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Starring: Steve Blum, Danielle Nicolet and Scott Porter
What they say: The X-Men reunite after the death of a teammate in order to track down Hisako Ichiki (Armor), a missing teenage girl in Northern Japan. There, the X-Men encounter the fanatical anti-mutant group, the U-Men, and discover what was important enough for Xavier to bring them back together. The answer is something that could potentially bridge the gap between mutants and humans, or tear the two species apart forever.
What I say: Years ago, during the golden age of me discovering the internet I happen across the Japanese intro to the X-men cartoons in the 90’s. You know the one with: “This one’s for you Morph!!!” The whole time I was thinking, man if only they would have used the opening anime intro to animate the entire series. Who would have thought more than a decade later I got my wish. Of sorts.
It’s not much of a spoiler if the description of the plot is on the box. Right off the bat we kick off the series with Phoenix kicking the crap out of the X-men. No explanation what the Phoenix force is, but you know its bad news. Each X-men is introduced with their appropriate mutant powers showcased. Jean ends up dying in battle. After her death the X-men are sent on a mission to North Japan to track down Hisako Ichiki (Armor from Astonishing X-men). It is here where they encounter the U-men and meet Emma Frost. The rest of the series introduces us to new takes on classic characters.
I have been reading X-men comics for 30 years now and I still enjoy the hell out of a new take on a classic story. We’ve had movies, several TV shows, comics and now an anime. I’m not sure how exactly I feel about this show. I really liked the voice acting; keep in mind I only watched it in English. For the most part I enjoyed the characters, except for Cyclops, who in reality is a better leader than a crybaby. But there was something missing from the formula. Maybe it was the ending to the twelve episodes seemed rushed or the fact that the touching and emotional parts of the show didn’t really hit me. If it had gone for another season, maybe it could redeem itself, but it was just a mediocre series with some phenomenal visuals.
The animation production was handled by Madhouse Studio. Who are known for their work on Vampire Hunter D, Trigun and Ninja Scroll. The action sequences are crisp and clean, with a variety of camera angles being explored. As is the case in some anime the look quickly takes precedence over the plot, and while you’re admiring the production design it is easy to lose the sense of the action. The two extras were interesting to listen to. Fans of anime and X-men will check this out no matter what. Everyone else, well what can I say? It was fun, but could have been better.