Yuri Anime: Bubblegum Crisis/Bugglegum Crash

February 15th, 2005

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….

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6 Responses

  1. touko_no_doriru says:

    Hmm, Bubblegum… It’s actually classic…

    Hi, I’m a Japanese Yuri fan and I’m always enjoying your blog and your unique reviews. I think even Japanese otaku dare not to try such a variety of Yuri books and anime like okazu.

    Listed below are Yuri things I hope if you would write your reviews of.
    Please try them if you have time!

    touko_no_doriru@yahoo.com

    Transistor ni Venus : by Takemoto IzumiMy favorite series. The first volume is not so Yuri,
    so you should try at least 3 volumes.

    Vol.1 Vol.2 Vol.3 Vol.4 Vol.5 Vol.6 Vol.7(final) Artbook Kashimashi – Girl meets Girl – by Akahori Satoru & Katsura YukimaruThe latest “controversial” Yuri manga. To be precisely, it’s TG/TS (transgender/transsexual) thing and not Yuri, but some fans are enjoying as a super-cute Yuri manga and arguing heatedly with “Yuri fundamentalists” who deny TG/TS.
    Who makes the situation more difficult is the famous (or infamous) script writer Akahori.
    He has been stating that he doesn’t understand Yuri. What is the meaning of his change of mind?

    Vol.1Hayate Cross Blade: by Hayashiya ShizuruHCB is gaining high popularity these days. An all-girls fighting manga.
    Hayashiya Shizuru is knowns for “Strawbelly Shake” of Yuri Shimai.
    Slapstick comedy and sword fighting and girls and girls and girls…. are her most favorite topics. Fans think she finally comes back to her best stage.

    To express my love to HCB, I’m editing this page with my bad English ability (^^;

    Vol.1 Vol.2 Towakan by Ooshima TowaOoshima Towa’s early manga works anthology. Most of them are hentai.
    Four episodes of “Rosehip Dialy”, a lesbian S-fantasy hentai series is worth reading.

    mangaSakura no Sono (Cherry Orchid) by Yoshida AkioHistorically important classic.
    It’s not so Yuri, and the “angst of youth” thing may not be your taste, but it’s one of the most importants in Yuri manga history.

    manga, live action movieYoshida’s “Lover’s Kiss” is also famous.
    mangaFutari wa PreCureNeedless to say, Precure has become a “must” of Yuri fan these days.
    Those who haven’t watched the show (like me) are recommended to learn Precure with this manga version.
    mangaMaid Cafe StyleA guidebook of maid cafe. Not Yuri at all, but hey, visiting Japan and leaving without seeing maid cafe is uttery nonsense, don’t you think so? lol
    bookShojokyu (Palace of Virgin)DVDPG (DVD Playable Game). Maybe it’s the very first pure Yuri hentai game.
    gameSummer Vacation: 1999 (1989) – English subtitlesWhat a surprise, it’s the live action arrangement of Hagio Moto’s “Thomas’ Heart”, a bishonen homosexual manga. But the more surprising is the fact that all the bishonens are acted by young actresses. In one mean, this is yaoi as well as Yuri.

    video

  2. touko_no_doriru says:

    Waa- I apologize for my bad English and bad word processing…

  3. punistation says:

    “Don’t get me wrong – there is no happy ending here…”

    Oh, don’t worry. We all know the rules for onscreen lesbian romances: Crash and burn.

    (I admit, I liked the shounen-dripping collected BGC comic “Grand Mal” by Adam Warren. One of the earliest american comic artists who did that “Jap bug-eyed shit” (As one of his 80’s editors once put it). It’s fun watching the struggling artists of old become modern-day gods.) ^_^

  4. Serge says:

    I know some people who swear by the original BGC soundtrack, the only song I listen to consistently from it is Mad Machine, I like that one. Konya wa Hurricane is OK, but I liked the remake better. The rest was really kinda forgettable. Mad Machine, I’ll admit, does sound pretty dated these days, but at the time it fit the series perfectly, it was kinda edgy when everything else at the time was way too sugary and just plain bad.
    This is among the first anime series I watched way back in the day, and as such it was a BHM series for me. (BHM = Before Haruka and Michiru) I think at the time I didn’t really get the shonen Yuri implications at all, I was more interested in the story and the hardware.
    Looking back on it, it’s the same “Oh yeah” thing I got when looking at the Village People, Rob Halford, Liberace, and Desslok. ;)

  5. To touko_no_doriru:

    Thank you for your comments and even more for the suggestions! I’ll definitely look up those series!

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