Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #7 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, November 01, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, November 06, 2007
What They Say
The Relic has been destroyed and Sho is presumed dead. Apparently, the world now belongs to Chronos. A year has passed, and with both Guyvers missing in action, Chronos‚€™ grip on society grows tighter. Fugitives Tetsuro and Mizuki are forced into hiding, scrounging desperately for any news that Sho is still alive. When Chronos agents close in, they‚€™re forced to rely on Aptom to protect them from their Zoanoid adversaries. But what is his motive? Now, Makishima has emerged as the leader of an anti-Chronos movement and scours the globe for a mysterious chrysalis that he believes holds the secret to Sho‚€™s disappearance. He is forced into combat with a reoptimized ZX-Tole with seemingly unlimited power. With Aptom torn to shreds and Makishima utterly overpowered, Earth‚€™s only hope lies in a new Guyver which must be born to pierce the darkness of Chronos. Humanity‚€™s secrets will be unveiled in this electrifying conclusion of Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor.
Serving more as an epilogue to the series while transitioning to the next storyline, Guyver has an odd feel but one that really sparks the imagination.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The series has a rather good stereo mix to it with a good balance of directionality during both the action sequences and the general dialogue areas. The show isn't all out action so the balance is definitely appreciated and it works well here. There are a lot of quiet discussion scenes and some big action pieces and the mix handles it all quite well. The English 5.1 mix also does quite a good job as it gives it all a bit more clarity and precision in placement. We didn't have any issues with either language track during normal playback.
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The backgrounds in particular for this release look amazing, maintaining a very solid feel to them. Typically there's some amount of noise or posterization to most shows that's simply inherent in how MPEG2 seems to come across at the compression levels required for DVD, but this one reminded me a lot of some of the HD transfers I've been watching lately. There are occasionally a few areas where some of the digital animation has its quirks, such as very mild jaggies along Tetsuro's eyeglass frames or occasionally around the edges of someone's mouth. Beyond that, this is a very solid looking transfer and one of the best to come out of ADV in recent months. If there's anything that is bad, it's the absolutely horrible looking end credits sequence.
The design layout for the artwork is similar to the earlier volumes with black along the top and bottom. Though it's such a small part of the series, the cover art is appropriate enough as it features the Guyver in its evolved form set against the backdrop of its shell and its newest opponent. The back cover is a bit more standard with a pair of rows of shots from the show along the left and right while the summary starts at the top and compresses a bit down the middle. The background is fairly dark and works well as it uses a fleshed out illustration of the Guyver unit in compact form. The bottom section is fairly well packed but the combination of the text color and the size makes it still very readable, which has the list of the features, the episode numbers and titles as well as the usual array of production and technical information. The final booklet for the series is just fantastic, much like most of the others. It's filled with character artwork and notes from the staff on them as well as episode synopses with commentary and several interviews with the Japanese staff. The production values for the book are outstanding and it looks wonderful while adding a new dimension to the show..
Though twisting it a bit from the control unit design, the menu is one of the more nicely designed ones to come out recently that uses the central piece of the unit as its focus with flashes of animation playing through it as the bio/tentacle pieces shift about underneath in clockwise fashion, all set to a brief piece of the vocals. It fits very well for the theme of the show and just looks great all around. Access times are nice and fast and we had no problems with the disc picking up our players' presets and playing accordingly.
The extras are in a predictable mode but I'm certainly not complaining once again. In addition to the clean opening and closing there's also a series of production sketches. My favorite extra by far though continues to be the manga to anime comparisons in seeing just how faithfully certain key scenes have been kept to the manga. A new commentary track is also included with the US voice actors for Sho and Tetsuro along with the ADR director.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Guyver anime series comes to a close as the manga incarnation is still plodding along, with what seems to be a new volume every year. The anime incarnation comes across a bit oddly in these three episodes as it feels more like it's serving as a transitional set of episodes between what should be seasons. If anything, the series could have ended in the last volume and tacked on the first minute or two of this volume. It would have achieved a wonderful classic feel by leaving things in a state where the bad guys seemingly win.
