Sunday, March 9, 2014

Anime Review: Heroman

A new week, a new review. There are a few news items that I want to make mention of, but I don't want to bog down this review with other things so I might make a separate post for them. Other than that, I have my new verdict banners all made up as well as a template for all my review banners that will replace my old ones over on my "Anime Reviews" and "Video Game Reviews" pages, so those will be down until I've finished updating them, which depending on how lazy I am could take a while, but hopefully they will be done within a week. But for now, I present to you HEROMAN! A super hero anime from the most American of all nations: Japan.... wait...

It's not every day that there is an All-American Robot in your room.
Joey Jones is your average Jr. High School boy. Living in the fictional west coast city of Center City, Joey hangs out with his best friend Psy, talks to his science teacher Dr. Denton, has a crush on the Captain of the Cheerleaders Lina, and is bullied by Lina's star-athlete brother Will. However, one day Joey's toy robot, Heroman, was struck by lightning and turned into a large man size robot that Joey can control. The next day, an alien race known as the Skrugg invade Earth with one goal, to conquer and destroy humanity. After idealizing heroes all his life, Joey has an opportunity to become one with the Heroman and his own courage and determination. Will Joey and Heroman defeat the Skrugg and save Center City? Find out on the next exciting episode of HEROMAN!

Dude, she totally wants you!
Heroman is a pure and simple American Superhero series through and through, that just so happens to be an anime. Taking inspiration from not only classic Superhero tropes but also early movie serials with the beginning Alien Invasion arch as well as each episode ending with some form of cliffhanger ending and a massive "To Be Continued" caption, Heroman has so much classic Americana that it also seems like it is a parody of that aspect of American culture as seen by the Japanese. However, what allows Heroman to go beyond just a glimpse of what Japan thinks of American Superheroes is the huge amount of sincerity that comes off of the series and the depth that each of the characters get. With it's sincerity, the series comes across not as a parody of classic Americana but rather as a celebration of these American icons, and the depth of the characters make the series become more engaging. Joey isn't just the unlikely hero archtype, he is intelligent, forward thinking, and is even a superhero in his own right (complete with his own superpowers). Lina isn't just the hot cheerleader that Joey has a crush on, she is kind and protective of everyone and totally wants Joey even from the beginning of the series. Will isn't just the bully makes Joey's life miserable, he genuinely cares for his sister and would sacrifice himself and to protect others. Each character is given a change to grow beyond their initial archtypes and become part of a engaging narrative that is both something deeply familiar yet at the same time feeling fresh. Also, the action is really good throughout the series, and the story is based on concepts written by Stan Lee.

The problems with Heroman is few and far between. There are some loose plot threads and missed opportunities (neither of which negatively impact the series that much), and like other Superhero series the laws of physics are completely bent into pretzels a few times (not counting anything in regards to a child's toy turning into a large punching machine). But the most frustrating aspect of the series would have to be it's constant cliffhanger endings. Every episode in Heroman ends with a "To Be Continued" and some sort of cliffhanger. As I said this is used effectively to create the style as old movie serials that Heroman is trying to invoke, but this creates a problem that it is hard to find a good stopping point in the series. This is especially true in the early parts that deal with the Skrugg invasion that lasts a good third of the series. However, that complaint is minor and would be nit-picking at best.

Heroman is just a joy to watch. If you have any love for Superheroes or just good old fashion fun, you owe it to yourself to checkout Heroman. The only thing keeping it from being a "Must Watch!" is that it is missing that element that makes you look at anime differently that I usually ascribe to that verdict. However, if you ever have time to watch anime, this should be near the top of your list. Highly Recommended.

Watch Heroman on Crunchyroll:

Until next time.

-Crescent, Wait aren't you...

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