Posted by psgels on 25 June 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, X-Men

Overall, the past season has turned out to be excellent, but there is one interesting are where it is below average: the animation. Unfortunately, the earthquake’s mark on the anime industry shows up the clearest here. And so we got quite an interesting series to walk away with the award for the best animation of the season: this one.

This series doesn’t look as good as Madhouse’s best looking series, but it still is a wild and vivid looking series. the colours are really varied, the animation is bold and strong and the character designs are completely unlike any other anime out there, even considering that this is based on an American franchise.

If you’re also looking for good action, then this show has it, and buckets of it. It’s a really well directed show in technical terms: the action is plentiful and always moving, making sure to alternate enough between characters to keep everything dynamic. Couple this with the gorgeous animation and you’ve got a very entertaining series to watch.

Now, where this show falls down a bit is the plot. It’s not bad like Iron Man or anything, but it made a number of core design decisions that prevented the story from fully delivering. The creators unfortunately tried to do two things at the same time: first of all they wanted to make an epic and action-packed action series, and on the other hand they wanted to create a serious drama about mutants and teenagers with powers and the people around them. These don’t really blend well together.

The result is an action-packed series that tries to be deep, yet doesn’t have the time to actually flesh out its characters. It has like five different villains who all are tied together, and yet it has nowhere near enough time to focus on all of them, leaving some key villains as dull and uninteresting. On the side of the good guys meanwhile, the creators introduce a rather annoying new character. You want to see the X-Men kick ass? Well, there’s a Mary Sue amongst them who keeps stealing their spotlights. This reduces Storm in particular to someone who doesn’t just do anything, but the rest of the cast also particularly near the end is ignored in the favour of some random whining teenagers. Essentially the entire final conflict is nothing more but dictated by Teenaged angst and emo. This doesn’t work with characters who aren’t well fleshed out!

This is a shame, because the parts about the X-Men themselves are quite good Wolverine in particular is a lovable character, but the tension between them is also healthy and interesting, and whenever the teenagers aren’t at the centre of the attention this show really kicks ass. It’s just a shame that the finale of this series, the place where everything was supposed to come together, gets completely dominated by teenagers who don’t know what they want to be. Compare that to the Wolverine series: it knew exactly what it was, it knew exactly what it wanted to do and all of the characters knew their roles and were fleshed out sufficiently, while at the same time the series delivered a lot of neat action. Its acting and production values may have been horrible, but this balance is something that unfortunately the X-Men lacked majorly, and that’s why they get the same rating.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Doesn’t know what it wants to be, and therefore doesn’t come together at the end leaving a bad taste. It’s really good at writing action scenes, though.
Characters: 8/10 – A bit of a mixed bag, but most of the characters are interesting enough to keep watching. The teenagers just aren’t.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous animation and visuals and a strong soundtrack to boot.
Setting: 8/10 – The backstory behind the X-Men remains a fascinating one.

Toward the Terra
Read or Die OVA

7 Responses

  1. kaza says:

    Like I said in the ShoutBox, X-men had everything to be GREAT… but it failed on the most important: THE PLOT:

    1 – It came to japan: it felt kinda forced, and took away the chance to see some good major villains or famous characters of the comic books.

    2 – VILLAINS / Hisako: hisako wasn’t such a bad character, the problem was [as You said] the amount of time she had + the importance given to her… just a waste. the villains just didn’t work.

    i really hope the 2nd season [at least what seems to be, at the END] to fix these problems [Magneto would solve number 2 at least, and the setting would surely be worldwide or in America]… I want to see the mutants on the Ed sequence of this show [Mystique, Juggernaut, etc...]

  2. yeah I agree here…if they just went with Magneto WITHOUT Hisako… that would have been great, but they had to put the Japanese aspect in there to “appeal to the Japaense people” . . .whatever, it backfired when it shouldn’t have as the actual story of x-men is very very good…..

  3. Booya says:

    I think 80 is too generous for X-Men. It deserve a 60 at best.
    Hisako is a very bad character with horrible lines, and her seiyuu who makes the constant whining an ear sore doesn’t help either

  4. Roldan says:

    @Booya Hisako’s not enough to take it down to 60. Considering the rest ranged from great to okey and the animation was some of the best this season. And i enjoyed the cameos from Deadpool and Archangel and i am intrigued about the epilogue which Psgels doesn’t seem to talk about much.

  5. Whisperer says:

    well, Hisako (Armor) isn’t exactly a “new” Marvel character, psgels. She must have been introduced years ago. I don’t read X-Men, but she did have a cameo in “Runaways”, for example.

  6. Hogart says:

    Yep, that’s about it.. this show had virtually no ambition, was jammed into Japan for no reason, and seemed to try to avoid being about the X-Men as much as possible. Felt more like a so-so two-parter from the original SatAm cartoon than something deserving of 12 anime episodes. I think you were a bit kind with this score, even if it wasn’t nearly as bad as Iron Man.

  7. shadowofsparta says:

    i agree pretty much with the review.i was really happy with how close they followed the comics with nice nods and references to actual events and characters and the huge fact that they actually portrayed Cyclops in a way more reminiscent of how he really is-a great and intelligent leader (some argue the greatest x man).it could have done with more episodes and a different setting.maybe they should have gone with the mutant cure arc from the whedon run of astonishing x men.anyway,80 seems fair.and they should have avoided the whole friendship triumphs over all approach.didn’t seem right to me

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:37 PM)
    Well finally found that spider on a web right outside the bathroom window:
    It’s gotten way larger and seems to be prospering outside, so I decided to let it be instead of bringing it back in the house. Not to mention that I’m a bit intimidated since old Shelob’s a jumpy little fucker. Well hopefully she’s the type of arachnid that knows how to hibernate, cuz winter’s coming in fast.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:15 PM)
    It’s specially hard to like something that was somewhat made out of spite over the fan criticism of 2.0 becoming ‘too cliche and positive’, even psgels was irked by the overall tone that he thought didn’t fit the series. So Anno went and did a 180; for better or worse. I personally liked it and believe that you can’t have a Eva redo without mindfucks, but I think it all hinges on what the last movie accomplishes to do.
  • jerkocaust
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:14 PM)
    Isnt ninjarealist the one writer who disappeared for months after he got into an argument in the comments lol
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 08:09 PM)
    @Aidan: you don’t say? I thought we all agreed on everything and just circle-jerked? learn something new every day.
    I wouldn’t expect anything else, since there are a very few positive reviews of 3.0 that are beyond fanboy level of criticism.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:40 PM)
    And by that I mean the bluray release by funimation is coming out and you can finally own it =P
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:33 PM)
    Wait… 3.33…I misread.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:27 PM)
    @Bam: The dvd release for Eva 3.0 is February 2 next year.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:27 PM)
    @bam, if I wrote a review of rebuild 3.0 it would be pretty harsh.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 07:23 PM)
    I am somewhat disgruntled that there isn’t a review for the last two Berserk movies tho; psgels seemed quite the Berserk fan. He was also warming up to the Evangelion rebuilds but went on permanent hiatus right before the third film came out. I don’t wish a review of 3.0 on anybody tho, since most’ll be pretty hard-pressed to write more than two paragraphs about it.
  • bundleofsticks
    (Tuesday, Oct 13. 2015 06:48 PM)
    Also would people really be interested in a blog that only reviews old anime not many people watch anymore? Its better to review new shows

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