WHAT IS IT?
Released in 2011, X-Men: Anime was a 12-episode, animated TV series, based on Marvel Comics’ popular X-Men characters. The series was produced by Japanese animation studio, Madhouse, and was released in Japanese and English language versions as part of a collection of four Marvel anime shows which also included Iron Man, Wolverine and Blade.
The X-Men series featured long standing X-characters Cyclops, Wolverine, Professor Xavier, Storm and Beast, along with Armor (Armour for us in the UK) and Emma Frost. The story picked up after the death of Jean Grey (whilst in Phoenix mode) with Cyclops grieving and the X-Men disbanded. Reassembled once more by Professor X, the team are sent to Japan to investigate the abduction of young mutants, including future X-(wo)Man, Armor.
WHAT WAS GOOD?
Given the opportunity to produce the first X-Men anime series, Madhouse didn’t do a bad job in bringing Marvel’s merry mutants to the small screen. Picking classic characters Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast and Storm to fill out the team provided the necessary clout with fans and newcomers to ground the story, whilst the tale of genetic meddling with mutants helped to raise the scale. The addition of Emma Frost and Armor also helped to bring the team up to date, offering something a little different from the usual cast of characters seen in X-Men toons. The animation was good too and the post-credits scene at the end of episode 12 was a nice little set up for a sequel.
WHAT WAS BAD?
Well, taking into account what I have just said about the cast of characters, it was still a huge shame to keep the team so small. With such a long list of mutants to choose from it would have been fun to see a few more mutants pop up from time to time. Rogue, Archangel, Colossus, Deadpool, Nightcrawler and Captain Britain were all given cameos (along with Iron Man), but they were all ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ shots. Given the length of the series the audience could have been treated to the odd new mutant from time-to-time and this would have stopped the show from getting a little tired in places.
The lack of established villains was also a little bit of a letdown, especially as the chief villains, the U-Men, were not that exciting. To make matters worse, the end credits featured characters who didn’t appear in the series, such as Magneto, Mystique, Stryfe and Juggernaut – all characters that would have been great in the show!
Oh and starting the story with the death of Jean Grey/Phoenix may have been a little confusing to anyone not that familiar with the X-Men. Perhaps an episode all about Jean’s transformation into the Phoenix and her subsequent death would have been more advisable.