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The Guyver: Out Of Control (1986)

VHS Cover (L.A. Hero)
Movie Connections:
The Guyver
> The Guyver: Out Of Control (1986)
> The Guyver (1991)
Director:
Hiroshi Watanabe Hiroshi Watanabe
Starring:
Yű Mizushima Yű Mizushima
Michie Tomizawa Michie Tomizawa
Keiko Toda Keiko Toda
Jun Hasumi Jun Hasumi
Norio Wakamoto Norio Wakamoto

6.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Animated Action, Animated Feature Film, Animated Sci-Fi, Animation, Anime
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Review by Ginose
Added: February 05, 2012
I've mentioned in my review of the first live-action film that the Guyver is one of my all-time favorite comic-book heroes, though I never delved into the complexity of such a statement. I used to read many comics as a child, as many do, and these heroes greatly influenced my opinions on popular fiction and character construction. I've long watched the exploits of my favorite heroes, always marking how they change an develop, how their views and methods changed in the hands of different writers; the ruthless and pained lives of the Frank Castle and the Ghost Riders always held me with a consistency of ultra-violent resolution to all things evil.

This may sound just like a simple boy projecting his interest into a nonsensical status, but it was truly a great work of artistic merit when paired with the storytelling style of the comic-books. Believe it or not, the characters always had a lot of resolve and, for the most part, told great and interesting stories that allowed you to do more than simply invest all of your attention into the action. Great as this was, nearly no comic was able to make the characters as relatable as they were interesting and still allow a primary focus on the action, but if anything has done that, through both its comic AND all of its animated forms, that would be Yoshiki Takaya's "The Guyver". This is the first screen-adaptation of the material in the form of an hour-long OVA film containing a loose adaptation of the first four volumes of the comic.

Sho Fukamachi lives a terribly simple life as a school-boy. He has a strong crush on his childhood friend, Mizuki, and allows himself to work in the student-council just to be near her; truly Sho doesn't have too much to look at in terms of excitement, but that's truly how he chooses to live. After a terrible hitch-hiking experience results in monster-on-monster mutilations, however, a surprising device attaches to Sho, warping his body into a terrible beast of metal and alien-flesh. After a quick dispatch of a group of patrolling covert-monsters Sho quickly realizes how utterly horrible a creature he has become. This simply causes a LONG spiral into a chaotic world he knew nothing of; a world that will explode into geysers of violence and pain at the slightest provocation.

As of this writing, this is the best feature-length adaptation of the series to date, but that is not a limitless praise next to the other two films. In truth, though this is extremely enjoyable, it lacks in many areas, as both an adaptation and a movie.

In its entirety it does condense A LOT of story into about 55-minutes, and rather effectively, but its very crude in its manner of doing so, at times. A lot of the deep characterization that the comic, OVA and television series is lost by means of removing Sho's lifelong friend (and Mizuki's older brother) Testsuro, who originally held a lot of the structure and development of the characters. This not only harms the story-structure, but changes the tone of the story altogether. What we originally had as a great, dark superhero story is replaced by, in the greatest thoughts and terms, a bit of animated body-horror. Another character was changed in the transition of the material in the form of replacing the corporate agent, Oswald Lisker, with a female equivalent named Valcuria; this was and is a terrible display of fan-service and, while the character didn't truly change, the mere notion of doing such to give a new set of tits and a partial tentacle-rape scene is... annoying, at best and insulting at worst.

Despite my seeming INFINITE desire to deride it, "Guyver: Out of Control" blows the show apart in other aspects. It already had a great story to build upon, but its unique take on its speedy formula provides a great sense of dread and, dare I say it, even horror. The series, comic and otherwise, always did well in provoking fantastic gore and the occasional bits of horror, but this adaptation does things to quite and extreme. It allows for a sense of dread without deepening the characters significantly enough. Sho doesn't have time to try to adapt, emotionally, to his new reality before it begins to fall apart around him, and this makes for some great scenes that really build on that (though the music during the fight scenes does its best to negate that effect, it doesn't do enough). The animation is truly great for its budget and time, and they certainly tried to make it as graphic as possible, much like the comics thrived in doing.

Of all the adaptations, this is not the best, most entertaining or most fully-realized, but it is certainly the best attempt anyone has made of getting a feature-film out of "The Guyver". There's certainly way more to love than hate in that alone, but as a film itself, it's a damned enjoyable hour of fun, monsters and ultra-violence.

7.9/10.
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