Funny how I never seemed to get around to this series….
Way back, in the dawn of time, I was writing anime reviews for a newsletter that no longer exists, called Metro Druid News (It’s now transmogrified into News From the Other Grove, for which I no longer write, but it’s still pretty fun.) I was writing, specifically, reviews of anime with pagan/magical/spiritual content. So, of course, the companies kept sending me shounen action stories with guns. I suppose it made sense to someone. More likely, it was all they had.
In the middle of the piles of samurai and scifi, was a series called Bubblegum Crisis. I had *heard* of BGC – one could hardly avoid it since, along with Dirty Pair and Project A-ko, it was one of the earliest anime to make it to western shores. This is one of those anime series the old-timers talk about when they talk about huddling over Nth generation videos with mimeographed copies of hand-typed translations, well before fansubs existed. (My personal experience with this was 9th generation copy of a volume of raw Sailor Moon.)
BGC, for the three of you who have never heard of it, is a cyberpunk action story, about four women battling corporate corruption and mutating androids. A very Akira-period anime without the nuclear fallout feel. There was the inevitable yuri implications between the four female leads: Motorcycle-riding, tough, dark, angsty Priss; loli computer genius Nene; bland Lina and; slick, sexy rich-girl Sylia. For the women, there was an effeminate gay cop who flirts valiantly with straight male lead Leon. Even as I think back to my first watching of BGC,I can remember just how *much* this series had something for everybody. And, of course, a lot of mutating androids, guns and explosions. Not surprisingly, it’s still a fan favorite after all this time.
But, even as I watched and suffered through the soundtrack, (a comment for which I *know* I will recieve hate mail) I thought, well, you know Priss is butchy as hell…but ‘m just not seeing the Sylia x Priss thing everyone else is seeing. I tried, I really did! ^_^
But then Episode 5 rolled around and Sylvie – a motorcycle-ridin’ sexaroid with a noir storyline shows up and I simply took the yuri goggles off, because there was plenty to be seen without ’em. This was my first experience with rampant shounen yuri implication, so it sidelined me a bit.
Here’s a piece of obscure trivia – Priss was voted best overall anime lesbian in the first Yuricon Poll, which ran back in 2000. It caused a huge Usenet stink, because a bunch of people were offended that she was even considered to be a lesbian. I say, if it wears leather like a duck, and rides a motorcycle like a duck and hangs out with sexy lesbian sexaroids like a duck….
Don’t get me wrong – there is no happy ending here, but it’s still a pretty damn good story. Just enough dark and grim to give it atmosphere, lots of action, the requisite sexy chicks (at least, what passed for sexy anime chicks in the 1980s…bad hair alert!) and poor Priss’s excruciating Pat Benatar-like music, which were pretty much the perfect beat for walking on a treadmill. The old VHS tapes I had also included music videos made from clips of the arcs and the songs Priss sung in them…whether this was a “bonus” will directly depend on whether you *liked* the music or not. ^_^
If you haven’t watched BGC – especially if you’re a relatively recent Yuri fan – I strongly recommend that you do. It’s good to know where we’ve been to see where we’re going – and how far we have yet to go….