Here’s the thing: after eight episodes, I can pretty much say that X-Men has the best animation of the season. Sure, some of the slice of life series may have more fluidity, but they also are a lot easier to animate and keep consistent. The animation with the X-Men is wild, vivid, colourful and very diverse. C has this too, but at the same time it does have a lot of off-model shots and CG. Tiger & Bunny meanwhile also has the CG working against its otherwise great eye candy. Ao no Exorcist is animated consistently meanwhile, but it instead just looks too mundane too often. The X-Men, while it may not be amongst the Madhouse series with the best visuals, still stands apart with its consistently interesting visuals and excellent character designs. This episode again looked excellent. Perhaps only Nichijou has better animation, but I have seen too little of that to really say something about that.
Overall this turned out to be quite a solid action series: the action kicks ass and appears often, there is intrigue, the characters all have their issues that blend together quit nicely. It’s only the storyline that I’m not yet convinced of: at this point it still feels a bit too random and unconnected. What was the purpose of the U-Men beyond just kidnapping a bunch of people? They really could have used that time to focus more on the characters and real villains.
Apart from that, this episode was really meant to build intrigue, and I’m curious to see whether that will pay off or not. A lot of the series this season are very big on the build up, and most of them are doing a great job on that, though X-Men still feels a bit iffy here. I’ve said before that the main villains here are uninteresting. Wolverine’s ending worked so well because it had a really charismatic villain. What X-Men meanwhile needs to do is build a finale around Sasaki and Xavier on one hand, and Cyclops and Emma Frost on the other hand. It will be much more difficult than just “have battle to defeat the big bad”, although that part definitely must not be half-assed either.
Rating: ** (Excellent)