Wolverine (anime review) — Final Thoughts

Wolverine (anime review)

NOTE: There will be SPOILERS in this review, to include the original comic books.

Wolverine (anime review)Back in 1983, a young AstroNerdBoy picked up issue #170 of the Uncanny X-Men and immediately became a fan of the series.  Two issues later, I was introduced to Wolverine, aka “Logan,” as the X-Men took a trip to Japan to attend the wedding of their comrade to one YASHIDA Mariko.  It was in issue #172 that I was first introduced to the Japanese honorifics of “-san” and “-sama” though unfortunately, the folks at Marvel Comics didn’t bother to explain what those meant.  With that background in mind, when it was announced that there would be a Wolverine anime series set in Japan and featuring characters such as Mariko, Yukio, etc, I was all down for it.

Wolverine (anime review)Initially, the anime starts off strong.  The anime writers use the 1982 Wolverine 4-issue comic series as their starting point (which I don’t own but will soon have the graphic novel version of the series).  The scenario of the anime is similar to the comic in that Mariko is in love with Wolverine/Logan, Logan is defeated, and then Logan must battle his way back.  It is because the anime writers use the original comic as a base that the start of the Wolverine anime gets off strongly.  There are some minor tweaks, such as changing Hideki from being Mariko’s abusive husband and partner of Shigen to the criminal boss of Madripoor and Mariko’s chosen fiance.

Wolverine (anime review)However, once the anime writers abandon the comic book story base and venture off on their own, the anime simply shifts into a mindless sequence of fights for Logan to deal with.  This started with the introduction of Omega Red, who is from Marvel Comics and who has a history with Wolverine.  In this anime, Omega Red is simply a distraction that lasts a few episodes.  The anime writers do show the history between Omega Red and Logan but what did that matter other than tossing a bone at comic book fans who knew the history.  So while their fight feels authentic, as I said before, it is simply a distraction from the main story.

Wolverine (anime review)The anime writers had previously introduced the character of Kikyo, whom I suppose is supposed to be the Japanese version of Wolverine.  Instead of claws, Kikyo has a katana embedded in each arm.  Don’t ask me how he keeps a full-sized katana sword in each arm without losing the ability to bend his arm at the elbow but there you go.  Kikyo replaces the Marvel character Silver Samurai (though I don’t think Silver Samurai was in the Wolverine mini-series but was in X-Men #172) and pretty much follows the honorable samurai working for the villain. As such, one can fairly easily predict how things will go between them.  He was probably the only opponent of Logan’s other than Shigen to be of any interest to me.

Wolverine (anime review)Wolverine gets to fight hoards of thugs before battling a giant, technological statue named Vadhaka, whom Wolverine cannot damage with his claws.  Next up are more thugs using medieval traps that had apparently held the balance of power of the criminal island of Madripoor before again battling Vadhaka and then Shigen before finally facing Hideki for Mariko.  Once Logan arrived on Madripoor, courtesy of a cameo by Cyclops from the X-Men, its just mindless, nearly non-stop fighting for Logan and whomever is with him, usually Yukio, who wants to avenge the death of her parents by killing Shigen.  This became tedious to me, especially the “Hell Road” stuff with the medieval traps and weapons. *_*

Wolverine (anime review)If you like mindless action, then you are in for a total treat.  However, I like a story with substance with the action aiding that story and not the story just being an excuse to take Logan from one battle to the next without a break for food or sleep.  Yeah, Logan gets to be Wolverine, minus the costume, by killing most of his opponents.  Believe me, I liked that aspect of the story because Logan always felt like his comic book “bad ass” self, if you’ll pardon the expression.  However, I would have preferred things to be more about Logan’s meeting Mariko and their falling in love to give fire to him motivation for rescuing her with the action then enhancing that story.  Sadly, I didn’t get that.

Wolverine (anime review)The other thing I didn’t get was the ending I wanted.  In the comic book, Shigen is killed by Wolverine after Wolverine basically destroys Shigen’s yakuza empire.  Hideki is killed by Yukio. This allows for Mariko to take over as head of the Yashida clan and to attempt to steer her people away from criminal activities into positive activities while finally being able to openly show her love for Logan.  So, I would have liked to have seen this happen in the anime with Mariko deciding to make things right but at the same time having to be apart from Logan (at least for a while) and thus make the ultimate sacrifice of love.  Instead, the writers have her make another sacrifice which annoyed me somewhat.

Wolverine (anime review)As a whole, Wolverine isn’t a bad anime and there are many things here which will please fans of the Wolverine character. While I appreciate the strong beginning with the story taken from the comic book, I quickly grew tired of the mindless action for action’s sake and I found the ending to be less than satisfactory from a personal standpoint, mainly because the writers pretty much made the whole series pointless to me by the time it ended.  The ending given was a valid ending, but just not one I wanted.

Additional: You know, when I get the Wolverine comic series from 1982, I may blog about it here.

Update: I did blog about it. ^_^

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4 Responses to “Wolverine (anime review) — Final Thoughts”

  1. evgenidb says:

    Just watched the first episode of X-men – Wolverine looks different. And I MEAN DIFFERENT – just like in the comics – shorter, more muscles and sideburns. And there’s a little more humor.

    But there are robots, just like Zodiac from the Iron Man part, and apparently Scott have a motorbike with weapons (read rockets) in it. I have a feeling that I’ll be disappointed again. 🙁

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Doesn’t sound promising but I’ll watch just the same.

  3. evgenidb says:

    Well, I’m not that big fan of a Marvel and DC Universe(s?), I watch the movies and usually I enjoy them if they’re good, but I don’t read the comics and I rarely watch an animation series like Wolverine and the X-men, for instance. So far, my favorite are the X-men and, maybe, Spider-man (or Batman? or both?).

    Anyway, I’m into sci-fi, not superhero (not to mention the mecha genre). So, first, don’t take my opinion about these series too much to heart, since I don’t know the source too well. But on the other hand, I watch for the plot, logic, interesting characters and so on (just like you it appears).

    So it really bugged me when Logan from the one story arc (and even the previous!) is drawn one way, and then, in the next – a totally different way. And then I remembered that this is still just the first episode, so there’s still a plenty time for the anime to get worse, mostly in the second half – this became a tradition already. But I still hope that it’ll redeem itself and in the end it will get better.

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Well, I’m not that big fan of a Marvel and DC Universe(s?),

    I was never much for DC. I did collect some Superman title(s) for a time and sampled some others. I’ve been a long time fan of Spider-man going back to the 70’s and X-Men going back to the 80’s. I did follow The Avengers some and the Hulk for a time but got out of comics when it started becoming nutty.

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