Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Genocyber: Stage 1: A New Lifeform: Part 1

Okay, here goes. I snagged this OVA after hearing it was a 'cult' favorite and had gore compared to Elfen Lied. I'm honestly not sure I can recap what goes on in this show, because, well... there are scenes in this series that I'd have to compare to being in a car wreck: it's not until you're outside of the car and the ambulance is pulling up that you realize something has just happened, but holy shit did something just happen. You blacked out for a second when the airbag hit you, your shoulder hurts for some reason, someone in the distance is crying, that might be blood in your mouth, but when asked about what happened, you just stare blankly until someone helps you back up. Of course, there are also scene comparable to driving from Toledo, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois in one, uneventful stretch. So, don't get your hopes up just yet.

We start off with an old video being recorded in a lab. A doctor explains that they've hooked up a human subject to a PSI-scanner. The scanner shows that there are 'images' and 'shadows' displayed. "This is known as the 'mind shadow'. Within this shadow, lies a still unexplored universe." He says that what we call 'life force' blows like a wind through these shadows. He calls this wind, "Vajura." He's built this big device that'll amplify the Vajura to 'near infinity.' Tanya, some girl, is inside it now, about to get her Vajura blown up. Yeah, I thought I'd come up with a decent joke for that, too. Mr. Doctor Man explains that increasing the Vajura will give birth to, "a hitherto hidden power of unbelievable proportions," sounding a lot like someone about to do something stupid for their own selfish reasons. "From that inner cosmos of creation and annihilation will come the child." A Hilton sister? "My child... Genocyber!" Oh. So, not as bad?

Credits: Hong Kong in still-frame glory. Little bit in, we hear a reporter announce that the "Council of Advanced Nations" has ended individual national armies. Evidently, the armies of the advanced nations pooled their armies together into the United Nations' Troops. Which sounds more like a football team. "Ladies and gentlemen... here are your United Nations' Troops!" If 'council of advanced nations' didn't tip you off, this show takes place in the future. Well, future relative to 1993. It's the 'early 21st century.'

In a... fenced in pile of ruble, a young boy is being pushed around by a rowdy teen while three others watch on. The boys are part of some underworldly nogoodnik association, and the youngest member didn't pull in enough money. So, he gets the shit knocked out of him and kicked out of the UNA. He lies in the rubble, unconscious, with visions of a girl who appears to be in the video for Take On Me by Ah-Ha. He wakes up to find himself elsewhere, near the girl from his vision who's standing over what looks like a severed arm holding a pipe. A friendship is born.

As a car holding two new characters drive down an empty road (Future Hong Kong has zero traffic, apparently), the news reporter comes back to tell us that the Council president wants to base the Troops in orbit. 'Cause that's where you want your army personnel incase they need to be sent out right away on some relief mission: in space. Her colleague and/or guest, exposits that not all armies have been drafted into the Troops. He starts to tell us about certain 'corporations' that hold weaponry, when we're taken to a crime scene where a man lies face down on the ground, missing one arm. I'm sure completely unrelated to the last scene.

The dead guy worked at the Kyuryu Science Institute, which angers our new, yet-to-be-named policeman character. So, he's on his way to the KSI to try and get some answers from an 'old friend' he has working there. On his way, the reporter's colleague/guest continues his talk from the day before, right where he left off. The corporation he was about to name just so happens to be the Kyuryu Group, a company that specializes in weapon development. Not really an army, just well stocked incase of zombie uprisings. But, hey, the plot needs thickening.

