X-Men Anime — Final Thoughts

X-Men Anime — Final Thoughts (review)

X-Men AnimeI’m a longtime fans of the X-Men, going back to 1983. I admit that I haven’t read the comic book since the mid-90’s but I did rather enjoy the first couple of X-Men movies (didn’t like the third).  So, when I heard that the Japanese anime company Madhouse were going to do an X-Men anime as the third leg of their four-legged Marvel comics as anime exploration, I thought I’d give it a look-see.  After all, the X-Men had connections with Japan beyond the Wolverine character and I was interested in seeing how the Japanese, even if aided by Americans, would do.

X-Men AnimeThe X-Men anime series doesn’t bother with the niceties of introducing the audiences to the X-Men.  Instead, the OP sequence is used to show the different X-Men used in the anime (Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Xavier) and states their power.  Its clear the anime was written and produced for fans of X-Men rather than new fans. As such, the story starts with Mastermind’s Inner Circle observing the X-Men battling their former teammate Jean Gray, aka Dark Phoenix. Now, as a fan of the comic book, I knew the story of how Mastermind triggered Jean Gray’s ultimate fall but I couldn’t imagine how Japanese viewers might see this.

X-Men AnimeThe story picks up a year later with Scott, aka: Cyclops, moping over the loss of Jean.  With a mystery involving mutants going on in Japan, topped off with the kidnapping of a Japanese mutant girl named Hisako, the X-Men are called into action and thus the writers have Scott work through his issues over Jean Gray’s death.  As such, Scott gets a fair amount of character work done.  Storm, Beast, and Wolverine just do their thing.  Joining X-Men are Hisako (when she’s found) and Emma Frost, the woman who was to tutor her. The two of them get some character work done which does put the anime into an area above simple action titles.

X-Men AnimeAs to the story itself, when Scott isn’t overcoming his personal demons and we aren’t learning tidbits about Hisako or Emma, the plot is slowly unwound with the mysteries of mutant events in the Tohaku region. To add spice to things, the X-Men first have to battle through the U-Men before moving on to Mastermind and his Inner Circle. The writers manage to get in all of the things one would expect from X-Men — Beast’s intellect, Cyclops leadership, Wolverine’s berserker mode, Storm’s wisdom as well as power, and Xavier’s overall fatherly attitude to the X-Men.  Those who know Emma and Hisako are also likely to get things they expect as well.

X-Men AnimeAs a fan of the X-Men franchise, I found the anime to be entertaining enough.  I had no major problems with the story. There was a right mixture of action, mystery, and some character development (as described above). I have a hard time separating myself from what I know about the X-Men and their history, but I don’t think that new fans would have too hard of a problem following things or becoming interested in the story. All questions raised are answered and threads tied up. Heck, even a sequel with an all new story is suggested at the tail end of the final episode. My only problem was the anti-climactic and cliched ending.

X-Men AnimeDespite this, as I sit here and write, I find I am struggling and not just because I wish I were in bed.  As I said, the anime was entertaining enough but it wasn’t all that.  If one were to say, “Wanna watch that X-Men anime again?”, I’d say, “Uh, no, that’s OK.  Thanks anyway.”  On the other hand, were one to say, “There’s going to be a sequel to the X-Men anime. Wanna watch it?”, I’d say, “Yeah, I think I will and even blog it.”  So for me, the anime was decent enough and I was thoroughly entertained, but it just never grabbed me enough to set me on fire with a desire to see it again.  Maybe I’m just getting older. ^_~

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14 Responses to “X-Men Anime — Final Thoughts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Frankly this X-Men anime was boring as hell and all the overly sentimental shit just didn’t work. Even though I’m a long-time fan, I really had to force myself to get through the episodes as the series progressed. I usually love Japanese voice acting, but in this case I kept wishing for English voices. I’m not saying the Japanese VAs were bad, but for me they somehow managed to drain the energy from the characters. Definitely agree with you on no rewatch value.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cyclops working as a janitor, huh? Doesn’t seem like him, but I guess grief can do that to you.

  3. Rhuen says:

    It was actually a good anime, lots of elements from the comics from the last ten years (clearly the target audience: BTW Japan does get X-men comics and other major Marvel titles) As such some elements felt the same as in :Wolverine and the X-men: but thankfully not the same and with a more focused story. Knowing the Legion history helped in this anime as well, also got vibes from Scarlet Witch and even Alpha the Ultimate Mutant (both Alpha and Jean have “ascended” from what I can tell

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Frankly this X-Men anime was boring as hell and all the overly sentimental shit just didn’t work.

