Friday night at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Marvel premiered their new anime series “Iron Man,” produced by legendary anime studio MadHouse, the fan-favorite studio behind such films as “Ninja Scroll.” The newly minted head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, premiered the series and prior to playing clip made a huge announcement: “Iron Man” will be playing first-run on G4.
“They are gonna let the world know we are there,” Loeb said as the crowd went wild at the announcement of the popular video game and entertainment channel hosting the series.
The “Iron Man” anime debut got off to a bit of a rocky start, with the subtitles for the Japanese audio not appearing at first, eliciting loud boos from the audience. After a minute subtitles finally appeared, but only slightly and cut off parts of sentences. One hilarious gaff came when Tony Stark, whose line was supposed to read as “I’d love to have you as my secretary” instead told a young Japanese woman “I’d love to have you,” which drew huge laughs and applause from the audience. The clip ran for about eight minutes before the projector shut down entirely, upsetting the crowd. After this meltdown, the clip was restarted from the beginning with subtitles intact and perfect picture. Truly, the second time was a charm.
The show itself takes Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, and relocates him to Japan, where he feels he can work without the corporate and governmental restrictions of the USA and Europe. The show centers on his quest to build “Iron Man Dio”, a mass-produced Iron Man suit used for defense purposes. The suit looks exactly like the traditional Iron Man armor, but if it were painted blue. In a familiar twist, the technology designed to improve things ends up thwarting his plans. One interesting subplot involved how the Japanese people view Tony Stark and, in turn, Tony Stark’s attempt to understand the Japanese people.
The animation is both beautiful and breathtaking, continuing the tradition of stellar quality at MadHouse. Longtime anime fans will be pleased to know there is absolutely no dumbing down or westernizing of the effort, and both the plot and animation could seamlessly fit in with any modern Japanese anime.
After the show, Loeb, CCO of MadHouse Masuo Maruyamo and John Rieber, VP of Programming at G4, took the stage to talk and reveal new details about the animation and television deals.
Loeb revealed first that “Iron Man” is the first of four Marvel TV anime projects, all of which will air on G4. The other three are “Wolverine,” “X-Men,” and “Blade.” Slides of “Wolverine” concept art were shown, including major villain Omega Red, which ignited the crowd.
Loeb also announced that all four shows would be produced by MadHouse and each will be based on ideas from comic creator Warren Ellis. “We wanted to have the best and MadHouse was the best,” Loeb said.
Early Japanese anime was heavily influenced by American comics, and Maruyamo spoke about what it was like working on Marvel properties. “It was like the son returning to the father,” he said.
Rieber talked a bit about why G4 wanted to air these shows and, referring to CCI, said, “We love this culture. We love what Marvel speaks to this culture.” He also noted that G4 is the only TV network with live coverage of CCI.
Asked about when these shows will air, Rieber said “Iron Man” will air sometime in 2011 but could give no dates on any of the other series. “We are gonna get them on the air as soon as we can, we know you want to see them,” Rieber said as the panel drew to a close.
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