the course of it, we developed several interesting theories about the market realities of lesbian sexbots. (Fortunately, we forgot them all.)


Cartoon Poet
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Validated User
And now, off to work, on Thanksgiving Day. Arrrrrrrgh. :(

With holiday pay. ;)

Tonight, maybe, episode 2: Born to Kill. In which the Sabers fight a trio of youma female boomers.

The Fireballed Mage

Registered User
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A yes, BGC: such a staple of the early anime invasion. I re-watched the first episode about 6 months ago, and while I don't think the whole series holds up well (kinda like how Tenchi Miyu went off the rails after episodes 7 or 8), the first episode of BGC defines cyberpunk in a way no other visual attempt (except Bladerunner) has ever successfully done.

Cheezy, over-the-top, somewhat painful to watch now, but so, utterly true to what it is trying to be. I guess that's part of BGCs strength: it has a purity to genre and concept that really shows up the wannabes.

Odd, that in some case what are inheriantly North American creations reach their defining examples in Japanese anime.

What to show someone what role-playing games are like? Record of Lodoss Wars.

What to show someone what cyberpunk is? Bubblegum Crisis.


Game Master
Validated User
As someone who hasn't seen the original series, but has seen 2040 (and liked it), I'm interested in seeing how the 2040 differs from the original.


temporary avatar
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Man, it's a loooong time since I watched this. I'm not sure how much of it I actually remember

I didn't hate 2040, but poor Leon, does he get flanderized something chronic.

[*]"Boomers"—androids—were originally designed to substitute for humans in space development, but the military promptly adapted them as walking tanks. There is a nebulous mention of "the power of matter fusion", which I will grouse about later on. (They're called "boomers" because the AIs tend to go berserk when overworked, undermaintained, or otherwise not used as intended by the manufacturer. Okay, raise your hands, technology professionals, how often is this likely to happen?)
i'd go for the "AI reverse engineered from human neurophysiology" explanation. They can make it work - just about - but they haven't got a clue how it works. Sometimes they go insane. Wouldn't you? Either way this isn't mentioned in the sales brochure ;)

Then Frederick reveals that he's some bizarro tentacle boomer and merges with the city platform, transforming it into a giant creepy version of himself.
the morphing stuff, on the other hand, is unbelievably dumb. it's from the heyday of nanotech-as-magic i suppose, but... argh.


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Nene is an authentic Japanese name. It was the name of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's wife.

Chris Davies.
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