Originally shown on the G4 channel last year, Marvel Anime: X-Men The Complete Series comes home in a single 2-disc DVD set that collects all 12-episodes of one of Marvel’s better entries in their growing anime spin-offs. As part of Marvel’s ambitious plan to bring anime’s distinct style to many of their iconic franchises under the careful guidance of acclaimed comic maestro Warren Ellis, with production duties handled by the legendary Madhouse (Barefoot Gen, Millennium Actress), this latest adaptation of our favorite mutants hits nearly all the right points and features more mutant action than you can shake an adamantium claw at.
While I thought the Iron Man anime series was decent, X-Men takes things up a few notches by exploiting the new possibilities of its Japanese animated style to the max. After losing a loved teammate in battle (no spoilers) and beset by depression, the remaining X-Men members are called back together by Professor X and set off to Japan after learning about the abduction of a young mutant named Hisako Ichiki. While trying to find answers there, they are confronted by the U-Men, a twisted group of people who steal and transplant mutant organs into themselves to gain mutant abilities and rule the world. With Hisako learning how to use her powers as a new member of the team, it’s up to the X-Men to stop the U-Men from destroying civilization as we know it.
The twelve-episode X-Men anime was just about everything I was expecting it to be, with just the right balance of drama and action the comic has been famous for intact here. It was also good to see Wolverine use his claws on things other than robots and slashing through doors as seen on many of the tamer animated adaptations of the franchise. I was also happy to hear one of my favorite voice actors, the infamous Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop, Transformers: Prime), having a good time as Wolverine, as he’s easily the best person to portray the character in quite some time, as well as longtime actor Cam Clarke (Akira, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Charles Xavier.
As with its fellow Iron Man anime set, the video transfer here looks great on DVD. While its not u-ray perfection, every color and detail from Cyclop’s ruby red optic blasts to Wolverine’s shiny claws shows up nicely. The 5.1 Japanese (with optional English subtitles) and English audio also come through nicely, making sure that every mutant ability sound and numerous explosions are heard loud and clear.
There’s a few “X-Tras” here to keep viewers powered up after viewing the series. “Re-Examining The X-Men” is a behind the scenes look into how the show came to be, while “X-Men: A Team of Outsiders” gives a closer look into the lives of Marvel’s iconic mutants. Rounding out the extras is “Special Talk Session: Marvel Anime’s X-Men and Blade” that features some of the creators talking about the last two Marvel series to be released (I’m sure Blade will be released with the Wolverine series soon).
Anyone who enjoys animated action is sure to enjoy Marvel Anime: X-Men The Complete Series, as its clearly one of the better entries from Marvel’s growing anime universe. While I would have preferred a proper Blu-ray release (it’s coming, make no mistake about it) having all 12-episodes collected in one attractive DVD set gets the job done nicely. The video and audio transfer looks pretty great, and there’s enough X-Tra features to keep you watching long after the final credits start rolling by. Even if you’re not a fan of the comic series, or anime in general, action fans owe it to themselves to give this show a chance, as it just might convert them to becoming a fan of both.
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment