At this evening's meeting, we will be watching the final episode of that crowning point of anime, Bubblegum Crisis. (This episode, "Scoop Chase," has been summarized by Cameron Chien in his article in this issue of the CJAS newsletter.) As the series draws to its conclusion, I will take this opportunity to open the debate on one of anime's more intriguing characters, Sylia Stingray.
Sylia is the unshakable leader of the Knight Sabers. As her front job, she owns and manages a fashionable lingerie shop in MegaTokyo called "The Silky Doll." Her father, Katsuhito, was one of Genom's top scientists and the creator of the original model of boomer. He died in an accident at the laboratory when Sylia was quite young. Since then, Sylia's life has been devoted to continuing her father's research (Sylia created the hardsuits that the Knight Sabers use in combat) and bringing the downfall of Genom.
Now for the big question.... Is Sylia a boomer?
At first blush, the proposition seems ridiculous. In no way does Sylia resemble a boomer. We never see her burst out of her artificial skin and sprout a huge laser cannon from her mouth. Secondly, this woman has spent her entire life trying to destroy Genom, the sole creator and builder of boomers. Would any sentient lifeform intentionally try to bring about the extinction of its species? (The general belligerence of human nature excepted, of course.) Furthermore, at the time of her father's death, Katsuhito was only in the process of creating the world's first boomer for Genom. How is it that Sylia already existed?
But on the other hand.... The evidence that may support such a view, as gleaned from eight episodes of Bubblegum Crisis, is as follows:
1. (From BGC 1) Shortly after the death of Katsuhito, young Sylia receives a package of data. When she inserts the disk/cassette into her computer, the information is "downloaded" directly into her mind. The information consisted of her father's research.
2. (From BGC 5) After Sylvie was defeated, in the final scene of the OAV, Largo calls, "Sylia... Sylia Stingray." Largo is standing inside the Genom research building, quite far from the site of this last battle. But across this great distance, Sylia hears him and turns toward his voice.
3. (From BGC 6) In the battle with Largo, the new boomer calls Sylia's name again. Largo tells her that he knows all about her because they are two of a kind; two of the same sort of being.
4. (From BGC 6) After the battle with Largo has ended and Sylia is climbing back onto the helicopter, we hear her think to herself the words, "Frail humans need not fear anything more...."
In the end, there is no strong evidence either way. It is possible that Sylia's father gave her certain "upgrades" as a child as he was developing them for Genom. It is not so outlandish to suspect that a boomer or part-human/part-boomer could grow from a child to an adult; the S-33s (Sylvie and Anri) were capable of healing themselves. However, it is just as likely that Sylia is simply the highly intelligent and distinctly aloof human that she seems to be.
What do you think?