First Impression – Iron Man

Trouble in Nippon? And Iron Man retiring? Zettai, incompatible.

Let me clarify here that I have not read any Iron Man comics and whatever I know about it is from seeing the first two movies and some wiki. Btw, I love Robert Downey Jr. as an actor and he did a brilliant Tony Stark, the borderline narcissist. It actually helped establishing some of his characteristic facts in general because I re-watched the sequel today. For those who don’t know, Tony Stark was a boy genius from get-go, getting an MIT degree at the tender age of 19. Walking on the footprints made by his father Howard Stark, he’s a filthy rich entrepreneur with everything going for him. However, his run-in with Wong-Chu and his heart break (due to shrapnel lodged near his heart), he runs on batteries every day at a time. Being the savior of the people, he finally starts to change his ways and becomes more of a hero than businessman. However, there will always be some residual past-life left and that is where his grey factor comes in; though, in the end, he usually takes responsibility and does the right thing (don’t all heroes?).

I think this is enough for a crash course on the main lead, who is a very old Marvel hero, the comics of which are being published since 1963. You would ask why make an anime version of something so American pop culture and not those Superman/ Batman type animation? Answer lies somewhere between the closing down of many animation studios and long-term partnership of Marvel with Madhouse (Japan HR is cost-effective, you see?), who are not only animating Iron Man but Wolverine, Blade and another character/story around X-men. Knowing Madhouse, I expected quality and I liked the trailer too; so, I was pretty fluent in necessary canon when I sat down to watch this and the first episode did make an impression.

If you went Chief! Hughes! Higuchi! or even Hisahide! 10 pro points for you. Tony Stark is voiced by none other than Fujiwara Keiji, known for his serious and powerful voice that perfectly suits the infamous Stark (inspired by Robert Downey Jr’s profile) , dominating every inch of the screen with his presence. Being an adaptation of a comic, the animation is more human-looking rather than large eyes and pointed chins, with dark shadows and sharp features. Very Madhouse too with CGI effects thrown in and working every aspect on screen and angle (I could even hear background hum of machines while Tanaka gave some status report to Stark). No OP and ED till now so either they will keep using the same theme music or add songs in the next episode.

Coming to the storyline, no time was wasted in re-telling Stark’s story, so we pretty much dive to his visit to Japan for a big start to one of his Arc station project, which is to provide world peace with free energy. The Minister of Defense welcomes him with open arms while his Research Director of Lab number 23 Tanaka Chika, gets things in motion production wise. Some time is given for the news of his retirement to settle in because of the development of “Dio”, an enhanced version of Iron Man with the new element he discovered in order to cure himself from blood toxication. The prototype looks pretty neat in blue (not as pwetty as red though) and all testing done on it is successful.

Where you lookin’ lady?

In order to showcase it to the Japanese crowd, Stark puts up a full air show of jets along with the Dio flying around. Knowing Tony Stark, how would be miss such an opportunity to show off? And that is what he does by flying the Dio himself but crash lands due to some glitch; only to be saved by the slap-happy Nanami (Reporter at Tokyo Journal).  Nanami, I just compared you to Lois Lane; that is not good for your future. Also, Editor jeejee, you remind me of Jameson—bring something original to the table man! I guess, the Editors and Reporters in all Stan Lee comics would have some similarity or the other in characteristics.

In case of Tanaka, she can’t understand Stark’s overzealous self-adoration and thus, asking him to be humble turns out to be few of the sarcastic comments thrown in. During the testing of faulty Dio, it bugs out and completely goes berserk. In the end, it all boils down to Stark wearing his red Iron Man again and shut down the malfunctioning Dio, which was sabotaged. To add some more spice, a Scorpio looking mecha, a supposed mighty zodiac warrior attacks. Stark fights and finishes off, only to find the faulty Dio gone after the scuffle.

End Thoughts: Did you see what I did there? Yeah, a new Berserk anime is in making but that’s for later. Coming to the first fall series of 2010, the first episode of Iron Man was decent because of its seiyuu and Madhouse. The fans would love this because this is kind of a continuation (not very Avenger friendly but you catch my drift), after the second movie when Stark is stable but still looking at new frontiers to conquer. The CGI blended well with the rest of animation and the action sequences were handled nicely too.

The important characters are few till now so you remember almost everyone’s name except for the Defense Minister’s; I don’t dig politicians at all. Tanaka (Takako Honda of Touko Aozaki of Kara no Kyoukai’s fame) seems pretty srs bsns to me, concentrating on her work and ignoring Stark’s advances. Though her straight-forwardness does not necessarily make her honest but she seems to be an interesting character to lookout for. In case of Nanami (Shizuka Itou of Amagami’s Haruka and Ookami-san’s Taiga Ryouko fame), she seems a bit of an airhead but might get likeable on the basis of her character development, while her partner is pretty much forgettable. Pepper is voiced by Hiroe Oka, a starting seiyuu whose role is too insignificant to even comment.

