Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: ¬£19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Guyver

Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #1

By Dani Moure     June 25, 2007
Release Date: June 04, 2007


Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #1
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
A world controlled by a sinister brotherhood who hide their fangs behind masks of humanity, known as the Chronos Corporation. While investigating a mysterious explosion near his school, Sho Fukamachi happens upon the Chronos Corporation's greatest: a techno organic suit of bio armor known as "the Guyver." But Chronos is determined to conceal their secrets at any cost. Sho soon finds himself relentlessly pursued by its army of horrific biomonsters. With nowhere to run, Sho is forced to call upon the fearsome power of the Guyver and rip his opponents limb in a desperate struggle for survival.

Experience this all new production of this sci-fi anime legend in the most complete rendition of Guyver ever animated. Dare to discover the horror that lies beneath!

The Review!
The Bioboosted Armour returns in an all new TV series of one of the most recognisable anime franchises in the UK.

Audio:
I listened to the Japanese stereo track for my main viewing, and found it to be a pretty standard TV series stereo mix. I also checked out the English 5.1 track, and dialogue in that is mostly from the centre channel, with the directionality coming mainly from the music and effects. I noticed no technical problems with either track.

Video:
With this being another recent show, it looks as great as you'd expect. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the show looks extremely vibrant with the very colourful palette reproduced extremely well, with no noticeable artifacting on my setup. This just looks like another top-drawer transfer from ADV. My only qualm with it is how they did the morph to the English logo in the opening; while it doesn't look too bad or out of place something about it just looked odd to me.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font (ADV's usual), and I didn't notice any grammatical or spelling errors.

Packaging:
The focus of the cover is the head of Guyver Unit 1, with its eye glowing and looking menacing. The show's logo is along the bottom along with the volume title and number, and the top has a funny tag line of "All New! All Different! Meet the new face of ultra-violence" which left me amused for a while after I first saw it. The back cover has a suitably dramatic summary of the show, with screenshots on either side, an episode list and the feature list. The bottom of the cover has the usual technical grid and show credits. The inside cover has a great wrap-around image of Sho with the Guyver unit looming just behind him.

Also included is a great 32-page book with all sorts of information on the series, from interviews with the staff to files on each character, with production art, and also some production art of some locations from the series. It really adds to another great package from ADV.

Menu:
The menus are simple but work well. The main menu has an eye as its main image with a bit of revolving video in the pupil, while the opening theme plays. The episode selections run across the top, while the sub-menu selections are at the bottom. The two sub-menus are in the same vein, either side of the eye with different pieces of music playing over them, and moving to them triggers a short transition. The menu system is definitely functional and really in-theme with the show.

Extras:
The extras for this release are really nice. First you have three manga to anime comparisons, showing you three scenes side-by-side in manga and anime form. We also get a commentary with two fans of the series (both ADV marketing employees) on the first episode. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek but it's quite amusing nonetheless. There's also the obligatory clean opening and ending.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The original Guyver OVA series was one of the first anime I ever saw, along with Ninja Scroll, and it painted my view of anime from the moment I watched it. With an airing on TV in the 1990s in the UK, and a significant prominence on store shelves anime-wise, it's one of the most recognisable anime franchises over here. With its varied action, sci-fi story and high body count, it was always a recipe for success in that era. When a TV series adaptation was announced, I couldn't wait to see it, and it's finally arrived on our shores.

The series tells the story of Sho Fukamachi who, one day while on his way back from school with his best friend Tetsuro Segawa, stumbles across a mysterious object in a forest. That object turns out to be a Guyver Unit, and it's something that the Chronos Corporation wants back at all costs. They've sent several of their men to retrieve these units, and when they come for the first unit that Sho and Tetsuro found, faced with grave danger, the unit bonds with Sho and he becomes the Guyver. Armed with his new powerful armour (the titular "Bioboosted Armour"), he takes out the men from Chronos, who have transformed into massive powerful creatures called Zoanoids.

From here the series becomes something of a chase at this stage, as Chronos do all they can to track down the lost units, of which there are three in total, and Sho and Tetsuro are forced to lay low as often as possible. It doesn't stop Inspector Lisker, a man from Chronos Headquarters who informs the higher-ups that they're not happy with how the situation has been dealt with. He sends his best man, a Hyper-Zoanoid, after Sho and Tetsuro but sure enough the Guyver is on hand save the day. Not only that, but the second and third Guyver unit identities are also revealed.

While it sounds pretty standard, Guyver really is more about its execution. It's a slickly told story of a pair of teenagers that find something extraordinary that makes them go on the run, only to face many adversaries every step of the way. There's Chronos, the evil corporation who will stop at nothing to get their Guyver units back, complete with a power struggle within the company. There's the usual chases and face-offs with ever bigger and tougher opponents. And, of course, there's the mystery of who has the other units and what they plan on doing. But it's all done in such a way that really works; every piece seems to fit together seamlessly and make complete sense, and if you're a fan of the old mid-90s style action show depicting a classic struggle between good and evil then you'll surely be enthralled by the story of Guyver.

It really is classic super-hero stuff, and even the characters fit standard stereotypes at this stage. Sho is the unwilling hero, gaining ownership of the Guyver unit against his will, but soon realising he has to use it to help keep his friends and family safe. What is nice about Sho, though, is that unlike some heroes he actually accepts his fate a bit quicker than them, and is quick to call on the Guyver in times of need and to try and discover the abilities he's yet to see. Tetsuro is also your typical sidekick; the geeky one who knows more about these sorts of situations and is always there to give Sho advice. He's always ready to sacrifice himself, as well, and proves to be something of a conscience for Sho.

What should be a lot of fun to see is how events develop in the future. The first four episodes provide all the setup and tease with a lot of action, but there's a lot of story potential to be uncovered. What exactly is it Chronos is doing, and what are they developing Zoanoids for? Who are the other Guyver units and whose side are they on? How much more power is there to the Guyver and will Sho uncover all its potential? All this and more should be answered as things go forward, and it looks to be a fun ride.

From a production standpoint, the character designs are classic of the old Guyver OVA (obviously having been adapted from the same manga), just spruced up to be a bit more 21st century. The animation isn't amazing but it suffices, it's pretty standard TV series stuff, and the music is, much to my joy, firmly rooted in the same era as the original series, to keep the line of familiarity. To talk of the TV series purely as a rehash of the OVA, so far at least, would be doing it a severe disservice, but there's enough there to maintain a great deal of nostalgia for fans of the original anime, and probably anyone who watched some older 90s style shows.

In Summary:
It's hard to explain what makes Guyver work so well, but to say it was all based on a nostalgic love of the OVA series would be to discredit what is a very enjoyable TV series so far. It's a classic superhero story, with many of the stereotypes that go along with it, but it's extremely well executed and you'd have to really hate shows like this to not get a kick out of watching it. There's plenty of action and gore, and all in all Guyver gets off to a really good start with this disc.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,32 page booklet,Commentary with Guyver Fans,Manga to anime comparisons,Clean Opening and Closing

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.

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