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Manga presents
The Guyver: Bio Booster Armor—Volume 1 (1994)

"Zoanoids will be the heroes who create a new Golden Age. The pillars of a new future."
- Guou Rehalt (Hidekatsu Shibata)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: June 12, 2003

Stars: Takeshi Kusao, Yuuko Mizutani, Kouzou Shioya, Hideyuki Tanaka
Other Stars: Banjou Ginga, Daisuke Gouri, Jun Hasumi, Masato Hirano, Masashi Hironaka, Chieko Honda, Hirohiko Kakegawa, Juurouta Kosugi, Tomoko Maruo, Yuka Nagamine, Sanshirou Nitta, Shinya Otaki, AIkuya Sawaki, Hidekatsu Shibata, Katsumi Suzuki, Yasuhiro Takato, Kazumi Tanaka, Kouji Totani, Hideyuki Umezu, Norio Wakamoto, Kouichi Yamadera, Ken Yamaguchi
Director: Koichi Ishiguro

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (13+ for excessive violence)
Run Time: 02h:36m:59s
Release Date: February 25, 2003
UPC: 660200411923
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B-B+B+ C+

DVD Review

Manga delivers the first of two volumes of The Guyver, with an encouraging treatment of a catalog title. Adapted from Yoshiki Takaya's long running manga, The Guyver is a blood 'n' guts, bio-mech action series, whose original anime treatment was released in 1984. This 1989 version, directed by Koichi Ishiguro, spans 12 half-hour OVAs, with character designs by Hidetoshi Omori (Aura Battler Dunbine).

Mild-mannered high school student Sho Fukamachi's life is about to change. He is the Student Council secretary, a position he has taken primarily to be close to his best friend Tetsuro's sister Mizuki, but while walking home from school with Tetsuro, Sho accidentally triggers the control metal from a stolen Guyver unit, and is transformed into the biomechanical Guyver Unit 1. Of alien origin, the Guyver fuses with his body, becoming a living armor, complete with an array of powerful weaponry. The secret and powerful Chronos organization are desperate to retrieve their stolen wares, and send the biomorphic Zoanoids out to recover them, but these human based monsters are no match for the power of the Guyver. Commander Guou, head of Chronos, soon discovers Sho's human identity, and begins a campaign to capture the Guyver by whatever means possible, including kidnapping his friends. With each new confrontation he learns the hidden potential of this device. As his opponents grow ever more powerful, the reluctant Sho has to muster the strength and courage to continue to fight, as losing his alien body armor will mean his demise, and be the first step in Chronos' plans for world domination.

The Guyver features a nonstop onslaught of hideous Zoanoids relentlessly challenging Sho in his Guyver suit, leading to lots of bone crunching, face crushing, limb ripping action. Pretty much a Zaonoid-of-the-week format, the ante keepings increasing with worse odds, making the escape from danger ever that more difficult. The parade of creatures sent to battle keeps things moving, and the storyline has its share of twists and surprises along the way, even including a love angle which has yet to really take off. The animation quality is pretty good, its vintage considered, the characters are likeable or unlikeable enough to keep involved with. While there is nothing really new here from a plot standpoint, The Guyver provides a decent amount of entertainment value for those who enjoy the more violent style of show, and so far there has been no dead air.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The image quality was a pleasant surprise after what I've come to expect of these older shows from Manga. Colors are saturated, black levels good, and grain is present but not overly distracting. The source is pretty clean, and the compression well executed, with only the occasional bit of shimmer as an unwanted artifact.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: On the audio front, Manga has provided both Japanese and English 2.0 tracks, as well as an English 5.1 track. The Japanese audio is well presented, though is not all that dynamic or overly directional, but it works. The two English tracks are also fine from a technical standpoint, dialogue is clear and easily understood, although the 5.1 mix tends to sound a bit hollow at times due to the room effects used, and the theme music on both English tracks has been updated. The last episode preview does have a glitch in that no Japanese audio or English subtitles are available.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Virus, Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Evangelion: Death and Rebirth, End of Evangelion, Blood: The Last Vampire
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Zaonoid data files
  2. Original Japanese credits
  3. Poster
Extras Review: Extras include a collection of Zaonoid data files, which give an overview of each of eleven monsters, along with the basics for the Guyver and its three variations. Unlike many similar features, these are actually 30- to 60-second long, narrated videos, which use different angles of models to show the various features of each creature.

Since the openings and endings of the program have pretty bad overlays on them, Manga has provided the original Japanese versions here. Although it would be preferable to have the option of viewing these in context, having them as extras is the next best thing.

A nine image gallery features promotional style artwork, rather than simple frame grabs.

The Manga Entertainment section has their promo trailer reel, which includes Virus, Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Evangelion: Death and Rebirth, End of Evangelion, and Blood: The Last Vampire. Manga DVD catalogue, merchandise and website info, and a trailer for Scratch are also present.

The printed insert, which includes the disc's feature layout and episode summaries, also folds out to a mini poster.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Manga delivers a solid catalogue release with the first of two discs of The Guyver. Plenty of blood-gushing action, lots of monsters, and a developing backstory round out this six episode collection. Not for the overly squeamish.


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