Guyver Out of Control is a 1 episode OVA from 1986. It was the first adaptation to make it to the US waters on VHS in 1993 through Dark Image Entertainment (a sub division from US Renditions). Sadly it is the last to make it to dvd, should a release ever happen at all. There was some hope when ADV licensed their co-produced Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor TV series in 2006. A minority of fans in forums were hoping they would tie in the old 1986 OVA with the new TV show. ADV did this with Area 88, licensing the 3 part 1985 OVA series after the successful release of the 2004 TV show. However no licensing news for Guyver Out of Control has ever surfaced and with ADV in financial hardship, the dream of a successful tie in, is now surely dead.
Guyver has had 4 anime adaptations, a one shot OVA, two 6 episode OVA series and a 26 episode TV series. Despite the later adaptations being longer and following the manga more closely, I feel they got it right the most with the original OVA. With only 1 chapter of the manga released at the time, the director and production team had to use their own creative mind to fill in the gaps since there simply wasn't enough material to complete a story. This makes it the most unique compared to it's later releases.
One of the biggest changes is Guyver II is now a woman and takes a much more prominent role in the show. Later adaptations, we only see Guyver II for a short period of time but in this, we see the character and armoured suitfor almost the entirety of the show. Another big difference is the added realism of Chronos Headquarters, which is portrayed as a business organisation rather than a criminal syndicate run by alien lifeforms. Lastly, another significant change I wanted to list is the the main character Sho who becomes host to Guyver I. In this OVA Sho is full of angst rather than the confidenct protagonist in later adaptations. Sho suffers a lot of personal loss, becoming isolated and retreating into baron wastelands. Forcing him in to a period of intense change and personal growth. One scene actually bears a striking resemblance to the Area 88 OVA series, for those familiar with the show, watch Sho collapse in the desert scene and you will see what I mean.
Guyver Out of Control has more than just plot changes though. The production team decided to go all out, cranking up the blood and gore factor massively. In this you will see mutilations, decapitiations and quite a lot of blood in key scenes. There's also quite a bit of fan service too with the creator's exploiting the fact that Guyver II is a female in this version. Infact her first transformation sequence can be considered borderline hentai. Later adaptions had a lot of this censored out, with the the latest tv series being the worst culprit. This is a shame considering I always been in awe of the Guyver franchise for pushing boundaries in the action genre.
The animation in the show is excellent and the character designs have that great rough shaded look that was so typical of the times, even in big budget theatrical releases like Project A-ko. Mizuki's character design resembles that of Ami from the Cream Lemon series and was the standard back in 1986. The music soundtrack in this, is one of my all time favourites, I've never heard a synthesiser used as effectively as this for fight scenes before, the sound effects are equally impressive as well.
In conclusion, Guyver Out of Control is more than just an action shonen show, it's full of depth and drama. Even if you're familiar with other adaptations from the Guyver franchise, very few fans will be able to predict the direction the story is taking when watching this for the first time.
Update - Since a high quality Japanese Laserdisc has recently surfaced on to the internet, I've seen many attempts at updating the low VHS quality versions that had plagued the internet for years. However recent attempts as using this high quality raw have been dismal. The subtitle timings for one had been terrible. Therefore I took matters into my own hands and did an ACR update. I even added song lyrics for all the songs with vocals, which even the standard VHS release didn't have back in it's day. Enjoy and please comment if you like the improvement.
Overall Grade/Rating: A
Commercial Availability: VHS (Japan, USA), Laserdisc (Japan)