X Men is Marvel’s third attempt at trying to milk the far eastern audience with an American derived work. Without being a diehard fan of the franchise, I have watched most of the episodes in all three cartoon adaptations, the movie versions, some scattered comic stories, as well as the other two Marvel anime. I can say that I have a grasp of the basics. Just by the first glance, X Men definitely feels more interesting than the Iron Man and Wolverine anime for having a team of heroes instead of a solid protagonist who becomes boring fast. Yet it’s still quite boring compared to older versions in other media because THERE IS NOT MUCH PLOT and THE ACTION IS JUVENILE.
Let’s try to compare it with the American tv versions. Where an average cartoon episode would have fast action and plot progress, the anime version has very little going on in it. It’s like you watch half the series just for something significant to happen; and even when it does, the storyboard is so badly done that you just don’t like it. The villains for example appear and disappear all the time, and not because they can teleport. They are just there and if the scriptwriter wants them to escape, they just do so. The X Men on the other hand are painfully inactive, standing frozen and surprised for several minutes and letting the plot unravel favorably for the villains any way the scriptwriter wants, when in reality they could just react in seconds and prevent most of whatever they are doing before their very eyes. Which is true; as soon as the author finally allows the heroes to act, they pretty much own the villains in a few minutes of easy battles. Do you believe the villains talking cocky lasts three times longer than the time needed to have their masterplan ruined? The show is also heavy on dialogues, and not the interesting kind ones. It is mostly blah-blah-blah about a virus nobody cares about and everybody standing emotionless in a corner while the villains just explain their powers and masterplans as if this is Naruto. This is an action franchise and all its excitement and revelations should be blood-boiling; not lethargic like that.
The production values are very good as the animation looks great and the music is amazingly catchy and not lifeless like in the other two anime. Also, the characters are very close to their original forms, unlike the gay looks of Wolverine (although Beast looks like a tiger instead of an ape). So far it is the part I enjoy most. The action scenes are also very vibrant and fast but end up being short and with chaotic choreography since as I said the villains appear and disappear without any reason at all. Also, they attack in small numbers instead of ganging up on the heroes and winning by pure brute force. It’s not like the few ones attacking each time use stealth; it’s just lame scriptwriting that makes them look sneaky.
The characters are fine if you know them from other series or comic books; they act as they should but they otherwise don’t really develop or reveal sides of them you didn’t know. It feels like they are there for the sake of being there; their numbers or role don’t matter much.
- The only character who is given some interesting immersion is Hisako, the new mutant. She doesn’t have much personality other than being the frightened little girl who is forced to learn how to fight for her life. Well I’m sorry, Jubilee did the same in the 90’s cartoon and she had her parents fearing her and a mob of crazy racists chasing her. Hisako has nothing of interest next to that.
- There is also Cyclops who wants to overcome the pain he feels over the death of Jean and even looks like Ema Frost is hitting on him and giving him a chance to move on with her as his mate. Yet this subplot is undermined a lot so it’s not like you feel there is something solid going on here.
- Wolverine is as usual antagonizing Cyclops for the love of Jean even after her death. He just blames him for everything and nags all the time. Beyond that, he is just there to offer gar action with his adamantine claws.
- Beast is supposed to be there as the scientist who is studying a new virus and even tries to create a vaccine. His subplot is also undermined as all it took to solve the problem is storming the enemy base.
- Xavier is actually important to the plot, as his own family is in the heart of this mess. Yet I can’t say the story couldn’t be done without him in it.
- Storm is… um… Ok she is completely useless to the plot. The best thing she did was cooking.
Even their powers are not used properly, so their most fundamental traits are gone to waste. For example, at episode 6 the team needs to find a shelter from a snowstorm… while Storm is there with them. She can control the weather; this shouldn’t even be a problem. On episode 7 the team is attacked by villains that simply sneak up on them. Wolverine should have sensed them with his heightened senses. And if Hisako is supposed to be the member with the all-powerful shield, then why is Emma Frost able to do the exact same thing with her ice barrier? What is Hisako, a completely rookie character, doing in a team of elites when her very power is obsolete? Is she just the lolicon bait for the fans? And why is Emma Frost in their team so easily when she is known to betray everybody? And wait a second; didn’t they reuse the exact same story in Wolverine and the X-Men? Her, replacing Jean in the team and having a secret agenda?
