Friday, 2 April 2010

HEROMAN - Episode 1

The possibilities of a collaboration between Stan Lee (who I would hope requires no introduction) and Studio BONES is a pretty intriguing one truth be told, and it marks the start an interesting inflection point on a period where it seems as though more western creators are turning towards Japan to provide animation and story-telling duties on their properties.

Certainly, HEROMAN eschews the usual tradition of setting anime in Japan, instead dropping us into the United States and the life of one Joey Jones, the kind of traditional unlikely hero so beloved of comic books and the like. Joey is your average nice but slightly nerdy kid, who is more interested in robots and action heroes than even his cheerleader friend Lina, who clearly things more of him than he realises; not that he can do a lot about it as the unwanted attention of Lina's brother and his friends ensures that he never really gets to see her.

Things take an interest turn for Joey when he comes into the possession of a broken and discarded robot toy, which he loving reassembles only to see a freak accident give it the powers of... well, a giant robot. This happens not a moment too soon, with Lina's life in danger from the fallout of a huge electrical storm which has origins which aren't entirely of this world...

As first episodes go, you probably couldn't get much more predictable than this opener for HEROMAN - Everything from our protagonist and his life situation through to the inevitable love interest and on to the Heroman robot himself (and his name... my God, the name...) feels like the kind of thing you've seen countless times before, usually courtesy of a cheesy American Saturday morning cartoon series. To be fair and in this show's favour, it genuinely feels as though the series is trying to promote and recreate exactly that feel, albeit with a modern and distinctly Japanese twist to make things more interesting. Whether it'll succeed is a tough call at the moment, but with its equally clichéd aliens on the way I don't hold out much hope for HEROMAN to be anything other than a mildly enjoyable, inoffensive and predictable yarn which ends with Joey saving the world and getting the girl after being put through some tough trials and tribulations along the way. Only time will tell, but I doubt that this series will find itself mentioned in the same breath as Spiderman any time soon.


JW said...

It's entirely predictable and familiar and that's why I like it.

Though I was surprised that a Heybo will only cost you 400 bucks. Talk about the ultimate Christmas gift. Heybo beats the pants out of those stupid robot hamsters.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice that Lina's brother has a subtle version of the stereotypical Japanese delinquent haircut? Compare that scene where he confronts Joey and the scene in Durarara where Mikado is confronted outside the school (ep 10, IIRC), if you don't know what I mean. They even both use the same visual joke, with the hair pressing into Joey's/Mikado's forehead.

@JW: Hamtaro would kick Heybo's ass any day.

JW said...

Hahaha Hamtaro.

I weep for the children growing up on the current trash-toons. Hamtaro is instant classic.

If I were in the 11-15 year old demo, I would probably hunger strike until I got a Heybo.

I thought Lina looked a lot like Winry. I thought it was interesting that everyone looks normal except for the teacher who looks like she stepped right out of Ladies vs. Butlers.

I have a question, Why bother making up Center City, West Coast, USA and just call it Los Angeles, California, USA? I'm also wondering what happened to the driver of the first car and the driver of the fuel tanker truck. Heroman wasn't nice enough to save THEM from the raging inferno.

Were Heroman real, that arm device would probably say "Save the innocents?" and have buttons for "OK" and "Cancel".

Anonymous said...


The drivers of the other vehicles were the people who jumped out of the way when the rich folk wrecked.

Shokkeru said...

I suppose the westernized feel of the show is to be expected with Stan Lee contributing to it (It looks like he even made a cameo, like he usually does, in the diner scenes). But is it just me or does Joey really look like a girl... I thought he was a girl at first -.-