If you’ve kept your television set to G4, you’ve come across Iron Man and Wolverine anime style. This is a new endeavor by Marvel to broaden their reach and to re-interest the Japanese people. Whilst these anime will tackle some Marvel staples such as Iron Man, Blade, Wolverine, and the X-Men, don’t look for your favorite stories brought to screen – Marvel has apparently given Madhouse “free reign” to adapt the characters as they wish. Madhouse includes the creative minds between Vampire Hunter D (omfg fantastic), Paprika, and Tokyo Tribes to give you an idea of what quality to expect.
The four different series have 12 episodes a piece, with Iron Man and Wolverine premiering this past Friday on G4. If you scour the internet hard enough, I daresay you will be able to watch these in Japanese or in English. Since NestoRox and Koalaintheusa will be covering Iron Man and Wolverine in their next YouTube video (which you should subscribe to), I decided to watch the X-Men series. X-Men aired in Japan April 2011 and will be debuting on G4 in the coming months. Marvel hosted a panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con in which they revealed the anime to of an R rated venture so perhaps don’t watch these around the kids. The trailers were also screened for the audience which can be found below and reception was mainly positive.
X-Men is a forerunner in my heart and life so seeing it brought forth in a new medium, a medium I happen to love, was definitely exciting. The series begins immediately following the death of Jean Grey. The art style is fantastic, definitely what you’d expect from a high end animation studio. The grief and despair from Scott as his love implodes with Phoenix malevolence is thoroughly heartfelt and dare I say, I felt a tear upon my cheek. The entire opening sequence is beautiful to behold and the agony is palpable. With the inclusion of the Hellfire Club in later episodes, this certainly has a bit of familiarity to the Dark Phoenix Saga, a fan favorite. The first episode sets up the storyline: after the death of Jean, the X-Men are on hiatus for about a year and spread out over the world. Something peculiar about the disappearance of an abducted Japanese teenager piques Charles Xavier’s interest and he uses Cerebro 2.0 to contact the wayward X-Men. Cerebro looks more like an elaborate holographic computer but it certainly works in this semi futuristic environment. Again, the art is phenomenal. Storm is adorable with her shaggy hair cut and smooth confidence, Wolverine is rugged and much taller (like his solo anime counterpart), Beast is intellectual as always but more catlike in appearance, and sad Scott is the bishounen of the group, beautiful and handsome all at once.
The voice acting in Japanese is pretty well done and features talents from some of the most popular seiyuu in Japan. You can hear contempt drip from Wolverine’s every word, compassion from Storm’s endearments and that, my friends, is the work of a different kind of art altogether. Keep an ear out for Heroes alum Milo Ventimiglia in the English version of this series who reprises his role as Wolverine.
Ah, yes, but what about the villains!?
This version of X-Men, whilst they do encounter Magneto, battle the U-Men, scientists bent on abusing mutants and their powers. Their visible counterpart (dubbed “Todd”) has the appearance of a skinny Afro Samurai but with a monocle and has minions reminiscent of Sentinels, albeit ones that suffer from anorexia. Throughout the series, there are experiments done on poor mutants and they turn into monstrous echoes of their former selves, and I won’t lie, the first one was definitely ew and creepy.
I would say check this out when it debuts and definitely check out Wolverine and Iron Man. The soundtrack alone to these are fucking amazing and even die-hard fans should take a peek. Nothing sacrilegious here, just another way to embrace something you already love. Until next time, fellow geeks!
Check out the trailers for all four series at these links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4Q7xgxDJh4 – Iron Man
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLYjywXyyDI – Wolverine