Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mondo Bizarro Reviews Anime: Marvel's X-Men Anime

Yeah, so I'm kind of cheating here.  Marvel's X-Men Anime was Written by Warren Ellis, Production was overseen by Americans and its based on Characters created by Stan Lee.  It is, however, an Anime through and through.  I'm also cheating a bit since I've been a life-long comic book fan and chose to see how they worked this.  I'm probably still going to do the tale of time-traveling and gender-swapping warriors in the future.  So can we all agree that everyone at least knows the basic concept of The X-Men?  Good.  This tale mixes a couple story ideas (i.e. The Dark Phoenix and Proteus Sagas) and throws them in a crazy blender.  They also use two characters that play a bigger part in the current comics, excising major characters like Colossus, Rogue and Maggot.  Okay, maybe that last one wasn't major, but you get the point.  A few of these Characters- and Captain Britain- do appear briefly in the final Episode, but I'll get to that later.  The story is interesting here, even if it has to be stretched a bit thin to reach twelve episodes.  It would be a really good 9-10 Episode show, but it is what it is.  Let's just build an 'X' in some wreckage and read on...
The film begins In Media Res with the Dark Phoenix knocking everything around and blowing shit up.  Did I miss the first three Episodes?

Oh and they never cut back, which makes it not a real use of In Media Res.  Leave it to the Japanese to make simple writing tropes all wacky.
Speaking of the attack, Wolverine is in his classic brown costume with mask.  After about twenty seconds, his face is smashed with a beam, destroying the mask.  He never wears it for the rest of the series.

So...I guess you don't like the mask, huh?
Anyhow, Jean dies to stop her rampage.  After that, the story jumps ahead roughly a year as the team grives- just like Wolverine and the X-Men (only with Jean instead of Professor Xavier)- and they go to investigate some missing Mutants in Japan.

So yeah, they're in Japan.  Did everyone not see that coming?
The villains are the U-Men.  They're crazy Scientists who capture and dissect Mutants as part of their experiments.  What are they after in Japan though?
Further investigation uncovers come bizarre effects taking place in the Mountains near where the disappearances took place.  Weird stuff.
One of the U-Men mentions a beast in the area.  Is it the source of the mutations?  Is it causing more Mutants to appear per capita in the area than anywhere else?  Hmm..
As for Professor Xavier, he decides to join in on the action in Episode 8 (I believe), but, naturally, doesn't actually make it there until Episode 12.  As you can see, he took the scenic route.
Highlights include Wolverine finally letting his Berzerker Rage (and Barrage) loose in the last few Episodes.  Good stuff, even if they do make you wait.
I won't SPOIL who or what this creature is other than to say that it plays a big part in the finale.  Of course, since I want to exploit a popular film for website attention...
Here's the literally five seconds of on-screen Iron Man from the last episode.  You get as much animation here as there is too.  He's literally just a single frame dragged across the screen.  Glorious and cheap, huh?  The End.
A lot of what makes this good is what makes it only so-so.  The plot is interesting, brings in many unique characters and has a lot of mystery.  As a counter-point, however, the plot is stretched thin to reach series length, many of the characters only get one or two great moments and the mystery is pretty clearly solved (at least by me) about three Episodes ahead of the Cast.  Like I said, it's not a bad story.  It introduces Armor- who is most famous from Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men comic- and actually makes Emma Frost into a pretty nuanced Character.  One downside (for me, anyhow) is the penchant for Dragonball Z-style 'Let's stand around and talk instead of stopping the bad guy' scenes.  Cyclops- you can shoot Optic Blasts, so how about you stop talking to the villain who's going to destroy the world.  There are also characters like Storm, who's Weather Manipulation Powers are mostly used for shoot lightning, shoots lots of lightning and...shoot more lightning.  It is especially silly when she's fighting a guy who turns into water.  Just freeze him, you idiot!  An odd, but understandable change is turning The Hellfire Club into The Inner Circle.  What's less understandable is replacing key villains like Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce (White Bishop) and Harry Leland (Black Bishop) with Marsh, Rat and Neuron.  They're not terrible characters, but it's just odd. The final verdict: it's got enough X-Men to please comic fans and feels enough like Anime to please those fans.  If you're not either one, you probably won't care all that much.  I'll leave you with my favorite gag of the whole thing: Squid Teacher.
Up next, a tale of time travel, women's lib and the Warring States period.  It's like if you mixed Dynasty Warriors with Final Fantasy X-II!  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment