Anime no Omoide: Bubblegum Crisis

Anime no Omoide: Bubblegum Crisis

I’ve decided to resurrect an old series of posts called Boku no Anime no Omoide (My Anime Memories), discussing the various series and movies I’ve seen throughout my life that has had an impact on my fandom of this genre of storytelling.

BGCTitlesWay back in the days of my budding anime fandom, a dear friend of mine pulled me aside and said he had something to show me. It was called ‘Bubblegum Crisis,’ and he was positive that I would enjoy it. Now, of course, I had my doubts as to the veracity of his claim. After all, it was kind of a ridiculously absurd name and did not really pique my interest all that much. In response, he simply told me to ignore the name and try not to judge an anime based on the title. I was too tired to put up much of a fight, and after work we ended up at his place and settled in for an afternoon of anime watching.

Yeah, I was taught a rather valuable lesson that day. Had I gone with my instincts of begging off, I would not be the same person I am today. I think, along with many other early titles I watched, Bubblegum Crisis is a staple of anime fandom. At least, it’s a staple of my personal fandom. I’m not talking about the remake from Pioneer/Geneon in the late 90s, either. I’m talking about the late 80s produced original, where you could tell it was all hand-drawn and not computer-assisted. Along with classics like Urusei Yatsura, Choujiku Yosai Macross, Uchuu Senkan Yamato, Kimagure Orange Road, and many others, Bubblegum Crisis is a must-see for any anime fan out there. It’s a common frame of reference, a point of contention between fans over what constitutes a bad dub, and if you haven’t seen it, you’re punched right out of the conversation, I guarantee you.

BGCSyliaStringrayIn short, its summary is this: Four women battle against the out-of-control creations of the Genom corporation: one driven by revenge, one driven by boredom, one driven by excitement, and one driven by loyalty. Led by Miss Sylia Stingray, these Knight Sabers band together to crusade against the injustice of androids with too much power. Underground singer Priss Asagiri, Linna Yamazaki, and police data specialist Nene Romanova round out the group, wearing Stingray-designed hardsuits and kicking some serious Boomer ass through eight episodes of OVA goodness.

Can you sense my enthusiasm? Good.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this series. It delivers action, romance, drama, and a memorable soundtrack the likes of which has never been reproduced. Every character shows a level of depth that you really only got to see in much longer series. What a story like Crisis, it would take a series such as Full Metal Panic or Gundam much more than eight episodes to provide you with a clear background, and even then it took a sequel, Bubbblegum Crash!, to really screw the pooch. Which in a sense was an additional three episodes to the story, but you see how perfect the eight was? It really didn’t even need the full eleven, right?

Though… Crash had good music. What is it with all these series that are bad, but have kickass OSTs?

Not that BGC was any slouch in the OST department. Quite possibly the most recognizable set of vocal tracks in anime history belongs to this series, which includes the perennial Konya wa Hurricane and my personal favorite, Bye, Bye, My Crisis. The latter of which is just a fun song to chairdance to. Also, it took me forever to find the music in the pre-Complete Vocal Collection days. Essentially, the entirety of the soundtrack is an homage to the girl bands of the early 80s; specifically the overall sound and vibe from The Runaways, a band that was a huge hit in Japan in the late 70s.  I could write a full review on the music, itself, so I’ll cut myself short here. The bottom line is, if you haven’t yet watched this series, then crawl out from underneath your rock and get thee hence!

Character-wise, my favorites had to be Priss and Nene.  Priss is singing her heart out in the very beginning of the entire series, and you’re slowly introduced to the rest of the Knight Sabers.  But, I always felt that Nene got something of a bad rap throughout the series until the very last episode of the initial eight.  Priss was shown to be this ass-kicking woman of power.  Even Leon was unable to avoid her charms due to the sheer amount of confidence portrayed within the character.  Nene had a quieter strength that was often overshadowed by her fears.  In battle, she often tended to stay out of the way, or fire wildly while letting out a scream queen-esque shriek at the enemy.  In her own element of research, she showed her prowess, especially in “Scoop Chase.”

