As a child, I stumbled across a movie called, “The Guyver,” and absolutely adored it. It’s one of those great low budget, sci-fi/action movies, with a great story at the heart of it, as well as occasional, over-the-top comical moments (some on purpose, some not), but the sequel “Guyver II: Dark Hero” is in my opinion, the stronger of the two films. It has a darker plot, more in depth background development, as well as far more action and gore, which (at least in terms of blood splattering) seems to be closer to the style of the anime, but perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, “Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor” is a story wrapped in bloody action, monsters, and mysterious alien technology. In it, there is a secret organization known as Kronos, whose aim is to turn all humans into Zoanoids, a brand of creature who can appear human, but are truly only dangerous, humanoid monstrosities. Their reach and power has spread and strengthened over the years, leaving it hard for anyone to find shelter from their devilish schemes, but one man hopes to end all that…
As the first episode begins, an injured (possibly dying) man is on the lamb, taking with him a large, cumbersome bag. A couple of police officers stumble across his car, as it is stopped on the side of the road, and attempt to help the poor unconscious fellow. As one of the officers inquires about this bag and sees an odd foreign object inside of it, the sickly man suddenly becomes feral, aggressive, and possessed with unnatural strength. Quickly, he dispatches of both officers and disappears into the forest, still clutching the strange bag.
Soon after, a squad of Kronos soldiers are sent after this rouge to retrieve the three “units” he has escaped with. As this private militia closes in on its target, the mystery man becomes desperate, and transforms into a terrible beast. Rather unimpressed, one of the soldiers sneers at this creature, and proceeds to become an even larger, and more formidable monster. In a last ditch effort to evade his captors, the desperate man/beast pulls out a grenade and sets it off, killing himself, but only wounding his assailant, and scattering the three “units” he had been so adamant to hold on to.
Far from the battle, two high school kids, Shō Fukamachi and Tetsurō Segawa, hear the explosion and look off at the distant smoke. They are shocked to see a curious, alien-looking device fall out of nowhere and land right by their feet. As Tetsuro and Sho squabble as to what to do with it, the device seemingly chooses Sho and latches on to him, covering his body completely, and quite painfully begins to integrate itself with him…(bestowing upon him some of the coolest armor you will ever see…)
I won’t spoil the end of the episode, but I will say that as excited and hopeful as I was, this anime did not quite meet my expectations. While I did my best to detach myself from the movies I so fondly remember, which were also my first introduction to the franchise, it is my opinion that the anime itself, just as an anime episode, is rather lacking.
While the art style itself is good overall (with some great moments), the animation is a bit simple, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, in this circumstance it leaves the action falling flat more often than not. That being said, the audio is really the area I have the most issues with. As a fan of the franchise, I will see this one through, and watch the entire series (look out for a full review later on), but for those of you who have never heard of the Guyver, but find yourself intrigued, from my first impression of this first episode, I would check out the American films over “Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor.”