Thursday 10 April 2014

First Impression: Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers

Disk Wars Avengers

Marvel Comics has always had a bit of an odd relationship with Japan. The old 1978 Spider-Man tokusatsu series from Toei was a piece of sureal genius, while the more recent quartet of Marvel anime shows (Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men and Blade) ranged from forgettably average to mind-numbingly bad. So cue 2014 when the world is still very much in Marvel hype mode thanks to the shared movie universe, and the company has teamed up with Toei once again. This time its something a little more Japanese though, as Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers takes a typical children's toy-driven anime series and gives it a Marvel comics twist.

In this first episode, brothers Akira and Hikaru Akatsuki are taken to America by Stark Enterprises where their father has been working on a device named the Digital Identity Securement Kit (or DISK for short). In a public press conference, Tony Stark/Iron Man announces that the superheroes will use this technology to detain criminals - capturing them in small chip like objects. Also present at the conference are the other heroes of the series - Edward Grant, Chris Taylor and Jessica Shannon. Then all of a sudden Thor appears and warns the Avengers that Loki is planning something, and no sooner than he says that Loki arrives - freeing the detained super villains using Stark's very own Disk technology.

The first episode doesn't give away a whole lot of how Disk Wars: The Avengers is going to play out (outside of the opening titles, featuring a great track from T.M. Revolution), but it's been a topic of much discussion since the series was first announced. Basically the Avengers are going to get trapped in Stark's own Disk tech, partnering up with the aforementioned children for a bunch of Beyblade-esque battles against the forces of evil. From a Western perspective this sounds incredibly dumb, but it's pretty standard fare for Japan so it seems best to just roll with it! So far the kids are incredibly generic and bland, so I've not really got a lot to say about them about how obviously American they tried to make the non-Japanese kids' names sound. 

But I'm pretty sure absolutely no one is watching this show for the dumb kids, so how did the Marvel heroes fare? Surprisingly well actually, as this first episode included a whole host of heroes. Not only were the titular Avengers (made up of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Wasp and Hulk here) all present, but Spider-Man is also going to be a show regular. Then there were a whole bunch of cameos on top of that, including War Machine, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Beast, Cyclops and even Agent Coulson! The second episode also promises Nick Fury and Maria Hill, and I haven't even got to mentioning the super villains that appeared alongside Loki (Green Goblin, MODOK and Crimson Dynamo to name a few). Some of the redesigns aren't great (Cap looks more like Mega Man and Iron Fist certainly raised a few eyebrows), but the characters are pretty bang on to how they should act. Tony Stark's egotism especially...even if seeing Stark with a goatee but no moustache is sick and wrong.

Disk Wars: The Avengers really shouldn't work. When there aren't heroes on the screen this show its terrible. But when they are around, it's just so much fun that you're quite happy to overlook the fact that it has such a ridiculous premise. Its unlikely that it'll be able to keep things up for its entire episode run (after all, its main priority is selling some pretty uninspiring looking toys), but this episode alone was better than all four Marvel anime shows put together. Bet you weren't expecting that were you?

1 comment:

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