The villains are also completely retarded despite claiming to have some sort of masterplan and acting all cocky all the time. Not only they waste their manpower by attacking a few at a time but even when they ambush the heroes, they waste more time explaining and gloating about everything than just killing them. Also, for a group that is supposed to be geniuses, they definitely don’t even know the powers of the heroes, since they believe simple mind tricks and direct attacks is all it takes. I mean how stupid can you be if you just stab Wolverine and you think that is all it takes to kill him?
Speaking of the villains, none of them is a major figure in the franchise. The end credits show Magneto, Juggernaut, and a few others, none of which appear in the show. They are present only as a static picture! Who the hell are there stunts and why are they so threatening if they are so stupid? Should I even care? As for the twist of Xavier having a son… well he already has one who did far more harm and even initiated the Age of Apocalypse.
Another issue is the setting which feels empty. You are let to think the entire world is just a few dozen people, plus lots of mook machines chasing the mutants. Where are the cities full of people, the thousand different mutants, the feeling you are not watching a wasteland? The very mutant academy is completely empty when in the cartoons it was bursting with life.
Final words. The story is damn uninteresting and badly written, the powers of the characters are not used properly, the action scenes are chaotic, the villains are completely uninteresting and stupid. The third Marvel anime is still nothing but a lifeless attempt at quick bucks and I don’t recommend it to anyone as more than a low expectations time killer.
Onwards to Blade, last of this line of crappy adaptations.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks nice)
Character Figures 2/2 (cool looking)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (average)
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: 3/10
Presence 1/2 (weak)
Personality 1/2 (typical)
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)
As a huge X-Men fan, I was looking forward to this series. However, unlike some super-fans, it did not need to be similar to the existing media to be considered any good to me. However, not only did it miss the tone of the comics, but it really wasn't good. It was bland and the plot jumped too much; I was even confused at one point.
My first complaint is the characters. They have a large cast of original characters with cool powers, but they don't use them. Scott and Emma are the main focus, while the others are secondary to them. I'm glad they didn't go overboard and introduce 20 mutants, but they could have made the characters they chose to use less 'two-dimentional'. Their personality could have been shown more, and their powers could have been used in more interesting ways. (Also, if you're looking at the opening/closing it includes many mutants that are not even in the show).
Which leads me to my next complaint. There are very few action scenes in the show. The coolest thing about mutants is their powers, but there are only a few action scenes. Instead, they will entire episodes with the chaaracters just standing around and talking, which is the show's biggest downfall. All the dialogue is long, dull, and neverending conversations. There are a few fun one-liners, but that's about it. The slow pace of the show makes it almost unbearable to watch.
The plot was also a bit confusing and all over the place. It jumped from plot point to plot point (U-Men, Hisako, disease) and although they all tied in together in the end, the rest of the show was just too confusing. It had no clear direction for most of the series and it felt confusing to watch. I was worried I missed a scene or two somehow. They had so much X-Men history to work with, they should have stuck to a popular story instead of the American-Japanese hybrid they used. It felt like both an anime and cartoon mixed together in the wrong ways.
Overall, I still did find some enjoyment seeing some characters from one of my favorite franchises together again, however the vast history and interesting characters were underused. The show could have used more focus in both tone and plot to fix many of the issues I had.
A few fan-complaints:
-Cyclops kept posing all the time. Very annoying. He also was a blast-first, ask questions later kind of guy, which isn't what he is like in the comics.
-Emma Frost was weak, had HUGE boobs, her second form is never referred to as 'diamond', her telepahy (which could have solved so many problems) was rarely used, and she wasn't the loveable cocky bitch from the comics.
-Beast, Storm, and Armor had the only character designs I liked. Even Xavier, a simple character to draw, look far too serious and didn't have that fatherly smile he is known for.
-No good mutant villians. If they had stuff with a character like Magneto instead of trying to make such a confusing plot, it might have been more enjoyable.
-The voices didn't match the characters. But this is probably because I'm not used to hearing American characters speaking Japanese. I saw part of an episode in English, and it sounded much better.
-This version of Wolverine is better than the one from the Wolverine anime, but still not perfect.
-The show didn't have a X-Men feel to it.
Overall enjoyment: 4
As always this review is my personal opinion, any criticism is acceptable as I don’t give a fuck about trolls:P but srsly if u want to criticize something in my review be my guest and let me know it in the comments.
