Monday, October 22, 2012

Genocyber Anime Review

U.S. Manga Corps
Complete Collection - 1 disc
156 mins. - 5 episodes
$39.99 (2000)
$19.99 (2004)
ISBN 719987200722
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Koichi Ohata
Studio - Bandai Visual/ARTMIC

Synopsis: The work of a gifted scientist researching psychic abilities produces a set of twins with incredible abilities.  A terrible laboratory accident claims his life, but research on the twin sisters continues by the Kuryu Group corporation.  The sisters exhibit intensely powerful psychic abilities, but are both imperfect.  Elaine is childlike and mute as her mental state never fully developed, while Diana was born with a non-functioning body which has been replaced with cybernetics.  Both sisters are under the cruel care of the former chief scientist of the original researcher.  His ambitions are to create a bio-weapon for the Kuryu Group to secure their interests as a new global government forms.
Diana's cybernetic body
Elaine escapes captivity and befriends an impoverished local boy.  Diana and a group of cyborg mercenaries are sent to recapture her, but now Elaine has someone to fight for.  The frighteningly powerful being known as Genocyber emerges as a result of Elaine's stress and their battle threatens to destroy the city.  Can Elaine save her new friend and will Diana finally stop being used as a tool to keep Elaine in check?
Elaine and her friend having fun together
The Kuryu Group consider the Genocyber and its psychic potential to be their property.  If they cannot control the being then they will destroy it at all costs.  Another scientist from the original project creates an artificial being tapping into the same psychic reservoir as the Genocyber.  The being is called a Vajranoid and is stationed on a U.S. aircraft carrier for field testing.  The carrier picks up Elaine, who is suffering from amnesia.  What will happen when the two psychic powerhouses come into contact within the cramped space of the aircraft carrier?  The entire crew is in jeopardy as the Genocyber reemerges into the world!
The frighteningly powerful being known as Genocyber
Fast forward several centuries to a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  Ark de Grand is the one city which stands as a beacon for hope among the ruins of civilization, but it's run by a fascist dictator who brutally eliminates any opposition or dissidents.  Political rebels threaten his rule and he lashes out against a group of ostracized vagrants attempting to live beneath the city.  They worship the remains of a strange creature who resembles the Genocyber!  Will the devastating being resurrect itself to protect the innocent and what sadistic doomsday trap has the Kuryu Group left as a centuries-old contingency plan?
The cyborgs chasing Elaine have some nasty hardware
Pros: Incredibly violent and gory (if that's what you're looking for), first episode was pretty good and sets up an interesting plot (but...), designs for the Genocyber creature and cyborg mercenaries were cool, great metaphor for technology corrupting those who lose sight of their respect for humanity/nature
Never fall asleep with a hooker...or investigate the Kuryu Group
Cons: Plot is all over the place from episode to episode and quickly loses steam after a strong start, seems like the violence and cruelty took center stage, depressing and filled with horrific killing, ending was nebulous, animation wasn't great and also suffered from shifts between episodes, children are shown being violently gunned down in one scene
Something terrible happens to the crew on the aircraft carrier
Mike Tells It Straight: Genocyber is easily one of the most graphically violent anime series I have ever seen.  The term ultraviolence perfectly describes it and is only recommended for viewers who can stand scenes of graphic death/torture.  I watched the first episode back in high school in the 1990s and have wanted to see the rest of the series ever since (I was a teenage boy and fascinated by the graphic violence).
Classic scene from first episode's hospital massacre
Over fifteen years later and I finally watched the whole thing.  Well, it didn't hold up to my expectations as the first episode is clearly the best.  A fascinating story along the lines of Akira (psychically powered youths) is set up with strong emotional and graphic scenery.  However the plot shifts to two completely different settings (an aircraft carrier and a post-apocalyptic future).  I wish the first storyline was longer as I didn't really like the second and third quite as much.
Massacre below Ark de Grand city
It's not a terrible show by any means and the message of the writers/director were good - man commits atrocities and can be incredibly cruel to one another, but there is hope.  Overall Genocyber is a decent bit of science fiction (perfect example of modern old school anime) and some folks will like it very much, but the majority of viewers will find it to be far too violent.  If you're looking for dark sci-fi with a dose of gore then it's the perfect show.  Caveat emptor!

TO BUY and Recommendations: