It’s been 20 years since the release of “Scramble Wars” on VHS and LD in Japan back in 1992, and still…this anime featuring a crossover parody of characters from the original Bubblegum Crisis series, Gall Force and Genesis Survivor Gaiarth has yet to be re-released on DVD or Blu-ray! To be exact, it was released on October 28th, 1992. I was planning to post this on the 28th last month to commemorate it since it would’ve been exactly 20 years old at that time, but other various factors like work and laziness pushed it back. Guess at least I’ve been able to make a post about it eventually.
Now where do I begin with this? I think the first thing I should post about this is a simple plot summary for those who are unfamiliar with this anime.
Scramble Wars has the (chibi) cast of Gall Force, Bubblegum Crisis, and Genesis Survivor Gaiarth competing in a no-holds-barred race to the finish for the Genom cup. (courtesy of the Anime Encyclopedia from Anime News Network)
Quite a short summary indeed. Those who are familiar with anime from 80’s and 90’s would probably know the three ARTMIC series listed but the new generation of anime watchers are less likely to be familiar with it. There are a few in-jokes and key references to certain scenes from the three series that it’s parodying, so it helps if you’ve seen at least one of them to really get it, but otherwise it can still be watched as a standalone for its weird humour (or think of it as the Japanese counterpart to Hanna Barbara’s “Wacky Races!”). Of course compared to today’s comedy animes and parodies, the humour would probably fall flat on most people since it wouldn’t be seen as bold or daring other than just general silliness (well maybe except for Sylia giving Priss the finger). Nevertheless, this is probably great for nostalgic memories for the anime watchers from the 80’s and 90’s. Personally for me, I find Scramble Wars funny just by seeing the Bubblegum Crisis characters in their chibi deformed state and also see it as a small extension in that anime’s franchise. Partly also because I’m a fan of nearly everything related to Bubblegum Crisis. The “Tokyo 2040” TV remake was actually the first anime series I got into, which led me to discover a whole number of other Bubblegum Crisis related series and OVA’s (including the original 80’s version) that eventually led me to collect all sorts of merchandise from the franchise.
Despite once being licensed by AnimEigo (which their license has since expired) and released in the USA on VHS (along with the 1988 anime parody of Gall Force (“Ten Little Gall Force”) under the title “Super Deformed Double Feature”), it has not made the transition to DVD over there either, which is probably a disappointment to Bubblegum Crisis, Gaiarth and Gall Force fans, especially seeing how all three series that are parodied in this OVA have since had DVD (and BD for Bubblegum Crisis) re-releases in Japan. But I guess it is understandable due to lack of interest and probably not being profitable in today’s market. Still, I’ve managed transfer the Japanese LD copy of it onto my computer as well as a DVD with my own basic custom menus and background music from its CD soundtrack along with chapters as a way to feel like having it on DVD. Hopefully sometime in the future, a proper one is officially released on DVD or Blu-ray but I’m not counting on it.
My Custom DVD Menu For Scramble Wars
So enough review about the OVA and more onto interesting things! For this special post celebrating its 20th anniversary, I’d thought I’d take some photos of the merchandise and promotional items I’ve collected over the years that was released alongside the anime’s VHS and LD release back in 1992.
The first two are obviously the anime’s home video releases.
This is just a rental VHS copy that I got off Yahoo Japan Auctions for 700 yen, hence the barcode sticker on the tape. I actually got it in only a few weeks ago just for this special anniversary post as I thought it’d be nice to add to my Scramble Wars collection and show the two Japanese original home video formats it was released in.
Next up is the laser disc release which I acquired way back in 2006.
Laser Disc Release
According to the obi on the LD release and AnimeV magazine advertisement, a limited first press bonus poster (B2-size) was included for both home video releases. The LD copy that I got didn’t contain it so I assume it was a separate external bonus, one that might have also been given out over the counter when purchasing the LD or VHS from the shopfronts (there was no online shopping back in 1992 as far as I know lol).
I did eventually manage to grab a Scramble Wars poster a few years back which I assume is that first press one for the LD and VHS release since it’s also in B2-size and I have not heard or seen of any other posters made for it.
LD/VHS First Press Bonus Poster
In addition to the home video releases, a few CDs were released to accompany the anime including its soundtrack, a drama CD and a vocal album.