And as always this review is SPOILER-FREE, so don’t worry about reading some important plot stuff here (I hate it too!).
Are you ready for another Marvel action-anime? You better be, cause it’s the 3rd installment in The Marvel Super Heroes Anime! We have already been served with Iron Man and Wolverine before. For me Iron Man was OK but just plain ok, music was fine art was great but the story was kinda lame. Wolverine on the other hand was super amazing. Story was great and interesting and new design of Logan/Wolverine was sth bold to do but it was worth it (even though many ppl find the new Wolverine look too much different than his American comics/tv version). Now when we have a third anime ended we can sorta have a new look on this whole series (the Marvel series). I admit it was some kind of a disappointment when I saw X-Men as the next Marvel anime. What? I just saw X-Men…I mean Wolverine, but for me Logan is the ultimate X-Men representative (ask anyone about the first X-Men that came to their minds, I bet 90% would answer Wolverine). Maybe I’m a douchebag and know shit about X-Men (I admit I’m not the biggest fan) and there are more representative mutants than Logan.
But let’s get going with the story in the X-Men. It’s…lame, rly nothing to say more about it. I don’t know if it’s based on some other story from comics (many things and characters are but I’m not sure about the plot itself) but is looks like it was ripped from it. I mean literally ripped, it is sooooo much misplaced. And I’m not quite sure how to describe it so that you can understand me. Once again I will refer to the Iron Man and Wolverine, the story there was a whole part. It was designed to fit in those 12 episodes (all Marvel anime is 12 eps long) and they both gave a feeling that it was one consistent story fully told from point A to point B. In the X-Men it looks like it was taken from the comics and somehow hammered in those 12 episodes JUST to make some story. There was WAYYYYYYY too much to handle for a 12 episodes, The Inner Circle, U-Men, Japan, second mutation, death of Jean Grey, Xavier’s legacy (don’t worry no spoiling, just mentioning things obvious from first eps). COME ON! How much more of this shit? But the worst thing is that I wasn’t aware of this till 11th ep. I was watching the show like a normal anime that is going to have 60-100 episodes and it was fine for me. But on episode 11th when things get more serious a thought came to my mind “wait.. 11th ep? This means it’s gonna end next week? Are you fuckin kiddin me?” And then you get all disappoint that it’s gonna end next week. Seriously, you watch it expecting a really long developing story giving the fact that there is sooo much shit in it but at the end you only get frustrated that all this was cramped in one mini season. Because of this I can’t rate this pulp. Maybe the story is ok, if it had like at least 20 more episodes, but now as it is it’s not satisfying, nor interesting. Just another X-Men adventure picked from some comic issue and pasted to the anime. To piss us off even more they even end the whole series with a sort of a cliffhanger. We get to see Magneto’s (I assume it’s Magneto’s) prison in pieces with no Magneto in his cage, after that we fade to black with a caption saying that X-Men work must continue… You see?! Even the authors realized “man.. we fucked this up… we put a story cut from a comic issue into 12 episode tv show and it sucked cause of lack of development”.
As always in Marvel’s anime animation is great. Art is great, details are great, animation itself is great. But there is one thing that bugs me- Wolverine. Yep him again, he is not badly drawn or colored but he is so much different than his earlier depiction in the previous anime. In Wolverine anime Logan looks slick and swift and deadly and very very different than his American counterpart (as I mentioned before). New Logan in X-Men anime looks very much like his American version (from comics and TV), he is much shorter, heavier, better built, with huge mouth and many hair on his face/head. It doesn’t mean I don’t like this version of him (but I admit the earlier one was more interesting as it was sth new) but the problem is that everyone else looks “less americanish”. The biggest problem I have is with Cyclops. If you don’t know there is (I mean there used to be, cause it was abandoned in this X-Men series) a tradition of showing a cameo of a superhero from next anime series. There was Wolverine in one of the Iron Man episodes and Cyclops with BlackBird in one of the Wolverine episodes. Cyclops from Wolverine anime looked pretty much the same as the one in X-Men, so why the hell Wolverine in X-men looks soooo fuckin much different? Other than that I got no other problems.
