Azure Striker Gunvolt: The Anime (Armed Blue: Gunvolt OVA in Japan) is a 22-minute Original Video Animation based on Inti Creates' Azure Striker Gunvolt franchise of 2D action platformer games and animated by LandQ Studios. It is an adaptation of part of the first game in the series, Azure Striker Gunvolt. It was released on February 9th, 2017 via Nintendo eShop, and on BD on September 28, 2017.
20 Minutes into the Future, young people start appearing with mysterious psychic powers. They become known as Adepts, and their powers Septima, and become feared by the populace. To protect the public, the Mega-Corp Sumeragi Group uses its "Psychic Protection Program" to keep both Adepts and regular folks safe. However, unbeknownst to the public, this "Psychic Protection Program" is a front for Sumeragi to catch and experiment on Adepts. Upon learning of their atrocities, the independent organization "QUILL" (FEATHER in Japan) is formed to counter Sumeragi and free Adepts under their control.
This is the story of the titular Gunvolt, a young teen freed from Sumeragi's experiments by Asimov, an Adept who leads QUILL's SHEEPS unit in Japan. As the result of Sumeragi, Gunvolt possesses a Septima known as "Azure Striker", which allows him to control and manipulate lightning and electricity. When SHEEPS is tasked with eliminating Lumen, a virtual idol Sumeragi is using to locate and capture Adepts, Gunvolt begins a crash course with a dangerous destiny...
Azure Striker Gunvolt: The Anime contains the following tropes:
- Adaptation Expansion:
- Creepy Electro-Whip Guy gets one extra scene with Merak, in which he's shown to be practically Camp Gay.
- The process of freeing Joule and Lumen is greatly expanded upon, with Joule resisting the transmitters in her capsule and Gunvolt being forced to invoke his full power to break her free.
- Anime Theme Song: "Reality", performed by the local Cyber Diva, Lumen.
- BFS: Luxcalibur, of course. However, while in the game, Gunvolt simply summons the sword to inflict damage, in the anime, Gunvolt grabs it by its handle and cleaves Merak clean into two.
- Big Blackout: When Gunvolt frees Joule, he discharges enough electricity to shut down the entire city.
- Broad Strokes: The latter half of the episode is a loose adaptation of the first game's first mission, with several liberties taken.
- Gunvolt is never tortured, he simply breaks free once he knows Lumen is on the train and grabs Creepy Electro-Whip Guy's electrified whip to recharge himself.
- The train segment is cut down to just two Mantis showing up, and Asimov personally dispatches the second.
- Merak is fought on the train. In the game, Merak is a completely separate level.
- As mentioned in Adaptation Expansion, the scene where Gunvolt frees Joule is extended.
- Gunvolt doesn't break from QUILL on the spot. He is instead disavowed by Asimov post-mission.
- Brown Note: When Joule attempts to break free from her restraining device, she emits a piercing scream that harms Gunvolt. He fights through the pain long enough to get Joule free.
- Color-Coded Characters: The Sumeragi Swordsmen that appear at the end can be recognized by their colors.
- Dull Surprise: One of the common complaints about the English voice acting is that Gunvolt sounds rather flat.
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- The rest of the Sumeragi Swordsmen appear at the end of episode surrounding Gunvolt, but are shrouded in shadow and are only identified by their Tron Lines.
- Nori, who was introduced in Gunvolt 2, appears with Copen at the end of the episode.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": This is the first iteration of the series where the creepy electro-whip guy is actually called "Creepy Electro-Whip Guy"note , although the name was coined earlier by official online media. In the translations and dub, this is the only name he's known as. The Japanese credits gives his name as "Romeo".
- Flanderization: In the games, Merak is a slacker who plays online games as a pastime. In the anime, his slacker traits are practically non-existent and his game traits are taken way Up to Eleven, to the point where he proactively engages Gunvolt and constantly uses game terminology such as "session", "cheating", and "respawn".
- Gameplay and Story Integration: It is implied that Gunvolt is able to visually perceive his Tags, as does the player in-game.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Merak gets cleaved in half by Gunvolt's Luxcalibur, before blowing up.
- Invocation: As Gunvolt activates his Luxcalibur, he chants:"Flash, my enchanted sword of lightning! Destructive azure thunderbolt, smite my foe! Luxcalibur!"
- Limit Break: Gunvolt has his signature Luxcalibur, which he uses to off Merak. Merak also uses Lazy Laser against Gunvolt once he's sufficiently pissed off.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Merak fires a massive payload of rockets at Gunvolt. Gunvolt simply dodges through the mess with Prevasion.
- Made of Explodium: Instead of returning to a Glaive form upon dying, Merak spectacularly explodes when destroyed by Luxcalibur.
- Mêlée à Trois: While it isn't apparent until the end of the episode, Copen snipes both Gunvolt and Merak from offscreen with Voder, causing Gunvolt to eat a punch in the back.
- One-Hit Kill: Merak dies in a single blow, courtesy of a Luxcalibur to the face.
- Only in It for the Money: When Gunvolt asks as to why Merak is siding with Sumeragi, Merak states that he needs the money for games.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Most of the entire train sequence is cut. This makes sense, since realistically, there would really be no reason for a big platforming level full of guards on a moving train.
- Single-Stroke Battle: Merak dies this way, sliced into two via Diagonal Cut by Gunvolt's Luxcalibur. It's notable that during the course of the fight beforehand, Gunvolt never landed a single hit.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Lumen's song energizes Gunvolt and gives him the strength to summon Luxcalibur and kill Merak.
- Whole Episode Flashback: The entire episode is told through a flashback Joule is having.
- Your Size May Vary: For some reason, the Mantis that appear are just a little bigger than Gunvolt. In the game, they're at least three times bigger than him.