BGCNene&PrissThere’s even a scene where Nene is showing the police chief’s niece around in one of those Mini Cooper police cars, and she catches a speeding motorcycle.  A motorcycle that happens to be drive by none other than Priss.  The look on Nene’s face when she realizes that she’s just caught a member of her group and friend is priceless.  Given that the chief’s niece is watching with interest, she can’t just let Priss go.  Especially when Priss is taunting her to not give her that ticket.  Instead, she gather up her courage and issues that ticket, to Priss’ surprise and later anger.

Crisis’ writing did a great job of exposing not just the four members of the Knight Sabers, but some of the supporting characters as well.  Mackie, Sylia’s younger brother, gets his introduction in the first episode as being a bit of a creeper.  Later, he’s developed into a decent mechanic and even ends up with his own hardsuit.  I started kind of shipping him and Nene and I got a reward for that in “Scoop Chase,” where he refuses to leave Nene behind during a climactic scene.

The two AD Police detectives, Leon and Daley, even get a lot of screen time in working things from their angle.  A lot of their cases end up intersecting with the Knight Sabers, so the stories often show things from their perspectives.  Leon’s unabashed interest in Priss is used as a comedic premise and foil, respectively.  Daley is an interesting entry in the story because he’s openly gay, which I hadn’t really seen in an anime up until then.  I enjoyed his obvious flirting with Leon to see his reaction.

Bubblegum Crisis’ story is told and retold over the course of several series.  Beyond the original series, there was the aforementioned sequel (Crash!) and a prequel (A.D. Police Files).  Pioneer/Geneon decided to do a reboot/retelling in Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, which was far less impressive and focused far more on the drama than the comedy.  It, too, had a side-story called A.D. Police (known as A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve in the US).  And then back in 2003, there was an in-universe OVA called Parasite Dolls, which focused again on the AD Police.

Next Time on Anime no Omoide: Macross!

12:00am 2016-01-01

This is a response to the Daily Post’s prompt: Stroke of Midnight

Where was I on New Year’s Eve? I was home.

The last couple of years, I’ve been keen to stay home an celebrate the new year privately with my wife and my best bud and roommate, Shon.  It kind of works out because I don’t get any invitations to go anywhere anymore (I must’ve pissed off too many people or something), as I used in the past.  So, we’ll stay up to midnight, alternate between Univision and KRON-TV.  Univision because Spanish Television is far more interesting than any of the major media outlets (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc) and KRON because it is the last remaining local coverage of the San Francisco fireworks left on the air.  Univision’s ads for their programming is also entertaining as hell, and it makes me want to brush up on my Spanish so I can follow along.  Not to mention, the women on Univision (and Telemundo) are hot as hell.

This year’s San Francisco fireworks were pretty impressive; it looks like the city really went all out this year.  San Jose, on the other hand, had nothing.  When I was a kid, they used to do a huge party in downtown with the big black bowler hat coming down on top of the clock tower (I’m assuming as an homage to the ball dropping in Times Square) but I guess no one wants to pay for that anymore, so the city doesn’t do it.  That stopped happening a while back, actually.  The only city in the Bay Area that does any kind of major celebration is San Francisco.  Oakland, given their distance from the city, probably lets SF pay for their show and then everyone goes to Treasure Island for a front-row seat.  I know that it was mentioned that this year, it was an unusually clear night, so the fireworks weren’t obscured in the slightest.  Even through the shitty cameras of KRON, you could see how awesome they must’ve looked from the ferry building.

In years past, I used to host a huge NYE party with all of the friends that were around back then.  We had built up a gamers’ paradise tradition back in 1994, where we would hunker down at someone’s house and play games all night.  In those days, that usually meant bringing over your Pentium PC, or an N64, or your PlayStation (original).  My buddy, Ken, had his house in San Francisco overlooking City College with this huge balcony.  With the lack of visibility toward the bay, we couldn’t see any fireworks, really.  But we all brought food (I usually cooked), shared a lot of laughs, took breaks watching anime or sitcoms, and enjoyed the company until the wee hours of the morning.  As time went on, we lost touch with some friends, made new ones, but the parties continued through until around 2009, when we decided to do a trip down to Disneyland for New Years.