Sounds are bland but acceptable, there are none that are worth remembering. Music on the other hand is far superior than sfx itself. It’s dark, it’s got a nice vibe to it and every time I hear the opening notes I get all excited (even though the show was not so much interesting I was still getting hyped). As for the voice acting, it’s not worth remembering either. Much like sfx it’s okay but nothing more. Maybe even some of the actors are too weird in my opinion. For example professor Xavier (or professor X if you prefer) has a very weird voice. It just doesn’t fit him at all, sounds like a bad Japanese dubbing.
After the story, the next biggest issue I got problem with. X-men is an organization with lots of mutants, not just 1 boss and 4 henchmen (with a little addition by some new members). I expected to see at least some of my favorites like Rouge, Gambit or Nightcrawler. It was not enough for me. Especially for me, a person who thinks Storm is a pussy and so is Cyclops:P What is even worse we get even less villains known from the X-Men universe. We just got Magneto mentioned (and shown in ending credits in a still-shot), Inner Circle mentioned, some U-Men mentioned and showed but nothing interesting. Once again I must say that 12 eps is not enough for this much of a potential. And thus the characters suck, we get no development at all. I mean real development not the one that gets explained in half an episode due to time limits, cause that shit doesn’t work for me. I admit that X-men are very complex ppl/mutants and trying to develop each characters story is a big thing and very hard to do but they show no interest in even trying.
Overall I was somewhat hyped for this anime but it totally pwned me with its raw and unfinished form. I know I said it a lot in this review but I will say it again: 12 episodes is not enough to deliver this kind of story in this kind of universe and with this kind of characters. I talk and talk about how bad this anime is done but do I know how it could be done better? Nope, not in those damn 12 eps:) My solution would be not to pick up X-Men as a 12 eps anime theme. Or at least trying to pick a story (or even better develop a new one) that is short enough to fit those 12 episodes. But even then I would still be unsatisfied with the amount of character development. Last words: I only recommend this anime to the hardcore Marvel fans.
For the ending credits let’s talk a little about next anime. I mentioned about the tradition of next anime’s cameo and the end of this (I think) great tradition in X-Men. But of course they did posted a trailer to the next anime series which will be BLADE The Vampire Hunter. From the trailer I can say that I already like the characterization of Blade and I hope they will keep to the new tradition which is: make a not so good anime (Iron Man), then make a good one (Wolverine), make a not so good (X-Men), make a good one (Blade).
I'm a sucker for Marvel, so I'm bias, but the animation is pretty cool, the storyline is okey(ish).
It can feel a little drawn out as the characters don't seem to react to action, and the explanations are long and slow.
X-men is one of my favourite comics, so I was again curious what have happened to famous brand.
They started great, maybe better to say good. Pace was established and even if it wasn't action-packed it was a promise of something pretty decent. Unfortunately they couldn't fulfill it. As it started slow, it continued being slow and when we finally get some action it was just fast and shallow watch.
It's a shame that with a brand like that they couldn't do more. I don't know if they think that everybody knows X-men, "let's focus more on the story, then characters", but they did not. Story of anime isn't something you will tell your friends about. You will most likely hide the fact that you watched it and begin nervously laughing when somebody ask you: "How was it?". Through these very slow, non-action and talking mostly episodes we got nothing of real value to enrich X-men universum. Towards the end it became just lame, crying and whining and not very convincing idealism, crowned with 'hippies, let's hold hands and sing umbaya around fire' happy ending.
FINAL OVERVIEW: I already said enough about the story. It's just like 'beach' episodes of anime. You look at it, you maybe like something, but you really don't take it seriously. What to say about characters, it almost become one man show of Cyclops leading it everything with his "deep" suffering and everybody else was just standing behind and look tough. They just failed to put depth to characters we had and we didn't have much. I wouldn't mind there were only few of mutants (I don't count in few shots at the end) if they were any good. Dubious idealism and naivity of Armor was irritating and throughout whole story I didn't see even one good reason why she should be with the famous X-men. Also doctor, who lied from the beginning and nobody bothered to question her or maybe scan her mind(???), got on my nerves very much.
Animation was without big flaws and it was very nice watch, apartfrom Emma's enormous forehead, why, really WHY? I didn't find anything bad about music and sound in general, but I cannot say anything good either.
All around, it just wasn't X-men, it hasn't it's unique feel and atmosphere. And I would recommend to treat it the same way as Bart Simpson's "bad" twin brtoher. Just lock it up on your attic and pray that no one will ever find out about it.