Some things just go together perfectly. Peanut butter and jelly. Chicken wings and beer. Fake boobs and porn stars. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Some of these combinations are obvious to anyone who ever smoked too much weed and got the munchies or skilled enough to use internet porn. But a combination like Marvel and anime? That's one of those combinations that doesn't immediately come to mind. But when you think about it you're like, "Holy fuck! Why didn't I think of that?! I'm either smoking too much weed or not smoking enough!"
That was the feeling I got after watching Iron Man: Rise of Technovore. This neatly packaged little direct-to-Blu-Ray feature really didn't generate much fanfare. It didn't have Rorbert Downey Jr. and Gweneth Paltrow whoring themselves to the Hollywood elites at the behest of studio heads in need of more cocaine money. It was just a simple anime feature, courtesy of an ongoing partnership between Madhouse and Marvel. On its own, it doesn't sound like it's worth breaking out your best vodka. But when you look at the details, you'll either end up drooling with a raging boner or you'll be pissed off to no end that nobody did this sooner.
Here are the basics. This story takes place within the framework of the Avengers movies. It appears to take place either before Avengers or it could take place after. It has the Sam Jackson version of Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. It also has James Rhodes, aka War Machine. It even has a guest star in the Punisher, a guy who hasn't been relevant in the Marvel movies since Tom Jane failed miserably at making a decent Punisher movie and ended up doing a show about being a male prostitute. That's a lot of fucking star power from the outset. But it doesn't rely on star power alone.
|Although with anyone looking like Sam Jackson, it probably could.|
Say what you want about Obidiah Stane and Iron Monger. Yes, he was a somewhat shitty villain for the first movie, but he served his purpose well. But we find out in this movie that he left behind a son that he treated like shit. And like so many others kids with daddy issues, he decides he's going to scheme ways to fuck over the world for denying him a decent childhood. But unlike most kids with daddy issues, he actually has a way to do that. That way is Technovore.
It's not just Iron Man versus some evil twisted kid. This is anime. Unlike us drunken westerners, the Japanese actually put some effort into telling a deeper story. I know that sounds strange to us Americans. It's like not putting steak sauce on our steak. But it actually works better at establishing a sense of drama and emotion that you won't see on any of the Saturday morning cartoons we're all used to. I'm not saying there isn't a place for a more basic kind of animated entertainment. I'm just saying it's nice to have an outlet that actually feels like it's meant for people with hair on their chest and/or vagina.
The story has plenty of gripping moments, like War Machine being seriously injured and Iron Man having to reason with an obviously disturbed kid. But one other thing anime loves to do is throw in violent action that can be pretty gruesome, even when it doesn't involve tentacle rape. When shit starts blowing up here in this feature, people actually die. Blood is actually shed. It's not like that watered down shit you see on the action cartoons aired on Disney XD. This is visceral shit and it feels so good.
Not only is the violence more detailed, but the style of animation is more refined. There's greater depth to each image. It's an anime made for adults. That means the characters talk like adults and the cleavage of the women isn't obscured like some Iranian censorship plot. Pepper Potts is in a bikini at one point and looks absolutely bonerific. And Black Widow in anime form looks every bit as hot as Scarlett Johanssen. I've always said that cartoons need more boobs. It sucks that we have to rely on the Japanese to give it to us in our cartoons, but it doesn't make the boners any less satisfying.
|You'll NEVER see a shot like this on the Disney Channel.|
Even with this flaw, Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is an amazing achievement. It is a neat little package that perfectly demonstrates how anime and Marvel can work. It tells a great story, has some awesome animation, and captures the same energy that made the Avengers movie a historic achievement in awesome. If I had to score this like I would a comic, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. Even if you don't like cartoons and only watch the movies because the comics are too damn confusing, you'll find a lot to love about this. When you finish watching it, you'll have the urge to visit Marvel's main office, slap the first person you see across the face, and yell, "What the fuck are you waiting for?! Make more Marvel anime!" That's perfectly normal. Nuff said!