Thursday, December 8, 2016

Genocyber


   Stay on the internet long enough and you'll probably run into clips of Genocyber. It's a notorious little anime nasty that's known for it's graphically detailed gore and violence. "Say no more-", I said to nobody in particular, "Where the hell do I sign up?" I love shit like this. Some ultra-violent anime from the 80's or 90's with decent animation and a cyberpunk-esque plot. That's my bag. That's my whole bag. Unfortunately, even the promise of a bloodbath with sci-fi trappings can't save some things from just outright sucking. Was Genocyber one of those unfortunates?

   Not really. Mostly, no. See, the 'show', is laid out in five parts, but in reality there's only three story arcs. There's the pilot episode, the Vajranoid story arc, and then the Ark de Grande story arc. Only the first two are worth watching in my opinion. The Vajranoid arc is split into two episodes, as is the Ark de Grand arc, but really, I wish I would've skipped the latter. But, before I get ahead of myself let me review this whole thing chronologically.

   The pilot episode introduces us to the concept of 'mind shadows' and mandallas, higher planes of consciousness and whatnot. But, it marries these concepts to some cyberpunk technology. Near as I could follow, this scientist and his assistant built a machine to tap into a person's "vajra", their mind shadow, and somehow this ended up producing a pair of children. Elaine and Diana. Elaine's vajra is incredibly powerful, but her psyche is that of an animal, on the other hand, Diana's vajra is mediocre but her psyche is normal. I think I've got this right...

   Basically, Elaine is the weird but powerful one, and Diana is the 'normal' but weakass one. Also, the scientist ends up getting betrayed and murdered by his assistant who takes over and raises Elaine and Diana to his own ends. The pilot kicks into gear once Elaine escapes from his building, and takes refuge in the streets of Hong Kong and befriends a young orphan boy. Thus, the evil scientist sends Diana out to retrieve Elaine. There's also some other nasty cyborgs hunting for her too. The whole thing is a mess, but Elaine is adorable and her relationship with the boy is cute. Which is not something I expected from the show, but welcomed it all the same.

   Anyways, the pilot episode climaxes in a cybernetic throwdown for the ages. Elaine can transform into some kind of super bio-cyber attack monster called the Genocyber, which comes in handy when she has to fight the two cyborg nasties who try to kill her. The whole thing is full of grotesque visuals like The Terminator ala David Cronenberg. It's fantastic. All this stuff is undeniably the highlight of the whole series. Coming up a close second is the entirety of the second story arc, which is much more streamlined than the plot-heavy pilot. See, in the second story arc, Elaine flees to an obscure foreign country to lie low and make friends. This goes terribly wrong of course when the Unites States goes to war with that country.

   In a roundabout way, Elaine ends up in the care of a doctor on a US military aircraft carrier, which is also transporting an experimental cyborg weapon called the Vajranoid. It and it's psycho creator end up being the antagonists that Elaine has to fight, but the doctor and her backstory provide a surprising element of depth that is as touching as it is also disturbing. I was seriously enjoying Genocyber so far. Both the pilot and this second story arc were great. Genre classics. But, then, the Ark de Grande story arc happened. In short, it's the most pointless, tacked on, anti-climactic, and meandering last-chapter ever. It's set hundreds of years after the last arc, and it features all new characters doing shit not even remotely related to anything to do with Elaine.

   When the connection is revealed, it's a thin-ass one that made me groan. None of the show's core elements carried over to this arc. Gone is the cyberpunk aspect, gone is the ultra-gore, and gone is the action packed cyborg battles. Only at the absolute end of this two-episode arc does this even begin to feel like a Genocyber episode, and at that point it's too little, too late. If you're interested in this show, and you end up enjoying the first two story arcs, do yourself a favor and skip the third. It's worst crime is that it's simply... boring.

   Otherwise, the rest of Genocyber, has decent animation, ridiculously fun action scenes, and some stomach-churningly grotesque visuals. Sure, it has a muddled plot, some bad dubbing, and jarring jumps in chronological continuity, but it still gets a full, guns-blazing, recommendation from me. This is right up there with the Devilman OVAs and Wicked City in my opinion.

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