31 Days of Hell: Blood, Guts and Steel: Genocyber (1994)

We take a break from our normal 31 Days of Hell series to bring you something completely different.

The nineties were an interesting time to be a fan of anime in the U.S. as most of the stuff that was localized was extreme and adult. Anime was stereotyped as being full of sex or gory, and it was not uncommon for it to be displayed right next to the porn in video stores. Of course, like most young teenagers, I was intrigued by things of that nature and the fact that it was animated boobs and blood made it even more novel to me. One of my favorite genres has always been cyberpunk and Genocyber, along with Akira (1988) and A.D. Police Files (1990) were often in my watch rotation. Genocyber definitely isn't as classic as Akira--it's more on the trashy side, but still a whole lot of fun. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.

The plot concerns a biological weapon known as Genocyber which is a humanoid monster/cyborg hybrid (incorporating shades of Guyver influence) with both physical and psychic powers. It is is the combination of two sisters, Elaine and Diana, who have incredibly strong psychic abilities. A huge company in Hong Kong is funding the research for Genocyber but unfortunately they have bitten off more than they can chew. Like a lot of anime, the story is convoluted and some of it just plain doesn't make sense. The manga it was based on only had one volume completed, so the story differs greatly in the OVA (Original Video Animation) version. It ends up being surreal and bizarre and it is possible to piece the narrative together after several viewings.

What this anime is most infamous for is its pervasive and brutal depiction of graphic violence. This is hands down the most gory anime I have personally seen and this show takes glee in eviscerating characters in the most horrific way possible. David Cronenberg ain't got nothing on the body horror depicted in this show and nobody, not even children, are safe from being splattered across the screen. Everything is anatomically correct and you can see intestines, brains, hearts and bone matter exploding in loving detail and no character seems to show remorse for their actions. It's dog eat dog in the world of Genocyber. Being that it is an OVA, this production has a higher budget than a normal anime series so the animation is excellent and smooth. The action scenes are exhilarating and fans of mecha shows will find a lot to love here.

The company that localized this anime, U.S. Manga Corps., had a habit of inserting copious swearing into the English dub tracks in order to make the content seem more "adult". This process was known as "fifteening" in reference to the Manga's UK division's rating system (in which age fifteen-and-up was considered "Mature"). This was done in order to give an anime that wouldn't normally be considered mature a higher rating and therefore make it have a naughty and sleazy appeal. These dubs were in no way accurate to the original script and in retrospect are cringe-inducing and hilarious. I love these dubs for their camp value, similar to how I enjoy cheesy dubs for old kung-fu flicks. I highly recommend watching Genocyber in English because it adds immensely to the enjoyment factor.

Modern anime for the most part is a bit more mild and ubiquitous so there isn't as much extreme content localized. If you want to watch some anime with a bit of stank on it, then the late eighties and early nineties are where it's at. Genocyber is a mixture of cyberpunk and splatter-punk, both genres that are not utilized in anime much anymore. Grab a six-pack of beer and enjoy the bloodbath.


-Michelle Kisner