Sho Fukamachi was an Ordinary High-School Student with no real worries beyond moving along in school and trying to catch the eye of Mitsuki Segawa, the younger sister of his best friend, Tetsurou Segawa. That is, until he witnessed an explosion on a nearby mountain and came across a mysterious artifact which granted him the power to summon a suit of Bio-Boosted Armor called the Guyver.
An Evil Corporation called Chronos will go to any length, using any underhanded measure, to get back the armor, which has bonded itself to Sho. To help itself, Chronos has an army of modified humans, called Zoanoids, who can transform into monstrous forms with increased speed and strength, as well as the second suit of Guyver armor.
Originally a manga by Yoshiki Takaya, which began running in 1985 and is still currently serialized (32 volumes have been published so far), Guyver was first adapted as a 1986 OVA entitled "Guyver: Out Of Control". Next came the 1989 12-Episode Anime OVA series in 1989 Kyoushoku Soukou GUYVER, or Bio-Booster Armor GUYVER. A 1991 American live action film, The Guyver, costarred Mark Hamill. Its sequel, Guyver: Dark Hero, starring David Hayter, was released in 1994. Finally, a television series aired in Japan in 2005 under the title Guyver: The Bio-Boosted Armor (the Japanese title remains unchanged).
The most recent series can be viewed beginning to end from Funimation's website here.
As Takaya works without assistants, and has been suffering from chronic illness, the manga is released at an extremely slow pace. As of 2016, there have been no new chapters released, and the series is on an unofficial hiatus.
The series is, at its core, an affectionate albeit Darker and Edgier tribute to the Toku series of the seventies, in particular Kamen Rider and Kikaider. Also, its OVA Out of Control has the dubious honor to be the first instance ever of Naughty Tentacles in a non-Hentai anime.
Not to be confused with MacGyver.
Provides examples of:
- The Ace: Agito at the start of the manga. Student president, hails from a wealthy family, hard working, skilled fighter, Mizuki has eyes for him, and Sho tended to play second fiddle to him when he was around but...
- Achilles' Heel: The Guyvers' Control Medallions.
- Third Act Stupidity: In the first movie the Zoanoids find out that hitting a Guyver in his Control Medal dazes and weakens him, and proceed to do so until they're able to rip it out and kill him. After he respawns, none of them even attempt to take advantage of this weakness again. In the second movie the only time the hit-the-Control-Medal tactic is brought up is when the heroine shoots the evil Guyver in his.
- To be fair, by the end of the first movie everyone who knows about the Control Medal's weakness is dead. (Except for one guy, and he's not talking.)
- Action Girl:
- After some 16 books there's finally a female...SOMETHING. Shizu becomes Griselda, a female Proto-Zoalord/Lost Number/something different. Though she's more of a support unit she can certainly mow down mooks pretty well.
- Also the female Guyver II who, depending on whichever side she's on, could become a Dark Action Girl.
- Adaptation Distillation: The 2005 series; and to a greater degree, the 1989 OVA series.
- To give one example, in the manga, Guyver II died not even halfway through the first volume. Even Takaya thought that this was a waste of the character. In the second anime, he becomes the first Arc Villain and his death gets pushed back to episode eight, which is still equivalent to the end of the first volume, but that volume has been expanded a great deal.
- Adaptational Early Appearance: In the OVA series, Hyper Zoanoid Team Five appeared and were subsequently killed in its first half. In the Manga and 2005 Anime, they appear in the Relics Point arc.
- Adaptive Armor: The Guyver units.
- Alike and Antithetical Adversaries: Of the homogenous heroes vs. heterogenous Villains type. Most of Sho's band is made up of Japanese with Aptom being the only possible foreigner. Chronos is world wide with its Zoalords being made up of European, Asian, one possible African, Archanfel, and Waferdanos. Zeus Thunderbolt has the Japanese Agito and Shizu in charge but has Alfredo Hekkering as a scientist and much of the bulk army seems to have a lot of Americans.
- All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles: The scene in Out of Control where Guyver Unit 2 attaches itself to Inspector Valkyria wouldn't look out of place in a hentai title.
- All-Encompassing Mantle: Imakarum Mirabilis wears one, as do most of the other Zoalords.
- The Aloner: Aptom, he likes high places. Archanfel who likes to stay at his island and have his second and third in commands handle Chronos.
- Ambition Is Evil: It may not be intentional but we have Archanfel on one side where he rules the world and wants to eventually draft processed humans into a possible war against the Creators; on another side is Agito who may be just as bad and wants to rule the world; another has the Rogues who just want power; and in another, trying to protect his friends is Sho who only fights because he sees Chronos as doing wrong. To be fair Chronos has brought peace and better medicine; Takaya acknowledges this, and the message is probably that "ambition is good if you want to improve the world or yourself and your relationships but is it worth pulling of an X-Day?"
- Ancient Astronauts: The Advents/Uranus.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Kronos.
- An Ice Person: Good guy Hayami, aka Bio-Freezer. After Hayami's sacrifice Aptom is one too.
- Anti-Hero: Agito, and later Aptom.
- Anti-Villain: Purgstall has his sympathetic fans and did seem to care about humans and Zoanoids. Shin could qualify as well. Hell, some fans see Chronos as being worth all the deaths they've caused so from their POV Sho could certainly qualify as well.
- Appendage Assimilation: Aptom has the ability to regenerate from almost any injury, but he does this by assimilating bio-matter from other people into his body, he can't regenerate from nothing.
