Wolverine’s girlfriend, Mariko, who disappeared a year earlier reappears in Japan and is about to get forcibly married to Hideki Kurohagi the ruler of the fictional Asian crime island Madripoor. Mariko’s father Shingen Yashida is a Japanese crimelord who wants to cement his alliance with Madripoor. However, when Wolverine finds out about his girlfriend’s upcoming wedding, he interferes, even if that means he has to destroy all of Madripoor to get Mariko back..
Of all the Marvel anime series produced by Sony and MadHouse, the Japanese animation studio hired to create the animation, this was the worst. Actually, the others, featuring Blade, Iron Man and the X-Men, which I reviewed earlier are decent and sometimes exceptional. But Wolverine Anime displayed everything I and many other North American viewers hate about anime instead of focusing on what makes the genre rich and worth emulating.
First, is the level of exaggeration used throughout the twelve episodes series. Wolverine is practically Superman. He can do anything, like lift giant boulders with his claws on each hand while riding a motorcycle and hurling the debris several meters into the air against his enemies. Although his claws are no longer than 30 centimeters, he can cut through barrages of meter long arrows aimed at him on his bike without any of them ever hitting him or his passenger. Wolverine can also jump several meters from up although he technically has no super human strength to do so or no Colossus to hurl him in the air. Wolverine can also cut through vibranium walls, breathe underwater, have super hearing, and lift a giant stone android crushing him with foot. Wolverine can do no wrong.
And worse, Wolverine will kill anyone and slice and entire island of thugs if he has to just to find the woman of his love which because he is Wolverine, he cannot do without, even if the woman has accepted her fate and doesn’t mind marrying a criminal. By the way, this is supposed to make Mariko the worse damsel in distress I’ve seen in years, the ultimate noble Japanese woman so devoid of personality, I wonder why Wolverine ever got interested in such a poor example of the submissive woman that cries and sigh over everything. Maybe she’s the only woman who could tolerate such a douche like Wolverine, as presented in the cartoon series. The guy is a jerk and has none of the redeeming values that have made the character a fan favourite in the West for decade.
The team at Mad House simply took the coating of what they think Wolverine is and set him on a stupid course to find a woman he really doesn’t love He’s just obsessed with her and simply cannot fathom that anyone else could have her but him. That she’s a yakuza and that her fate was sealed the moment she was born is of no interest. We never even find out what Mariko and Logan find so interesting about each other and how real their love is. This is not love. Some people may find it romantic that guy would slaughter an entire island to find one woman. But my question is, hasn’t Wolverine learn better in his days with the X-Men? Why doesn’t he ever chop through Omega Red the way he does with non powered opponents? Omega Red is a real threat, but the bodyguards and the thugs are just doing their jobs. They have no chance of surviving an attack by Wolverine, yet instead of just disabling them, as Wolverine was careful to do with Omega Red, he just slices through them. Wolverine, the great lover, cares about love, but does not care about lives. He kills over 100 characters in this series. It’s ridiculous.
Yet, Wolverine’s fight with Shingen is considered sacred even when Wolverine which was clearly beaten out at first can just come back and fight again because of his healing factor. That is considered honourable to fight an opponent who even when he is defeated only has to wait a few seconds and he’s ready to fight again. Characters like the new mutant samurai Kikyo Mikage who was also seen in Blade Anime, dictate what is honourable but that’s quite easy when one has a healing factor to deem one fight honourable and another not worthy.
The stupidity of this series’ plot extends to the animation. In one important scene during the climax, where all the main characters are killed off one after the other, Yukio, Wolverine’s female assassin and ally throws darts and shuriken at Shingen non stop, as if she had like magical depository by her side. The scene looks so ridiculous, I prefer to forget about it. Every time Yukio, Mikage or Wolverine slice through phalanxes of bodyguards or thugs, they just approach them with the zappy firecracker and thunder animation special effect walk by them, and then all the bad guys just fall to the floor and die. Not much blood is shed, although you can see some of that from time to time.
And then there is the use of the still frame technique. That’s an anime staple I know. But in series like Blade, it was used correctly and tastefully Here, it’s just used to save up on some animation, which by the way, is the poorest and with less frames than any of the other Marvel anime series.
Wolverine is a tough character to write for. If you show him as being invincible and that nothing can affect him, then there is nothing noteworthy about him and his so-called rage and bad side just make him a thug we decide to call a hero. In the X-Men movies, and even X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this aspect of the character was captured a few times correctly. But when Wolverine becomes so powerful that nothing survives around him, then there is point in watching his adventures. You just know that everyone around him will eventually die and he’ll remain the last man standing. And you’ll ask yourself if it was all worth it, because neither the character in the story nor the creators working on the story bothered to think things through.