Back when I originally heard of this series, anime was expensive as hell and on VHS tape. You could get 3 episodes if you were lucky for $30. Around that time when I saw anime VHS tapes in the clearance bin for cheap I bought them no matter what they were, and that’s how I discovered the old version of the series Guyver. At the time I’d thought it was really interesting because it was dark and the oldish style gave it flavor that I liked. I never did get to see the whole series and as more series came out, I ended up selling most of my VHS tapes for dvds and forgot about it.
Now, there’s a remake of the series dubbed by Funimation and easily found on Hulu, so I finally decided to give it another try, hoping that it would be even remotely close to what I vaguely remembered liking about the original.
After watching the first two episodes today, I’m disappointed, but then I don’t clearly remember too much about the old series other than liking it, so I’m not even completely sure what I was expecting.
The most glaring obvious problem is in the first episode and you notice it within the first few minutes: we have a bad dub. I’m not sure how this went wrong because Funimation can usually be counted on for great dubs with great scripts that really pull you into the story. However, this one is dull and unmotivated with most of the characters introduced in the first episode sounding like they’re sleeping or reading a bad fanfic out loud. The two characters who do really stand out are simply annoying, such as the valley girl on the student council and the random scottish detective. O.o Luckily the issues with the bored voice actors seem to clear themselves up after the first episode, because the second episode was much better and the voices seemed much more engaged.
There is an issue of scripting, but it’s not wholly Funimation’s fault and might actually be related to the anime itself. Let me give you an example. In the first episode when these two cops walk up to a crashed car to see if the guy is ok they don’t seem worried in any way, even though his car is halfway up on the guardrail next to a cliff with the door hanging open. And when they get to the car, they ask the man if he’s ok, ignoring the fact that his face is planted against the steering wheel enough to make the horn go off. I think those cops need new jobs... no wait, they’re dead, never mind.
The final thing that has me worried is the main character. The first episode starts out with a girl talking, speaking about the events retrospectively as if she were introducing us to a dramatic shoujo series... except she’s not and she’s not the main character. The boy she likes is, so that initial shoujo series feel doesn’t fit. And when we do meet Sho, he’s completely dull and unmotivated.
I am very used to the staple characters in anime series aimed at men - shounen - where the guy is normal and doesn’t stand out and doesn’t know what to do with his life. Then something pops up and shoves him into the spotlight. That’s exactly what happens here but, the character is generally apathetic throughout the entire first episode and most of the second. The times when he doesn’t react or scream seem forced like he doesn’t actually mean it. (Might be a dubbing issue, i’m not sure as I haven’t seen this subtitled). He’s not into what just happened and while that’s normal from Guilty Crown back to Evangelion, here it’s so uninspiring. By the end of the second episode I still couldn’t convince myself to care too much about the main character. So the show has one more episode to convince me to watch it before I move on to something else.
Things I do like?
I still like the concept of the monsters and the bio armor. It’s got all the potential for a good story, it just hasn’t shown up yet. I really like Sho’s best friend, the sci-fi geek. Unlike Sho he seems very realistic and down to earth and I’d like to see more of him, but he and the story aren’t enough right now to keep me invested. We’ll see how the third episode goes...