The Guyver Anime Review
Kyoushoku Soukou Gaibaa
Booster Armor Guyver
US Release By
12 30-minute episodes
1989-09-25 - 1992-08-21
What's In It
- Bio Armor
- Violence: 3 (significant)
- Nudity: 2 (moderate)
- Sex: 0 (none)
- Language: 2 (moderate)
Seventeen-year-old Sho Fukamachi is just an ordinary schoolboy until he finds a strange unit in the woods while walking home from school one day. Accidentally activating it, Sho gains the power of the Guyver, an alien "bio-boosted armour" which grants him incredible power. He battles against the forces of the powerful Chronos Corporation, who want the unit for themselves, and their shapeshifting Zoanoid warriors.
The Guyver: Bio-booster Armour is a cyberpunk classic, based on the manga of the same name. It's very serious stuff; I challenge anyone to find so much as a single thing to laugh at in the whole twelve episode series. The animation is also very serious and realistic, with the characters (the human ones at least) looking as human as is possible within the constraints of the budget. The action (and there is a lot of it) is decent, although it suffers from that "rushing background" syndrome whenever someone attacks, which slows the action down to a somewhat less than thrilling level. Also the gore is too "red paint"--it looks about as convincing as an elephant in a mouse suit.
Unfortunately, the Guyver suffers from one overriding problem--cheese. This series is a cheesy as hell, and although it is still pretty good to watch, you find yourself groaning at some of the dialogue, and some of the stories (kidnapping his girlfriend to lure him into a trap) are so cliche that it hurts. But the Guyver is still quite an exciting series to watch, and despite the earlier mentioned difficulties with the action, some of the fights are excellent, especially in "Battle of the Guyvers" and "The Death of the Guyver."
Visually, the series is decent. The characters are, well, decent again, but not spectacular, although some of the more exotic ones (Aptom and Semirubal from the Lost Unit, and Masaki Murakami) are quite well designed. The Zoanoids aren't quite as ridiculous as you'd expect, and some of them look truly cool (Enzyme and Aptom, among others). The Guyver suit designs are incredible.
The dub voice cast does the job well enough, although Sho and Mizuki sound a tad fake. The music is excellent, especially the opening "Guyver Rock," and adds heavily to the mood.
Unfortunately, the ending of the series is completely inconclusive. Okay, Gyouh's back to life, Murakami's secret has been revealed, Sho's rescued Mizuki again, and they're still on the run. So now what? Well, this is unavoidable, as the whole series is nothing more than an excerpt from the manga, but it is still somewhat irritating.
Overall, The Guyver: Bio-Booster Armour is good viewing if you like cyberpunk anime, especially powersuit cyberpunk, or if you like action. Take a look.
Notes and Trivia
Based on a manga series of the same name by Yoshiki Takaya, available in English from VIZ.
The first and second half of the series were released (in Japan) one episode per month, with a two-year break between episodes 6 and 7.
There are a number of other Guyver incarnations, so it's easy to get them confused: There is a little-known older (1986) one-shot movie called "Guyver: Out of Control" that was released by Darker Image Entertainment a very long time ago. There is also a much newer (2005) TV series that is currently being released by ADV. Finally there are two US-made live-action movie adaptations from the early '90s, "The Guyver" and "Guyver: Dark Hero" (aka Guyver 2). The live action movies are low-budget direct-to-video fare, although the first one did feature Mark Hamill before his voice acting career took off, as well as Peter Spellos (aka G. Gordon Baer), who has done quite a bit of work in anime dubbing.
Formerly available in North America from Manga Video on two bilingual DVDs, currently out of print. Previously available on 12 individual dubbed VHS volumes from Manga. Before that, was released on 6 dubbed VHS volumes by US Renditions.