Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #2 (also w/box) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV MA
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98/39.98
  • 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. #2 (also w/box)

By Chris Beveridge     January 08, 2007
Release Date: January 02, 2007



What They Say
Two Guyvers collide. One will fall, and another will rise again. With each passing day, the evil grip of the Chronos Corporation seems to tighten on Sho. When his friend Mizuki is targeted by a powerful Zoanoid and innocent lives are lost, he has no choice but to step forward and settle things once and for all. Unfortunately, Sho soon finds that he's bitten off more than he can chew, as the transformed Genzo Makishima exacts his bitter revenge on the Guyver I. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Guyver III puts his own plans into action and prepares for a final showdown at Chronos Headquarters. As the countdown to destruction begins, the three Guyvers face off and the shocking truth behind the creation of the Zoanoids is revealed.

The Review!
Chronos takes a firm hand in dealing with its rogue Guyver which means Sho has to be just as unpredictable.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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 scrolling credits have looked poor in the past but on this release they look absolutely atrocious " the kind that really makes you wonder if someone should be ashamed to have put out a product with their name on it. I don't know the reason they continue to use scrolling credits but it's an area that weakens most releases but really stands out badly on this one.

Packaging:
The design layout for the artwork is similar to the first with black along the top and bottom and a bright white background. The central image of the Guyver with an obscured close-up of the face behind him really works well here as it gives the whole thing a nice dark and dangerous feeling. 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. A new inclusion " and a very welcome one " is listing the volume number and how many volumes total.

No booklet is contained with this release but as is the new trend with ADV's releases, the second volume has a disc+box option as well. The heavy chipboard box looks really slick here with a heavy focus on the off white backgrounds which really accentuates the color and detail within the illustrations used on the main panels of the various Guyver units and the Zoanoids. The spine panel uses the central orb as its focus and is found along the top and bottom portions as well, though only the main spine has the shows logo. It's a very stylish looking piece and one that goes with the less is more feeling, one that isn't trying to oversell you on the violence side of it.

Menu:
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 flahes 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.

Extras:
This volume has an interesting selection of extras associated with it. Though the commentary track doesn't make a return appearance here, the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences do. Another good return, one of my favorites from the first volume, is the manga to anime comparison piece. Since all four episodes here were done in the manga they each have a comparison sequence showing the original and the animated versions.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching this more fleshed out version of Guyver is like reliving some of my "anime youth" without it being a heavily altered re-imagining. Though they do bring in some anime-only episodes, it all remains very true to the spirit and style of the manga while making full use of present day animation techniques to give it a very slick and stylish feel. At the same time, it retains a good old school feeling in terms of pacing and overall storytelling.

The first arc of the series draws to a close with this volume and the four episodes that are here. After Sho's bonding with the Guyver unit and his and Tetsuro's encounters with the Zoanoids, the pair are looking to figure out their next move together. Both of them have clearly realized that large forces are aligned against them considering how quickly and effectively the damage that has been wrought in the fights is covered up. Both of the young men are quick to figure out how bad their position is since they can't really tell anyone without either being laughed at or taken in by someone who may be on the inside for Chronos. The main concern that each of them have is in making sure that their friends and family aren't hurt during all of this, which has meant keeping away from them and just not saying much publicly.

Unfortunately for the pair, the Chronos folks, under the orders from Guyot, are intent on bringing their lost unit back home. Though it's been an unfortunate set of incidents since it was stolen, the entire ordeal has given them a good deal of new information and data that they're able to utilize to make some far better Zoanoids. Even though there's some usefulness in all of this, the former director still must pay for his mistakes and Guyot has little problem in making him become useful in his defeat. Agito's uncle ends up in the tanks undergoing processing to become a new Zoanoid, one that's clearly able to defeat the Guyver and bring the control unit back. Each new Zoanoid that's created seems to be more powerful than that last and this new one, Enzyme, adds in an amusing bit of unintentional cuteness to it.

The ensuing battle, which brings in a pair of sonic oriented Zoanoids as well, turns into a rather interesting battle as it exposes some of the Guyvers' weaknesses but also reveals some of its new strengths. We've seen a fair deal of political maneuvering and general Zoanoid construction within the Japanese branch of Chronos, but now we get a good deal of action mixed with intrigue as well. Some brief but pitched battles are fought between the various sides that seem to be at play as we get a clearer picture that it isn't as simple as Chronos versus Guyver. Similar to the previous episodes, I really found that Sho and Tetsuro's ability to adapt fairly quick to the changing situation and understanding of the larger picture in regards to Chronos is a welcome change. A lot of shows tend to have fairly oblivious characters for awhile but these guys get it fairly quick even if they aren't sure of the best way to proceed.

I also like that there are multiple sides dealing with the issue of the Guyvers and that each of the Guyvers that we've been introduced to have their own agenda. Chronos, through Guyot, reveals some interesting origin information and the reason behind their "must take over the world" mentality but that isn't the agenda of any of those who are actually wearing the Guyver control units. Some of the agendas are still wrapped in mystery, or at least are just known in a basic sense, which also adds nicely to how the story is growing since Sho is coming into all of this new but not without some amount of help from one of them.

The visuals for this volume are just as solid as the first one was and really shines here. It's hard to find much of a true blemish here as the overall quality of the release is just stellar through and through. The colors look so rich and striking sometimes while at others it gives a very manga-like feel with how the backgrounds are done. The animation in general is solid as is the mix of the CG sequences that give it a bit more fluidity. Guyver's had some decent and varied interpretations in the past but this one manages to really be my favorite.

In Summary:
The second installment of the new Guyver series carries through well on what was laid down in the first volume while still keeping true to the source material. The story moves through a couple of interesting phases here, tantalizing us with some revelations not only about the capabilities of the armor itself but also of what humanity is all about. Add in some good brutal action sequences, some decent character drama and plenty of great looking animation and this show continues to succeed on all fronts for me.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Manga to Anime Comparisons,Production Sketches,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
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.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 8:39:03 AM

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