To those new to the Guyver franchise, it’s based off some Manga from the eighties, which then spawned a movie, an OVA series, two live action movies (one starring Mark Hamill in a supporting role, which I had the misfortune to see) and finally a new TV series.
Sho Fukamachi and his doofus of a friend decide to wag from school for the day to go off to a lake in the mountains that they know from childhood. Little do they know that an evil corporation known as Chronos has sent soldiers out to recapture an escaped biological experiment, a man genetically altered to be able to transform into a stronger, more beastly form, who has stolen three experimental ‘Guyver’ units. In the ensuing battle between the soldiers and the experiment, one of the units ends up in the hands of Sho and his friend. The friend takes off and poor Sho is the one to get the short end of the stick, and gets tentacled up and transforms into the “Guyver”, an experimental fighting unit that’s tougher than anything that Chronos can currently throw at him.
Corporate conspiracy of trying to get back the Guyver and eliminate anyone who knows about it ensues, involving failed attempts to attack Sho, his friend and anyone that he is close to with newer and bigger super bio-weapons (Zoanoids). This consequently provokes the use of the Guyver armour and its various super-powered weaponry to defeat these new menaces, but unfortunately I’ve pretty much seen it all before in the OVA series I watched quite eagerly in the early days of my growing anime addiction, with tapes from Homeshow Video in Box Hill, Melbourne.
So what annoys me most about this series is the claims on the box from presumably the American distributors ADV films; “Meet the new face of ultra-violence”, with an M Certification that I find extraordinarily difficult to believe. “Ultra-violence” calls to mind Ichi The Killer, A Clockwork Orange and Hostel, whereas the violence in Guyver would probably not even set off a Christian lobby group. While there is some difference from the OVA series that I can remember (I don’t remember there being a Scottish accented cop in Japan or a matrix-like moment in the OVA), this incarnation is not as “all new” as they claim. It’s the same story and situations from the OVA which can only cover so much ground in twelve episodes; with twenty four episodes the series will end up covering more of the Manga than what the OVA could (and maybe give people a satisfying end) however this is rendered moot if you can’t be bothered watching more than one disc.
The series just feels like a been-there-done-it-before adventure even without the OVA being around. With the themes of corporate conspiracy, young man becoming super hero by experimental weapons and fighting bigger and better monsters that can all be dispatched by the one all-purpose super weapon, it would be difficult to point to anything that Guyver is doing that isn’t being done in other anime, TV shows or even movies *cough* Spider Man *cough*.