Netflix recently released two Marvel anime shows, Wolverine and X-Men. Wolverine failed to really add up to much and missed the mark when it comes to Logan/Wolverine, but what about X-Men? How well did they translate into the anime world?
Like Wolverine, X-Men is true anime in every sense of the word. From the art to the action, so anime lovers out there should find little to complain about there. The characters have distorted proportions. Most comics do this as well, so in the end it does not matter. The look, style and coloring of X-Men looks amazing all the way around. The animation department did an amazing job. Enjoy it visually, but does anime make the mutant? How well does the anime stylings serve the X-Men title?
Netflix X-Men – Does The Anime Serve the Brand?
The short answer is magnificently. Unlike Wolverine, the animation and design department did an amazing job rendering the X-Men. Each one carries the signature look from the comics and the re-stylizations done to the characters work wonderfully. Each character looks completely believable.
I would only nit pick three small points. Wolverine in this title looks like the Logan from the comics most of the time, and they even do a nice rick with his eyes. When he gets enraged, his eyes go from normal anime style eyes to completely black with very tiny white irises; However, in a few shots Logan’s face looks completely messed up artistically. It usually passes and returns to normal quickly, so it’s a minor point.
Nitpick number two is Storm. Her voice is too American. She needs more of her home accent to really feel like Storm. Her other problem comes from her outfit. She wears a leotard with very low riding pants. It gives the otherwise fantastic costume a strange look that does not fit Storm.
The final nitpick is the worst of the three and journeys into actual problem territory. Beast. Beast looks like a blue lion with his mane shaved. He looks terrible and needs a complete redesign.
The voices, outside of Storm, also fit their characters perfectly. Cyclops sounds like one thinks he would sound like. Beast speaks with his highly educated and oversized words, and Wolverine sounds gruff and mean. This makes a nice return to normalcy after the ‘Keanu Reeves doing Christian Bale Batman voice for Wolverine.’
Netflix X-Men – Is There an Actual Story?
Wolverine fell flat on its claws as its story pretty much copied the 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine verbatim. X-Men not only tells a unique story (as far as I know), but the story is magnificent! The series starts abruptly in the middle of the Dark Phoenix battle. Jean Gray dies as she always does, but the threads of this battle haunt Scott through out the series and dictate his actions repeatedly. It makes for a nice running under-story to the whole show.
We meet a new young girl, rescued by the X-Men, named Hisako Ichiki. The beginning of the series focuses on her before moving on to the bigger picture and overall bad guy, She is rushed into service as an X-Man recruit and joins the team as Armor to continue the investigation. The problem stems from her needing to learn how to harness and control her powers. This is where the Cyclops/Phoenix undertones kick in. Writers do a really nice job with her not only in initial development, but through out the show and especially in the final fight, she becomes extremely relevant.
All of the X-Men used to a wonderful job simply being themselves. Wolverine is a smart ass dick to everyone (as he should be). Beast speaks over everyone’s heads and Storm simply helps here and there in the story. The true standout character award must go to Emma Frost. Creators do a nice job playing off her comic background. In the comics Emma starts out evil and a major pain to the X-Men, but later on she evolves into one of the great X-Men leaders. This show does a wonderful job playing off that persona, so we have to keep asking who’s side is she truly on? She also forms an attachment to Hisako that serves a deeper purpose.
Netflix X-Men – Best Since the 90’s
This series is incredible in every way. The 1990s cartoon often stands out as the quintessential template for anything X-Men. This series easily rivals that one for quality. Outside of the look of Beast, any nitpicks are minor and inconsequential. The characters and story all bring the people we know to life in an amazing way. Armor becomes endearing as the series progresses and the overall narrative tells a deep story should hit home for most people. This 12 episode series is a MUST for fans of the X-Men.