Ironman has become one of the coolest superheroes over the past few years, not just because of the movies. I think it began when American artist started bringing in Japanese design aesthetic to their work. Mostly influenced by anime, these artist started making things look way cool and in a round about way, was one of the things that lead to what I like to refer to as the aluminum age of comics or I guess a Comic Historian would refer to it as the Image Age (the period of comics when there were 5 different covers for the same book and almost all comics were based off of visual aesthetics with few having decent content.). Comics were disposable and forgettable. So, now we’ve come full circle.
The Ironman anime premiered in Japan in early October. It will be airing on G4TV in early 2011(translated). If you dig around online you can find the episodes subtitled , which is how I viewed the first four episodes. At the end of the first Iron Man film Tony Stark makes the statement “I am Ironman.” It feels like that statement is the ground work for the anime series. The animation is gorgeous and the teaser that marvel released for the series earlier this year does it no justice. The problem is it suffers from “Voltronitis” – talk talk talk , form blazing sword, roll credits.
It’s a show about Tony Stark womanizing and talking about the arc reactor while driving his fast car. It’s What If Tony Stark lived in Japan. It has interesting elements of how the Japanese view Americans, but I think it’s more of a fantasy for your typical Japanese teenaged boy. The anime takes certain potent ingredients from the comic and movie, boils it down and wraps it up into a pretty package. I thought I was going to see Ironman kicking ass every episode. Instead I got Star Trek in a suit. Blablabla Romulans blablabla tachyon field blablabla warpcore = blablabla Zodiac blablabla Arc reactor blablabla Ironman suit. The episodes feel very formulaic, with Ironman appearing once within the first five or ten minutes then again around the twenty two minute mark for the resolve. There is a nice little surprise in episode four which will pave the way for Marvels Anime franchise.
The bottom line is, If you can deal with minimal story and formulaic episodes then you will love the Ironman anime. I love anime, I love robots but I feel like I’ve seen this one already. The only cool factor for me is that it is Ironman from the movie, and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons for this (similar to Hasbro’s marketing cartoons in the 80’s). Marvel doesn’t want us to forget that Ironman is around. They’ve given us filler to hold us over until the third film. I’ll bite and I’ll watch.
Here is the 1 minute opening to the show to give you a taste.