Disneyland is a whole other ball of wax.  It is crowded as hell.  In order to make it into the park, you need to arrive at the opening of the gates at 9am and then be prepared to hang out in the park all the way to midnight.  Disney’s California Adventure is a great alternative, though, and it also happens to be the one part of the park that serves alcohol.  If you’re looking to ring in the new year with a flute, then you have to go to DCA.  2009 was the first and best year we did Disney.  We went again in 2012, and it SUCKED.  It was so packed, you could not move anywhere by the time you got to the Hub (the big circle in the center of the park).  Kiss any semblance of personal space goodbye, because you were shoulder-to-shoulder with perfect strangers.  I kept my hands in my pockets, and sure enough, someone kept trying to reach in to grab my wallet… it was a pickpocket’s dream.

People were getting trampled as we were trying to get the hell out of there and over to DCA, because I knew that it would be far less crowded.  Sure enough, you could breathe over there.  After that, I think Julia and I made it clear that if we should happen to be down at the Disneyland Resort for New Year’s in the future, we would choose DCA over Disneyland.  A lot of fun, less people, you could get on a lot of the rides.  The only drawback is that after the New Year is rung in, they shut down DCA and force everyone to either go home, go into Downtown Disney, or take their chances back in Disneyland.  We went back to the hotel, obviously.

Next year, I don’t know where I’ll be to ring in 2017.  Maybe someone will put together a party and toss an invite, or maybe I’ll just be home again.  Either way, I hope that it’ll be the end to an amazing 2016.

Happy New Year!

The current cap logo of the San Francisco GiantsWelcome to 2016!

Beyond the fact that this is an even-numbered year and I think it’s time that the Giants emerge victorious as the World Series Champions, I’m also going to be turning forty in June.  So, while the Giants are duking it out in the National League West in the heat of the summer sun, I will (hopefully) be celebrating with friends and family to usher in the new era of my life…

MIDDLE AGE.

Holy shit, it’s weird to see that in writing.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 holds.  I’m going to try and put more thoughts down in this blog, which has been pretty dormant for a number of years. I’m hoping to put in some time and some discipline to seeing how far I can get.  I’m going to be following a list of daily prompts courtesy of WordPress.com’s Daily Post.  I’m kind of ignoring today’s prompt to do the setup on this renewal.

I’m not looking for any interaction, either.  I mean, it’s cool if someone wants to comment, but mostly I’m just going to use this to express myself a little and talk about shit that interests me.  Y’know, the usual typical self-absorbed garbage that makes up most blogs.

Enjoy, and happy new year!

Picking Up The Habit

Well, I’m going to try and pick up the habit of blogging, as I used to in the past.  I’m not sure if I can keep it up, but I’m going to give it a try.  So, stay tuned for more content coming soon.

Soylent Project: Week One

Soylent Project: Week One

2015-01-13 16.19.54

The choco-banana Soylent

After a full week of a mostly-Soylent diet, I wanted to report on how I’ve been feeling and my overall health.   I’ll start by saying that I have designated one day a week (on professional advice) to return to normal food; that day is Friday, as it’s a social outing night for me.  I also did not stick to a 3 Soylents a day the entire week or weekend, but I did make sure that I had at least one or two Soylent meals on those days.  In short, my log kind of looks like this:

  • Monday: Breakfast and Lunch (Soylent), Dinner (Carne Asada, Beans, Cheese, and Tortilla).
  • Tuesday: Lunch (Chicken, Broccoli, Iced Tea), Snack and Dinner (Soylent).
  • Wednesday: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Soylent), Snack (Pollo Asado, Beans, Cheese, and Tortilla).
  • Thursday: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Soylent).
  • Friday: Lunch (Pizza, Root Beer), Dinner (Salad, Soup, Lemonade).
  • Saturday: Breakfast (Soylent), Dinner (Pizza, Black Cherry Soda).
  • Sunday: Breakfast (Soylent), Dinner (Chicken, Fries, Iced Tea).
  • Monday: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Soylent), Snack (Carne Asada, Cheese, Tortilla).

