Bubblegum Crisis (バブルガムクライシス） is the original series. It is eight episodes long but was originally slated to run for 13 episodes. Due to legal problems between the two studios who jointly held the rights to the series, Artmic and Youmex, the series was discontinued prematurely. A sequel called Bubblegum Crash was made which is considered a shortened version of how the series was going to end.
The series begins in the late 2032, seven years after the Second Great Kanto Earthquake has split Tokyo geographically and culturally in two. During the first episode, disparities in wealth are shown to be more pronounced than in previous periods in post-war Japan. The main antagonist is Genom, a megacorporation with immense power and global influence. Its main product are boomers - humanoid robots used for manual labor and military purposes. While Boomers are intended to serve mankind, they become deadly instruments in the hands of ruthless individuals. The AD Police are tasked to deal with Boomer-related crimes. One of the series' themes is the inability of the department to deal with threats due to political infighting, red tape, and an insufficient budget.
The setting displays strong influences from the movies Blade Runner and Streets of Fire. The opening sequence of episode 1 is modeled on the opening sequence of Streets of Fire. The humanoid robots known as "boomers" in the series also resemble Terminators cyborgs from the Terminator film.
Suzuki explained in a 1993 Animerica interview the meaning behind the cryptic title. Explaining that "we originally named the series "bubblegum" to reflect a world in crisis, like a chewing-gum bubble thats's about to burst."
The series started with Toshimichi Suzuki intention to remake the 1982 film Techno Police 21C. However, he met Junji Fujita and the two discussed ideas, and decided to collaborate on what later became Bubblegum Crisis. Kenichi Sonoda acted as character designer, and designed the four female leads. Masami Obari created the mechanical designs. Obari would also go on to direct episode 5 and 6.
The OVA series is eight episodes long but was originally slated to run for 13 episodes. Due to legal problems between the two studios who jointly held the rights to the series, Artmic and Youmex, the series was discontinued prematurely.
Bubblegum Crisis is notable also in that it was one of the few early anime series that were brought over from Japan unedited and subtitled with English captions that still have a great deal of popularity today. While anime has become much more popular in the intervening years, in 1991 it was still mostly unknown as a storytelling medium in North America.
A digitally-remastered compilation of the original series' episodes, featuring bi-lingual tracks and production extras, was released on DVD in 2004 by AnimEigo Inc. Animeigo successfully crowd-funded the show for a North American Blu-ray release, on Kickstarter in November 2013.
Nearly all of the music is available, as there are 8 soundtrack releases (one per OVA), as well as numerous "vocal" albums which feature songs "inspired by" the series as well as many drawn directly from it.
The success of the series spawned several sequel series. In 1998, the series was remade into a 26 episode television series called Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040.
In May 2009 it was announced that a live-action movie of "Bubblegum Crisis" was in the early stages of production. A production agreement was signed at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The film was expected to be released in late 2012 with a budget of 30 million. The production staff was said to have consulted with the original anime's staff members, Shinji Aramaki and Kenichi Sonoda, to help maintain consistency with the world of the original. However, no further developments have been announced.