If you are a Bubblegum Crisis fan, or fan of some similar cyberpunk series in general, this 3-part OVA is not to be missed. Although it is just 3 short, stand-alone episodes, it packs enough atmosphere and psychological debate, to be considered worthy.
- This is studio AIC’s third best OVA work after Bastard!! and Yamato 2199 and I must say as far as presentation goes, it is pretty good for its time.
- The director is Nishimori Akira, who has produced only 3 titles in his career so far and this is the watchable amongst them. Not much to brag for I must say.
[My God; the cyber chick squashed the guy’s head like a tomato!]
The art manages to absorb you in the dystopian world of the series with detailed machinery, dark alleys and amoral bystanders. The violent life of the industrialised city, the daily tragedies and the freaked-out humans and androids create a terrible and yet interesting worldview.
In the artistic domain, there are several scenes, where the characters think in bizzare ways, the camera focuses or zooms in creepy angles, and the lights drop on the characters in imposing ways. Generally, you really understand the emotions the characters feel thanks to the strong and planned use of images and visual effects. It really rocks before several so-called masterpieces of science fiction, like the Terminator movies, where you don’t really care much of how the characters feel and just pay attension to the shit they blow up.
The action scenes are very realistic and gory. There are also quite a few scenes of well-drawn nude and easily implied intercourse. Both these elements are a mixed bag. They will feel cool if you like that sort of raw violence (as I do). On the other hand, they are crude in movements and short in duration; which makes them lame if you like extended scenes (as I do).
Still, unlike most movies and series out there, sex and violence are parts of the phychosis of the characters and not just eye candy for the sake of publicity. They are parts of the story and of the characters and not your usual splatter galore, just for sheer fun. You feel more disturbed than excited while watching them.
Down to it, the animations is great but tends to have crude movements, too many still images and cheep visuals during shootings and explosions.
[Great; first she guts people and then ponders about the meaning of life.]
Voice acting is decent but not great. We have the usual “I try too obviously to sound sad and innocent” problem. The characters do talk in a sophisticated way, full of scientific explanations and moral discussions. But it’s pretty common and shallow if you have seen enough distopian scenarios.
Music themes are nice J-pop pieces, although you hardly hear them during the episodes and sometimes they do feel out of place with the plot. You can always check the music videos of the series to fully appreciate them. Still, they are not that great. The creepy atmosphere-building music on the other hand is very good and puts you in the appropriate mood.
Sound effects are cheesy and poor. The producers didn’t bother with them much.
SCRIPT & CAST
[I came, I saw, I left.]
Nothing much on both. The story is about the lives of the characters before they were a team. It’s just 3 short stories full of violence, sex and moral debates. Cyborgs go crazy on emotions, kill people, super cops investigate, talk deep about something and blow some sculls apart soon after. 20 minutes aren’t enough to analyze the story or the characters properly. In fact, the entire franchise is just an undeveloped but interesting idea. The main concept is great but its analysis is plain short and rushed, leaving the cast to be nothing but plot devises.
You probably expected a lot higher, based on what I wrote so far. But no, I didn’t like it that much and I don’t plan to watch it ever again. All the good ideas have been presented in longer and better ways in the titles of my suggestion list. It’s ok for a quick view if you are new to the field and a fan of the series but very forgettable if you are a seasoned viewer.
Movies With Real Actors: Matrix, Johnny Mnemonic, Blade Runner, Tron, The 13th Floor, eXistenZ.
Books: Neuromancer, Do Machines Dream Of Electronic Sheep?
Anime: Ghost In The Shell, Zegapain, .hack//SIGN, Animatrix.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (well drawn)
Character Figures 2/2 (detailed)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 5/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (decent)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 1/3 (poor)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (the themes are deep, but the plot is simple)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (simple)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 1/2 (simple)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch)
Memorability 2/4 (nice ideas but too short to remember them as anything special)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 1/1 (looks great)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but rushed presentation)
Characters 1/4 (they are interesting but don’t last much to get to like them)