Iron Man: Animated Series

Iron Man: Animated Series
In Marvel's ongoing bid for global pop culture domination, the comic publishing juggernaut has teamed with animation studio Madhouse to give their most popular characters the anime treatment. Bringing Tony Stark to Japan is a trickier feat than mutants with historical ties to the country. Iron Man is arguably more quintessentially American than even Captain America in the modern age of celebrity worship and unchecked wealth accumulation. The story, supplied by the brilliant and twisted mind of author Warren Ellis, touches upon the distrust the Japanese government has for foreign technological aid from an arrogant American businessman. As part of his self-induced penance for amassing his fortune in opportunistic weapons development, Stark hopes to further the cause of world peace by ending the need for energy competition via the installation of Arc Reactors around the globe. The billionaire playboy is set to retire his Iron Man persona and introduce a line of automated defenders based on his suit technology when giant Mech monsters controlled by a secret organization called Zodiac attack Tokyo. Since this is an introduction of sorts, but not an origin story, Ellis smartly integrates flashbacks to remind audiences of Stark's forced mentor of sorts, Yinsen, in a way that sets the stage for thematic links and plot developments later in the series. Flipping between translations, the tone and plot differences are less extreme than in the X-Men anime, with the English version mostly just dialling back nationalist sentiments. It's clear from the comments made by the Japanese development team that their familiarity with the character is completely drawn from the films ― anyone who claims there is no darkness to Tony Stark is ignoring a heap of megalomania and self-loathing, manifested as fierce alcoholism, well documented in the comics. Director Naomi Nakayama is the only member of the Mad House crew who displays a deep grasp of the character ― most are more concerned with art layouts than story. "Voicing Tony Stark" is an interview with Japanese voice actor Keiji Fujiwara, who uses a lot of words to say very little. More interesting are "Re-Imagining Iron Man" and "21st Century Hero: The Technology of Iron Man." A lot of it is more description than explanation, but then Ellis shows up to comment on the warping of his story through translation and to drop insight on the Japanese view of enhancile technology. (Sony)