- Art Evolution: Some of the characters are a lot uglier in the earlier novels, especially Shizu.
- As You Know: Probably the biggest weakness of the manga. For several of the books from 20-26 Takaya has a character monologue and retread their history for almost an entire chapter, from Agito, Hayami, to Sho on Aptom's. It doesn't help that this is a monthly series that never gets 12 chapters out in a year. These always seem to be at the start of the book too.
- However it seems the 'As You Know' chapters have gotten better when they pop up. At least Agito's showed some story and sometimes these inner monologues give a little insight on how the character studies another.
- The one for book 22 subverts this, Barcus thinks of Waferdanos' origin and the audience didn't know about it before hand!
- Sadly, it looks like for much of one chapter for book 27, Agito recounts the history of mankind's creation... for the third or fourth time in the manga!
- While irritating to readers who've been following the story from the beginning, this may be somewhat of a necessary evil given the manga's Long Runner status and serialized, inconsistent publication (across several different magazines). It's not exactly a guarantee that a Japanese reader picking up a copy of Young Ace will have read any previous chapters, let alone all of them, and the exposition dumps, while clunky, can be very useful to alleviate confusion if a minor detail becomes important.
- Author Avatar: Takaya once stated that he saw himself in Tetsuro. Its rather fitting, both appear to be sci-fi nerds.
- Ascended Extra: Toshiaki Hayami appeared in the background for several books, without even having a name. He is given a name in book 10 and finally returns in book 11 as a Lost Number. The 2005 at least has him introducing himself to Sho and co. however if there's no extension then his anime counterpart won't ascend.
- Natsuki too. Who would have thought getting an Important Haircut could change a background character so much?
- Backstory: Varies from character to character, some get a little (Purgstall was found in Vienna some 200 years ago), to a decent one that lasts a chapter (Waferdanos), to a bit more complex (Archanfel), to.....nothing at all (Gallenos, WHO ARE YOU!?). Guyver fans really don't mind these flashbacks...its when we hear about them again and again (No I'd love to spend another chapter hearing about mankind's origin, the first three times wasn't enough, Takaya).
- Badass Bookworm: Hayami is the top one but really any scientist that willingly rises up against Chronos counts for this.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Rarely, when naked people are in regeneration tanks; the artist usually opts for strategic lighting. However, when a female protagonist was stripped, she was shown to not have Barbie doll anatomy, to the extent that, for the English comic book version, it was deemed necessary to draw in... frilly underwear.
- Barrier Warrior: A Hyper Zoanoid that fought Valcuria formed one around a battlefield. Purgstall possessed one too made of electricity.
- Batman Gambit: Agito's first visit to the Arizona Base. The plan threaten Barcus with the thought of him going to the bottom of the base, and shoot up with the Hyper Smashers, he lies and steals something else, postponing the destruction for another time
- On a smaller scale: Hayami's plan to hold Evil Aptom long enough for Guyver I to finish him.
- The Berserker: ALL Enzymes, especially Genzo Makishima. And Khan when plans don't go his way.
- Big Bad: Archanfel certainly has what it takes to be it, supreme power, an army, the entire world! However he does have the sleeping sickness and if he isn't going to be the manga's big bad then it'll most likely be Richard Guyot
- Big "NO!": Sho screamed this after becoming the Guyver for the first time. Carries over to all the animes and the first movie. Not the last time and Tetsuro and Mizuki have had their turns with it.
- Sean Barker, played by Jack Armstrong, gets another in the first live action film when he thinks he kills Mizky, whom Weber, the one he was actually trying to kill, was holding.
- Bio-Armor: The Guyver is one of the most notable examples.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: The Guyver's extendible high-frequency blades, mounted just below the elbows. And Thancrus as type three.
- Blessed with Suck: Most Zoanoids are gifted superhuman strength even in their human forms, but at any moment could have their brains hijacked by a Zoalord and turned into a brainwashed slave.
- Body Horror. In a series where the heroes and the Mooks are bio-engineered organic weapons that can transform between battle-mode and stealth-mode, there's plenty of this. Or perhaps Transformation Trauma is more accurate. There's also things like the Guyver's tendency to hack and rip Zoanoids apart, with gore and body chunks flying, and Aptom's feeding habits. Able to assimilate genetic material in order to gain new powers, he learned how to consume bio-mass from other living creatures in order to augment his Healing Factor. He essentially "absorbs" people, merging with their flesh and swallowing it into his own body.
- A case of death-by-Body Horror happens to Mark Hamill's character in the first live-action movie. A PG-rated movie, no less.
- Broken Ace: Agito. He's so determined and cold hearted that he comes off as worse than Chronos. The 2005 anime also showed how he's probably in a lot of emotional turmoil. Murakami also falls into this when you find out his true origins...
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Murakami and Aptom
- Breath Weapon: Galenos has one, as does Draglord Cablarl, Darzerb, and Neo-Zextole in the 2005 anime.
- Butt-Monkey: Sho seems a pretty good victim of this. Aptom was this from book 9 to book 25, since he can lose limbs and regrow them quickly. If there's one for Team Five it's Thancrus: whatever the adaptation, he ALWAYS dies first and with little screentime.
- Tokiwadaira, Aso's verbal punching bag and gets the most gag facial reactions.
- By the Power of Grayskull!
- Cast of Snowflakes: Has a large cast of characters, and yet still manages to make most of them quite distinctive.
