While some sequels, such as The Empire Strikes Back or Aliens, exceed expectations to deliver a memorable experience, there are many that just miss the mark. In the case of Bubblegum Crash, the situation is particularly tragic since all of the major elements are present, but just enough of the finer points are missing to cause discomfort. Bubblegum Crash, despite being decent OVA, only proves to disappoint as a follow-up to Bubblegum Crisis.
Bubblegum Crash can be viewed as the finale to Bubblegum Crisis, as it provides much-needed closure that Scoop Chase, the final episode of Bubblegum Crisis, seemed to lack. The series picks up the loose threads of the overreaching arc that the original Bubblegum Crisis dropped after episode six. The series comprises three, loosely-connected episodes that focus on a mysterious entity’s pursuit of a top-secret AI, as well as the growing Boomer presence that MegaTokyo is experiencing. Everything finally boils down to a somewhat anticlimactic showdown between the Knight Sabers and Largo.
While the show’s progression is fairly predictable, there are a few segments that show some of the charm that oozed from the original series. In particular, the second episode, Geo Climbers, revolves around Priss as she escorts ADAM – a sentient boomer that sports experimental AI – through the slums of MegaTokyo. Through the episode, viewers get a rare, intimate look at Priss as she develops an attachment to ADAM. While the plot progression is predictable, the chemistry between ADAM and Priss makes the episode particularly touching.
Much like the plot, Bubblegum Crash’s soundtrack proves to be a disappointment in the light of its predecessor. Since Kinuko Oomori was unable to return due to contractual obligations, AIC had to hire a replacement. Ryoko Tachikawa, newcomer to voice acting, and one-show wonder, took her place. While her raspy voice was fitting to the character, it left AIC without a hit singer to provide the insert songs. As a substitute, they included a number of generic electronica tracks. Only four vocal themes can be found in the OVA: one serves as the opener, and the rest provide closing themes for the OVA’s three episodes. The lack of variety makes the entire musical score seem somewhat stark and bland when contrasted with the hardsuit-fueled action onscreen.
Outside of the rare touch of brilliance, Bubblegum Crash can be described simply as “forced, and a bit awkward” as the series rushes toward its climax. Most of the major elements are present, but something still seems to be missing from the final product. However, while the title as a whole is fairly disappointing, it does offer a definite ending to the Bubblegum Crisis 2032 saga. Those wanting another fix of the Knight Sabers would be better served by the vastly superior Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040.