I had trouble deciding whether or not the best Bubblegum Crisis episode should be my answer to Day 6, but then I realized that the episode would better serve established and potential fans alike as a pilot. Even though “Tinsel City” is our introduction into the world of MegaTokyo, it just doesn’t quite have the quality storytelling or narrative cohesion as my choice for Best Episode does.
Alright, I’ve pussyfooted around enough.
The best Bubblegum Crisis episode is the second one, “Born to Kill.”
Spoiler warning! I know I didn’t go into detail for my favorite episode, but for this one, I’m going to have to go a little bit deeper.
This episode has everything: an anti-corporate message, aerobics, a killer soundtrack, friendships between women, kickass fight sequences … I find myself returning to it almost as much as I do “Tinsel City.” Plot-wise, Irene, an acquaintance of Linna Yamazaki, is the fiance of a recently deceased Genom employee, and she is certain that the company had him murdered because of a project he had been working on. Being emotionally overwrought, she is very open about her desire and determination to expose Genom for their wrongdoing, and as such, she is targeted, as well, ultimately being murdered herself by an advanced Boomer. Naturally, the Knight Sabers avenge her death while also attempting to complete a job given to them by the Japanese military, which is hoping to retrieve a black box that proves wrongdoing on their part. After they defeat the Boomers responsible for Irene’s death, they destroy the Boomer that Irene’s fiance was murdered for, but that results in the destruction of the black box, as well as a whole (dilapidated, but still) sector of the city. The military guy who hired the Sabers is fired or resigns or whatever (I don’t know how the Japanese military works, so maybe he got the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge?), and the bad guy behind everything, Brian Mason, gets away.
Now this is one of the shorter episodes, running at just over 28 minutes, but it could easily be expanded into around an hour by combining a bit of “Tinsel City” into it (to kind of explain a few things) and going deeper into Irene’s friendship with Linna, beginning a pretty amazing season that doesn’t end with my least favorite episode (I’m still a bit disappointed with it, if you can’t tell).
Regardless of its status as a jump-off point for a new show, “Born to Kill” is nearly a flawless piece of art, as long as you watch the subtitled version (I’ll crack into that chestnut later this month). The pace is perfect, which is not always true with this show, and the themes, while understated, are still very clear: corporations are evil and will get away with things, the established law will be powerless to combat them all the while thinking they are doing good, the real fight happens when the little people (or women who own lingerie stores) take up arms, and there will always be casualties. It’s a grim story, honestly, but one that rings true today.
God, I’m tearing up. It saddens me that, although much has changed since 1987, nothing has, too. We are still fighting these battles that our parents were fighting back when we (well, some of us) were children (maybe even before), except now our parents are on the side of Genom, acting like we’re just overreacting.
Before I go into a long ass rant, I’m going to end this challenge and go do some studying on the renal system. See y’all tomorrow!
Art Credit: FanPop