Cybernetics Guardian [聖獣機サイガード Seijuki Cyguard (Holy Beast Cyguard)] (1989)
Starring Takeshi Kusao, Hiromi Tsuru, Hirotaka Suzukoi, Kiyoshi Kawakubo, Shozo Iizuka, Tessho Genda, Wakyo Sogabe, Yusaku Okura
Directed by Koichi Ohata
This is just a short little action romp. It’s not a very special anime, but then it isn’t trying to be one. It has a very B-movie feel to it. The creators basically threw a bunch of cool stuff into a pot and mixed it up hoping for something awesome. The story is pretty minimal, but still manages to be convoluted thanks to all the random ideas they used.
A robot test pilot named John gets his big trial run sabotaged by Adler, a jealous scientist who wants his own projects to succeed instead. Then some random demon worshipers show up and kidnap John. They do some bizarre black magic science experiment and turn John into the robot avatar of their evil god. Demon John goes on a rampage across town, which only convinces Adler to hate the guy even more. Meanwhile, John’s hot scientist girlfriend tries to fix everything, and the cops run around getting ripped apart by the monster.
The film operates solely on the premise that demons, giant robots, explosions, and hard rock are cool. The plot is nothing more than the mortar that holds those bricks together. It’s not really all that well put together either. Obviously the character development is pretty shallow, but the action scenes don’t have a lot of visceral impact to them either. The film gets by because the creators were right: giant demon robots blowing stuff up to a rock soundtrack is in fact pretty damn cool.
The film as a whole is pretty average, all things considered. While it never does much of anything noteworthy, it never really falls on its face either. Even though I never felt invested enough to keep going, I never felt bored. It’s full of action, and keeps up a good enough pace. It’s also got a really great transformation scene where John sprouts arms out of his back and grows awesome monster armor. The animation is great for this scene, although as a whole it can be hit or miss. This is certainly nothing abnormal for the time, and is really to be expected, but there were a couple of moments that felt weaker than they should have.
I think my favorite bits were the weird demon worshipers and their crazy plans. I kind of wish we’d gotten more detail on those guys, but I should be careful what I wish for. The plot here doesn’t bring anything enlightening to the table. Asking for more detail would probably be begging for a boring waste of time that would only lessen the coolness of those freaky rituals. I’ll just be happy with what I got.
There’s enough fun stuff crammed in here to make it an enjoyable way to pass the time, and at a mere 45 minutes it won’t overstay its welcome. Just make sure you’re here for the right reasons. Wanting anything other than some cool action scenes would be the wrong reasons. I wouldn’t go out of my way for this one, but if you’re in the mood to see stuff blow up, then this one’s got you covered.