The battle at Mount Minakami was one that left all sides reeling from the way it played out. Guyot had proven to be quite the foe but his scope was so large that he was intent on taking down Archfanel. The use of a micro black hole ended up taking things to a very weird level but the intensity of the battle and how it forced Archfanel into action really built the conclusion up to something that could literally qualify as earth shattering. With the Relic shattered and the two Guyver units missing, the ending was quite downbeat as all you can see are the Zoalords moving to put their plans formally into action.
That action is something that really showcases why I enjoy anime and manga so much, when they take the chance. Working within a self contained world, there are no limits to what they can do since they're not involved in a large shared universe. Guyver shifts the storyline forward a year since the events with the Relic and everything is vastly different. Sho and Agito have fought against Chronos for so long that the end result of that battle is really conflicting in some ways for the viewer. While much talk was made by Chronos about their uses for Zoanoids and the big wars they wanted to get involved in, the reality of Chronos taking over the world appears to be very different.
As Tetsuro, Mizuki, Shizu and Yohei stay in hiding with help from Natsuki, we learn that the numerous Zoanoids moved into positions of power in recent years are activated and the world comes to a halt. Borders are effectively removed, governments falls and Chronos takes the reigns. Yet, devastations has not followed. If anything, things are likely somewhat more peaceful as they can quell issues that were surrounded by nationalistic ideals. They bring in numerous people to their organization by offering optimization, not requiring it, and building a seemingly more peaceful world. Some are obviously against it, but most people seem to fall into line from what we see of the Japanese side of the story. Chronos' intent on furthering mankind's evolution is are the forefront, with them as the leaders of course, but several large aspects of this plan look to have benefits to it.
What's even more fascinating about how the world has changed is that the two main characters, Sho and Agito, are almost nowhere to be found for much of this. The show focuses more on Mizuki and Tetsuro as the wait their return as well as on background issues that Chronos is working on, such as transforming the Dead Sea into a massive optimization location. Agito returns to the show about halfway through the volume as a leader of a resistance group operating in North America and we start to understand what happened to him and Sho after the battle at Minakami. Sho, for his part, doesn't really return until the second half of the last episode. The focus tends to be more on the battle between Aptom, who has taken on the role of a protector of sorts, as ZX-Tole, who is seeking revenge for the other Hyper-Zoanoids.
Moving the leads out of position for so long does hurt the ending some, but at the same time it gives the show a chance to really shine on a larger scale. The first season in many ways really ended with the previous volume while this one sets up for events that are yet to come. The world has changed considerably, and in many ways for the better, but the core knowledge of what's going on is still kept secret. Sho and Agito have a massive job ahead of them, especially with so many people optimized and forced into loyalty, but the shift to a world like this makes the challenge all the more interesting and exciting. These last episodes practically beg for a second season both for how the world has changed but also for the growth of the characters. Small steps for some, but the end result is one that just makes you smile and want to see more.
While Guyver was interesting in the few pamphlet issues of it I had read back in the late 80's, the bit of the original TV series I had seen plus the awful live action movies just kept me from being all that interested in it. At the time the anime was released here back in the 90's, everything was focused on heavily violent shows and I was in a mindset of finding something different than that. When this version was announced in Japan, I figured it would end up here and I had dreaded it simply because of the bad past associations. Yet after taking in the first volume, Guyver began to win me over both in presentation and the actual story. Tightened up and with little material overall that wasn't in the original manga, it presented a show that had style to it but also a good story at its core that benefited well from the modern visuals upgrade. While some aspects are obviously weak due to how the world has changed from then to now, the end result is one that really pleases. Guyver is a big monster show but one that doesn’t fall into a monster of the week mentality nor is it afraid of taking chances and playing rough. This is an excellent show that really deserves more of the spotlight and most definitely a second season.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Manga to Anime Comparison,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,English Language Commentary
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: TV MA
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2