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.