Monday, February 16, 2015

28 Day Bubblegum Crisis Challenge, Day 15: Favorite Fight Scene

While the fight scenes in this series are numerous, they aren't really the reason that I watch Bubblegum Crisis. Actually, the fights scenes tend to be short and sweet - akin to punctuation, in a way - where the action is just a natural resolution to the drama (and occasionally, political intrigue) that's been building throughout the episode. To be honest, I kind of like that aspect of the series. There's a reason that I can't stand to watch most of Michael Bay's movies, like the Transformers franchise, and why I felt that the Wachowski's The Matrix was so extraordinary: while the former's films are, at best, minimally entertaining - if you turn your brain off and think "ooooh, pretty explosions!" - I walk away feeling like I've gotten absolutely nothing from the experience, except to feel like I've been manipulated into thinking the movie is better than it actually is. With the latter, however, the fight scenes served a purpose, to show that Neo was becoming more attuned with his destiny and abilities. The Knight Sabers aren't necessarily learning anything about themselves in Bubblegum Crisis, but their encounters with boomers display to the audience who and what the women are and propel the plot forward.

In "Tinsel City," my favorite episode, the opening sequence culminates in what I think is the best example of how Bubblegum Crisis uses fight scenes in the above-mentioned manner. The Knight Sabers are alerted to a boomer rampage, and once they are able to take it out, the story begins: the defense department is developing dangerous boomer technology* and needs the vigilantes to work under the table** to keep the international community from finding out about their research. But the scene does more than that. Via commentary from Leon McNichols, it establishes that the AD Police is woefully ill-equipped to handle actual boomer issues, as they are demolished by a single boomer, and that the privately-owned Knight Sabers*** have hardsuits that outmatch even the technology of Genom.

We also get to know the individual women through their fighting style. Priss is impulsive and violent, prone to just catapulting into a situation, while Sylia manages to have a grasp on the big picture and attacks in an efficient and calculating manner that leaves her making less physical moves than Priss. Then we have Nene, who provides support and logistics because she doesn't have the strength or agility necessary to do much else, and Linna gracefully and cautiously backs up Priss and Sylia, even though she can definitely handle a boomer on her own, as she shows in later episodes. Their roles are clearly defined in this scene, even though there is little to no exposition (yay!). Granted, we never really know why the boomer attacked, which is something I felt the reboot handled much better****, but nothing is ever perfect.

Still, you should go watch this scene. It's probably one of the best openings of anything I've ever watched, from good animation to a kickass soundtrack ("Konya Wa Hurricane" is one of the first Japanese songs I learned to sing). You know what? I have this on DVD. I'm going to go watch it now. 

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BACK TO CHALLENGE

* Japanese history, I think, is important here. Due to losing World War II, a lot of stipulations were placed upon the Japanese, similar to sanctions placed on Germany, and one of those was to keep their military for defense purposes only. If they were to break that vow - and let's face it, this was the 80s and greed was good, so the likelihood that illegal profit was considered more than worth it is not that far from being believable - the Japanese could face serious repercussions from the West.
** Okay, so they place an ad in the paper, which hahahahaha, really? Not necessarily clandestine, but this, again, is the 80s and sure. Why not?
*** What's weird about this series is that it is both anti-corporation and pro-capitalism, which usually isn't paired together. You have the independently wealthy Sylia who finances the Knight Sabers and has the best technology available because bootstraps or something, and Genom, a giant, multinational corporation is the Big Evil yet also has awesome programs that make the world better. It's gloriously nuanced and complex, like I said in yesterday's challenge, that recognizes the benefits and the detractions from such a convoluted world structure.
**** I meant to mention this on Day 12, but completely forgot. The boomers in Tokyo 2040 were actually going berserk because of purposeful faulty manufacturing, where their cores essentially rotted and caused their CPUs to turn violent. Now, this still doesn't really explain why their exteriors mutated, but hey, they at least tried.
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