Sho Fukamachi is a high school student whose happy life is going to take a tragic turn. Sho and his best friend Tetsuro Segawa come across a strange device. After accidentally triggering it, he's transformed into an armored warrior called Guyver. This causes the Chronos Corporation to pursue him using an army of monsters called Zoanoids. The corporation has links throughout the world, and uses their resources to assault Sho's friends. Sho soon realizes he isn't only fighting for his and everyones survival. But, also the fate of the world, in which, Chronos aims to take over and reshape the world in their own image.-summary
The Guyver Volume 1is the first six of a twelve episode series, which had a run from 1989-1992, and is loosely based on Yoshiki Takaya's manga. The anime was definitely a success that gained a huge cult following. This was mainly due to its graphic violence, which can be brutal at times. To the best of my knowledge, the manga spawned this particular series, two live action films, and a 26 episode remake that was released in 2005. Some fans actually hail this version as the best. I on the other hand just can't agree with that.
The Guyveris a sci-fi action series, which in my view succeeds in two areas. This would be in the action scenes, and with some of its characters. The battle scenes can be very brutal on some occasions. The action scenes consist of hand to hand combat, plus battles with advanced weaponry. The Guyver armor itself has some interesting abilities. The wearer can slice enemies to pieces, or completely annihilate them on the spot with different weapons, which adds variety to the battles.
The main character Sho is very believable, because his personality seems genuine. Sho doesn't possess the typical shonen mindset consisting of the super bad teen that loves to fight, and overcomes all near death odds simply by believing in himself. Sho is forced to battle with combat ready soldiers. However, he doesn't possess the slightest bit of training. He gains all of his experiance in the heat of the moment. Also, luck plays a factor at times. I think the storytelling is well presented in this area, and gives the series a realistic feel.
There are plenty of characters introduced, with only a few that actually serve a purpose. The villains are a mixed bag for the most part. The generic Zoanoids are mainly cannon fodder, and lose their appeal very early. The real treat comes in the form of other Guyver units, as well as an advanced group called the Hyper Zoanoid Team 5.
The Guyver is an all out action series for the most part, but it takes other measures to try and be a little more than that. The plot is rarely boring, and the events that take place are mainly to display the Chronos Organizations links throughout the country; such as media manipulation and even mass mind wiping. These overwhelming advantages works in Chrono's favor heavily against Sho.
The series does several things right but has its flaws. Animation and artwork happens to be among them. The animation tends to suffer by the sixth episode. The animation during the opening credits was actually used as a battle scene. I find this approach to be very lazy, and some of the character designs for the Zoanoids are downright atrocious. The artwork only gets worse later in the series. The English dub isn't bad, but translations could have used some serious work.
Not exactly a con, but for those who remember the original VHS releases will definitely be greatly disappointed, because songs are either changed or completely removed altogether. The original Guyver theme song can only be heard when watching the Japanese version with subs. The English version plays a very generic song that even people new to the series may immediately despise.
The series also has a problem with its episode presentation. It isn't the least bit subtle when delivering the episode titles. Here's an example, episode five is titled Death Of The Guyver. As if the writers couldn't come up with a bigger spoiler. This is what adds to the predictability and after episode three, there is very little in the way of suspense. Simply because the episode title already alerted the viewer on what to expect.
I know of several anime fans who consider this series a classic and even a must see. I really don't feel the same way at all. I will never shower a title with praise simply because it's old. I just find that type of attitude to be strange.
I mainly recommend this version only to serious anime fans, who must see everything anime related. If you don't fall into that category and you're more picky, then your time is better spent with the remake. The 26 episode series remake, which also goes by The Guyver surpasses this version in character development, character usage, story depth, plot, animation, artwork, and soundtrack. After watching this version again I have to say it's just not on the same level. This is also considering that the remake does have its flaws. This volume is six episodes with a 180 minute run time.
Pros: -Brutal and very vicious action scenes, believable main character
Cons: -Predictable, dated animation, some crude artwork
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