Genre: Anime / Science Fiction / Horror
IMDB Rating: 6.3 / 10
Down here in the southern hemisphere we’re either experiencing the harshest winter ever or I’m getting old enough that my knees can tell me when it’s going to rain. Something about this made my brain decide that the day would best be spent in bed with a flapjack stack, a well-made pot of tea, and some horrifyingly gory and graphic anime. I must admit, despite some reservations, that my brain’s idea was a solid one – the flapjack stack was amazing, the pot of tea was satisfyingly soothing, and Genocyber taught me that I haven’t become entirely desensitised to that particularly Japanese blend of body mutilation.
As with the other anime I’ve reviewed Genocyber is divided into five episodes spanning three story arcs – I’ll break the plot down by the story arcs.
Episode 1: A New Life Form
In the 21st century mankind dares to dream of a Utopian world racked by violence: as the world’s developing nations prepare to form a single united government, Kenneth Reed, with funding from the Japanese Kuryu Group, is working to create the Genocyber, the world’s ultimate weapon. He will do this by harnessing the Vajra (psychic) energy of sisters Elaine and Diana and melding them together, thus forming the Genocyber.
The problem is that the initial experiment only called for one child to be born, and the disruption to their Vajra at the time of birth resulted in Elaine being born feral and Diana being born with virtually no muscle control in her body. When Elaine, imbued with more Vajra than the designers could ever have imagined, manages to escape Kenneth sends Diana in a very fetching mechanical suit all around Hong Kong to find her and bring her back. At the same time a gang of cybernetically-enhanced government agents are also looking for Elaine, and aren’t scared to leave a trail of corpses in their wake if it means getting the job done.
When Elaine merges with Diana to protect herself, and thus becomes the Genocyber, Hong Kong is in for a literal hell ride as the beast fights to defend itself.
Episodes 2 and 3: Vajranoid Attack & Global War
Shortly after the events of the first episode the great and well-known nation of Karain has decided that it doesn’t need to be part of the United Nations or the new world government and decides to go rogue and attack its neighbour. Sadly a routine bombing of a small beach goes horribly wrong when a helicopter fleet blows the ever-loving shit out of Elaine’s friends while the group was innocently frolicking.
Elaine, shocked from the attack and exhausted from blowing up helicopters, is taken aboard the Alexandria, a US supercarrier en route to Karain to bring peace to the region by force. The supercarrier, having received images of the Genocyber blowing up helicopters with no apparent motive, asks the Kuryu Group for assistance if they come across the monster. Kuryu’s response: the Vajranoid. While you could be forgiven for thinking that this name denotes some kind of giant murderous vagina, the Vajranoid is actually an automaton imbued with Vajra energy that can meld with any piece of machinery it comes into contact with, making it the perfect war machine.
Unfortunately the Vajranoid identifies Elaine as a hostile target and sets out to kill her. Elaine, not one to be outdone, knows virtually nothing other than how to fight back. When the Vajranoid, under the instruction of its insane creator Dr Sakomizu, absorbs all the souls of those on board the Alexandria to bolster its own power, even the Genocyber is going to have a bit of a time bringing the situation under control.
Episodes 4 and 5: Legend of Ark de Grande City (Parts 1 & 2)
Set 300 years after the previous three episodes, Ark de Grande City is one of the last surviving cities in the world following centuries of destruction across the globe by the Genocyber. Diana eventually managed to convince Elaine that their power was too much for this world, and the Genocyber essentially went into a prolonged hibernation.
Ark de Grande City is the ultimate realisation of the violent Utopia dreamed of in the first episode – clean, efficient, safe, and ruled with an iron fist by a mayor who (quite literally) crushes any dissent or minor infringement that threatens the stability and order of the city. Of course, as is true in all similar situations, a group will rise up to fight its oppressors. The rebels in Ark de Grande City are a Christian sect who believe the Genocyber to be God and its centuries of destruction to be God’s wrath on mankind for their sins. They discovered the husk of the Genocyber’s body when Elaine and Diana pulled their combined consciousness from it and keep it in their Church deep beneath Ark de Grande City.
Things take a turn for the worse when Ryu and Mel, a young couple on the run from Ark de Grande’s authorities, fall through the roof of the Church into the room with the Genocyber’s body. Through a convoluted series of events Diana begins to call Mel ‘big sister’; Mel, wanting revenge on Ark de Grande for its treatment of her and Ryu, merges her consciousness with Diana and Elaine, creating an enormous and even more violent version of the Genocyber to reign terror down on one of man’s final bastions of civilisation.
As I become more and more of an expert in this field, I feel that I can say with confidence that this particular set of episodes was suitably animated. The only thing I didn’t like was in the first episode where the animation was superimposed over real-life photographs; neither the animation or the photography have aged well enough for this to look good in 2016, but it’s a minor gripe and it only happened in the first episode.
Of course it’s the little things that really matter when you’re watching this sort of thing – when a character’s skull and spine are being ripped out through their heads you want your own spine to twitch a little bit; when a character’s hand is split in two to reveal a secret mini-chainsaw, you want your own hand to tingle a little bit (that uncomfortable, slightly itching tingle between the fingers – you know the one); and when a child’s head is blown to pink mist you really want to feel the need to reach for a tissue to wipe the spray off your face. Genocyber offers you all this and so much more!
What Genocyber taught me was that it’s not that I’ve become desensitised to on-screen violence, it’s just that there are certain types of violence that creep me out more than others. Unlike the Urotsukidōji OVAs Genocyber doesn’t abound in sexual violence, and it’s that type of violence that makes my skin crawl. Also unlike the Urotsukidōji OVAs the violence in Genocyber isn’t constant, but rather delivered in short controlled bursts – when it happens it’s quite horrific, but there’s enough time between the various instances to allow your nerves time to recenter themselves before they have to have another go at it.
All in all Genocyber is by no means the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, despite all that I’d heard about it, but it’s disgusting enough that if you like splatter anime you’ll have a good time with it. Despite it also being the master of the anticlimax, where the end of each story arc really falls terrifically flat, the rest of the story leading up to that is quite competent and reasonably easy to follow.
My Final Rating: 6 / 10
Buy Genocyber at Amazon.com