- Chest Blaster: The Mega Smasher, the most powerful weapon in the Guyver's arsenal. Purgstall shoots a thick bolt from his chest. Some Zoanoids have chest-mounted weapons as well, but one nameless Hyper-Zoanoid in one of the later volumes took it to a ridiculous extreme: its entire torso is one huge blasting crystal.
- Chick Magnet: Outside the manga. Takaya stated in an interview that Murakami is popular with female readers. There are female fans of Archanfel and even some for Aptom.
- Clingy MacGuffin: It's almost impossible to permanently separate a bio-booster from its host without destroying one and killing the other.
- Cloning Blues: When Sho is "killed", in every continuity the Guyver rebuilds his body and itself from a scrap of flesh stuck to the control Medal. Sho is then struck by the existential question of if he's the real Sho Fukamachi or a copy.
- It's implied in the manga that the control metal becomes the Guyver user's "Brain" otherwise it would be impossible for the Guyver to function with the top of its head blown off or regenerate from a few scrapings with the hosts memories intact. Since the host becomes a new creature while bonded with the Guyver then it's not cloning so much as regeneration and reversion. Instead of the original Sho dissolving when the control metal is removed, Sho's consciousness resides in the control metal and the Guyver body itself is just a construct (which happens to contain a duplicate of the host's mind). This means that the Sho running around right now is still Sho.
- Combat Tentacles: Zoanoid Synevite is a humanoid octopus. Aptom sometimes sends a limb forward in a tentacle like motion to absorb a Zoanoid. Waferdanos' hair can extend and entangle or form drills.
- Combat Pragmatist: Agito Makashima "What's that? Old Man Barcus is mourning two of his comrades? I'll shoot him six times in the back!" Imakarum "I'll fight in the city so they'll be concerned with civilians" doesn't work since he tried to pull that on Agito, his fellow pragmatist
- Combining Mecha: The three Branchai Brothers merge their battlestyles to form a fake Guyver Gigantic. Guyot's spider-form was that of four beaked Zoanoids combining together.
- Cool Big Sis: Natsuki after the time skip to Mizuki and somewhat to Sho. Shizu could apply as well to Mizuki.
- Cool Shades: Murakami and Imakarum have these, though Imakarum's is more of a Cool Visor.
- Cool Ship: The Ark... more than twice as long as Manhattan, contains a complete self-sustaining, solar-powered ecosystem capable of supporting millions of people, can hover without obvious means of propulsion, is spaceworthy, has bio-energy cannons three miles long, and, oh yeah... it's 100% organic and in fact alive. Also the Relic (from which the Ark was actually grown).
- Cursed with Awesome: Being a Guyver. Aside from the control medal weakness, you gain city destroying power and regenerative abilities that put Wolverine to shame, but you're also fused with an alien creature.
- Cute Monster Girl: Shizu's battle form is a touch of cute, a touch of creepy, but certainly someone you don't want to mess with. Averted otherwise—female Zoanoids are few and far between but they're all hideous.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Subverted with the case of Agito Makishima, Guyver III. Once gaining the Gigantic he is certainly more brutal, more determined, and certainly not afraid to rip through bystanders to get to an enemy, even going out of his way to harm civilians sometimes.
- Played straight with Hayami's Lost Number form. No bystanders see it and act terrified but the form is a sharp-toothed, skeletal demon-like thing. However he is a very loyal and brave ally to Guyver I and Aptom.
- Deadly Upgrade: The Libertus can tear through anything less than a Zoalord like a hot knife through butter. Griselda is no slouch in combat but is capable of overpowering a Zoalord's telepathic influence in a limited range. All at the cost of having spend most of their time out of combat in tanks since they can't absorb enough energy normally to power their combat forms and even with this they're not expected to survive more than two years. Probably less.
- Also Neo-ZX-Tole. He takes a level in badass, thus sending his bad ass scales off the level, gains all the powers of his other four teammates, an anti-Aptom virus that stops Aptom from absorbing him, and slows Aptom's healing, all at the cost of becoming a Lost Number and losing his high rank. Due to all these powers he only has only a few days to live. Similarly the powered-up form he gets by absorbing Elegen's power in the OVA, which gives him a massive spike in his offensive abilities but which will burn him out in a short time. He doesn't live long enough for it to come up in either case.
- Death Is Cheap: A lot of characters get killed a lot, but given the level of biotech in this anime, it's really hard to make that stick. Even completely insane deaths have been survived, with major characters back From a Single Cell.
- Death Seeker: Hayami given it is hinted he figures he would die, being a Lost Number, soon, maybe even the night they went to get Aptom, he rather sought out a death where he at least got to help rather than peacefully at home. So more of a 'death with meaning' seeker
- Death by Origin Story: Sorry Test Type.
- Deconstruction: The series is essentially a deconstruction of the Henshin Hero and Sentai series that became popular in Japan. The Author essentially shows just what would happen in real life if a normal kid got a powerful transforming armor and had to fight an evil organization bent on world domination.
- In other series like Kamen Rider or Ultraman, the hero can fight off all of the bad guys and defeat the evil organization by himself. Here it's shown clearly that despite the power of the Guyver, Sho is still just one guy against a world-spanning organization with ties to big business and the government and there's really no way he destroy an organization that big alone.
- Sho and Tetsuro thinking Chronos was finished with the desctruction of the Japanese headquarters. It honestly never seems to occur to them at first that an organization with the resources Chronos has and the ability to master bio-manipulation to extent they can wouldn't have more than just a single headquarters or even that it could be bigger than just a single country.
