Since the release of Disney+ they have done a total of two good things, both of which I covered. The first is making the forgotten X-Men Evolution available in full for all. The second is releasing a version of Hamilton for everyone… with the service. But there is a third thing they can do: dub and release Heroman.
Oh, you don’t know what Heroman is? Well strap in!
Heroman, an anime series created by Bones studio, of FMA, Soul Eater, and My Hero Academiafame and along with other great series, associated with Stan Lee’s Pow Entertianment is everything that combination sounds like it would be.
The series is a mix between a classic Marvel ongoing drama and boy and his dog (if the dog is a giant robot) story. When a school teacher sends a radio signal into space it gets the attention of an insectoid race of conquerors who found their next watering hole. When they arrive they create a storm that awakens best-boy and resident protagonist, Joey Jones’s newest animatronic figure into a Hulk-sized hero. With his new hero he teams up with teacher, Mr Denton, friend Psy, a love-interest Lina to help save he world once the aliens, called Skruggs, land. Of course everything gets more complicated when tech-billionaires, high school jocks, and government bureaucracies get in the way of saving the world.
The series feels like an early progenitor of what future series like My Hero Academia would become. It’s an exceedingly earnest series through and through, and that’s where the fun comes from, but feel superhero inspired all the same. However, instead of being an X-Men a-like, it’s closer to an Iron Man, Hulk, or Spider-Man series.
The series feels closer in pacing and structure to those above series (also, does it bug, no pun intended, that Spider-Man is hyphenated while Iron Man is not), and a closer comic pacing in general. Each episode focuses on overcoming a specific challenge, a related character arc attached to that challenge, and a longer story running throughout all of that. It’s 26 episode run is also reminiscent of conics in that way, since most runs on books only last around 20 issues anyway.
It’s pacing is not the only comic book element about it. The flowing nature of the series, as it weaves through different arc types, villains, and structures is all very comic book. Starting with a weighty and dramatic alien invasion, to a mad scientist story that focuses on character drama, to smaller one offs like an island infected by monster vines, or a kidnapping plot by the remnants of the aliens, to its final conclusion with everything coming to a head, and tease that being a hero is never over. It all screams comic book.
Just because it screams comic book doesn’t make it good. The characters are what bring the whole story to life, and how those characters are both archetypes and subversions of said archetypes weaved into one. Joey is the prime example of this. He is the all too earnest and eager kid thrust with great power. Instead of a Peter Parker arc where he learns to use his power for good, he already knows it needs to be used for good, but doesn’t know what that means. Thankfully evil aliens show up to make that an easy solution, but following that he remains steadfast in his conviction to help people even if messes with his personal life from time to time.
The changes and evolutions don’t stop with him. Lina, the love interest, though a cheerleader is not a typical love interest. She starts outwardly interested in timid Joey and throughout the series grows to have a deeper interest in him because of his good heart and bravery. She is also far feistier than she looks, leading to great moments. Similarly, Psy, Joey’s best friend is a jock who was injured in a football injury, but charges into battle all the same, and acts like a realist. There is also their teacher-friends Prof. Denton and Ms Collins, along with Joey’s sister Holly, and Agent Hughes from the NIA. Each one has a little more under the hood, and are revealed to be far more thoughtful than first expectation seem. All of them led with amazingly striking character designs.
The show isn’t perfect. Though it is still gorgeous, it’s age is showing in some places. Mostly with the use of CG vehicles. The comic pacing is also hindered by the overly-long initial invasion arc, and a reliance on new powers coming too easily. The powers are centered around Joey’s resolve, but they do feel contrived at times. Even those problems don’t hinder the great, earnest time this show brings forth.
It’s a great series. So what? Many shows are great and don’t need to be on Disney+. Same with stuff created by Stan Lee. He did an entire series with DC about reimagining their big characters. Doesn’t mean they need to be on Disney+. So what sets this apart? It was supposed to air on Disney XD!
The series was planned to be dubbed and aired on Disney XD, with many different dubbing houses across Asia and America creating pilots to test, but none of them making it further in development than test dubs. It’s unclear why they did not move forward, but it is a shame because it feels so much like a show perfect for Disney.
On top of that, there is precedent for it. On Disney + sits the Avengers anime series. Marvel’s Future Avengers or Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. Was a sub only anime series done by Toei and released on Disney XD only in Southwest Asia was in a similar boat as Heroman, but was ported over to Disney+. This shows they can get the rights to a work only named after a Marvel series, let alone a series created by the father of the Marvel universe. It screaming out to be taken just like that was and dubbed!
Additionally, the series needs more anime options. I know that might seem odd considering it’s for all Disney properties. But, considering even the most normie streaming services like HBO Max and Amazon Prime also have anime to some degree. That makes it all the stranger Disney, one of the most massive conglomerates doesn’t. It’s also fairly child-friendly which would work out well too. And if a scene is not it can often be edited either in dialogue or physically remove to match. I wouldn’t love that, but it would make some sense.
In th writing of this it was revealed that Marvel got the rights to make an Ultraman comic. Ultraman being one of the longest running tokusatsu series in Japan, is getting a Marvel comic adaption. That’s breaking news. It reminds me of the days when the Transformers and GI Joe were all part of the same universe as well. It’s. Far more interesting direction, especially is Ultraman stays as an Avenger or something. And that, that is what I want for Heroman. The characters, designs, and story transcend the barrier or location and could be something just as fun and exciting for people over here, and give them a true, perfect hero.
I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!
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