Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #6 - 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: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Guyver

Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     September 05, 2007
Release Date: September 11, 2007


Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
The twelve Zoalords are united. Aptom is on the prowl. Guyot is on a desperate rampage. Relic’s Point has been transformed into an absolute war zone. Guyot flees his pursuer to the underbelly of the base in a last ditch attempt to stay alive. When the situation turns sour for the traitorous Zoalord, his actions threaten to cause total destruction. Aptom has set his sights on the elite hyper-Zoanoid team, and won’t rest until he’s devoured them all. Amidst the swirling chaos, Sho prepares the Relic for launch in a feverish race against time. Fearing that Sho and Makishima may lose their Guyver units to Guyot, Murakami makes his final transformation to try and buy his friends enough time to escape. What horrors await them outside? Find out as the final battle begins. Some will rise to the heavens, and others will be buried beneath the ruins of defeat in this exciting volume of Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor.

The Review!
Raising the power levels far too high and then once more, Guyver continues to be intense but is pushing its limits far too much.

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.

Packaging:
The design layout for the artwork is similar to the earlier volumes with black along the top and bottom. After a brief bout of femininity with the previous volume, we're back to the macho stuff here as both Sho and Agito are ripping open their chests here while the bright visual of Archanfel is behind them. 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. Once again, no booklet was included with this volume which is a real shame after the ones that came in the first four.

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:
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. The commentary track makes a return with this volume with the ADR director and Chris Patton talking about the show and the fun they're having with it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Guyver makes the unfortunate drop down to three episodes with this volume and really leaves you hanging. In a way, the volume works rather well as it's relatively self contained for the arc that's playing out which started in the previous volume. Characterization and story elements take a back seat for the most part as it's focused on getting through some serious monster bashing but it continues to do it with a good bit of style and well orchestrated mayhem.

Though it is focused on big action, there are a few good storylines running through here which have been working towards coming together. Most surprising to me is that I'm really interested in the one dealing with Aptom. This particular character has the problem of becoming too powerful due to the way he's able to absorb powers and abilities of everyone he manages to consume in some way, which makes him stand out far too much. It does provide a challenge for the writers though and they've managed to use him relatively sparingly considering what's going on. His time during this volume is short but it provides some great scenes as he utilizes his more recently acquired abilities to take down the remaining members of the "Five" that have been strutting around recently. Aptom continues to be a character that you just can't seem to keep down but has enough reason for it.

The other rather interesting storyline, more so from an immense power perspective, is the ongoing chase within Relic Point between Archanfel and Guyot. At this stage of the series, there is much dislike for Guyot because of his very personality and brutal methods. Archanfel, who has unfortunately been promoted to a godlike status in some ways, has come to put an end to Guyot since he represents a threat to the Twelve Zoalords. The introduction of Archanfel unbalances the show in some ways I think because he's simply too powerful. He does make for great TV however as he's calm and confident about everything. Seeing him under intense pressure however, as Guyot has an ace up his sleeve with a mini black hole (translated as a quasi-black hole), brings him down a few notches. Well, for a little while at least.

The Guyver series has amassed a decent size cast over the course of things so there are a lot of people unaccounted for at this point. For a good bit of these episodes, Sho is kept to a background role as he's working to raise the Relic out of the ground so that it's not in Barcas' hands anymore. The previous volume provided a lot of back story for the Relic and its place on Earth as well as what the Guyvers are all about so it wasn't too much of a surprise that Agito and Sho have smaller roles this time around. The entire group that's working at the lowest levels of Relic's Point have some good scenes together as they begin to evacuate since there is so much going on around them in battle as well as the Relic rising up.

As much fun as the story is across this volume with its numerous battles and moments of sacrifice, it's coming very close to becoming far too big for its own good. The increase in power levels of the various characters can go only so far, which is why it's good there's only three episodes left. When Guyver started, you had Sho being able to handily wipe out an enemy once he actually understood his armor. Then things got more interesting with the arrival of another Guyver, hyper-Zoanoids and Makashima himself. It didn't take long to start bumping Aptom up quite a bit nor having the Zoalords seeming to be all powerful. With there being twelve of them in total, and with them arriving in this volume, it brings in far too much power in terms of Sho being able to handle it by himself. And all of this is without even talking about Archanfel nor the over the top power that Guyot brings into play here. Whether the show can end smoothly remains to be seen but at this point I'm simply very skeptical.

In Summary:
This series continues to be a surprise to me considering that the genre in general hasn't been appealing for far too many years. While I had enjoyed the original manga from what I read years and years ago, it seemed like an odd property to revitalize in the now. After six volumes worth of episodes, Guyver is proving to be quite the little gem. Though it plays in the realm of ugly monsters with amazing yet brutal powers, it plays it rather straight and seriously with plenty of emotion. There aren't any massive screams coming from the characters as they launch an attack for the most part. They aren't coming across as cartoonish and silly even when their designs are fairly out there. Guyver isn't exactly a thinking mans horror action series, but it's one that doesn't insult the viewer at every step of the way. It's far better than I expected it to be at the start and it's one that I can't help but recommend for those looking for a solid action series without the usual shonen clichés.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Manga to anime comparison of all three episodes,Production sketches,Commentary with Chris Patton (Sho) and Charles Campbell (ADR Director),

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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