- So you think that after taking a super weapon from an organization bent on taking over the world that said organization would keep the conflict between you and them (and possibly include your loved ones)? Get real! Said evil organization is going to spend its resources hunting you down and doing whatever it takes to get you including attacking your school, home and turning your town into a war zone.
- Defcon 5: It is brought up in book 9 during X-Day. Takaya got it right! At least he knows that DEFCON 1 is the highest alert stage.
- Designated Girl Fight: Natsuki vs. Valcuria!
- Determinator: Agito Makashima, no matter the obstacles he'll destroy Chronos and become the ruler of the world or die trying. Sho too, despite not being as ruthless or as good a fighter as Agito his heart makes up for it. And after taking a level in bad ass and pulling the Gigantic away from Agito, he counts.
- I'm sorry, but Sho showed Determinator status long before taking the Gigantic from Agito. During his first rematch with Aptom, he actually powered through his own traumatized psyche and guilt over the Enzyme II battle to regain his ability to bio-boost. And then, in the same battle with Aptom, despite losing the use of his arms, caused the Mega-Smasher to open through sheer badass willpower.
- David Versus Goliath: In book 15, a flashback showing Archanfel's origin, there is a brief fight between Guyver 0 and a modified T-Rex!
- Disappeared Dad: Subverted.
- Elemental Powers: A number of characters have these. Zoalord Purgstall has lightning, three guess what Bio-Freezer can do, it's a stretch but some could consider Guyot's gravity powers elemental, and some speculate that another Zoalord can control fire but has yet to fight.
- Elite Mooks: Sadly Hyper Zoanoids only got a relative short time as being the most dangerous thing to fight before getting overshaded by Zoalords having to fight the Gigantics and then some 400 Hyper Zoanoids get ripped apart by Four Libertus and Griselda. Ouch!
- Played straight or subverted with the Libertus? Yes they are the mooks of Zeus Thunderbolt and yet for the hundreds of Zoanoids and Hypers they've killed the only ones that have died thus far where due to Agito ordering their self destruction with their C-modes.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Zoalords are made up of various Europeans, Asians, possible one African, a pure Zoalord, and Waferdanos, someone that's not even human or Zoalord. Though they have helped out the entire world Aso expressed that people who become Zoanoids are gradually getting better treatment.
- Evil Is Visceral: The zoanoids' designs evoke this trope, as well as some of the bioboosted armors.
- Exposition Intuition: Tetsuro Segawa may be the patron saint of Exposition Intuition: thanks to being a science-fiction fan, he is able to make numerous, highly specific, and perfectly accurate "guesses" about how the Guyver suit works, the nature of the Zoanoids, that they are being controlled by a major corporation, the various details of the Cronos corporation, the names of individual Zoanoids, and so forth.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Murakami to Imakarum
- Fanservice: For much of the series it is not odd to see men, usually handsome or bishonen ones naked. Worst offenders: Murakami, Archanfel, and the king, Aptom. However with lady Guyver II there has been some for the heterosexual male/lesbian readers, yay!
- Flawed Prototype: The Lost Numbers to an extent although the difference is that with the normal instance of this trope, the prototype is completed without any issue only for flaws to be discovered later. With lost number zoanoids, the flaw is an accident in the creation process.
- Played Straight with the proto-zoalords who are the more traditional example of this trope. Proto-zoalords are made for the purpose of ironing out any wrinkles in the process of creating a zoalord. Creating a zoalord is a unique process that is different for each individual and takes extreme care and oversight. As such, test subjects are altered using the process as planned out on paper with test subjects given pseudo-zoacrystals and with the process itself being adjusted when flaws or imperfections arise. Once all the bugs are ironed out, the chosen Chronos executive will undergo the perfected process with a true zoacrystal.
- For Science!: While the Creators' goal was always to produce the best and most effective weapon using their technology and almost certainly followed procedure and recorded the data, it's all but stated that the Creators bonded a guyver unit to a human because they just wanted to see what happened.
- From a Single Cell: Aptom and the Guyver itself both share this ability.
- Four Is Death: Guess how often Hayami uses his power?
- Full-Frontal Assault: Aptom, lots of times, and Alkanphel in volume 15 of the manga.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke
- Genetic Memory: Aptom seems to have a form of this for his entire consciousness.
- Good is Not Nice: One of the many ways to see Agito and the motives. Maybe even Chronos itself. It really depends on the reader.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Both the Guyvers and Aptom have taken severe damage - up to and including near-complete bodily destruction - on numerous occasions.
- Gone Horribly Right: Aliens invent biological symbiotic armor. Good. Aliens invent a new species designed for combat. Great. Aliens give the species the armo- ABORT! ABORT! SWEET JESUS, IT HAS A PARTICLE CANNON FOR A TORSO!
- Humans eat aliens. Femaliens inherit the world.
- The worst part for the Creators is that the bio-booster itself is not necessarily designed or meant for combat, being more of an all-purpose spacesuit. Humans are just that good at killing that bonding one with it creates an unstoppable death machine.
- Gorn: The old OVA, at least, is almost absurdly violent.
