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- For the superhuman species, see Somnium.
The series's 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. 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 Animus Fruit. 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.
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 does not underestimate the viewer and 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.