After the biggest disappointment of the 1st Marvel Anime series, Madhouse tries to redeem itself with the 2nd series, Wolverine.
First of all, the series is originally based on a 4 part comic mini series done by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont.In short term, the story is simple: it’s about Wolverine saving the love of his life. But you’ll get a disappointed once you go on with the show because, like all other movie adaptations of most comics, it is not very faithful to the story. There’s nothing though-provoking here because it’s all mindless action. There are some twists here but not really surprising. The back stories were good that it brought much development on some of the characters, particularly Yukio.
Well, they did made some references on Wolverine’s enemies like Omega Red and A.I.M. But they’re just back-up in order to mess him around. The good thing here is that they managed to close some questions which are going around (e.g.: the person who actually killed Logan’s police friend). But there’s a minor problem here which confuses to those who didn’t read the comics: how did Logan and Mariko first met and later fell in love? I think that what made most of the viewers go on a ranting spree.
Asides from Logan, Yukio, Mariko and Shingen were all based from the original mini series. But their characterization is different. Yukio’s back story is way different from the comics. Mariko remains as the damsel in distress throughout the show though she did something noble in the end. Shingen end up becoming an old man in a powered suit which is not even from the comics. Likewise to Logan’s cameo in Iron Man, Cyclops also made a cameo too but only a short role. Omega Red also appeared but he doesn’t have much impact on the story except for delaying Logan in reaching Mariko.
My thoughts about the original characters are mixed. All the manipulation, evil planning and villainy went to Hideki Kurohagi who tried to prove himself that he’s a better villain than most Marvel villains. Well, he did tried but he’s most likely a James Bond villain who would rather rely so much on his minions and use slow and protracted attempts to kill Logan. It only at the end that he realizes that he really has to kill Logan directly. Other original characters like Koh and Min were all right but only Koh gets some character development here.
From what I’ve heard, Kikyo is supposed to be the Silver Samurai. But he’s nothing like him. There’s nothing intriguing about him actually. And it seems that the staff didn’t bring out the other Marvel characters like Matsu’o Tsurayaba and Lady Deathstrike who are connected to the mini series. Plus, we didn’t get to see Sabertooth who appeared in the credits. But I think that’s just to pay homage for the past battles that Wolverine experienced. Probably the same to Magneto, Stryfe and Mystique in the credits of the X-Men, but I do know that Emma Frost will show up since she’s part of the cast. Still no sign of Stan Lee, sorry.
Minor complaint here is that we didn’t get much background on Logan. Sure we do know him and we certainly know that he never gets a happy ending when it comes to romance. But his relationship with Mariko is something which most viewers find it a big turn off. Hence, the cheesines on the romance.
Thankfully, there’s not much CGI except that there are some scenes which are off proportion. It’s a little too simplistic and a bit off. Logan’s character design here is not anymore the bishie version you’ve seen in the early trailer. But way different from his character design in X-Men anime. The X-Men anime shows the muscular and beefy design of Wolverine similar to what I’ve seen him in the X-Men’90s cartoon.
The music is still great except that I hate the ED theme. Don’t ask. It’s really irritating to the ears.
The voice acting is still great. But Rikiya Koyama’s voice acting doesn’t sound much like an animal similar to Steven Blum. But I like how Romi Paku acted as Yukio.
Still, mixed feelings. But the enjoyment level is higher compared to Iron Man. But since I said it’s mindless action, most of the action scenes are boring. Those action scenes are those where Logan deals with Kikyo and Kurohagi’s mooks. I have no problem with Logan fighting against Omega Red and Shingen. Yukio’s action scenes were great too. At least, the show is not anything stupid unlike Iron Man. But to sum it up, there’s too much hack-and-slash moments here.
BTW, this show is handled by a different staff. So, yes, this project improved Madhouse’s reputation but not much because in the end, it’s still despised by most viewers. At least anime bloggers are watching this til the end and noted that there’s slight improvements on Madhouse’s part. But they’re expecting more on X-Men later on.
However, Wolverine didn’t bring much impact and I don’t think I can list this show as underrated. Underrated by means of which the plot is good yet it’s overshadowed by mainstream shows. Hopefully, X-Men can bring something more considering the good first impressions from those who watched it. If you’re just a typical viewer who is only into mindless action
Highs: Great voice acting, cool OST, based on the original material
Lows: boring action scenes, simplicity, not very faithful to the material