- Greek Chorus: Tetsuro to a degree, Aso and Tokiwadaira do this full time.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: An aversion at Relic Point. When Sho and Agito are infiltrating a checkpoint with a box on a trundlecart, they have all the paperwork, but the guards at the checkpoint insist on following procedure and searching the box, and they only wave them through under "orders from downstairs" arranged by the Guyvers' allies. The guards don't specifically comment on the fact that the box has air holes despite allegedly containing radioactive material, but they don't believe the story either - they think Sho and Agito are sneaking a woman in. (Which they are, actually.) These are some unusually savvy security.
- Hand Cannon: Masaki's Zoanoid Buster Custom certainly qualifies.
- Also the Unit-Remover which certainly can't kill anyone, but is certainly much more deadly than any machine gun to a Guyver. Oh, yeah, and its like eight feet long, at least!
- Heart Drive: The Control Metal.
- Heel–Face Turn: Aptom. More or less.
- Hellish Pupils: Both Imakarum and Archanfel have yellow eyes that eerily resemble those of a housecat.
- Heroic Blue Screen of Death: Sho after killing his father.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Takaya LOVES this one. Murakami in book 8, Yohei Onuma in book 12, Hayami in book 23, Waferdanos and Li Yentsui do this in book 24
- Heroic Safe Mode: When Sho got hurt in the brain while fighting his zoaformed dad. The only way he'd have killed him otherwise.
- Humans Are Warriors: Created by aliens to be the ultimate killing machines. It is implied that even normal humans are ridiculously strong and vicious compared to aliens and have a talent for making weapons that exceeds that of their creators. Then you have Zoanoids, Hyper-Zoanoids, Zoalords, and adding a Guyver to any of those will result in something between "hundreds of times more powerful than a creator" and a Physical God. Not to mention that the Guyver will automatically immunize a human host against our one weakness, the engineered-in susceptibility to Creator mind control.
- "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted, as Sho has been completely unable to put even the tiniest crack in Murakami's brainwashing.
- Implacable Man: Zoalord Richard Guyot, see Rasputinian Death below.
- Important Haircut: We don't see the actual hair cutting but post time skip Natsuki went from long to short hair, signifying that Takaya has brought back a panel character and given them personality.
- Jerk With A Heartof Gold: After some character development Aptom fits this. He is pretty gruff and insensitive but he was really trying to look out for Hayami and eventually Sho.
- Kaiju: Draglord Cablarl Khan vs. Gigantic Exceed.
- Killed Off for Real: Fumio Fukamachi, Team Five, Hayami, Khan, Waferdanos, Li Yetsui, and probably Purgstall.
- Knight Templar: This is so so Imakarum. Normally one can place Zoalords into two categories: 1) loyalists, who serve Archanfel, and Rogues, those who plan to take over just because they're evil and they like power. However this example is indeed a loyalist but has zero cares for humans or Zoanoids. Being able to take fights to populated areas and even being happy to kill them...all in the name of Alkanphel.
- Last of His Kind: Lost Number that can actually fight are rare. It is not known if there are any left aside from Aptom. But from his squad is indeed the sole survivor.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Hayami AKA Bio-Freezer. First demonstrated his Lost Number form in book 12, only showed off his power to freeze stuff once, a very dangerous Enzyme III, and needed help to kill it and showed little strength and durability. Cut to book 17 where he finally transforms again and book 18 where he shows a keen mind to use his power strategically but also knows several secrets of the fortress they're breaking into. Then he bravely sacrifices himself to help save Aptom.
- Light Is Not Good: Archanfel, the main antagonist of the series, dresses in white robes and has silver armor formed into the shape of wings. His battlestyle is eerily angelic.
- Played straight again with Guyver II who is gold color but Risker is a Jerkass to boot!
- Subverted a bit with Guyver I, out of the three Guyvers his basic armor color is not the brightest but still design wise it looks rather gentle and nice. Subverted way more with the Gigantic Guyver which is golden and Sho is the hero of the story.
- Like Can Not Cut Like: High frequency swords.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Many Zoanoids have the ability to secrete acid, glue, high explosives...
- Love Triangle: At the start, Sho is in love with Mizuki, who only has eyes for Agito, who cares only about revenge and domination. Made worse by the fact that Agito notices the situation and has no problem exploiting it for his own ends, no matter who's hurt in the process.
- The Man Behind the Monsters
- Meaningful Name: Lots...
- The Kronos conspiracy is named for Cronus, the Greek Titan. Cronus is famous for killing his father, the sky-god Uranus, and ascending to his throne. Uranus just happens to be the name of the aliens who created humanity. In turn, Agito calls himself "Zeus," after Cronus's son, who killed his father in turn...
- Several of the Zoalords qualify:
- Doctor Hamilcar Barcas takes his name from Hamilcar Barca, Carthaginian general and father of the more famous Hannibal.
- Luggnagg de Clumegnig is named for a country and town in Gulliver's Travels.
- Waferdanos is named for a legendary island populated by "hairy men," appropriate considering his origin and powers.
- Jabir ibn Hayyan is named for a tenth century Arabic alchemist.
- New character Apollyon, named for the angel of the Abyss, seems to have been sent by the Creators to destroy their experiment on Earth, or at least the Zoalords that Archanfel has created. Other translators, however, believe his name should be read as Apollon, the Greek version of Apollo - who was the son of Zeus.
- Meta Mecha: The Guyver Gigantic is a bio-booster armor for the bio-booster armor.
- Monogender Monsters: In the 2005 series, at least, every Zoanoid and Zoalord is male.