The story seems to be going at a tangent that a faction in Japan does not like Stark’s arrival in their homeland and that is the reason Dio was sabotaged and person using it brainwashed. This will make Stark postpone his plans of retirement because he would have to get to the bottom of whomever or whatever the opposition is. Expect lots of face-offs between the rogue Dios and zodiac warriors in upcoming episodes. So, if you are a fan or like this kind of action super-hero anime; this is for YOU. I do like action and I’ve had my fare share of superheroes while I was growing up but I don’t think I would follow this diligently every week unless something very surprising happens in the next two episode after which I might marathon this when it finishes. So, this would not be part of my regular episodics.

Preview Find the missing nuke: Simply proves my point of Stark’s search of whoever is behind the zodiac warriors and search for the missing Dio. Wild thought, if a Scorpio showed up, would an Archer show up next (as in Sagittarius)? Anything is possible right? So, I leave you with a Ja ne~

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15 Responses to “First Impression – Iron Man”

  1. First Impression – Iron Man…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Hato-kun says:

    You know, I think I’ll have to check this out. It looks too awesome xD

  3. Overcooled says:

    Oh snap, that’s some pretty animation! I guess if they’re going to make an Iron Man anime, they’d better make it look sexy.

    • Kyokai says:

      Oh they sure did! They did not hold onto the budget and made it very humanely appealing with the right placement of CGI, shadows and lightening. With zero expectations from this one, it sure surprised me. ^^

  4. Masu says:

    me and my gf just watched this before i signed on and i must say, i’m not a fan. the reason why the iron man movies were enjoyable was because of the way robert downey jr played tony stark. he was that funny charismatic guy that didnt care if he got shot down while hitting on girls. he always had a weird face on and didnt seem to take much seriously. Thats why we liked the movies.

    in this anime tony stark is super cereal guy. it doesnt help that his character model is based off of RDJ, it just makes the differences stand out more. tony stark should be making jokes and hitting on the ladies, when he’s not he just looks creepy. i feel that anime tony stark is creepy, especially since he keeps staring at the camera in weird angles. if this was a movie tony stark would have been making funny faces instead. GAH. i am dissatisfied.

    • Masu says:

      also, inb4 haters goin’ hate.

      • Kyokai says:

        Lol, Masu~ If you treat it like an anime this was not too bad. Don’t expect RDJ to burst off the screen. Mind you, they couldn’t use the animu-like designs of big eyes and angular chins. Just because Tony looks like a weirdly shadowed reflection of a human, it bothered you. But of course, you get your opinion. =P

        I’m not going to religiously follow this but watch whenever I get time.

  5. Joojoobees says:

    I had to check this one out even though my expectations were low. I used to read Iron Man comics when I was a kid, and the thing that really impressed me about it was that Stark was an alcoholic and thus Iron Man was not totally reliable. Sometimes he would be coming off a bender so he didn’t show up for his Avengers gig (if I remember correctly they fired him from the Avengers because he was such a fuck up). I think that was too dark for most people, and the RDjr version is actually a cleaned up version.
    :shrug
    So how did this Iron Man fit in? I’m glad they didn’t retell the origin story. The artwork was interesting, because it was not typical of recent anime, and it seemed to fit the subject well.

    Plot-wise I’m expecting something of a monster of the week, with a final showdown against the boss at the end. Obviously this is nothing new, but it suits the superhero genre.

    As a former fan, I’m glad it wasn’t a botched attempt. Probably I’ll read reviews In hopes that it turns out to be better than average, but I won’t be actively following this one.

    • Kyokai says:

      Aaah! Good info, JJB! I never knew about this angle of destructiveness from Iron Man but of course Tony Stark has a lot of issues and it’s not just womanizing. I definitely like RDJ’s version of him and the movies sure have sensationalized him.

      You pretty much summed it up nicely because in the end, this is a superhero anime and it won’t get too complicated like plot twits in Durarara!! Though, it was a decent attempt by Madhouse and I won’t be writing this off. Most probably marathon it in the end or watch episodes whenever I get time.

  6. FirstImpulse says:

    I just wanted to say I never expected this anime to be any good- either because of a cheezy story or a bad portrayal of the awesome Tony Stark.

    . . . But it was actually decent! : D Even good! : O
    Stark was actually portrayed rather well (though as less of a trouble-maker), and the action scenes were (in my opinion) as good as the second movie- which is saying a lot.

    I’ve always liked a good action anime (my first show I watched was Initial D) so hopefully this one’ll turn out as good as Railgun or Heroman. :thumb:

    First post on metanorn! : )

    • Kyokai says:

      Welcome to Metanorn, FirstImpulse! Hopefully, this won’t be your last but one of many comments! ^^

      I really liked this because from zero expectations, this at least maintained the decent ratings. It’s scoping out good enough! ^^

  7. Dan-go says:

    Yeah…well he’s just not as much of a playboy, it takes out half the fun, the other half was the special effects…which dont really translate well into anime here, it feels too much like transformers or something from when ure 7

    • Kyokai says:

      It’s a superhero anime after all so don’t expect a lot. Still, there’s a playfulness in Tony Stark that works with the seiyuu. Not as good as the real thing but close in anime sense. ^^

  8. ryby morskie says:

    Hey man, nice entry. You rock!

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