Wolverine Animated Series

Wolverine Animated Series
Of all the Marvel properties to give the anime treatment to, Wolverine is the biggest no-brainer. Story provider Warren Ellis (Iron Man: Extremis) adapts, expands and alters the classic Chris Claremont and Frank Miller comic run that saw Logan travel to Japan in pursuit of his kidnapped lover, Mariko. Keeping with anime tradition, everything in the already wildly mythical Marvel universe is super-sized, but the visceral aggression inherent in Wolverine's character and the specific focus on the reverence of honour amongst warriors allows for more grounded and poetic action than any of the connected Madhouse productions. To fill the giant beast battle quotient, Wolverine is forced to square off against Omega Red and a giant living statue, but it's his ongoing sorties against Mariko's father, the samurai crime lord Shingen, and his single-minded assassin, Kikyo, substituting for the Silver Samurai in this telling, that make this series stand out. Typical themes of revenge, guilt and pride meet an extreme depiction of patriarchal domination as Logan fights for Mariko's right to freewill, with the assistance of bitter young assassin Yukio, who wants Shingen dead for killing her father. There are fewer meaningful discrepancies in the English and Japanese language versions than in other Marvel anime endeavours, but plenty of finesse issues in the Japanese subtitles remain. For all the effort that's gone into fitting an iconic character into a very specific media mould, the Madhouse animation team couldn't even bring themselves to meet history halfway, regarding Wolverine's famous squat physique. In bonus feature "Wolverine Reborn," Ellis notes that the Japanese animators have externalized the romantic interior of the character. As has been the norm for Marvel anime extras, Ellis remains only person capable of meaningfully discussing the project and characters. The rest of the Marvel TV staff, in "Reborn" and "The Ferocious Anti-Hero," substitute description for insight, failing to recognize the obvious difference between a samurai and ronin in the process. Still, that's not as annoying as the roundtable conversation between the presumptuous and egotistical Madhouse crew, who lay claim to pre-existing story elements, failing to acknowledge the sources, while demonstrating a complete lack of awareness of the character's history. If you're at all inclined towards this particular brand of aggrandized emotions and hyper-stylized gore, this is the best blood-filled pool to dip your toes into so far. (Sony)