- Monster Lord
- Monstrosity Equals Weakness: One of the series' biggest weaknesses is that monstrous zoanoids hog a great deal of screentime, despite being complete non-factors in any and all scenes. They're clearly meant to inspire terror, but given how handily they get killed en masse, it becomes difficult to see them as anything but padding.
- ...Except on X-day, the day on which Chronos takes over the world by suddenly deploying Zoanoid sleepers everywhere - on the streets, in the military and in governments, even in the White House itself. Human military measures are totally inadequate against ordinary Zoanoids, underscoring just how insanely badass the Guyver is.
- Mood Whiplash: The first American movie includes the gore and dismemberment from the manga, but mixes it in with totally out of place cartoonish humor. The sequel plays things straight.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Handled pretty well, for the first few books Sho is figuring out the abilities of the Guyver. Either by seeing another Guyver pull the same move, or with luck. However with the vibration blade, and sonic busters, they sort of happen without any reaction to the characters. Okay the busters first occur with Guyver III and first off-screen most likely but still, Guyver I is just running through Chronos HQ, suddenly he sprouts a vibration blade and cuts off a Mook's head and...that's it. Also some see the Exceed as this.
- The gravity ram, the spike on the Gigantic chest extends out and raises a barrier. No one ever comments on it. Even when Sho is doing it for the first time and Aptom doesn't comment on it.
- It's implied that some of the powers that are used and sometimes just stubled upon are the result of the control metal communicating with its host subconsciously. After all, even if the host doesn't know what powers they have, the control metal sure as hell does.
- No Ending: Both the 1989 and 2005 series end abruptly with large numbers of plot points left unresolved.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Aptom was introduced as a Lost Number that could mimic the Guyver but was a weak opponent. Several upgrades later he becomes a raging terror to the Hyper Zoanoid Five, though he was diminished a bit by getting pounded by Zoalords and Enyzme III's he could be a terror again by gaining Hayami's power if not for pulling a Heel–Face Turn
- One Myth to Explain Them All: The legends about vampires, werewolves, sasquatch, etc., are said to probably be inspired by Zoanoids.
- One to Million to One: Aptom converts his own body into Gaster's organic missiles to attack an enemy. After Aptom converts himself completely, the manga cuts to a distant rooftop, where it is revealed that while most of the missiles blew up, some of them flew away and recombined into a diminished Aptom.
- One-Winged Angel: All the Zoalords qualify, but the top of the heap is the multi-staged battlestyle of Cablarl Khan.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The T-Rex in book 15 is called a dragon by Archanfel (But this may not count, since the Japanese word for dinosaur is 'dragon' (Ryu)) and then there's Khan's Zoaform. It's made up of the flesh of thousands of Zoanoids and is vaguely dragon shaped. And then that shape went into One-Winged Angel form.
- Person of Mass Destruction: The Guyvers, the Zoalords, a fair amount of Hyper Zoanoids, and even a few Lost Numbers; Aptom in particular.
- Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: It was a meteor, but the Advents dropped it because they were dissatisfied with dinosaurs' Super Soldier potential.
- Phlebotinum Rebel: The core concept of the series.
- Poor Communication Kills: It may not have persuaded the Rogues from going, well, Rogue, but due to the fact Archanfel is not exactly open with his other commanders it causes a number of them to question some of the things he has done. Such as his relationship with Imakarum or why he's even a Zoalord. Fortunately Barcus is more open with Shin and Purgstall and they regain some trust.
- Power Copying: Aptom does this, with a just a hint of Body Horror thrown in for flavor. Also seems to be true of Apollyon at this point.
- Power Crystal: Various Zoanoids and all Zoalords have a Zoacrystal, which focuses / provides their power. The Control Medal, though metallic, functions like one.
- Power-Upgrading Deformation: Sure, you get loads of strength and powers becoming a zoanoid even when in human form, but you'll look like a monster.
- Porn Stache: Mark Hamill in the first live-action film.
- Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: When Sho sees the damaged Guyver II consume its host, he has a Freak Out and can't bring himself to bioboost.
- Rage Against the Heavens (Archanfel's entire scheme seems to be to use humanity as an army of vengeance against Uranus).
- Rasputinian Death: Well... Guyot had his arm and the right side of his torso nearly severed, had his zoacrystal pulled out of his brain, got a quantum black hole blast through his heart, and fell over half a mile into an erupting volcano, at which point everyone assumed he'd finally succumbed to this trope. Everyone was wrong.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: When Sho and Agito are infiltrating Relic Point disguised as regular soldiers, the checkpoint guards actually do their jobs and demand that they open up the box they're pulling, and they suggest that the duo are smuggling a woman in. As it turns out, that's exactly what they're doing - Mizuki's in the box.
- Running Gag: A bit of an unintentional one, but every adaptation that reaches American shores seems to end right when Gigantic is revealed. The Viz manga ended right before Sho's resurrection, Dark Hero nearly did it with their version of the Relic, and the anime just barely gets to it in the last episode before the series ends.
- Scary Black Man: Sadly, Clumegnig is the only member of the Zoalords that is black.
- If he is black: some have always thought he looks an awful lot like Dhalsim.
- Derzerb, of the Hyper-Zoanoid Team Five, was black, but in human form never portrayed as particularly scary; they upgraded his scariness in the OVA series by making him about nine feet tall.
- Scenery Porn: Takaya holds a very realistic style and added with his passion to research locations creates for very beautiful location shots that help set the mood. From Bartonone to The Dead Sea to even city shots of Tokyo.
