This episode opens the series very well. The theme song for the series is the incredibly Konya Wa Hurricane, an upbeat and fun song sung by Priss and the Replicants, the underground rock band of the time.
Because it was made in the mid-eighties, expecting the animation and music to be up to date would be foolish. There are definite flaws in the animation and the Hardsuits looks awful in places, but at others times the animation is better than much of what is found currently. The music is definitely better than almost all the newer anime music and the feel and mood of the series overall is very good.
The opening of Tinsel City has been copied by more than a few other anime, which makes it even more worth seeing than it already was. The action blends well with the music and the atmosphere is perfect, never once broken up.
The rest of the episode falters in only a few places. Priss blatantly ignoring Sylia's orders is setting up the series for something that will happen repeatedly. Maybe too often, actually. The introductions to Sylia Stingray and Priss Asagiri are superb. By the end, we know what they are each like and how they act in combat and otherwise. The combat scenes seem to say as much about them as speaking scenes do. Sylia is brutally personal while Priss stays at a distance.
Linna, Nene, and Mackie are virtually wasted in this episode, but everything is continued in episode two right from where Aqua City blows up, so that is justified. The introductions to Mason and Quincy are also brief but well done. By the second episode, Mason is a major player--we already know he will be due to the time spent on him in this episode, though.
The major flaw of Tinsel City is that it got caught up in Priss. Priss is a great character, far more developed than many characters from television series. But wouldn't it have been best to spend some more time reflecting on Sylia's childhood or Mason's true objectives? Why were they neglected like that? From the beginning of the episode, it is obvious that Priss was designed to be popular. Some BGC fans (and non-BGC fans) have called her a screen hog because of this. I don't personally think she's nearly as bad as some would claim, but their viewpoints are justified.
The other problem is that this episode seems inconclusive. That's fine, though, because it was meant to be that way. This leaves room for further episodes, and this one is wrapped up in Born to Kill.
The one thing about this episode that seems to bother nearly everyone is the ending theme, Mister Dandy. It is the one and only song sung by a male for the entire series, and it's not the most memorable tune. It might have been preferable if it hadn't been used for the series.