X-Men is the third in the Marvel Anime lineup, and possibly the most entertaining. Apparently, the creators put more time, effort and thought into the X-Men anime than they did with the previous two.
The story found in the X-Men anime revolves around the disappearance of a young mutant girl in Japan. Professor X gets the band back together to go to Japan, find the girl, and figure out what happened. On the way, there are plot twists, turns and surprises.
Much like the Wolverine anime that preceded it, the X-Men anime borrows heavily from the source material, but flips it. For instance, any longtime fan of the comic book will recognize a few elements of the Legion storyline and a few more things to pick up on. The choice of villains was interesting as well. They went with the little-known U-Men and the more well-known Inner Circle.
The anime features an X-Men lineup consisting of Cyclops, Storm, Beast, Wolverine and later, Emma Frost and Armor. The storyline starts with Jean Grey’s fiery death as the Phoenix. The individual teammates coming to grips with it sets the tone for the rest of the series. Honestly, if you don’t know anything about the X-Men, you can have a little trouble understanding the motivations of the characters.
The dialogue is good…very good. I watched the English dub with the subtitles turned on from the original Japanese. It’s odd how much of the story changes between the two. In fact, I find the English dub to be far superior in the way it tells the story. The story is much clearer in the dub. Although, there were a few instances where you would wonder why they chose a particular phrase over another.
On a side note, the voice and overall character of the Wolverine in this series is much better than the Wolverine from the actual Wolverine anime. This is the Wolverine we know, and it makes you wonder what happened between the two series. Even a special feature segment on the DVD mentions the fact the two seem different from each other.
The story is good. In the 12 episodes, there are four or five different plot threads that all come together. I won’t get into it all as there is a lot going on from beginning to end. The writers managed to tie it all together smoothly without a hitch. There was a small hiccup near the end that I did not like, but overall, Warren Ellis and the storyboarders did a hell of a job with the writing.
As this is an action anime, the creators managed to fit a lot of action between the exposition. There is a very good balance but also a lot of repetition. Some of the story elements and explanations repeat just a little too often.
The animation is damn good. The characters look great, the action sequences are phenomenal. The crew at Madhouse did an excellent job of adding the Japanese look to familiar characters without making it overt and in your face. It leads to what I think is a unique look for the X-Men. That’s all there is to it, it’s just good.
Of all the Marvel Anime, this one is arguably the best. The extra effort put into the creation of this series is noticeable and a joy to watch. The storytelling works, the animation is superb, and you can tell that much care went into this show.
One of the few downsides was a sequence near the end of the series that I found to be a bit superfluous. It involves cameos from other characters of the X-Men universe. Either they should have devoted a whole episode to the scenario or left it out completely.
However, that aside, if you don’t watch any of the other Marvel Anime series, then you should definitely check out the X-Men.
Where to Get the X-Men Anime
- Iron Man the Anime (Marvel Anime #1)
- Woverine the Anime (Marvel Anime #2)
- Blood+ the Anime
- Witchblade the Anime
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