Though itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been out for a year, I chose willingly to avoid all fansubs and bootlegs of the series so I could buy the DVD on release and thoroughly enjoy myself. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been a fan of the Guyver since 1991, when the live action movie was released (though I came to appreciate that film less after I viewed the original anime). Seeing this new Guyver series is a real treat.
For those not aware, the Guyver is a Japanese manga and anime series (and two live action films in the US). It features a teenage boy named Sho Fukamachi who has accidentally been bonded to the Guyver, an alien bio-booster armor of extreme power. The evil Cronos Corporation wants to get their hands on the Guyver and use their armies of Zoanoid mutants to constantly attack him and his friends.
By the time the first episode finished, I had enjoyed myself, but at the same time, I felt slightly disappointed. From the looks of things, this was going to be an episode-for-episode remake of the original anime.
I was very wrong.
While the first episode does mirror the first episode of the original series rather identically, the episodes afterward take a sharp turn into creativity. The original series moved very swiftly, often leaving behind numerous unanswered questions and WTF moments, but this new series paces things out at a much more reasonable rate. Previously two-dimensional characters are now given some extra depth. In addition to that, little things are added here and there which help the coherency of the plot immeasurably. A few examples would be seeing Agito Makishima recovering the third control metal from the forest. The original series tried (poorly) to play the Guyver IIIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s identity off as a mystery and it honestly didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work very well. Another factor I appreciate is introducing ShoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father early on and giving him a little background and personality. In the old series, he was introduced almost immediately before his, er, accident (it just occurred to me some of you might not have seen the old Guyver series and I might spoil some stuff for you).
Probably the best bit of Ã¢â‚¬Å“stretching outÃ¢â‚¬Â would have to be in regards to Lisker and the Guyver II. Previously, he appeared and died in one episode, making him more or less a throw-away villain. This series thankfully pads out his character, how he deals with the control metal malfunction and even some background about a rivalry with Zerbebuth.
The English voice-acting is something I was especially looking forward to. The voices in the original series were so bad it hurt and I was thrilled to hear that ADV would be heading up the 2005 series, as they generally do magnificent dub-jobs. I was very pleased with what I heard. A few of the voices are rather Ã¢â‚¬Å“genericÃ¢â‚¬Â, but not in a bad way. Tetsuro sounds rather similar to the old series only a lot better. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bit of humor thrown into the series, particularly with the way the teenage characters talk to each other. I got a kick out of it, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing that distracts from the story or atmosphere. I particularly liked the voice-over for Vamore, giving him an Ã¢â‚¬Å“Olde OyrishÃ¢â‚¬Â accent.
The animation is suitably impressive. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s superior to all other shows coming out of Japan at the moment, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on par with the best of them. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve honestly never heard of OLM Team Wasaki before (god, what an awful studio name) but they do good work. The animation is very fluid and detailed and they *thankfully* refrain from using hackneyed over-the-top anime facial expressions and sight gags. I really hate that kind of stuff. One thing about the animation I totally dig is the Zoanoid transformations. They just look so cool.
This is looking to be the best interpretation of the Guyver to date, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the character.