Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #3 - 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
  • 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. #3

By Chris Beveridge     March 30, 2007
Release Date: March 06, 2007


Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #3
© ADV Films


What They Say
The Japan Branch has fallen, and Guyver II has been utterly destroyed. Chronos is far from finished. Calling in the deadly "Lost Number Commandos", Guyot uses Makishima's estate as a temporary base and hatches a plot to tear apart Sho's life in any way possible. Setting the city aflame, Sho's home is burned to the ground as his father, Tetsuro and Mizuki are taken captive. Now Sho must infiltrate Relic's Point, an immense Chronos base where the Guyver units were discovered and fearsome new Zoanoids are mass-produced. To rescue his friends and family, he is forced to team up with the Guyver III and a mysterious gun-toting reporter. Standing before them is a team of five elite Hyper-Zoanoids constructed by Chronos' top scientist. This new breed of monster has the strength to absorb the Guyver's defenses, and may prove too much for the trio of heroes.

The Review!
Sho's life takes a few strange twists as his dealings with Chronos become all the more complicated.

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 artwork for this installment is pretty neat as it has an image of Sho being forced out of his Guyver form with him just a bit shocked about the whole thing. 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. No insert is included nor is there a reversible cover for this release.

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 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.

Extras:
This volume has a good selection of extras associated with it. The clean versions of the opening and closing sequences make their usual appearance which is a good thing as is another round of production images. 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)
As the series gets close to the halfway mark, Guyver's storyline progresses rather nicely here as changes are afoot. The second volume closed out with quite the bang as the Japan Branch of Chronos went up in flames and caused quite the panic in the city about terrorism. Sho's really unsure of what to do now but he's pretty sure that those he and Tetsuro are close to are more than likely to be involved in things. Chronos isn't quite what it was due to the loss of its building but it's still a powerful organization.

With so much on the action side of the series just before this, Guyver takes a bit of a slower turn with a touch more drama and character building. Much of it revolves around firming up the relationship Sho has with his father as the two reminisce about the past. The loss of his mother so long ago has left him solely with nostalgia. The bond between him and his father is a strong one, but one that's been awkward recently because of what Sho is going through. Having to hide such things from his father has a nice bit of play here as we see some of what he did in his younger days. Getting to see more of Sho's formative years go a long way in making him an even more sympathetic character as well.

Agito finds himself getting a lot of attention across these episodes as well as he's now treading the fine line of playing both sides. His close proximity to Chronos has allowed him quite a free reign in his plans but after some of the incidents in the Japan Branch he's quickly becoming suspected by Guyot. Events eventually lead Agito to having to find a safe house that he's set up some years ago and this proves to be just as beneficial to him as the downtime was for Sho. Through the people who maintain it, people who he has known since childhood, we get a far better glimpse at his motivations and what makes him tick. The obvious levels were there for quite some time about his adoptive father and the way his real parents were cast aside in the family business, but there is something far deeper running here in what motivates him. In many ways, Agito's portrayal is more in line with the conflicted villain character in many series that you can't help but to root for in some way. The additional background on him only solidifies that feeling.

The main progress in the show on the action front reveals some of the simplicity of Sho's mindset. With his seeing the destruction of the Japan Branch building he figured things would be quiet for a bit at least, but it doesn't take long until another elements of Chronos shows up to try and take him down. The difference this time is that it's mostly a ruse in order to capture those close to him and return them to Mount Minakami. Chronos has much larger plans than just what the Japan Branch was doing and these, along with Guyot's growing scheme, become all the more apparent. With Sho's family and friends now in the hands of Chronos, he has to turn to Murakami for help in figuring out what to do next. The exploration of a new area of the Chronos structure provides a lot of neat nuggets on the scope of it all as well as generally upping the ante of what's at stake.

There is a lot to like about how all of this plays out. The change in the relationships between much of the cast is a real positive, particularly that of Sho and his father as well as Mizuki in general. The growing sense of how Agito is brings a lot of balance to the show that wouldn't be there if it was just Sho against the world at large. Murakami is also an interesting twist to things as we've barely scratched the surface of just who he is here and what his full intentions are. Bringing all of them together and exposing many of their secrets gives the show a flow that really makes you feel like it's progressing somewhere. It could have easily fallen into a monster of the week kind of property but instead it continues to push forward with a storyline without many distractions.

In Summary:
At its core, Guyver is a show about monsters bashing the crap out of each other in a bloody and violent way. But the layers on top of it elevate the material to something much more interesting. With great looking designs, fluid animation and a sense of style that mixes the original designs with modern sensibilities, Guyver stands out quite well against many other shows out there. The pacing and general feel of the storyline and the acting keeps it from feeling like yet another cookie cutter version of other shows that populate the airwaves these days. With a bit of nostalgia included I'm sure, Guyver continues to entertain quite a lot.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Manga to Anime Comparison,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.

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