Inside KSI, a boy reads characters off a note being covered by a research assistant. The guy in charge, Kenneth Reed, tells a worker bee to move the boy to 'level-three' (Water World) just as he gets a call from the lobby. Davey, our policeman friend, is waiting to see him. As he goes to meet him, we're thrown to a scene in a hallway. A man screams before bursting out of a room and falling to his knees. A girl follows, produces a tennis ball she was holding behind her back, levitates it, then starts to go into the air herself. KSI studies that fun kind of science that doesn't need to be bogged down by facts or reality. A woman wearing a red cape walks in from nowhere and stares the kid down, who's looking quite smug for whatever she just did to that guy. With just a rise of the eyelids, Red makes the girl coil in disgust. The tennis ball bursts open revealing red tendrils, then we share the girl's nightmarish vision that's being pumped into her head:
And the video is all wavy and dreamy like that. Sort of like too many frames of animation were squeezed in and ran slightly out of sequence. We come out of the vision to see the tennis ball is just fine, the tendrils being part of the vision, but the girl has gone into some sort of catatonic state and collapses to the floor. Red calmly walks by her and out of the shot. I use to be on hand for parent teacher conferences like that when I was little.

In Reed's office, we learn that it was 14 years ago that Dr. Morgan, presumably the man in the intro video, was lost during an 'accident,' presumably the whole Vajura thing. Davey insists that if Reed has started up Morgan's "insane" research, he'll find a way to shut it down. Reed claims ignorance, and as Davey starts to gear up the threats, Red (real name, Diana) throws open the door and gives Davey a waking nightmare of his own. Reed slaps her to the ground to make her stop, then orders the cops to leave and never come back.

Once alone, Diana explains to the audience and Reed, her father, that, "Elaine removed her Vajura restraint necklace," resulting in her escape. And without Elaine, Reed cannot complete his research which he knows nothing about. As they talk on, we dissolve to a new location. The ex-UNA boy is in an abandoned building with Elaine, the girl who found him earlier. As he eats unidentifiable foodstuffs from a bag, Elaine pounces the ground next to him like an animal and takes some food for herself. Diana and Reed's conversation continues in some lab, where Diana is getting some sort of treatment. Her stomach is cut open to reveal icky things that look more mechanical than biological. Reed says that no one can see the true power of Vajura and Diana hesitates before speaking - yes, stomach open, she's still awake. "Are you turning against me after I saved your life?!" Reed shouts, then grabs hold of something inside Diana's stomach. Squirm. She screams then says she's very grateful for everything the doctor's done for her. As they talk, you can hear metal or plastic parts being moved around inside her.

At a restaurant, three new people are going over their 'next target.' One of them looks at pictures of Elaine looking pretty pissed off. "The file they sent over says her power's pretty dangerous stuff," The One Guy says. The Busty Redhead counters, "Like we've never had to take down an esper before?" After The Fat One agrees that there shouldn't be any problems, Redhead adds, "She can be minus an arm or a leg, just as long as she's alive." I have a good feeling about these guys. I think they'll go far.

Elaine wakes up from a dream I'm not sure how to describe as Boy returns home with some food. They seem happy to see each other. On the roof, Elaine levitates and peels an orange with her mind, before flying the whole damned thing into Boy's mouth. Instead of choking and dying, Boy eats it and smiles big. At no point does he take the supernatural citrus peeling as a sign of weirdness. If you're ever going about your day and you meet an anime character who can flay fruit with her mind, freak out right away. No good will come of that.

We pull back slowly from the rooftop and hear Diana say, "Elaine's currently in a peaceful mindset. She hasn't been this stable since she escaped." She is now suited in a full mechanical outfit and is reporting to her father who's at a control panel in another room. Reed says that now is the best chance to go after her, prompting Diana to ask, "Do I exist just to control Elaine when she goes wild?" "That machine was built because only you can control Elaine's Vajura," he replies. Um... okay. Diana goes on to say that Elaine doesn't know how to control her power, making her dangerous, and it's pretty clear that she wants Elaine dead. Not so much because she'll kill everything and everyone, but because Diana wants to be Daddy's little girl. But just as she's getting to that, a tube connected to her neck injects her with something. "Start dealing with this!" Reed yells, not really wanting to deal with things himself. We're then treated to mecha legs being screwed onto a mecha hip, mecha arms being fastened to a mecha torso, and a mecha head being shiny. It's all very 80's Japanimationy. Even has the crosspatched, fake computer background.

