Posted by psgels on 30 October 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week, I would like to rant a bit. On the downright lazy job that Madhouse did on Iron Man. They’re usually known for their imaginative and well thought out series. They had the freedom to really go anywhere, and yet they chose this. There’s something wrong with just about every part of this series apart from the music. The soundtrack really is wasted on such a series.

Starting with the visuals. I know that it’s shallow, and I usually only dismiss character-designs when they’re too generic. But dammit, when your main character looks like a freaking GOAT, that’s where I draw the line here. Tony Stark, a suave businessman with a ton of experience, looks ridiculously stupid, and the rest of the cast also doesn’t look much better. It really looks like a cheap outsourced series where no real effort went into making this look good, where most of the action is simply CG because it’s easier to animate.

Not to mention that the action scenes themselves don’t make any sense. This episode took place in space. You know, an open world with nothing in the way. And yet this episode dared to pull off the fact that you can hide from the vision of your enemy. TWICE.

As for the plot, I usually don’t have anything against episodic series. Iron Man is a bad example, though: it’s just a string of random unrelated cases that Iron Man has to solve. Only one of them really dealt with Tony’s past, for the rest it was all filler: nothing showed anything new about the characters, nothing really fleshed them out, and nothing really built up to the rest of the series. If the stories themselves were good, then this could be forgiven, but… they’re crap.

This episode… what exactly where the bad guys thinking? They put in a huge amount of money and effort in order to launch a parasite satellite that somehow can manage to beam into people and have them cough up blue blood. Leaving aside how ridiculously impossible this is, what baffles me the most is what they want to achieve with this: people end up coughing blue blood, and yet when they’re brought to a hospital and rest for a while they turn out completely fine. I mean, if I were to design such a thing, I’d at least make some kind of beam that is… you know… deadly and stuff. On top of that, they didn’t even hit the guy they meant to hit, thanks to Stark’s radiation shield. I mean, there are the kinds of stupid villains who screw up during a shoplift, but wasting so much money on something completely pointless. That really takes the cake here.

We’re five episodes into the series now, and what do we really know? The reporter still is as annoying as ever, Tony likes to go after women and his assistant is perfect in her preparation. Oh, and that there are some guys after Tony’s life for some reason. There’s no depth, no effort at all is spent asking “why”: we’re just spoonfed everything without much of a coherence between anything. I mean, I can forgive a cheap budget, but you can write a good story with any kind of budget: there are no excuses for such a sloppy script.

And the worst thing is… that we haven’t even gotten started yet. Is it known at this point whether or not Wolverine, the X-Men and Blade will also have the same staff here? That would be pretty disastrous. And it’s not like series based on comic books are doomed to fail here, because there have been a number of good examples throughout the years: Ultraviolet, Batman and Witchblade put down very respectable anime that stood on their own, and even beyond that there are the Animatrix and Power Puff Girls, which also translated very well to anime. And yet, we first had Heroman, and now this. I’m not really sure what went wrong in 2010, but they all just feel so dumbed down and safe, taking so little risks. It’s a bloody shame.
Rating: — (Bad)

6 Responses

  1. mds says:

    err..I think you’ll post an entry about Index II or Zakuro or something for this week’s kaleidoscope …. – -

  2. Nayrael says:

    I agree: I don’t understand either what the authors are thinking here: it is like they are not trying at all.

  3. Morgoth says:

    Yeah, one can really only agree to that: This series is just… dumb. And by the bye: Madhouse did interpret the comics very freely, meaning they did it in a way that totally went against some core concepts of the comic series and didn’t make any sense.

  4. BananaHammock says:

    Hiding from something in space isn’t particularly hard to be honest. Aside from the obvious sense of vertigo one could receive, actually seeing something that’s not extremely large or hot requires it to be rather close; this is due to light photons having little to refract/reflect off of into your retina, causing quite a large portion of space to be simple darkness.

  5. Tsubaki says:

    Hmm…what i think is that the guys from Marvel held Madhouse back on this one. How much creative freedom did Madhouse actually have? Was it Marvel that had the most control over this project?

    I’m just wondering what really went wrong here. It’s too bad though, since i was looking forward to this series myself.

  6. Souther says:

    I’d call it profoundly mediocre rather than out right bad, but I guess this is one of those cases where you’re probably being too harsh. I’m approaching it with the same expectations as I’d approach any superhero comic book (if I were reading anything from that genre, which I’m not).

    @Tsubaki: We know that Warren Ellis wrote the story outline (for Iron Man and all the other projects) and Madhouse wrote the scripts themselves.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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