Author: Ross Liversidge
Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995, and following Andy Hanley's retirement has returned to the post of Editor-in-Chief in 2017. What an old man!
How I'd do Bubblegum Crisis
Okay, so here's the fun bit where I get to geek-out and lay out how I'd bring back Bubblegum Crisis. Listeners to our UKA North podcast may have heard my 2018 Macross "Rebel Radio" TV series idea which I'm actually rather pleased with, so let's see if I can do it again here.
For me, Bubblegum Crisis is all about the characters. The Knight Sabers only really suit up for a small portion of each episode, the rest of the drama has a focus on character and motivation, with some industrial conspiracy and riffs on artificial intelligence. So I'd take that as my lead, and put together a trilogy (because everything in Hollywood wants to be one!) and that allows us to get the beats right.
The first film would be the formation of the Knight Sabers, starting back with Dr Stingray's invention of the Boomer construct. An AI powered being of infinite possibilities that could open up a world (or worlds) of exploration for an evolving human race. Now, in the OVA, Genom rises to power after the great Kanto earthquake which levels much of Tokyo. Using construction as a means to remake the city in its own image, the company rises to domination. Rather than leave the door open for a crap prequel (The Hobbit, Star Wars etc.) let's deal with the setup in the first third of the movie. Why not have a young and ambitious Brian J Mason move the pieces around the corporate board to bring about the rise of Genom, then watch a young Sylia in her father's lab and introduce us to the internal machinations of the company we'll grow to hate.
After half an hour or more of corporate intrigue, with a failed attempt by Doctor Stingray to stop the inevitable, he's discovered dead by his daughter. Sylia closes her eyes, screams... and then fade to reveal an adult Sylia Stingray calmly looking at the first hardsuit, in what will comprise the best of her father's work coupled with human integrity and determination.
The first film would end with three girls brought together to stop a Genom plot. Perhaps Sylia, Nene and Linna, who survive their first battle but realising they need something more. Have Priss discover the team, help sans-hardsuit and then end the film with a shot of her walking out in her iconic armour - the four Knight Sabers ready to fight for the future.
I'll only briefly outline the second two films - obviously you need Genom to strike back, put the girls through their paces and introduce Leon McNichol, AD Police hot-shot and love interest for Priss (because Love Interests aren't amoral, despite what Hollywood will tell you). The second film ends with Genom amassing power and ousting Mega Tokyo's government, taking control of the city wholesale and enacting martial law. Lets lose a few support characters, bring in Sylia's brother Mackie, and end on a downbeat but hopeful note.
Finally, the third film should have the stakes raised to the roof. I'd want to see the Knight Sabers step out of the shadows and lead a city-wide revolt against Quincey and his boomer horde. I can see the identity of the Knight Sabers being revealed, with Priss in particular garnering support from the city's hard-line criminals as the queen of Rock, amassing biker-gangs and street thugs into her own personal guerrilla army.
The AD Police are an obvious target for Genom - I'd love to see Nene and the other operators under siege in the ADP Tower. Since Genom control much of the police hardware, it would be down to Nene to co-ordinate the fightback by fending off Genom and mobilising the AD Police once she's hacked her way into control of the hardware, and maybe even the building itself. While Nene and Priss head the attack (yeah, "Nene the General", didn't see that coming did you?!), Linna could be evacuating the streets of families and children, with the destruction raining around her causing plenty of drama. The sheer scale of the human vs Boomer fights in the streets would be insane, with Sylia making her way to Genom tower itself for the final showdown as the city fights for its freedom, with the girls leading the way.
And then obviously bring the four together for the epic smack-down with Mason/Largo/Quincey (take your pick - one or all three).
So there we have it - three films, a layered cast, a corporate bunch of bastards, heavy metal, hardware and high heels. Bring it to me, movie people!
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