Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Here's some info about one of the earlier series back when started to really get into anime..
Betterman (ベターマン) is a Japanese anime television series which began airing in 1999. It was created by Sunrise's internal "Studio 7" under the direction of Yoshitomo Yonetani. Betterman uses heavily Jungian symbolism and themes, such as Animus.
The series' plot focuses on the threat of "Algernon," a mutation in the brain which causes an accelerated alteration in the sensory, neural and nervous faculties. Those subjected to the phenomenon become violently hostile, suicidal, and share a hive mind collective with those who share the disease. Akamatsu Industries, a group designated to research and counteract Algernon, head a covert squadron of Neuronoids, robots piloted by Dual Kinds to inspect areas exposed to contamination and neutralize any threats brought thereabout. Keita Aono, a high school student, is brought into the fold after a chance encounter with a childhood friend, Hinoki Sai.
The titular hero of the series, Betterman, is a life form of superior physical and mental capabilities via adaptation of "seeds." Through the resulting consumption of these plants, Betterman can metamorphose into situational combat forms. His most common form is the humanoid "Betterman Lamia." Each transformation allows Betterman to attain distinct physical-, psionic-, and mobility-related abilities.
Algernon, the name of which itself derives from the book "Flowers for Algernon", is never completely understood until the final moments of the series. Even then, it is left to the viewer to deduce what Algernon exactly is. Algernon seems to be, as mentioned, either a virus, or a sort of mutation. However, it is in fact a natural method of preventing human perfection which is understood to be the root of evil. The battle between Algernon and Betterman is actually the process of human evolution. It is not entirely impossible that Algernon is everything that it is theorized to be.
Victims of Algernon show symptoms like those in the end chapters of "Flowers for Algernon," (loss of intellect and emotional control) but on a larger, more violent scale. Rage isn't the only symptom, as insanity and bodily mutation are evident in many cases.
It should be also be noted that Betterman takes place in the same world as The King of Braves GaoGaiGar, as characters from both series make guest appearances in the story, though only a few minor links are visually made within the series itself (and only one minor character from GaoGaiGar appears on a semi-constant basis).
Betterman is composed of 26 episodes, first aired on TV Tokyo from April 1, 1999 to September 30, 1999. It has been released in the USA (in DVD format) by Bandai Entertainment. The dubbed English version from this DVD release has also aired on the US cable network G4TV (Known as TechTV at the time of its airing) during the "Anime Unleashed" rotation, premiering on December 30, 2002. Despite this exposure, it is still a fairly unknown series to American audiences. This is perhaps due to its plot, as it is generally considered quite difficult to understand. Also, many different terms are used that are never explained, but these terms are scientifically based and often require broader knowledge concerning biology and other sciences.
I absolutely loved the series, and in fact, I just started watching it again. The dub, sadly is quite lacking for quite a few of the voices. Once I go through watching it, I'll watch it again with subs to see how it compares. If you want to check it out, why not get the first DVD and see if you like it? I see it's pretty cheap on amazon right now :3
After this, I'll probably give GaoGaiGar a run.
Also, LONG LIVE TECHTV. I could probably go on a huge rant on that subject alone, but I'll save that for another time~