June 19, 2006
For a while, Bubblegum Crisis was the definitive OAV series for anime fans. Combining action, drama, girls, guns, mecha, motorcycles, cyberpunk and the MTV aesthetic, the wait between one adrenaline-rush episode and the next was almost unbearable.
The basic premise of the series was that four women—Priss Asagiri, Sylia Stingray, Linna Yamazaki and Nene Romanova—have banded together as the Knight Sabers to fight the corrupt Genom megacorporation in MegaTokyo of 2032. As it turned out, the eight-part series had an unusual story structure: there were two three-part story arcs, each capped with an epilogue that was completely different from previous episodes. Revenge Road (1988) was different for a few reasons, but the most noticeable was that it was the only episode to focus on a car, rather than motorcycles.
In Revenge Road, it's a year after the series has begun, and a mysterious car has been attacking biker gangs on the streets and highways of MegaTokyo. The driver is a man named Gibson, and he's built the Griffon in an effort to keep the streets safe after he and his girlfriend were attacked by a biker gang. As the episode progresses, Gibson continues to upgrade the Griffon, until he's eventually created a monster of a car driven by thought control. But when he takes the new, frightfully improved Griffon out—with a terrified Naomi inside—he discovers that maybe a mental link was a bad idea. On its own, the Griffon goes on a rampage, with Naomi and an injured Gibson trapped inside and the AD Police in hot pursuit, with only one goal in mind: destroy the car and anyone in it.
Like the rest of Bubblegum Crisis, Revenge Road's car chase is pure 1980s MTV: dynamic camera angles, quick edits, music, and plenty of noise and action. As the out-of-control Griffon roars down the highway, it shrugs off the efforts of the AD Police's cars, helicopters and battle suits, as well as newly upgraded Knight Sabers, who are ultimately reduced to rescuing Gibson and Naomi. In the end, it's the AD Police—normally just so much hapless cannon fodder—who take down the Griffon when Leon puts a high-caliber bullet into its brain (sorry, engine) and makes sure he looks cool doing it.
Bubblegum Crisis 4: Revenge Road
Buy Bubblegum Crisis from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca