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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Marvel Anime: Wolverine (Complete Series)
Marvel Anime: Wolverine (Complete Series)
Sony Pictures // Unrated // July 31, 2012
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Nick Hartel | posted August 16, 2012 | E-mail the Author
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THE PROGRAM

In my review of the Marvel Anime adaptation of "X-Men" I expressed my feeling that the anime would have worked far better as a generic anime, since the entire storyline felt rather generic and the X-Men themselves appeared to have been pasted on top of stock characters. "X-Men" was one of four anime series' produced under Marvel's eye, the others included "Iron Man," "Blade," and "Wolverine." The allure of the "Wolverine" anime was hard to resist: only one Marvel character to follow and one who works quite well on his own in strange situations; the promise of unleashed, brutal action was icing on the cake. Unfortunately, "Wolverine" is more of the same as "X-Men" with the added bonus of telling an entirely uninteresting, convoluted story and turning one of Marvel's most ferocious characters into a sniveling wimp.

As with "X-Men" I chose to listen to the fully, professionally cast English dub, hoping at least regular Wolverine voice actor, Steve Blum would be along for the ride. Strangely, despite handling the role in "X-Men," Blum shows up as a Wolverine knock-off, Kikyo Mikage, an early foe for Wolverine in the series. Voicing Wolverine instead is...Milo Ventimiglia...yes the guy who played Rocky's son in "Rocky Balboa." Ventimiglia is a perfect choice once you realize that Wolverine's character design is that of a slender, clean-shaven pretty boy, who resembles the character form decades of printed pages, superior animated series' and an iconic live-action role in the vaguest ways possible; in short, he has the haircut, sideburns and claws.

The Wolverine character perfectly encapsulates the problem with this series; he's bland and dull. The ultimate storyline is a series is a small-scale idea stretched way too thin; Wolverine starts out on a quest to find his girlfriend Mariko and is soon drawn into a conspiracy involving Yakuza and A.I.M. Enter the first foe, Kikyo and viewers are taken down a rabbit hole of poorly choreographed fights, convoluted plot twists and cameos from Marvel characters at precisely the right moments to steer waning attention spans back on track for a few more episodes before the entire process is repeated. The first act fight with Omega Red is a near crime against comic book humanity, with both opponents spending more time posing tough and looking mean than getting down to business. The cameo in the second act by Cyclops is just shameless pandering.

As stated previously, if this wasn't a Wolverine story, it might have been generically entertaining, but seeing such a well-known character utterly betrayed on-screen made the entire convoluted mess insufferable. Once the show finally wraps up its journey of contrivance after contrivance, the ultimate resolution is a complete cheat, essentially rendering Wolverine's journey pointless if one were to even consider this being a part of his character's canon. To make a long story short, something this series should have strongly considered, don't waste a second of your time on this mess.







THE DVD

The Video

The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen is fairly decent looking. Although sporting a generally soft look, compression artifacts are kept to a minimum and lines are for the most part, smooth. Colors aren't terribly vibrant, but nothing to the point of looking faded or washed out.

The Audio

The Dolby Digital English 5.1 audio track is slightly off-balance, mostly in the vocals department. It's not as immersive as expected, especially compared to the original language track. A Japanese 5.1 track is available as well as English and English SDH subtitles.

The Extras

The extras consist of round-table discussion of the character and project titled "Wolverine Meets X-Men." Less informative are two brief, character-centric featurettes titled "Wolverine Reborn" and "Ferocious Anti-Hero: Wolverine Redefined."

Final Thoughts

Simply stated, the Marvel Anime adaptation of "Wolverine" is easily one of the worst adaptations of the character in any medium; yes that includes the solo Wolverine movie. The generic story is far worse than that handed over to the X-Men and there's not a single standout moment to make even a segment of it worth watching. Skip It.

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