When it comes to animated adventures of the X-Men, many hold near to their hearts the series from the 90s. Recently we also had the short lived Wolverine and the X-Men series. I recall hearing rumblings of an X-Men anime series back in the late 90s but wasn't sure if it really happened. All I had seen was the opening credits on youtube but was immediately fascinated.
Marvel Animation has joined forces with Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and Madhouse to bring us several Marvel characters in the anime style. The shows aired on G4 but are now making their way to DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The first 12 episodes of the X-Men series and Iron Man series have been released today. (I'll post thoughts on the Iron Man series later).
The premise involves the X-Men dealing with the death of a certain member of the team. This leads to the team going their separate ways. A year later, they are called back to help search for a missing child (a character from the comics as well). This leads the team to Japan where they deal with the U-Men as well as the Inner Circle in later episodes (the Inner Circle is basically the Hellfire Club).
The is something to be said about the style of the animation. It immediately adds a different feel to the characters.
The DVD gives you the choice of watching in Japanese with subtitles or an English-dubbed version. Just make a note that it defaults to the Japanese with English subtitles each time you pop the DVD in your player.
The English voice actors are a mixed bag. They each do their roles well but I definitely felt some were miscast. Professor X and Beast were great. Wolverine and Cyclops were good for the most part. The voice of Storm just never felt right to me.
You can check out some of the voice acting as well as the fast paced and frantic action contained in the series in this clip.
The series isn't perfect but is absolutely worth watching. The characters and situations are familiar but you have the anime-feel to it. You have to look at this as an alternate reality version of the team. It's a different take, a different interpretation and that's what makes it interesting. You have an idea what to expect but you never really know for sure until the episode is over.
Besides some voice casting issues, I would have liked to see other villains thrown into the mix. The end credits show villains like Juggernaut and Mystique but we pretty much just get the U-Men and Inner Circle.
I suppose it's to be expected (unfortunately) but I thought some of the female characters were drawn in a slightly ridiculous manner. Let's just say there were a couple things that really stood out. With the quality of the animation, the story and the action, I just don't think it's necessary to add extreme proportions to the characters.
Overall, it's an enjoyable show. I'm glad it's been released on DVD as I didn't watch it when it aired on G4. My big questions is will there be more? I would love to see the series continue and for the stories to flesh out into other areas.
I will post a review on the Iron Man anime and don't forget we're giving away copies to both Iron Man and X-Men on DVD through Sunday, April 29. Go here for more details.