On October 25, 2013, AnimEigo unveiled their latest anime project. The company took to KickStarter with the goal of producing the ultimate fan edition of Bubblegum Crisis. The Cyberpunk classic would receive a shiny new Blu-Ray release, with remastered video and audio. In addition, the company would invite fans “behind the curtain” to help decide which extras and features would be pressed to the discs.
Two editions would be produced: A Basic edition, which includes the discs in a single Amaray case, and basic extras and a Premium Edition, which includes a nicer package, and a few extra bonus goodies.
The production process took just over a year, with production finally wrapping up the week before Christmas. The discs were shipped out, and started to his fans’ hands within a few days.
We received our Premium Edition copy about three days after the shipments went out. Since the release is AnimEigo’s first foray into crowd-produced products, we felt that it was only right that we tear the set down for a closer look.
The Premium Edition set ships in three Blu-Ray cases, which are wrapped by a chipboard box.
The front of the box features a shot of the Knight Sabers in their hardsuits, sans helmets set before a wire frame of the MegaTokyo skyline. The Japanese logo for the series is stamped in foil near the bottom of the cover. The back cover contains a shot of Priss posing in her Motoslave, set against the same wire frame cityscape.
The box’s spine features images of the four Knight sabers in their hardsuits, arranged vertically in the following order: Sylia, Nene, Linna, Priss. The Bubblegum Crisis logo breaks the characters into two distinct groups. The top o the box features face shots of the Knight Sabers, with the normally opaque glass showing the girls’ faces.
The bottom features a faded image of Largo, overlain with the copyright data.
Each of the three cases features a different Knight Saber as a leading figure:
- Disc 1 features Priss
- Disc 2 features Linna
- Disc 3 features Sylia
The front artwork features a piece of key art of the featured character, suited up. The back art is a text mosaic, with a shot of the character sans helmet. The text making up the image consists of the backers that contributed to the Premium set. (For some fun hunting, Nerdy Talk host Matt Brown’s name is featured on Disc 2, Mike Ferreira’s on Disc 3). Each cover is reversible, with an alternate piece of key art and text mosaic taking up the back of each cover.
The disc art for each disc features a different Boomer design, set to a circuit board background. The show’s logo, and episode listings are printed on each disc.
The release shipped with a number of physical extras. Specifically, the Premium sets shipped with a challenge coin, a key chain, a patch, and a set of postcards.
The challenge coin is double-sided and full color. On one side, an image of Priss in a determined scowl. On the other, Largo smirking smugly. The key chain is designed to look like an A.D. Police badge. Both are made of metal, and have a surprising heft to them. The patch is a full-color iron on of Priss, set in an action pose. Below Priss’s waist is the show’s Japanese logo.
The set shipped with two sets of seven unique cards, each featuring a different piece of key art from the show.
In addition, several digital extras were made available, including a community-built wiki, a digital copy of Adam Warren’s Bubblegum Crisis: Grand Mal, and a full set of the R. Talsorian Games Bubblegum Crisis RPG books.
The menus are fairly simple in their layout. They consist of two panes framing an animation loop. The left side contains relevant episodes, video extras, and selections for the setup menus. The right pane is used for sub-menus. The presentation is clean and generally unobtrusive, especially when calling the pop-up menu.
For fans of the show, the Bubblegum Crisis Ultimate Edition is the version to own. The new video, while slightly grainy, is fantastic, with rich colors and fantastic clarity that let the line work show through. The colors are vibrant and clean, with a fantastic use of the color spectrum. There are no discernible crushed blacks or visual artifacts through the show’s eight episodes.
The audio is still at treat to listen to, with a crystal clear stereo track that is a major improvement over previous releases of the show. Fans hoping for a new dub will be left in the cold, though. The set uses the same mediocre performance that we’ve come to love to know and avoid over the years. A new dub was discussed among backers, though it as shot down due to a lack of funds.
In generally, though, Bubblegum Crisis is a gorgeous show, made even more impressive by the quality of this rework. The presentation, while straightforward is fairly elegant in its simplicity. Menus are easy to navigate through, and the digital extras are a lot of fun to read through.
The entire package is simply lovely, and one that should be in every Bubblegum Crisis fan’s library.