Guyver Vol. #1 - 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: Manga Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 160
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Guyver

Guyver Vol. #1

By Andrew Tei     October 14, 2003
Release Date: February 25, 2003


Guyver Vol. #1
© Manga Entertainment


What They Say
The animated brainchild of comic artist Yoshiki Takaya! Encouraged by his editor to make his initial combat-suit design more grotesque, Takaya struck upon the idea of an alien, biological device, a living armor that bonded itself organically to its host. The animated version of The Guyver was released as two separate series' of OVAs in Japan, and Takaya was involved with both. Not only has The Guyver made the jump from manga to OVA, but two live-action films have featured the bio-booster as well.

The Guyver is the ultimate weapon - a mysterious mecha of alien design, which when activated, interfaces with human subjects and transforms them into powerful combatants. This weapon is accidentally discovered by a young student, Sho Fukamachi, who triggers the unit's control mechanism. Transformed into the Guyver he battles against the bio-morphic Zoanoids controlled by the evil Chronos organization.

The Review!
Reaching into their back catalog, Manga brings out the Guyver. This was one of the first pieces of anime I watched in Japanese about seven years ago. I found myself still enjoying the show after all these years.

Audio:

For my primary review session, I listened to the Japanese stereo mix. Despite the show being so old, I could not hear any hisses or pops in the sound track. The materials are well preserved. There is no directionality in the sound track though so all sound is from the front sound stage. Each episode has a preview for the next episode afterwards, but the preview for episode seven completely lacked an audio track.

I listened to the English 5.1 mix while writing the review, and while for the most part it seemed okay, at bits the mix seemed wrong. They would try to add in echo based on the room, and it ended up sounding hollow.

Video:

The Guyver was created in 1989, so I wasn?t expecting very much from the video quality. Boy was I surprised. The source material Manga used is extremely clean, with very few scratches. Next up is the encoding job, which is top notch. I couldn?t find any real artifacts at all. There was some line shimmering at some points, but I expected it with the type of artwork used in the show sometime. Not a hint of rainbows and the color levels were great. The animation style in the show is evident of the 80s though when you see images just ?move? across the screen.

Packaging:

The Guyver walks out of a field of fire in this very flashy cover, in a silver palette, symbolizing all the battles there are to come. The logo is featured on the top. The spine has the volume number, and the back lists the episodes numbers with their corresponding titles. Six various promotional pictures from the Guyver are featured. Inside, instead of our plain insert, Manga included an insert that folds out twice making a good sized poster. Nice!

Menu:

The main menu features various images from the Guyver playing in the middle, while some shots of the characters move separately in the lower right hand corner. The lower left hand corner always has a Manga logo on each menu screen. You can access scene selection, setup, and features. From the scene selection menu, you can only select the start of each episode. Audio only plays during the main menu selection.

Extras:

There are three main extras. The large one is the Zoanoid Data files, which features a rundown of the abilities of the various Zoanoid monsters that the Guyver fights. There is text, audio, and a picture of a model of each monster. Next up, there are the original Japanese opening and endings. This was great; since one of my complaints is that the opening and endings are overlaid very poorly in the actual show. A photo gallery featuring various artworks from the Guyver finishes things up.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Ahh, the bloodbath animes of the 80?s come in full force here with Guyver. Prepare for some good bone ripping, blood gushing action.

Sho Fukumachi is high school student. He?s secretary on the Student Council, his best friend is Tetsuro Segawa, and he?s enamored of Mitsuki Segawa, his best friend?s sister. In fact, Sho?s only in the Student Council because Mitsuki is the vice president. Unfortunately, Mitsuki is after Agito Makishima, the president of the Student Council.

Off to the side, a mysterious man has stolen a briefcase containing three units. There?s a team after him, and he has the ability to change into a monster called a Zoanoid, human beings who have undergone DNA changes so that they have the ability to become fierce monsters. The team catches up with him, and an explosion occurs scattering the three units in the forest.

Tetsuro and Sho are walking home from school in the forest when the explosion occurs. On the ground, the two of them find a device. Sho falls onto it, and the device envelopes him with organic tentacles that merge with him. The tentacles form a suit around Sho, making him the Guyver. The suit?s power enables Sho to take out the Zoanoid. It?s equipped with blade arms, a laser on the forehead, gravity weapons, and the MegaSmasher! What?s a MegaSmasher? A chest laser cannon of course, one for each pec.

The Zoanoids are being created by an organization called Chronos, an organization planning to take over the world. Chronos Japan is heading by Agito?s father. Chronos recovers one of the three stolen units, and one of their own merges with it to form another Guyver. Later on, the third Guyver unit also shows up.

Each episode basically has Chronos trying to take out the Guyver, and they?re willing to use any method to do it. They capture Tesuro, Mistuki, and even attack Sho while he?s at school with all the students present. Time and time again, Sho defeats the oncoming Chronos? forces as he learns more about the abilities of the Guyver. The battles get fiercer as Chronos develops a Zoanoid specifically to defeat the Guyver?s armor.

This anime is based on monsters, screaming, blood, and lots of action. Guyver scores well on all those grounds. Plot wise, Guyver isn?t that strong, but I don?t believe the series was ever really aiming in that direction. You have your romance angle with Sho and Mitsuki, but what about the mysterious Agito. What is Agito?s scheme in all this?

The episodes all nicely flow into each other. There?s no filler here, so the action keeps coming at you. Most of the monsters are idiots, but it?s great to see them all get ripped to shreds. While there are certainly more compelling anime out there, Guyver is similar to your mindless action movie. It?s a great way to escape for a few hours for some mindless fun.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Zoanoid" Data Files,Original Japanese Opening and Closing Segments


Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears

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