Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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
  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     July 20, 2007
Release Date: July 10, 2007

Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
As the legacy of the Creators is uncovered, the assault on Chronos begins at last! Separated from friends and hounded by enemies, Sho and Mizuki seek refuge in a small town to escape their relentless assailants. However, they soon find that the tiny haven is nothing more than a deadly trap after the entire town transforms into a ruthless army of Zoanoids!

Aided by Makishima, Sho is reunited with his friends and finds unlikely new allies in a group of renegade Chronos scientists. Stationed at the bottom of Relic's Point, Sho and company construct a plan to launch a counter-attack on Chronos by activating a long-buried Creator spaceship hidden beneath the base. Unfortunately, Guyot has plans of his own, as he uncovers a way to remove the Guyver units from their hosts and equip them to himself. Chaos erupts as Guyvers, Zoalords and the ancient technology of the Creators collide in a desperate struggle for power.

Contains episodes 17-20.

The Review!
It's the night before the final battle and all the pieces are falling into place, including the big picture aspects.

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. The artwork for this installment is rather varied as it deals with Sho carrying Mizuki on his back while the background is filled with some of the nastier elements from the opposition. Mizuki certainly is a welcome addition to the front cover considering the overall lack of the opposite sex in the series. 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. Unfortunately, no booklet was included with this volume which is a real shame after the ones that came in the first four.

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.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Guyver's TV series continues to defy my expectations based off of the original series that ran years ago and the poor OVA that followed it. What little I've read of the manga has been intriguing and this series manages to present it in a way that simply works perfectly. There are a number of shows out there right now that are mining older manga material and adapting it to modern sensibilities and Guyver holds up very well under all of this.

The fifth volume in the series is one that is more setup than anything else for the final six episodes in the next two volumes. This is unfortunate because once these episodes get underway you have this strong desire to see it through to its conclusion as quickly as possible. The pieces are all put into place through the first three episodes and some strong revelations are made about the origins and plans that make up the big picture aspect of the series. The small moments are what work the best against all of this though. Surprisingly, Sho takes a back seat for the bulk of this volume until the last episode and lets the others take the limelight. The plus side is that it brings in some new villains and it also lets Mizuki shine a bit more.

With this being more about setup and revelations, the pacing of the episodes is decent but it lacks any real impact in terms of action. There are some great scenes though which help it progress well. From the opening battle that has Aptom taking on Chronos a bit more to Sho and Mizuki trying to escape from a shopping district, there are certainly some great moments when it comes to the action. The tension and impact tends to come more from the verbal sparring and the implications of what's to come. The realization that Guyot is actively planning to take over Chronos as the other Zoalords formulating their response to it, even though they all know that he can't actually take out the founder and most powerful of all the Zoalords.

The shadowed mentions of the other Zoalords has always been intriguing and these episode start to flesh out the concept a little bit more. This also brings in a number of revelations about the Relic as Sho and Mizuki are led into the secret location where Dr. Odagiri and his crew are plotting the downfall of Chronos. There is a lot of good information that's spread out across these four episodes and the series feels like it's making a lot of progress instead of spinning its wheels with another fight that doesn't change anything. Though there is the problem of labeling an episode, "The Night Before the Final Battle" as that just seems to say the remaining seven episodes will be all about the battle, Guyver has quickly moved from reactionary to proactive. The change in the characters after all of the events that have occurred feels natural for the most part.

One of the things that continue to surprise me about this series is just how beautiful it looks for most of it. Using the character designs from the manga but slightly tweaked, they have such fluidity to them and they stand out as not another cookie cutter type show. At the same time, the animation itself is very well done with some great colors and a sense of depth and placement that gives the battles, be it in the woods or in the streets, all the more impact. Though the show is still very much something that could be properly adapted to Hollywood style filmmaking, it retains a lot of what makes it Japanese. As the show starts to explore some of the more esoteric aspects of the Creators and the Relic, the weirdness level is going up several notches as is the creativity level.

In Summary:
Each new installment of Guyver manages to build upon and in some ways top the previous volumes. The storyline may be fairly predictable and generic, but as the saying goes, all stories have been told before, it's all in the execution and trappings. Guyver has been a surprise in how well it's blended old school and modern while still keeping true to the original storyline, characters and designs. This set of episodes really does a solid job of advancing the story even if it does bring in some overly powerful characters to be dealt with and some obvious devices that are just plot holes. In the end, this series is a real draw for me and it really surprises me that it is. It's solid entertainment both in the action and character departments with a very Western feel to it.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Manga to anime comparison for all four episodes,
Clean closing animation,Clean closing animation

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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