When word of the Marvel Anime project first surfaced around two years ago, and the proposed series were announced, I automatically began ‘playing favorites’, if you will. As a fan of well-done anime and a fan of characters like Iron Man, Blade, and some of the X-Men I deduced right away that the only two properties able to pull off the anime treatment among the announced quartet were Iron Man and Blade. Why? Simple: anime is notorious for spectacular mecha fights and well-done vampires. Nothing against the X-Men and Wolverine series – they just did not work for me. But Iron Man and Blade did (Blade to a slightly lesser extent than Iron Man), mainly because they felt like an anime twist on Marvel mythology.
For my money Iron Man is the strongest of all four Marvel Anime series both visually and story-wise. How does it fare on DVD, though, a format that has been known for taking some of the sheen off of the visually daring? It fares very well. In fact, it’s one of the most well put-together anime DVD sets I’ve seen in the two-to-four-disc variety in some time.
The premise of the series, without giving anything away, is simple enough: Tony Stark goes to Japan to produce a new arc station and showcase the Iron Man Dio, a new prototype armor, that will replace him when he retires. However, the Iron Man Dio goes out of control and it is up to Tony as Iron Man to stop it along with an organization called the Zodiac (a branch of A.I.M.). The series does a really good job of combining the best of Japanese anime mecha/armor/robot battles (beautifully rendered by Madhouse, the people responsible for a slew of great anime series and films including Trigun and Death Note) with a storyline that melds the best aspects of the modern Iron Man with comfortable anime staples we all know and love.
As for the transition to DVD I am happy to confess that Sony did a great job of putting the whole series (twelve episodes) on two discs (with special features to boot) while maintaining great audio and visual quality. Each episode looks a tad better than what you would normally expect for a DVD release, especially considering the CGI utilized in the mecha/armor/robot fight scenes. The sound is top-notch, with the English voice dubbing and sound effects in full Dolby. This series looks and sounds great on a high-definition Dolby-equipped entertainment system – but I can honestly say that the quality of this set is so good that you don’t need a high-definition system to enjoy the explosiveness of this series.
I highly recommend the Iron Man Anime Complete Series Set. It is more substance than style but believe me when I say that is a great thing. Anime doesn’t look or sound better than this, especially when it’s in a DVD format.