    I didn’t think it was boring, but it wasn’t quite up to snuff.

    I usually love Japanese voice acting, but in this case I kept wishing for English voices. I’m not saying the Japanese VAs were bad, but for me they somehow managed to drain the energy from the characters.

    I never saw the X-Men cartoon(s) and other than Patrick Stewart and Famke Janssen, I wasn’t wed to any English voices. That said, it took me a long time to get used to the voices and I don’t think I ever cared that much for Hisako’s voice.

    Cyclops working as a janitor, huh? Doesn’t seem like him, but I guess grief can do that to you.

    True. ^_~

    It was actually a good anime, lots of elements from the comics from the last ten years (clearly the target audience…

    Which means I wasn’t the target audience. *lol*

    Knowing the Legion history helped in this anime as well, also got vibes from Scarlet Witch and even Alpha the Ultimate Mutant (both Alpha and Jean have “ascended” from what I can tell

    And that was a history I didn’t know. I was never much of a Scarlet Witch fan and don’t think I know Alpha.

  5. Rhuen says:

    Oh, you have to google Scarlet Witch then, her history is messed up “Shakespear level messed up” and her power is basically “Reality warping” on an insane level (she can alter history its self) and ina moment of mental instability as Beast out it uttered three words that wove a spell that depowered 90% of the mutants in the multi-verse. She is back now (Avengers” Children’s crusade)lets put this way her two sons she thought had died she subconsiously sent their souls back through time to be reborn to different families but with the names she gave them and mutant powers and still twins.
    Alpha os a way back in the day character.

  6. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Just another reason I got out of comic books.

  7. evgenidb says:

    Hi, ANB,
    Just watched Blade 06. In the next episode there will be Madripoor and Wolverine.

    Anyway, the Blade anime was a disappointment for me. Although it has a lot of good points that it can be praised about, it also has a lot of stuff that pisses me out. Here are some of it:
    1) Moves like “The Second Blade – Phantom Moon”, where Blade cuts the enemy in a zillion (a dozen, actually) parallel pieces with just one fast move (a finishing blow!). And this words appear in the fancy background. It always has pissed me out and here more than ever.
    2) Magic, sorcery, monsters (mostly some unthinkable kind of vampires) and other Mythical stuff. Like animalistic vampires (human vampires that look like animals). As far as I remember the movies (the only media I had in touch with the Blade franchise) they were a lot more realistic.

    Well, that’s the two things I’m most pissed about. Of course, there is more but it’s not that important.

  8. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Just watched Blade 06. In the next episode there will be Madripoor and Wolverine.

    You’ll have to make mention of how that was with Wolverine.

    Anyway, the Blade anime was a disappointment for me.

    I never was a Blade fan, which is why I’m not watching that anime. :-/

  9. evgenidb says:

    Well, it seems that Wolverine and Blade anime are the most tied together of the entire series. Which is somehow amusing and unexpected. I thought that Blade and the rest are pretty much separated. I thought that Wolverine and X-men would be closely tied together, with Logan trying to cope with his lover’s death, but instead we have Scott filling that place.

    Blade’s episode 7 was in Madripoor, Wolvie was in the entire episode and fought alongside Blade, A.I.M. and Logan’s deceased girlfriend was mentioned (Logan is still hunting A.I.M. for revenge), as well as a promise for another mutant in the future episodes (hired by the bad vampire organization called “Existence”). I think you can guess who might be that mutant.

    Anyway, this episode wasn’t half bad (compared to the others), it even was better than the others.

    If you wish, you can watch this episode, I doubt you’ll need much back-story (just the generally basic knowledge about Blade). If you’re confused about anything you can ask and I’ll answer you.

    P.S. Have you read the business-related “Maoyu Maou Yusha” already?

  10. AstroNerdBoy says:

    P.S. Have you read the business-related “Maoyu Maou Yusha” already?

    No, I’m afraid not.

  11. evgenidb says:

    Just watched the rest of the Blade (from ep. 8 onwards). It was a lot better than I expected. There was even some flashbacks of Kikyou and Deacon Frost. It even explains the… hmm… “exotic” vampires in the previous episodes.

  12. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Thanks for the update. ^_^

  13. Anonymous says:

    at the end of the last episode after the credits it say to be continued. any official word if they are already working on a sequel or when ? Also I think Emma held back a lot from using her telepathy.

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