Comic Anime or Comical Anime

Posted on August 12, 2011 by

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Comic Anime or Comical Anime?

Do you feel like anime is taking over television? Ever feel that anime art style has taken over your comics? Well, now you can have the best of both worlds as anime takes over comic book characters in all new shows. The full lineup is going to have anime shows for Iron Man, Wolverine, Blade and X-Men.  Iron Man and Wolverine have been released and this leads to the question of; do these whet your appetite for more or leave a bad taste in your mouth?

Let’s start this off the right way; with the visuals. Both shows sport anime art styles, but Wolverine and Iron Man have two very different styles. Iron Man rocks a more modern anime style that is to be honest quite over done these days. It is pretty, sharp, and the CGI for the show blends in quite well, but sadly there is nothing original to the show’s style. With 2 blockbuster movies, a few previous cartoons, and endless lines of comics one would think they really could have run away with this, but sadly nothing new is here. You have seen the designs, seen the skill, character designs are even re-hatched. Simply compare some shots of Tony Stark with Dr. Tenma from Astro Boy.

Wolverine on the other hand definitely took some liberties to re-design a few things and use a great fitting art style with them. The hardest thing to get over with Wolverine is how the main character looks. Wolverine is set in modern times yet Logan looks like he is in his early 20’s. He did not even look that young in WWII, but in this anime he looks like a young puppy off the farm trying to find his first leg to hump. Past that though the show is designed with a much darker tone and a classic noir style feel to the animation. It is something anime pulls away from more and more which makes this look even better and does have that dark feeling the comics did. Art wise this show is the winner by leaps and bounds, or if you prefer by berserker rage and fastball specials.

The plots of these shows really do set them apart from each other to say the least. Then again I dare ya to try and compare the comics as well. Iron Man falls into the goofier out there plots that have been overdone and Wolverine has a great old noir mystery feeling plot with good revelations and villains. Guess the best place to start is where Iron Man is simply a cookie cutter anime of all the rest.

Iron Man makes use of tired old re-hashed characters and plots from several animes. This is sad as a lot with the Iron Man comics have changed there have been some great original dark themes to it.  First off the villains of the show are zodiac based. Unlike most animes though they are using the Tropical Zodiac (Cancer, Gemini, etc.) so they get a bit of credit, but this has been done… a lot. It also introduces a reporter (female of course) who seems to have no business being a reporter and just gets in the way and adds comic relief. C’mon even Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s used this plot device. The government has some form of secret police force that has a dark secret and they introduce an opposite of the main character; a guy who obeys the law and is overly respectful so… Tony’s “evil twin”. All of this added up really removes Iron Man from its comic roots and just makes it another run of the mill anime.

Wolverine does well to avoid all of these pitfalls. There is no forced humor, the plot is slowly revealed each episode, and creates a much darker world. The plot has done somewhat well to evolve over the show. Wolverine returns to Japan to “free” his past love from her evil family. What the family does, how powerful they are, their hatred of Wolverine, and the characters in general all get revealed in time. Even a main plot character is removed in the second episode. This is on par with the darkness of the Wolverine comics; the anger, loneliness, the guts to kill off characters and show blood.

Compared to the comics as a whole I see where these artists came from. Wolverine definitely feels more like his comic, but they do portray him in an anime style with old ways set in modern times, but then again that is Logan. With Iron Man you get the goofy jokester side of the comics with the one lines, but rather than keep this suave and cool as Tony is in the comics they went for over the top silly sometimes which makes him being serious too hard to swallow.

Let’s do a quick break down (okay that guy in the back who just yelled, “too late!” hush up):

Iron Man

The Good

  1. The art is nice and crisp with a great blend of CGI.
  2. Tony has the same old whit we have come to know and love.
  3. The Iron Man suit looks and works like we expect it to.

The Bad

  1. No other original comic supporting cast.
  2. Too many Anime stereotypes used.
  3. Iron Man retiring plot is weak and makes no sense.

Wolverine

The Good

  1. Characters develop well and are well rounded.
  2. The plot catches you off guard in the good ways.
  3. Actions of characters actually make sense.
  4. No overdone comic relief.
  5. Art style has a somewhat classic noir feel and looks crisp.

The Bad

  1. Has anyone told the makers of this show how old Wolverine really is???

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