Thursday, March 27, 2014

The X-Men Anime Episode Guide 1x1:"The Return"

Part of the Marvel Anime line, X-Men appeared at the now rotting zombie station of G4 on October 21, 2011. It was a mediocre idea from Marvel in the ever stupid mantra of picking the cheapest possible animation house and going for it.

Before the Disney buyout, Marvel would pick the cheapest animation houses in the US and abroad. The Spectacular Spider-Man series that started in 2008 came from Culver Entertainment known for content that went straight to home video. A later X-men series following Wolverine's movie glory, which made his name go straight in the title, 2009's Wolverine and the X-Men couldn't enter a second season over money issues. The concept now explored more in comics, but at the time thought of as just plain stupid cast Wolverine as the leader of the X-Men, the show proved this to be correct and that giving European animators any female character will make their boobs gigantic. Domino's boobs in this series were so large you can catch Quicksilver eyeing every so often.

Madhouse struck a deal with Marvel for four 12-episode series. This was a deal made by el diablo. The four series were of Iron Man, Blade, Wolverine and the X-Men. They were to be damned by having to connect with Japan in some way. Each series forced a Japanese sidekick into the mix or brought the heroes to Japan with forgettable results.

At the time hopes were high for the X-Men series with the release of teasers and art work. Famed comic book maven Warren Ellis was to help write and create the universe. Those hopes were crushed.

As editor of TTDILA and inspired by the ongoing work of Chris Sim's X-Men Episode Guide I give you the weekly X-Men Anime Guide.

Wow, I don't know what's going on, Jean Grey is already in the throes of the Phoenix Force and the sky's ablaze. A Sentinel is completely wrecked, it's just a pile of garbage and the X-Men on the ground are freaking out. By freaking out I mean standing still with teeth grinding. Cyclops, Wolverine in his X-Force uniform, Storm and Beast-end of roll call.

We get a slideshow of everyone's powers on the ground. Then Wolverine takes a huge chunk of metal straight to his face and it doesn't hurt him at all. All it does is reveal his face that looks nothing like Hugh Jackson's. Usually when you take that much metal to your face you die or lose your face. I guess they didn't want to make Wolverine regenerate his face and show off his Admantium skeleton, their loss and our loss.

We catch up with Xavier on the line with Beast busy using Cerebro to try and get through to Jean. It's a great shot of a fake layer of brain neurons being around the Professor. We learn the Inner Circle is behind what happened to Jean and off in a corner or a safe distance where no one can see them is the Inner Circle.

This version's design makes it hard for any of them to be identifiable. I think the Blob is a part of the team now with some sort of a gremlin and of course a long haired man or woman. Oh anime, boy or girl.

Jean has picked up Cyclops with sheer thought and now they're on some psychic plane. They're just floating through a void of endless clouds. She asks Cyc if he'll end it for her, it's heartbreakingly emotional and were just a few minutes into the show. Then out of nowhere we see Emma Frost behind Jean like you would see a demon on Inuyasha. She glows red telling us she's evil.

Jean and Scott declare their love for each other and then in a sudden blink the Phoenix is gone. All the X-Men have their backs turned to Scott like and album cover as he screams out, "Jean!," without a shirt on. It's not live action Madhouse, we don't need to see cartoon Cyclops pecs.

Here comes one of the best intros ever. It starts out with two melted crossbeam that form an X. We then see a bunch of robots and a cyborg, it's anime. Then we get a character breakdown with some fast stats. Beast is caught reading a book before jumping off and then when we get a close-up we see him holding glasses. Storm... wait... I head to freeze frame this. Storm shoots a bunch of electricity and in her close-up profile shot we have a little red songbird on her hand? Why would you add that?

My favorite part is approaching. The most powerful telepath on Earth, Professor Xavier's breakdown  and time to shine. He's not moving. A bald man in a chair and we see the Earth and the sun just in the horizon. Now the word telepathy?

Wait, wait... we just got everybody else twirling and dodging lasers or shooting lasers and the animators chose Professor X to just seat in his chair with one hand to his head.

They're have been countless depictions of how to show psychic powers and they chose none of them.  Every episode will now start with Professor X's being shown not doing anything. He just sits there!

They couldn't animate his flying chair transforming into a robot?

Sit and your chair and think old man. I wonder of the Earth being next to Xavier is a bald joke I don't get from Japan.

Did you know that when X-Men The Animated series out of the 90's reached Japan they redid the intros twice. The animation is some of the slickest ever for 90's anime and is a million times more excting to watch then this.

Opening number two has some connections to this episode and look of the show: the backs turned section, the weird eyed cyborg; the Sun in Earth's horizon. Motorcycles do come up later in the series. They're are some nods to the second opening or most anime is very similar.

Armor and Emma Frost end the opening with no name recognition and we see the Blackbird. Then the new X-Team is falling from the sky with a giant moon behind them.

We get Professor X talking to himself with his school full of empty desks. He explains what the X-Men do and instead of calling them a group of heroes calls them his strike force.
Prof X declares Jean's dead and hovers over to her memorial with-"She will rise again" - written on it. Now does this mean they know Jean will come back because it's happens so often, if so that is just weird. I mean in the comics it's happened a couple of time so yeah they could write it. Here it feels like a bad joke.