Back to the thoroughly interesting detective storyline. Davey, somehow, managed to find some footage of Elaine in an outtake reel from a TV show that was being filmed the other day. I'll buy the girl who prepare food with her mind, I'll buy the woman who can put horrible visions into your head, I'll even buy Genocyber as a title... but a detective that dedicated to his job? I hereby suspend my belief. How did he even start looking for her in the first place? He was the case of the dead guy with no arm a second ago. Then there's an earthquake. I don't know why.

We join the underworldly nogoodnik association getting paid by their boss down on the street. No one's worried or talking about that whole 'ground shaking thing,' so I guess the earthquake was localized to police headquarters. The boss asks where 'the other kid' is, and the UNA leader admits that he had to downsize. To get the plot back on track, the boss says that he saw Boy the other day with 'an older woman.' Hard cut to the UNA confronting Boy and Elaine in the abandoned building, which they somehow immediately knew to go. The UNA leader pushes Boy to the ground, and tells Elaine she should go with them for some wholesome fun. Just as she's about to do some cool anime thing, there's a flash, and we do a CSI-zoom to her eye. A red outline of the city is reflected in her retina, looking a lot like a Virtual Boy game. She blanks out, focusing on her game of Vertical Force, and the UNA leader pokes her in the forehead with his finger. Boy gets thrown to the ground again as the UNA leader talks about how he wants to have some fun. Skee Ball? Probably Skee Ball. One of the others ask if he should do it in front of the little boy, and the third says, "Let's see how small he really is." And yes, they see. It's pretty disturbing. Leader starts feeling up Elaine, still watching the red lines, which we see in a second is the view-point of the mecha chick flying towards the building. Elaine lets off a primal scream, just as mecha chick crashes through the roof. Immediate pay-off as she puts a fist through Leader's head and throws him against a wall.

Diana's face shows through the mecha's helmet, and she tells Elaine to come home. She tells Elaine to constrain her Vajura, and instead the room explodes. That's Elaine's way of saying, 'No.' Elaine escapes with Boy in tow. Somewhere, Redhead looks on with a stupid looking eyepiece. "Okay, remember: it's the future. Look shiny and glue a bunch of crap to your head."

Elaine and Boy materialize in a subway station. And, for once, I mean it literally and not as a sarcastic way to point out bad editing. Elaine's in pain and Boy is scared. Neither of them have said a word so far, I should point out. In a subway car, Elaine lays down on a seat, and Boy stands in front of her, arms outstretched, protecting her from whoever. It's kind of sweet. That One Guy, who isn't The Fat One or the Busty Redhead, uses his future, robot ear to listen in on a police broadcast about Elaine. They plan to get officers on the subway at the next stop, but One Guy wants to get to her first. So, he starts stomping on the ground really fast, breaking a hole to the subway tunnel. You heard me. Further down the tunnel, the subway runs into One Guy, who has Dr. Octopus-like robot arms extending from his back, which stop the subway cold. Using various, unnecessary, Inspector Gadget-like tools, the three gore-fodder hunters board the train and take Elaine. Redhead and One guy walk off, leaving Fat One to carry Elaine away. Except he doesn't get very far. He starts having one of those waking nightmares, and drops Elaine to the ground. Thinking there are bugs in his head, he rips his skull open and drops brain on the floor. Elaine gets away, but That One Guy still has Boy.

Now, we're only half-way through this first episode, but I've burned through four pages already. To keep save this from being a huge entry, and a touch of my sanity, I'm going to break this recap into two parts. Will Elaine get away? Will Diana get the love she feels she deserves? Will Boy ever get a name? Tune in... later.

1 comment:

Shore-Leave OIC said...

Damn, that was a LOOONG READ, went through many cups of coffee