On each day, I make sure to consume at least 72 ounces of water.  Usually 24 ounces after every Soylent meal or with a regular meal.

Exercise Notes: I had gone to the gym late Sunday night, and I was feeling very sore on Monday.  Decided to skip until Wednesday to give my muscles a change to repair.  I stuck to cardio-only that night and returned to weights on Thursday night (I went a little lighter this time).

As a result of the exercise on Wednesday night, however, I noticed a problem.  I was starving after my workout, and this was three hours after my dinner Soylent.  Given that I burned 900 calories during my hour-long workout, I decided to have a snack.  I ended up staying awake until 1:30am as I ate at 11pm.  Even with the snack, I was still well under my net caloric intake for the day.

The following night when I added my weight training back in, I didn’t feel as bad as I did with the extra protein in my diet from the night before and I didn’t feel hungry after the workout.

On Friday morning, I had my annual physical scheduled.  I spoke with my doctor about the change in my diet, and she had never heard of Soylent before.  I sent her all the proper literature, including the breakdown of nutrients and what’s used to get those nutrients.  She was encouraged by this shift, but was worried about my electrolytic count.  She ordered a full blood lab for (she was going to do this for the physical anyway).  She asked for weekly updates on weight and BP, and I would return in about a month for another blood draw using this one as a baseline.

Over the weekend, I got my blood labs back (this was on four days of Soylent, so far):

  • Weight/BMI: 337 lbs / 49.74
  • Blood Pressure: 131/82
  • Pulse: 80
  • Glucose: Down 15% (Great, because I was worried about pre-Diabetic conditions)
  • A1C: Down a little, but within the normal range.
  • Sodium: Up 20%, but within the normal range.
  • Cholesterol: No change (below 240)
  • HDL: No change (normal)
  • LDL: No change (normal)

After I was sent all this information over the weekend, I got an email from her saying she was happy with the labs, and to send the update on Friday morning.  She recommended that I increase my exercising a bit more.

This morning, I weighed myself and I came in at 331 lbs.  I’m really hoping this is water-weight since I’ve reduced by weekly sodium intake by quite a bit, otherwise I’m worried that I’m dropping weight way too quickly for a weekend.

Recipes

In my last post, I talked about recipes due to the complete lack of flavor that Soylent has.  Again, the Soylent community has been instrumental in trying some of the different things you can do with it.  I’ve done two of the recipes so far, and I had to modify one of them at the request of my doctor.  Earlier, I mentioned the “choco-banana” Soylent that I modified by using Nestle’s NesQuik as a substitute for chocolate syrup.  When I talked with my doctor, she recommended trying a non-sugary alternative as the NesQuik introduced about 12 gram of sugar per meal.  My wife mentioned using cocoa powder instead, so now my recipe has changed to:

  • 1 scoop Soylent
  • 2 scoops water
  • 1.5 teaspoons of the Oil Blend
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder
  • 2 packets of Splenda
  • 6 ice cubes

I took some shots of it coming together, but I shot these when I was still using Nesquik; the concept is the same.  I also tried a another one, this time involving pears:

 

  • 1 scoop Soylent
  • 2 scoops water
  • 1.5 teaspoons of the Oil Blend
  • 3 pear halves
  • 1 dash of cinnamon
  • 6 ice cubes

Unfortunately, this did not turn out as well as I’d hoped.  The Soylent nothingness kind of overwhelmed the pear and cinnamon, which is pretty incredible considering how potent cinnamon can be.  I ended up going back to the choco-banana recipe instead.

Next up: Week Two.