The wealthy, famous Tony Stark of Stark Industries has plans to finally retire from his Iron Man persona, leaving the glory to a new kind of hero. However, when testing his newest development, Iron Man Dio, the suit malfunctions and goes berserk. What's worse, a mysterious monster that calls itself Scorpio, a mighty warrior of the Zodiac, nearly kills him. Retirement, it seems, is out of the question for Mr. Stark...
Look deep inside your hearts and answer honestly. Every time you hear a famous franchise of a favorite videogame or comic book becoming cartoon or anime, what crosses your mind?a) This will be epicb) This will be shitAs sad as it is, chances are the second option is the proper one to have in mind. Face it, adaptations are cash cows. Hardly as good as the original and hardly stand as average if seen as stand alones. The producers just stick a famous name in the label and then smirk as they see the millions of fans buying it without even caring what it’s all about. Iron Man is no exception. In fact, it’s amongst the best examples, topped only by the adaptations of Devil May Cry, Crono Trigger OVA and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles OVA. Let’s check out the fan bait a bit more. This anime is of course based on a famous Marvel superhero. But wait, that is not the whole story. You know how it is with superheroes, every 5 years or so they get a reboot or a spin-off. This version in particular is based on the two American movies that came out between 2008 and 2010. In that version of the same story, Tony Stark is a party animal who hits on chicks in daylight and runs with his ultra lux car in a highway he booked just to be empty for him, while showing the middle finger to the authorities as he passes by at 4 miles per second. And he is such a cocky bastard that he is not even afraid to reveal on public his secret identity. … Hm, that’s not the Stark I grew up with.Anyways, on this alternative dimension of the multiverse Tony was too busy saving his ass and his company every two days while fending off the military and random terrorists who want to steal his super-awesome-special suit technology. He was no hero of America, protecting it from global threats. This is where the anime comes in to show this aspect.The anime works as sequel to the movies and Stark now speaks Japanese (amongst the other one trillion things he can do while showing the middle finger to Einstein and seducing his underage granddaughter). So he goes to Japan where he now faces yet another terrorist group who got high on too much high-tech gizmos and wants to take over the world (boy, I didn’t see that coming). Its name is Zodiac.Now all the fans of the comic book will probably waste several hours trying to remember who this Zodiac is and even scroll through their mountains of collectible issues. But to no avail as … Zodiac is not an Iron Man adversary! It’s an anime-only random organization, made on the run to excuse all the mess in the story. And yes, there are four different Zodiac teams in the Marvel universe but none of them are THIS bunch.So what you basically have here is a Stark who reminds you very little of the classical one, speaking Japanese, fighting some never-before-seen villains. Talk about going liberal with the story hm? Because the fans of the original Iron Man will most likely expect something like Ultimo or Titanium Man, established and recurring villains to take on the hero. But noooo, all they get is this nothing-in-common-with-known Zodiac dudes. Heck, the only famous character in this show is Wolverine, who is seen only in one episode as a cross-over (American comics love this shit). And he was just shown there only to foreshadow his appearance on the following anime starring him; thus it’s just another cheap way to build hype.But maybe I am stuck too much on how the classic image is. I should try to see this as a whole different story and not by force a remake. So what if it’s called Iron Man and has Tony Stark in a mecha, fighting other mechas? It’s just a coincidence. I mean, there is that old anime Tetsoujin 28 which is also translated as Iron Man. Should I also try to compare that one to this because they are synonyms? Heck no, I will just compare this anime to the movies, who are part of the same continuity. Yes, that is what I will do. I will place the movies on the left and the anime on the right and stare at them for a few minutes. So what are my impressions now? IT FRAKKIN SUCKS !!! Seriously, how much trolling was invested in this piece of turd? If it’s supposed to be a sequel to the movies then why in blazes is Stark acting totally different??? Why is he not handing over Rolex to random chicks he wants to bang, why is he not full of cocky one-liners, why is he not drunk half of the time, why is he not mocking the authorities with an ironic smirk? All you see him do is talking seriously, saving random nobodies from evil robots and then fighting random robots with zero characterization. Where is this Stark I needed months to get used to? Did he got all serious and entered the boy scouts? Even if he did, why is he speaking Japanese in such an out of character way? How was the transition from cocky American-speaking asshole to yasashi Japanese-speaking hero took place? Out of screen? Am I supposed to just accept that?That aside, who are these Zodiac stunts? Why ain’t they fighting the Avengers? They hardly have any personality other than being faceless goons with God syndrome blowing shit up. Heck, almost all of them are nothing but monsters of the week, killed in the same episode they appear in. As for their secret leader, come on, how hard is it to tell who he is? It is damn obvious!And the support characters. What kind of boring puppets are they? It’s just pretty chicks making questions in order to find out poorly handled hidden information and some army guy antagonizing indirectly Stark in his own suit. Didn’t we have War Machine for