CD Releases (Yami no Labyrinth Drama CD, Soundtrack & Doki! Doki! Paradise Vocal Album)
According to the release dates printed on the back of the CDs, the “Yami no Labyrinth” (Labyrinth of Darkness) drama CD was the first to be released back on the 8th of July, 1992, making it the first of any Scramble Wars release as the anime wasn’t released until the end of October of that year. For me, I could see the drama CD possibly being one of the early developments or inspirations for the creation of the parody anime, since it had the first crossover of Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force and Genesis Survivor Gaiarth, but that’s purely speculation on my part as production for it could have also begun way before the drama CD was recorded. The soundtrack was released on the same day the anime’s LD and VHS release (28th October, 1992) while the last of the CD release, “Doki! Doki! Paradise” vocal album, was released on the 16th December, 1992.
I haven’t actually listened to the drama CD entirely yet and have only previously skimmed through it briefly a few years back but as one of the track title suggests, track 7 “Yami to Hikari no Tatakai” / “Battle of Light and Darkness”, a battle between the forces of good and evil appears to be the theme for the plot. Likewise as the plot synopsis suggests from the CD’s booklet.
My rough English translation:
After the big war, young Ital travels across the Gaiarth world to avenge his father-figure, Randis, together along with auto-soldier, Zaxon, and Sahari’s junk hunters.
His group accidentally encounter a young mysterious female android named Catty in the wasteland, who requests them to help look for a treasure, in which they accept. It is said that this treasure located somewhere in the desert holds the key to the core survival of the Gaiarth world.
Just as they immediately head towards the desert, they meet a group of female soldiers from another unidentified world.
These female soldiers of the good light, called the Knight Sabers and Gall Force, were pulled into the Gaiarth world by the Lord of Darkness.
Ital’s group and the soldiers of light are then invited into a strange nightmare by the Dark Lord, where they are tormented with various illusions to shake up the balance of the almighty powers. As expected, will they be able to escape the dreadful labyrinth created?
It sounds like pretty epic battle just from that synopsis. I really should get around to listening to it in full sometime haha. I’ve also taken photos of the booklets for all three CDs but since it’ll take up quite a lot of space for this post, I won’t be adding it in here. Instead, you can find it on the photo album for my Scramble War’s merchandise collection on my facebook page. Link will be mentioned at the end of the post.
Moving on, I found a copy of the November 1992 issue of the Japanese AnimeV magazine that featured Scramble Wars on the cover.
AnimeV November 1992 Issue (Vol. 83)
This issue dedicated 2 pages advertising the LD and VHS release of the anime.
And it also contained the official guide to it spanning across four pages.
The last page of the guide showed that AnimeV was running a quiz promotion where 500 lucky readers would receive an original telephone card present that featured Scramble Wars on it. They had to write in to the magazine answering the quiz question about the version of Catty shown on the left on what she does (something that Gall Force fans would only know I assume). Nevertheless, I found that the telephone card for this was still being sold on Yahoo Japan Auctions (well only from two sellers) and decided to grab one to add to my collection. Likewise for the VHS, I had only got it in a few weeks ago just for this post.
AnimeV Magazine Original Telephone Card Present
Now we’re getting into the extra special and RARE goodies for this collection :D. I can probably say these would be quite valuable to old hardcore anime fans or die-hard fans of Bubblegum Crisis lol.
The first is a negative film print of Scramble Wars containing a small section shown in the anime, which is the scene where the course for the race competition is being mapped out and described.
Film Negatives (Racecourse Map Scene)
I actually acquired these negatives through a bundle lot of anime film prints that was being sold on Yahoo Japan Auctions. According to the seller, they were prize items that was won at some event. The other lots included were film prints of Genesis Survivor Gaiarth and an old obscure anime called Wanna-BE’s that had female wrestling in it hahaha. It would’ve nice if the negative film prints for Scramble Wars contained scenes of the characters moving but I’m not complaining since this is a pretty rare and unique item for the collection.
The final lot in my collection are some production sketches and cels from the anime. Some of them had been stapled together unfortunately which meant I couldn’t separate the ones that appeared to be from different scenes onto its own, but they’re still pretty awesome to have as special collector’s items and see the paint work on the characters and backgrounds, especially how all animes these days are animated digitally compared to the old cel-painted method for them back in 80’s and 90’s.
Production Cels & Sketches
So that’s it for this commemorative post for the 20th anniversary of Scramble Wars. I really recommend those who are familiar with either the original Bubblegum Crisis or Gall Force series to give this parody a look just for the references and in-jokes that would appear throughout this OVA. The link for photos of the booklets from the CD releases are here (as well as all the ones in this post). Also recorded some videos that displays my basic custom DVD menu for it as well as recapping all the merchandise.
There’s only one thing left that I want to do, and that is to leave you readers with these screencaps…enjoy! 😄