- Sculpted Physique: In more ways than one. The guyver armor looks all kinds of inorganic, but is alive.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: Barcus' last line of defense in stopping Guyver III from gaining the control metals of the Arizona Relic at the cost of their HQ the results are...devastating to say the least oh and it doesn't work, Agito escaped
- The Libertus have this ability, their C-mode.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Waferdanos and Li Yentsui partially pull this. They give everything they have to 1) get their mentor Dr. Barcus out of the soon to explode Arizona base, 2) get the control orbs to an old Creator ship that Agito wants 3) leave Agito behind to die in the base. For all they give, they only complete the first one and just barely then, for Agito shoots Barcus in the back several times and severely hospitalizes him. Considering the Zoalords were very passionate, and Agito a possible villain/extreme anti-hero it isn't too hard to see those two as heroic.
- Shoot the Dog: Killing civilians who have been optimized into Zoanoids. They can't return to their human forms, so the only thing to do is to put them down. Even so, Sho Would Not Shoot a Civilian and refuses to kill them at first, especially his father. When he has to deal with the latter spoiler, his Guyver is forced into Heroic Safe Mode by Sho's own brain death, while when Sho walks into a town that's been optimized and the people start transforming, the ruthless Anti-Hero Agito has no compunctions about doing what must be done.
- Shoulders of Doom: Part of the Zoalords' formal robes, and many Zoanoids (and the Gigantic) have weapons or other functions built into large shoulder-pods.
- Shout-Out: The animal-styled Zoanoids designed by Kronos New York Branch appear to be Expies of various Kamen Rider kaijin.
- Lots and lots in the 2005 anime to the OVA. From Guyver I ramming his knee into Zerebuth's face, to Darzerb throwing Guyver III into a wall, as opposed to punching him like in the manga, to Sho's fight with Enzyme I borrowing quite a lot from the more vicious version from the OVA.
- The pose Guyver I make in the 2005 series, after coming out of the lake, seems like a slight tribute to the American Guyver who was more of a super-powered martial artist. Not the same pose but it looks like a very slight nod.
- Signed Up for the Dental: Kronos offers tax breaks and other incentives to those who volunteer for Zoanoidification. The process also tends to leave your human form buff and healthy.
- Single Phlebotinum Limit: All superscience comes from salvaged Advent technology.
- SI Prefix Name: The Megasmasher can be upgraded to the powerful Wave-Motion Gun Giga-Smasher.
- Sixth Ranger: Guyver III fills the Second Rider variation of the role.
- Spam Attack: Quite possibly Sin's main Zoalord power, able to shoot multiple beams from quite possibly a mile away? Yep. Also, Gaster's missiles.
- Spell My Name with an S: Not even the author can make up his mind how the names of characters and Zoanoids are spelled in English.
- Though it's since been ruled inaccurate, some have always enjoyed Richard Guyot being translated as "Reichmann Gyro".
- Sphere of Destruction: Activating the Guyver creates such a sphere. This is sometimes used as a last-ditch weapon (it happens at least once deliberately very early in the manga and 2005 anime), but it's also a drawback. The sphere is why Sho can't become the Guyver in crowded places or while he's holding on to someone.
- Storming the Castle: Happens many times and it's rarely the first raid that gets it the job done.Chronos Japan HQ, Relics Point (twice), Arizona HQ (twice), Japan's Cloud Gate (twice thus far).
- Super Prototype: The designation "Hyper Zoanoid" is applied to high-powered experimental creations, usually so complex that the genetic template has to be designed around a specific person's DNA and is not initially suitable for mass production. The tradeoff is that Hypers can generally be given much greater power than the mass-production designs which must be simplified for application to a wider range of subjects. (Example: the Delcasse Zoanoid is the mass-produced version of Zerbebuth.)
- Another example could be Archenfel. Archenfel was the original Zoalord, and was created by Uranus specifically to be the greatest of the Zoaforms. In present day, all Zoalords, besides Archenfel, were created from humans that were processed with crystals cultured from Archenfel's. It's even brought up several times that the other Zoalords are shadows of what Archenfel is.
- Teleporters and Transporters: The Relic had the ability to teleport its refuges, Mizuki and co., before its destruction. The Zoalord Li Yentsui also has the ability via creating two 'dimensions' where putting something through one will have it slide out the second, its also quite 'sharp' to say the least when closed.
- The Faceless: Apollyon; Caerleon in Zoalord form.
- There Is No Kill like Overkill: The original was the Guyver's Mega-Smasher, a huge wall of inferno. Also ZX-Tole's Mega-Cannon, a blast in his stomach that can only be fired once before needing to be repaired, also damaging him. In book 10 it has been UPGRADED into a blast that fries Neo-ZX-Tole. Then there's Guyot and Imakarum creating black holes to try to destroy their more powerful enemies. Then comes along the Giga-Smasher which would be severe overkill for even a Zoalord, ironically it has yet to take a life due to being fired only thrice. Oh and Cablarl Khan summoning his Dragonlord form, once to destroy Guyver I and the freed Aptom, sucking up all the Zoanoids in Tokyo to do it. But way back in book 9 we learn that Khan was sent to assist destroying a U.S. base. He more or less arrived in time to see the all ready defeated base before doing nothing, the biggest overkill in the entire manga most likely. To be fair probably the only way to destroy a Guyver or Aptom is with nothing but overkill.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Aptom gives one of these to Sho during his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- The Stoic: Aso. What is his reaction to see a 52 meter tall Guyver Gigantic burst out of a building? He tells his younger partner to "shut up and keep taking pictures".