that? Why replace an established character (and Stark’s random chick harem) with new characters that have zero interest? Totally bogus. As if characterization ain’t bad enough, the stupid producers decided to make it even worse with lifeless animation. The drawings all look great as frozen panels but when they move or talk they feel completely fake or bored to even speak. You literally fall asleep watching them talk and move. The action scenes look a bit better, with lots of explosions and electromagnetic pulses and shit bursting out of chests and hands all the time. They are otherwise also boring as their choreography is simple and most of the time it’s about imba Iron Man using a bigger beam that the enemy. The CGI is also not the most beautiful thing to expect from a 2010 production, especially if you have the action scenes of the live-action movies in mind. Therefore the artwork may be very good but the animation is baaaad. Onwards with the music. Voice acting is just average. There is nothing standing out in the dialogues that most of the time is just shounen-like repeating idealisms and pseudo-science. Also, everyone talks so seriously all the time that becomes tiresome early on and without something worthwhile coming out of their mouths, I didn’t give a damn after a while. As for the music score, as a soundtrack it may be good to listen to. Lots of electric guitar and bass there, making an average to good rock show. Its application on the show however is damn lame. Seriously, they just throw in a song playing in the background and in the foreground random things happen. There is no uniformity between what happens and what is heard playing as music in the back, making it very hard to get into the mood of the story.To make a synopsis, the story is as if it was written for Adam West’s The Batman, the characters are too boring, the animation is lifeless, the music unfitting to the action and there is little to no real connection with the movies or Iron Man as we know and love … in any continuity. This is yet another poorly made adaptation that tries to milk the anime fans without really offering what they promised. You want a dude in a mecha suit shooting chest beams? Go watch Tekkaman Blade, a much older yet far more exciting anime. Or Soul Taker; that is some mindfuck. Or Guyver; childish in concept but very gorish at times. Heck, go for Tetsuo Iron Man. It has nothing to do with mecha battles and it’s even black and white, but it’s also a million times more exciting that this synonym. Don’t waste you money or bandwidth on this turd just because it says Iron Man on the label. You will be trolled hard if you do. Onwards to Wolverine. Let’s see how much fail with that be. And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 4/10 General Artwork 0/2 (looks lifeless) Character Figures 1/2 (generic) Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series) Animation 0/2 (crude) Visual Effects 1/2 (basic) SOUND SECTION: 6/10 Voice Acting 1/3 (lifeless) Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series) Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess) STORY SECTION: 2/10 Premise 1/2 (typical) Pacing 0/2 (dull) Complexity 0/2 (none) Plausibility 0/2 (none) Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy) CHARACTER SECTION: 2/10 Presence 1/2 (generic) Personality 0/2 (robotic and out of character) Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there) Development 0/2 (messy) Catharsis 0/2 (messy) VALUE SECTION: 1/10 Historical Value 0/3 (none) Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch it) Memorability 1/4 (no reason to remember it) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10 Art 0/1 (looks lifeless) Sound 1/2 (sounds ok) Story 0/3 (generic) Characters 0/4 (robots) VERDICT: 2.5/10
As you may know, I’m not one of those people that get pessimistic about the Marvel/Madhouse collaboration anime series. It’s a bit of a head scratcher and it does seem like a good idea at the time to introduce an American comic book character to Japanese audiences in anime form and since the Iron Man movies and Marvel itself has been in full popularity, it would make sense for them to cash in or foray into anime territory. Now seeing that this is the first of the Marvel Anime that ran, you figure this would be a new experience to me, but it isn’t since I already reviewed the Blade anime, considering I put that one in more importance than the others. Tony Stark is a physicist, an engineer, and the CEO of a major arms manufacturing company. On a battlefield he is injured from his own weapons and taken prisoner by terrorists. In order to keep his own heart beating, he creates the Ironman Suit and escapes. Once free, Stark decides to dedicate his life to pursuing world peace with the Ironman technology, so he moves to Japan to use the resources of "Lab 23," home of the world's first Arc Reactor. Wanting to devote himself fully to this research, Stark decides to retire as Ironman and announce the mass-production of suits to fulfill his duties. But at the announcement ceremony he is attacked by the mysterious organization known as "Zodiac," and his plans have to change. The plot of this show takes place somewhere in the Iron Man movie universe like it’s filler that the first movie cuts itself from and that’s what it felt like to me. It felt like something the writers just made up on the spot as it never really progresses but it’s just the “this evil organization wants to take over the world with Iron Man’s power” storyline that makes the whole anime weak in the story development and the fact most of it is very uninteresting and can put you to sleep most of the time. Believe me, I fell asleep twice watching the series. Plus, I’m getting some vibes that is almost similar towards the movie, but slightly altered and less improved, much like Ho Yinsen, the scientist who helped Tony with the design of the Iron Man while he was held hostage in a cave by