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Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 26, 2010 by  



For those who grew up watching “Guyver” the OVA series or reading the manga, were no doubt excited about the release of the TV series which would follow the manga series much more.  But what made “Guyver” so exciting was its combination of violence and dramatic elements, the TV series is unable to get too violent but for the most part, anime fans looking for an action-driven series on Blu-ray may find “Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series” to their liking.

Image courtesy of © Takaya Yoshiki, Kadokawa Shoten/GUYVER Production Partners. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series

DURATION: 26 Episodes (625 Minutes)

 

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

 

RATED: TV MA

 

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

 

RELEASE DATE: June 22, 2010

 

Based on the original manga by Yoshiki Takaya

Directed by Katsuhito Akiyama

Series Composition by Junki Takegami

Music by Hayato Matsuo

Character Design by Yoshihiko Umakoshi

Anime Production by Oriental Light and Magic

 

 

Featuring the voices of:

Kenji Nojima/Chris Patton as Sho Fukamachi/Guyver I

Kousuke Takaguchi/Lowell Bartholomee as Tetsuro Segawa

Katsuyuki Konishi/Brian Jepson as Agito Makishima/Guyver III

Mitsuaki Madono/Andrew Love as Masaki Murakami

Nana Mizuki/Luci Christian as Mizuki Segawa

Kinryuu Arimoto/Bill Wise as Richard Gyuot

Michiko Neya/Brittney Karbowski as Shizu Onuma

Saburo Kamei/Klaus Vaux as Hamilcar Barcas

Takeharu Onishi/Illich Guardiola as Toshiaki Hayami/Bio-Freezer

Tetsu Inada/Robert Kraft as Aptom

Tomo Adachi/Kira Vincent-Davis as Natsuki Taga

Unshou Ishizuka/Jason Douglas as Oswald . A . Lisker/Guyver II

Yasunori Matsumoto/Gray Haddock as Archanfel

It is a world controlled by a sinister brotherhood who hide their fangs behind masks of humanity, known as the Chronos Corporation. While investigating a mysterious explosion near his school, Sho Fukamachi happens upon the Chronos Corporation’s greatest weapon: a techno organic suit of bio armor known as “the Guyver.” But Chronos is determined to conceal their secrets at any cost. Sho soon finds himself relentlessly pursued by its army of horrific bio-monsters. With nowhere to run, Sho is forced to call upon the fearsome power of the Guyver and rip his opponents limb from limb in a desperate struggle for survival.

 

In 2006, “GUYVER” made its return! And this time with a new 26 episode anime series which was previous released by ADV Films and now out on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

I have to say that “GUYVER” has been a major anime series among old school anime fans. We grew up watching the 12 episode OAV series and of course there were the two live movies but the manga story of “GUYVER” has been around a long time.

The original manga series written by Yoshiki Takaya back in 1985 in “Shonen Captain” magazine and is currently serialized in Kadokawa’s Monthly Shonen Ace magazine over 20 years later.

The “GUYVER” series can be a bit complex for me to explain but to simplify things, two high school students Sho and Tetsuro discover a mysterious object which pretty much is being heavily sought by the Chronos Corporation.   The object is a Guyver unit stolen by a test type Zoanoid (three units were stolen) and now the corporation is doing what it can to recover them.

While Sho and Tetsuro were messing around with the object, it begins to envelops Sho and merge with him and literally transforms him into the Guyver unit 1.

The Chronos Corporation tries to get the unit back through evil means but standing in their way is Sho who uses the unit to protect and also in many instances, save his friends.

The original anime series (a 12 episode OAV series) was released in Japan from 1989 to 1992 was loosely based on Yoshiki Takaya’s manga, “Bio-Booster Armor Guyver”.  The new 26-episode anime TV series is more closely based on the manga and allows for more character development for Sho, his friends and also the people behind Chronos.

The main characters of “Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor” are:

  • Sho Fukamachi – The main character and a teenager who comes across the Guyver unit accidentally and merges with the unit to become “Guyver I”.  Now, he is a wanted man by the Chronos Corporation.
  • Tetsuro Segawa – Sho’s closest friend and highly intelligent.  A big sci-fi fan and the older brother of Mizuki.
  • Mizuki Segawa – Tetsuro’s younger sister who once had a crush on Agito Makishima but through time, develops feelings for Sho.
  • Agito Makishima – A high school student who is stoic in nature.  Discovers one of the Guyver units to become “Guyver III” and for some reason, has knowledge of the Guyver and its abilities.
  • Natsuki Taga – A high school student and a good friend of Sho and the Segawas who helps the three when they get into a bind.

