The Guyver has been one of my favorite manga series, and the first time I have been exposed to the series was “Guyver: Dark Hero” with “Metal Gear Solid” voice actor David Hayter in the role of Sean Baker. Honestly, I don’t even remember when I saw the film, but I was hooked after watching it. Maybe it was the cool design of the Guyver unit itself or the weird looking monsters. Eventually, I did get around to watching the 2005 anime and reading the manga up to it’s last chapter. For “Throwback Thursday”, I would like to discuss the twelve episode anime OVA “The Guyver: Bio-Booster Armor(Kyōshoku Sōkō Gaibā)” which ran from 1989 to 1992. A little background about the series if you don’t know, is that it was originally called “Bio-Booster Armor Guyver” or just “Guyver”. The manga series began in 1985, written and illustrated by Yoshiki Takaya and is currently ongoing, but has stopped print in North America. The series has been adapted into two live-action films (1991’s Guyver and 1994’s Guyver: Dark Hero), a 26 episode anime in 2005 (based on the first ten volumes), a 12 episode anime OVA series and an OVA titled Guyver: Out of Control (roughly based on the first four chapters).
This is my first time watching this version of the anime and I had the option of watching the subbed or dubbed version. I watched the first episodes of both together, which I haven’t done before. The dialog was slightly changed in the dubbed version and the voice actors are terrible. Some dubbed anime is handled well, such as “Vampire Hunter D” or “Dragon Ball Z” but this one was both funny and painful. I continued with the subbed version after that and enjoyed it more. After finishing all episodes, I can see where the differences lie.
The story begins with a test type Zoanoid who has stolen the three Guyver units and Chronos Corporation sends their troops after him. After the Zoanoid kills itself in the battle against Chronos with a hidden explosive, the resulting explosion has “Guyver unit 1” landing near high students Sho Fukamachi and Tetsuro Segawa. In the original manga, Sho activates Guyver Unit 1 differently, but he still transforms into the Guyver. After landing head first onto “unit 1”, Sho is transformed into our hero the “Guyver”. An armored figure with a control metal in the middle of its forehead and blades on the back of its elbows. This is pretty much the intro to the story and first episode.
Even though there is some difference between the manga and anime OVA, it’s still pretty good. Only covering the first five volumes, the story flows pretty well and situations are either added or changed to fit the OVA. Sho evolves as a character throughout the show and deals with emotional moments with people being turned into monsters as well as the power of the Guyver. Besides Sho, only Agito Makishima gets more character development than most of the other characters. Agito is a cunning character with an interesting backstory. His ulterior motives drive him to try and defeat Chronos at its very core. We are introduced to Murakami in the last six episodes and he gives more details on his involvement with Chronos, Guyver units, and where did the Zoanoids originate from. The one thing I don’t get is that Chronos Corporation, with all its various resources, only means of luring out Sho is kidnapping Tetsuro and Mizuki. That happens a lot and even Sho’s dad gets kidnapped as well but it doesn’t end well for him. Chronos Corporation did have some weird looking creature designs and some of them with similar designs were used a lot.
Animation wise, you can definitely tell it hasn’t aged well compared to today standards and even to the 2005 anime. I still love the design of the Guyvers and Zoanoids but you can tell changes were made between the first six and last six episodes. Characters having different attire and Zoanoids with similar design are color swapped. It didn’t bother me but I noticed that change. Also, it wouldn’t be Guyver without the action, blood, and gore. The action is amazing and showcases the power of the Guyver unit and the Zoanoids. The ultrasonic blades slice through enemies like butter, blood gushing out from Zoanoids and the Guyver units after being severely damaged, and it looks great. It’s definitely not for kids because the content is for a mature audience.
The twelve episode series was good and I enjoyed it a lot. Even with some of the deviations from the source material it covered quite a lot of ground in it’s short span. I think certain events could have been changed around to make it better but with only twelve episodes what can you do. I would definitely say watch the subbed version unless you can sit through twelve episodes of bad english dubbing. Overall, I had a good experience and it makes me want to go back and read the original Guyver manga once again.