terrorists. Tony Stark as a character in here isn’t much like him in other counterparts. He just seems more downplayed and uncharacteristic as if you feel nothing about him nor care nothing about what happens to him. The other characters are basically stock characters with the ally who gets used to him later on, the scientist who may or may not be a love interest despite Pepper Potts being in the anime, too, although it wasn’t applied that Stark and Potts were a couple yet in the show but I digress, there’s nothing remarkably interesting about the characters in here. The animation / art & designs of the show that Madhouse made ranges from OK to mediocre, starting with the design of Tony Stark, in which he kind of looks like an unmasked villain (if he had a cape, that is) you see in Sailor Moon or any other shounen anime. It all looks so shiny like the characters are either plastic-looking or that they bathe in body wax. The music is very stock guitar/ “epic-sounding” music that is much like action American cartoons nowadays, which is what it’s supposed to do but it all sounds a bit lacking to me. The English dub did brought an unusual voice to the character of Iron Man and that is Adrian Pasdar playing the title character. Now I’m not expecting a Robert Downey Jr.-like performance (just like I wasn’t expecting a Wesley Snipes-like performance in the Blade Anime) but he was a bit stiff in the first part of the series and a bit mediocre in the second half. That and knowing Wolverine makes an appearance in this and it’s voiced by Milo Ventimiglia, just to them to know ‘yes, Wolverine has an anime coming up, too’. Oh, and both of the actors I mentioned were also in that show “Heroes” and they play superheroes. *awkward laughter* OK, I’m done. In short, the dub was less than stellar but it’ll do. FINAL VERDICT: Yeah, this is boring. That’s the simple way of putting it, I don’t know if I should call it bad or anything like that. However, if you’re curious about the anime and you frankly want to go in without any expectations at all, then go right ahead.
Iron Man is, as you would guess, the Japanese adaptation of the popular Marvel super hero Iron Man AKA Tony Stark. Tony Stark is a genius inventor and head of his own weapon manufacturing company, Stark Industries, who after seeing all the destruction his weapons have caused and being in a near death experience decides to fight for peace and a better world altogether using his newly created "Iron Man" suit. However if you didn't know that then you shouldn't really even be reading this review. Taking inspiration from the 2008 film starring Robert Downey Jr. and it's 2010 sequel the series fails to fully capture the feel and excitement of the two films but still manages to be a decent. albeit average action-packed anime. Story 6/10 The story of "Iron Man" begins with Tony Stark vistiting Japan to introduce an Arc Reactor to the area, producing more energy than normal and providing an alternate power source for the area that, if succesful, will spread to other countries. However, soon attacks from a mysterious organization called "Zodiac" threaten the whole plan and it is up to Iron Man to stop them. While not particularly bad, the story in just uninteresting as a whole and fails to keep the same excitement and style as the films had. Many plot devices are never explored very well and "Zodiac" themselves are never really explained as to what they are and what they want. Even the plot twists are pretty weak since the characters involved never really have deep enough motives to explain their actions. As the series is sort of episodic in a way, new villians are introduced almost every episode just to be killed off in the same 22 mins having all their actions erased with Zodiac accomplishing nothing in the end. Many have very few words and its hard to even care what they are doing. The episodes themselves are quite predictable and have many instances of pointless dialogue. The stories saving graces are the ending which somehow manages to be pretty well done, and Tony's relationship with Chika, an employee at the arc reactor which develops over the course of the show. Animation 7/10 The animation in Iron Man is a mixed bag. During fight and action scenes the animation is great, using a CGI like look that fits the action and the robots well. During everything else however, nothing is too special. While it doesnt look bad at all nothing really stands out like the fight scenes do. Overall, with a 12 episodes anime from Marvel you would expect it to be fantastic all over, not just at certain parts. Sound 6/10 The music in Iron Man is mostly forgettable stuff. While not terrible, none of it is very memorable and much of seems like the same in every scene in the same type. Action scenes always use the same guitar riff for the most part, happy scenes always use the same joyous type arrangement, etc. Just listen to the ending theme and you'll basically have an idea of what to expect. Characters 5/10 This is largely where the series fails, with the characters. While Tony Stark is acceptable and stays true to how he is in other media for the most part, practically no other characters from the films or comics appear. Tony's assistant Pepper Potts, only appears in the first episode, Happy Hogan doesn't appear at all and neither does Stark's friend Rhodes. While it is understandable that none of them are in Japan, you would at least expect them to have a role in helping Tony along the series. Instead we get Nanami, a pointless News reporter featured in every episode! And Sakurai the Japanese agent! And already mentioned we get a ton of faceless villians. None of the characters leave an impression but Tony and many seem uneccesary. Overall 6/10 Overall, Iron Man is a decent anime that isn't a complete waste of time but could've been so much better if they would've done better with the source material
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