“Iron Man” and “Wolverine” anime (11 and 11:30 p.m. Fridays on G4) – It’s always a bummer when you set high expectations for something and they come crashing down.
I like anime. I like Iron Man and Wolverine. It seems like it’s a no-brainer. So I was extremely disappointed in just how bad the first episodes (all that were sent for critic screening) of these two new shows are.
It’s just a practically no-win situation. If you like Iron Man and Wolverine but don’t like anime, these will do nothing to change your mind. Please don’t judge anime based on these.
If you like anime but don’t like Iron Man and Wolverine, these will do nothing to change your mind.
If you like both, there’s not much worth watching here. People who don’t like anime won’t like it because it’s too much like anime. Fans of anime won’t like it because it’s not enough like good anime. And Marvel fans will give it a big “meh.”
A quick look at the plots: For “Iron Man,” Tony Stark is trying to make amends for his defense-contract days by heading over to Japan and building a new reactor that will providing clean, free energy for the rest of Japan’s days. He’s also retiring from being Iron Man and training a few guys to wear some other Iron Man suits to take his place. But the Zodiac group steals the prototype suit.
In “Wolverine,” a bishonen Logan (um, no) loves Mariko, who turns out to be the daughter of one of Japan’s biggest crime lords. Daddy kidnaps her back to Japan to marry another crime boss, and Wolverine heads over to save her. But it won’t be easy for the mutant.
“Heroes” stars Adrian Pasdar and Milo Ventimiglia voice Stark and Logan, respectively. That’s right, milquetoast Peter is Wolverine. Well, this is bishie Wolverine, so it kinda works. OK, not really. He tries hard, though, and even gets in a “bub.” Pasdar actually does a pretty good job, though, enough to make me wish he’d take on the part in live action.
Anime vets like Laura Bailey and Crispin Freeman phone in their weak supporting performances. And it just struck me as odd that the Marvel characters were going to Japan, but nobody there had a Japanese accent. Just like if I were watching it in Japanese, I would think it strange if Stark or Logan didn’t speak Japanese with an American accent. I just don’t buy a straight dub in this case.
“Iron Man” also suffers from severe pacing/editing problems, with some really awkward cuts.
And the music is about the worst and most generic I’ve ever heard.
It comes from the venerable studio Madhouse, but I think it was assigned to the interns. Or maybe some junior high kids who thought they were just getting a tour of the studio. The animation looked cheap.
I feel bad for coming down so hard, but I was looking forward to seeing how an anime Iron Man, especially, would look. It seems like a good fit for the anime style. I’m not as invested in Wolverine, but I thought that could be good, too.
But I was ever so wrong.
Here are the trailers. They look so much better than these first episodes were (like completely different shows), so maybe there’s hope.
And visit the G4 website for behind-the-scenes clips and scenes from “X-Men” and “Blade” anime shows, due this fall.