X-Men: Animated Series

X-Men: Animated Series
Whether a matter of money or circumstance, it's a shame the idea man behind the X-Men's anime adventure in Japan wasn't given full scripting duties. The filthiest scientific mind in comics ― Warren Ellis ― came up with a story idea perfectly suited to the predilections of the medium, but the dialogue is wildly inconsistent. That's in both the Japanese and English language versions, which use the same major plot beats, but massively shift the character focus. Watching the English language track, with its native subtitles, allows you to experience both divergent stories at once and the variances in parlance, more than anything, prove to be quite amusing. What remains the same in either language: an iteration of the X-Men loosely based on the Astonishing comics universe travel to Japan following the death of Jean Grey to investigate the kidnapping of Hisako Ichiki (aka Armour) in a telepathic dead zone. There, they run afoul of the cultish U-Men, a rogue mutant organization involved in an organ transplant racket and the professor of a Xavier Institute equivalent researching a recent spate of extreme mutations, who also has a mysterious connection to the glinty-scalped roller-telepath. Having the plot emphasize secondary mutations of the x gene provides a neatly tailored excuse to indulge in massive and bizarre monster designs, demonstrating a keen awareness of the expectations of the genre. Depending on which language you're watching in, the subplot is either weighted towards Cyclops's castrating senses of guilt and rage over Jean's death and his distrust of new companion Emma Frost or Hisako's inner battle with self-doubt over the inherent responsibilities of power. A couple of special features on the first disc contain a mix of the usual gab from Marvel TV reps, including Jeff Loeb, and intelligent character examinations from the notoriously camera-shy wizard of ick, Warren Ellis. On the second disc: a look behind-the-scenes with the Japanese development team on adapting the popular family of social misfits for a new audience. (Sony)