20 September 2006
With the recent resurge of interest in the Guyver anime, courtesy of new anime television series, I thought it might be worth taking a look back at the original Guyver OVA.
If you can remember seeing this anime before the Guyver: Biobooster Armour television series came out, you can probably consider yourself a veteran anime fan - it was made in the late eighties/early nineties, and looking back now, it SHOWS. The designs, story, and animation have all really dated, but that doesn�t mean that the OVA is totally without charm. In brief summary; high school student Sho Fukumachi and his friend stumble upon a piece of bizarre technology in the river that merges with Sho�s body and gives him the power to call on the Biobooster Armour Guyver, which makes him super fast, super strong, and lets him shoot giant laser beams out of his chest. Of course, the Chronos Corporation wants to get its hands on the armour at all costs, and so sends their collection of freakish mutants after him.
YES, IT REALLY IS THAT LAME. Of course, there are plenty of quite excellent animes with even lamer or more generic premises than that. And in all fairness, the story is overall pretty good, even if the script itself delivers some cringingly bad dialogue, which is not helped at all by a shocking dub (though the Japanese version wasn�t a great deal better).
The character interaction is pretty weak too, and most characters don't seem to have any depth at all. That mightn�t be so bad, given that the whole purpose of the anime was probably just to animate cool fights with mutants, but even those were often somewhat embarrassing. First of all, almost of all of the mutants had hideously ugly designs, and usually horrendously bad animation to match. And let's not forget that the main character finished off most battles by firing frickin� laser beams out of his chest! It was supposed to be cool, but I found myself having to quell the urge to laugh at the cheesiness of it. Ten years ago, it wasn't really an issue, but upon more recent re-watching a great deal of the anime had a very B-grade action movie sort of feel to it. Actually, B-grade movie fans would probably quite enjoy the Guyver OVA.
One thing that I did find really interesting about this anime, though, was that in parts of it I found myself being strongly reminded of Neon Genesis Evangelion. There were just a few themes and elements in the story that, while not being wholly original in themselves, were extremely reminiscent of Eva - the Guyver regenerating flesh, Guyver's beserker mode and the secret research of the evil Chronos Corporation, just to name a few examples. Was it merely coincidence, or did Evangelion possibly rip off Guyver? For the sake of controversy, I'm going to say it was the latter. Not that it really changes anything, but hey, maybe Evangelion wasn't QUITE as revolutionary as everyone believes. Ten points for Guyver.
The soundtrack was a mixed bag - a couple of tracks were really quite good and served the anime well - others were rather poor and didn't really seem to fit all that well. As mentioned, the voice acting was extremely flat, and the sound effects in particular were rather poorly done - sometimes not seeming to match the action at all, and there were also quite a few parts that actually grated on the ears quite harshly. There was one particular sequence in one of the earlier episodes that I eventually muted because the synthesized screaming just DIDN'T STOP. Seriously. The speakers on the television haven't been the same since.
In short, there's enough going for the Guyver OVA to see why it managed to spawn a TV series remake and even a live-action movie. But it definitely is the sort of anime that you'd be embarrassed to be caught enjoying by friends. Sort of like guys being caught liking Sailor Moon. Overall Score: 190,768/1,000,000