- The Starscream: Richard Guyot; the cabal of Clumegnig, Khan, and ibn Hayyan — now with added Guyot!
- Story Arc: So far the manga, soon to be 28 books, can be divided into four arcs, each nearly eight books long. 1-8: Beginning/Relic's Point. 9-16: Chronos' at its peak. 17-25: Rescue Aptom, which all takes place in the span of one night. 26-???: Some weigh it will be the last arc.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Aptom wouldn't die until he defeated Sho. After the event of books 22-25, he's mellowed out.
- The Unmasqued World: After X-Day.
- The Virus: Aptom eventually gains the ability to infect other Zoanoids, then absorb their biomass, and is able to make duplictes of himself.
- Team Dad: For the Zoalords: Arguably Barcas or Archanfel himself. Barcus seems to be the one who dishes out the most lectures to the others, sometimes Sin gets to do it too but Archanfel is the leader of the 12. Sho's team Hayami could have qualified, and now Aptom could fill it in an odd way.
- Team Mom: Zoalords: Sin and somewhat Purgstall, both show more compassion for humans, Zoanoids, and Zoalords, hell Purg showed concern for Neo-ZX-Tole, a Lost Number! Sho's team: Mizuki, Agito's team: Shizu.
- Time Abyss: Archanfel, Waferdanos, and especially the Advents.
- Time Skip
- This Looks Like A Job For Aqua Man: Hayami isn't worth much in a straight fight but thus far his freezing ability has pretty much been critical for every victory against Enzyme IIIs.
- Those Two Guys: Aso and Tokiwadaira, it took a long time for Sho and co. to meet them.
- Title Theme Tune: Only the OVA has an opening song where the series' title also appears in the lyrics, making it more akin to a theme song from a Tokusatsu series.
- Tom Boy And Girly Girl: Pre-time skip, Shizu and Mizuki respectfully, despite the fact that Shizu dresses the more femininely out of the female Guyver characters she's more cool headed and less shrieky than Mizuki. Post timeskip Natsuki is definitely a tomboy and Mizkui still acts more like the girly girl. So all together its more like: tomboy, tomboy that looks like girlygirl, and girlygirl (Natsuki,Shizu, and Mizuki).
- Took a Level in Badass: Probably the biggest would be Aptom. Who went from a Lost Number that could mimic probably only half of the Guyver's power to gaining most of Team Five's power and becoming quite a threat. For a long time Aptom suddenly became outclassed but recently has gained it back by gaining Hayami's power, killing Zoalord Khan and then freezing four Enzyme III's stealthly.
- Could apply to Hayami as well. Had a weak but ultimately very helpful first apperance in book 12, got to fight again in book 18 and demonstrated he could use his power strategically and help kick butt.
- Also Sho, who has finally gotten over all his issues and is orders of magnitude more dangerous than he used to be.
- Tragic Monster: The Lost Number in the first volume/episode. He's not a bad guy, but he's a badly incomplete Zoanoid who just wants his human body back and kills a couple of people because he's desperate, in constant pain and not fully in control of himself.
- Transformation Sequence: Which includes a nifty little Sphere of Destruction
- True Companions: The strongest may be Sho with whoever decides to join him. It'll always have Mizuki and Tetsuro, books 1-8 have Masaki and Agito (kinda) joining and fighting with him Murakami lost his life in 8. Book 9 had Natsuki joining Sho's team of support with book 12 trading Bio-Freeze for Agito and adding Aptom. Bio-Freeze sacrified himself in book 24 but now fans wonder, due to the fact that Takaya always has the third fighter in Sho's band always have a strong weakness if the next third member will be The Female Guyver II who can only bio-boost for a time period.
- About 2/3s of the Zoalords are honestly loyal to one another for an antagonistic version.
- Vibroweapon: (The Guyvers' high-frequency swords)
- Villain World
- Viral Transformation: Aptom does this to most of the Zoanoids he encounters.
- Visual Innuendo: The Mega-Smasher, one of the signature weapons of a Guyver unit, involves opening the chest armor plates to reveal two body lenses which are charged up and activated to fire a high energy particle beam each.note
- Wave-Motion Gun: The Guyver Gigantic's Giga-Smasher, appearing equal in range, width, and power to a Macross Cannon.
- Weapon Wields You: It's largely indicated that the Guyver units affect the host's mind, causing them to fight and kill with a greater, more vicious brutality. This is a large plot point of the second live action film when, with no Zoanoids around to kill the Guyver has taken to hunting down and slaughtering regular human criminals with the same savagery it used on the powerful genetic mutations to the point that Shawn no longer feels he's in control and tries to get rid of the armour.
- Wham Episode: The HSQ is there for a few reaons.
- Book 9 where Chronos takes over the world.
- Book 10 The Gigantic Guyver and Imakarum's 1st appearance.
- Book 13 The Gigantic Dark curb-stomps Imakarum
- Book 15 Archanfel's origin story
- Book 16 Agito's Libertus and Griselda appear, and a Zoalord finally falls.
- Book 20 Aptom seemingly goes berserk and becomes Evil Aptom
- Book 24 Agito finally wins the Arizona HQ battle, Hayami's death and Khan summons all of Tokyo's Zoanoids
- Book 25 Khan's Dragonlord form and the Exceed.
- Book 26 The appearance of another Guyver and a Zoalord getting completely curbstomped by Apollyon