VIDEO:

“Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition and because the series was released on television back in 2006, it is quite obvious that the Blu-ray release is not native HD and is an upscaled release.  And while the series does have its times of vibrant colors (especially the green trees or blue skies), the series puts a lot of focus on making the action sequences come alive and some of the natural background settings are not as detailed but some background elements are handpainted and it definitely brings something different for the artistic backgrounds.  But as far as PQ goes, you will notice edge enhancement and some haloing around the edges.

The new anime series doesn’t have the sketch/drawn style look that the original series (which many OAV’s from the 80’s tend to look like) had but the TV series looks good.  Again, it’s not super-detailed but it does tend to focus more on the action sequences which there are plenty of in this series.  I preferred the original OVA series with its detail and because of its more violent nature which fit the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series” is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) and DolbyTrue HD 2.0 (Japanese).  First, the English lossless soundtrack features a good amount of surround usage for the various battle sequences.  Good amount of sound effects utilized and the English dub voice acting was well done.  For my experience though, I had an issue with the center channel being a bit low. I usually never have to adjust the center channel when watching an anime series on Blu-ray but for “Guyver”, I had to really boost up the center channel during viewing.

As for the Japanese DolbyTrue HD 2.0 lossless track, I preferred to watch the anime series in the original Japanese dialogue.  Voice acting is well done and for those with a modern receiver, I chose to have my settings set at stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

Disc 1:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director Charlie Campbell, Ron Peters (marketing manager) and Jack Glausner (marketing associate and convention coordinator).

Disc 2:

  • Episode 13 Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director Charlie Campbell and voice actor Lowell Bartholomee (Tetsurou) and their experience working on an action-driven anime series.

Disc 3:

  • Episode 23 Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director Charlie Campbell and voice actor Chris Patton (Sho).  Discussion about the fandom and the popularity of the series.
  • Episode 26 Commentary – Audio commentary featuring ADR director Charlie Campbell and voice actor Chris Patton (Sho) and Lowell Bartholomee (Tetsurou).  Discussion about the final episode and their experiences working on the series.
  • Manga to Anime Comparisons – (1:06:50) Featuring manga to anime comparisons for episodes 1-26.
  • Clean Opening Animation– Featuring the clean opening animation featuring “Waiting For…” by Reiri.
  • Clean Closing Animation – Featuring the clean closing animation featuring “Cotton Candy” by Bonnie Pink.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers.

When I first heard that a TV series for “Guyver” would be airing on Japanese TV, I was excited!

I owned older Japanese manga of “Bio Booster Armor Guyver”, I bought the 12-episode OVA series of “The Guyver-Bio-Booster Armor” and at one time, I even had the VHS for “The Guyver” live action-films.  So, I suppose you can say that I’m a big fan of the “Guyver” series and with the announcement of “Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor”, you can’t help but be excited with a series that would try to incorporate the manga elements to the storyline.

Granted, because this is a TV series, I figured that the violence would not be as graphic as the OVA series and after watching the first two volumes, I was literally hooked on the series.  I enjoyed how the series would focus on the friendship of Sho, Mizuki and Tetsuro much more than the OVA series but most importantly, the sheer number of characters introduced and also involve storylines with those characters.

And it’s one of the few series where the protagonist ends up being gone for several episodes and focuses on the supporting cast (Sho’s friends) and also the series puts more time into the behind-the-scenes of what Cronos Corporation was planning, the introduction of the Zoalords and for the most part, the series does manage to keep its action-packed storyline from beginning to end as we get to see Guyver III in action.

I have to admit that my enjoyment of “Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series” is due to my previous love for the original OVA and manga series and part of that enjoyment was that it was a sci-fi violent anime series that had an intriguing story behind it.  Granted, the TV series is is not as violent as OVA episodes, but the fact that it does tend to follow the manga series definitely made many of us excited.  But in many ways, I felt that once it was all done, there should be much more story that needed to be told.  Hopefully there will be another Guyver series in the future.

As for the Blu-ray release, I pretty much made up my mind that if you want outstanding HD anime for a TV series (not a film or an OVA), you may need to look for series created post-2008 versus pre-2008.  “Guyver” is upscaled and definitely much better looking (and sounding) than its previous DVD releases.

Overall, “Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series” is a pretty cool action-driven anime series but I have to admit that the storyline starts to taper off a bit in the second half.  Some may find the series a bit repetitive, I actually enjoyed the OVA series more because of its animation and the action was more violent in nature which fit the series quite well.  But there is only so much you can do for a TV series.

In the end, if you are like for an action-driven anime series on Blu-ray with battles galore and a dramatic storyline along with it, definitely give “Guyver – The Bioboosted Armor – The Complete Series” a chance.






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