Iron Man Anime Episode 01 Review


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American comic studio Marvel has teamed up Japanese anime production company Madhouse (Trigun, Paranoia Agent, Death Note, and Record of Lodoss War) to produce a 12 episode Iron Man anime miniseries. Unfortunately for them the series hasn’t generated much hype and the first episode is unlikely to win anyone over. Minor spoilers abound.

The Synopsis

The first episode of Iron Man seemingly laid the plot out for the entire series. It starts off with Tony Stark flying into Japan via personal jet with all the careful planning and gracefulness of a wayward bullet. He’s in town to flirt with the women, enjoy the food, and oversee the construction of Japan’s first arc reactor. What better place to start fulfilling his dream of world peace via free energy then a country that won’t use it for war? (No, really, that’s what they said. What a nice underhanded compliment.)

While in town Stark’s looking to pass over the Iron Man mantel, along with a new production suit, call Dio. It’s just like the Iron Man suit, but blue and silver with the new triangle reactor.

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We’re also introduced to two new characters, Dr. Tanaka, the attractive and talented female head of the new reactor project, and Nanami, an attractive and untalented journalist. Nanami is set up to be a Lois Lane, a damsel in distress who's able to make a career writing about it.

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At the end of the episode Stark’s new suit brainwashes its pilot and escapes, not before atomizing two other test pilots... off screen. This prompts Stark to once again don the Iron Man suit and come to the rescue. After a less than interesting battle Dio is stolen by a new iteration of the Marvel criminal squad, Zodiac.

You're gonna get raped
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The Review

Very few people had high expectations for this series and I’m sad to say things are worse than anticipated.

The so important CGI is downright dreadful. The suits would have been better represented with good ol’ cell animation... by any other animators. The character designs and animation is atrocious. You know how terrible it looks when American studios try and emulate Japanese designs? Now imagine if a Japanese studio tried to emulate that awful shit. That’s how Iron Man looks. It doesn’t help that they gave Stark hair only Rod Blagojevich would be jealous of.

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Let’s take a second to review the opening title sequence...

The opening does a brilliant job of summarizing the series, forgetfully generic. Besides the brilliant animation I already highlighted we get a glimpse of the fantastic action and wonderful music.

Isn’t the title song supposed to be engaging and original? Instead something memorable we’re handed a track that’s barely different than the rest of the background music. The rest of the music in the episode is exactly the same, uninspired rock. While there’s potential in many of the tracks, it’s apparent no one cared enough to polish. The tracks sound like they were dug out of the trash bin behind a recording studio. Cast away in favor of something a bit more inspiring.

While it’s too early to tell how the story will develop I don’t expect much depth. Think enemy of the day so it can be easily sold to American youngsters. Remember, it’s a 12 episode series, and there are 12 months in year. Ominously, this series’ best attempt at Stark’s most unique character trait, his quick wit and sarcasm, is all but missing.

I feel as though I should say more, but there’s absolutely nothing else here. In essence the show is without real substance.

Makes me miss the old teaser trailer...

Man, what squandered potential.