Professor X then starts having a daymare about crying children with a yellow filter. One boy wearing lederhosen can't be comforted and cries off. Prof X can't read his thoughts.

Somewhere Armor is attacked by strange robots with skull heads and an old black weird looking cyborg with one big-eye. He's so weird looking. What was the design team thinking? Oh, yeah make it look like all the generic crap we put out from Madhouse when we don't care.

A phone call from someone invigorates the Professor with an excuse to bring the team back together. For some reason we get a huge close-up of the Professor's eye after that call. He's looking at a picture of the X-Men on his desk.

Thumbs up while you can man

Cerebra 2.0 is up and running. Not Cerebro, Cerebra. No bros here. Cerebra the system that the Professor uses to help boost his telepathic powers can also be used to summon the X-Men. If you thought it could only be used to boost telepathic powers you were wrong.

"Pirates!",  someone exclaims as we play, Where are the X-Men now?

Storm is on a cruise boat at sea when pirates come, it's a cold end for them. Auroro freezes those pirates to death. We don't ever see the pirates and a part of you might not want to as Auroro freezes their entire boat in one super powerful attack. No one is coming to rescue those pirates, they will just freeze to death at sea.

Dean Venture or his well known voice actor, then asks Storm if she's one of the X-Men. I guess the X-Men are famous in this universe.

Cyclops is off being sad at the place where Jean died. He's become a very clean hobo living out there.

Beast is teaching at a college and claims he's made a tiny squid super smart. His students don't believe him and look like the animators tried to make American students look like jerks. They're drawn like arrogant school gang members.  

Mr. Cephalopod then starts teaching the class after he's tossed a waterproof mic that also works in some sort of fashion in water like most specially made mics do; in general that squid just talked!

Beast in his spare time with no pressing X-Men business took up the hobby of making a super intelligent squid that can teach he's classes for him. Beast should be team leader.

Wolverine is shirtless on his way to Madripoor, well known criminal scum place in the Marvel universe and happens to be headed there from LAX. A somewhat fat female TSA agent keeps asking him to empty his pockets.

"Lady, the problem isn't in my pants, " snikt, out comes the claws and this poor TSA agent is scared out of her damn mind. That has to be the best line out of Wolverine in this series.

make a meme

Everyone starts arriving back at the Xavier Institute. Storm creates a small twister underneath her feet before landing. Wolverine rides in on a motorcycle like the jerk he is and immediately goes for a bald joke. Wow, back to Storm, the animators have given her a very small orange t-shirt for some very large... here comes Beast. Beast is of course still in a tuxedo from teaching.

Armor is an adorable picture with a bunch of cats and Prof X explains how she's gone missing and carries the X Gene. Prof X brings up being old friends with her father who called him earlier, writing starts getting strange here as Prof X won't name Armor's father, even though their old friends. 

Yes, we're old friends, that Armor's father type person and I.

After Wolverine insults Prof X about being old he gets an angry face from Storm.

Cerebro is spoken out about aloud, so maybe earlier Cerebra is just the X-Mansion's operating system? Beast double-check's it as Prof X can't seem to connect with Japan and find Armor.

"Don't tell me you've been here the whole time. Where do you take a dump?" 

Wolverine can't stop insulting people in this show. Wolvie and Storm were sent to collect Cyclops as he didn't show up at X-Mansion. Instead of letting a man so distraught about losing the women he loved bask in his hobo wonderland sadness Wolverine acts like a huge jerk and gets blasted in the face. He then announces his healing factor to the audience in case they didn't know he had it.

The fight ends with Storm getting in the middle of the two and I have to agree with Scott who said he didn't want to fight anymore. Storm says we're only go to find a lost little girl. Anyone who knows the X-Men knows you will have fights about girls all the time, it happens. They leave Scott to his thoughts, his dark sad thoughts.

Poor Scott is now remembering a time with Jean underneath a starry sky. Jean the mood-killing-queen mentions how many of the stars they're seeing are already dead. Great sexy talk Jean.

Wolverine sniffs the air in the X-Mansion and "Well, well if it isn't the guy who put shoulder pads and tights back in fashion. " It's an apt insult, Scott it wearing huge shoulder pads. Wolverine may need to think about that though and go look at what he's wearing.

Xavier closes his eyes while talking to Scott about their current mission. Prof X might be getting old and sleepy.

Off to Japan without Xavier as Cyc and Wolvie bicker in the Blackbird.

Ending credits are a bit disheartening as none of the events in them take place in the series. Juggernaut, nope. Silver Samurai and Mystique, nope. Magneto, no he's not in it.

Though we could just talk about how awful Wolverine's hair is designed for the series I encourage everyone reading this to leave comments on our weekly topic. The best comments will be brought up as next week's episode review. So this weeks topic is : "Where are the X-Men now? " What would you have liked to have seen the X-Men being up to with their year off after Jean died? Wolverine chopping up food in the back of a restaurant. Beast licking himself. Scott being sad and alone at Disneyland. Storm getting a job at the Weather channel. Prof X building a transforming robot floating wheelchair. Add a comment and be part of the conversation.