By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
The time is right for a Bubblegum Crisis live-action film. The digital special effects needed to pull off such a tale is at a state where people in power armour suits look believable and the robots they are supposed to fight–cyborgs (known as Boomers in the lore)–can look terrifyingly real. Alita: Battle Angel is the perfect example. But where is it?
Since the early part of this decade, nothing has materialized. IGN’s article stated, “Production houses from Singapore, Japan, Australia, Canada, China and the UK will work together on the $30m movie, with a 2012 release planned.” Many years have passed since then, and perhaps the reason nothing has happened is that either the technology is not quite there or they could not find the right performers to play the seminal characters of Sylia Stingray, Priss Asagiri, Linna Yamazaki, and Nene Romanova.
Even AIC and Cubix said in 2008 that they intend to consult with former ARTMIC staffers Shinji Aramaki (screenplay and mechanical design) and Kenichi Sonoda (character design) to connect with the world concepts of the original series. (as reported on Anime New Network)
What happened? My guess is that we have too many similar movies where realizing this fond anime classic stand out not viable. We have Marvel Entertainment’s grande plan where someone else will take the mantle of Iron Man. Even with a certain character passing, it’s safe to assume a woman will take on the role (Pepper Potts looks amazing in her BGC inspired suit). Most of the major anime news network sites tracking production does not have much to say about whether casting was done.
After watching Fast and Furious presents Hobbs & Shaw, the idea of cyber-enhanced soldiers of fortune suggests we are seeing a secret terrorist organization using bio-enhanced humans elsewhere. They want a new world order. The stunts we see of Brixton Lore on the motorcycle shows we can get some kick-ass moments with Priss evading Boomers–provided that the budget is there to pull off these intense stunts/special effects moments. The intensity of those scenes only reminded me of the anime.
As I reflect upon past attempts to bring anime to the live-action front, few works are known internationally. The best are Death Note (2017), Fullmetal Alchemist (2017) and Casshern (2004). They were passable at best for making a mark in fandom. Most received mixed reviews and if the producers were paying attention, they may have said let’s wait before putting BGC out there.
Taking the time to film all the green-screen and CGI it up takes ages. Just look at James Cameron’s Avatar; the sequel is not due till next year because of all the effects work required and Disney pulling all the strings. To realize BGC as it is (like with the anime) means filming around Sydney, Australia and parts of Tokyo that look futuristic. I imagine parts of Paris can be used. It’s needed just to show the reach the mega-corporation, GENOM, has in its goals to cyber-modernize the world.
Anthony La Molinara was tapped to direct. When there’s no update on his IMDB profile, perhaps all that early talk was speculation. He has not done much even leading up to and after the intended date of the supposed BGC release.
Even Taika Waititi, best known for Thor: Ragnorak, stated he has put production on the live-action Akira on hold since Marvel Studios want him back for Thor: Love and Thunder. As for when or if Bubblegum Crisis will happen, I feel the “on hold indefinitely” is the case since the producers realized they don’t have a good headliner to keep this project on course.