Thursday, January 22, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars The Avengers - Episode Two: All Heroes Exterminated?!

When I heard that Japan was doing a show about the Avengers, all I could really picture was their classic show about Spider-Man.

For those not in the know, the Japanese Spider-Man show differed in a few subtle ways from the comic book character we all know.  In the comics, teenager Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, gains the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider, and initially tries to get a career wrestling The Macho Man before his Uncle Ben dies and yadda yadda great power, great responsibility.

In the Japanese show (I'm not making any of this up), motorcycle racer Takuya Yamashiro witnesses a warship named the "Marveller" from the planet "Spider" crashing to Earth.  Takuya's father, a space archaeologist (because why wouldn't Japan have people with that job?) is killed upon discovering it.  His girlfriend, a kind-of nerdy reporter for a newspaper headed by a woman who is secretly one of the primary villainesses ("The Amazoness") working for the primary villain, whose name is "Professor Monster."  Takuya, after getting his throat slashed by a minion of the bad guys, winds up meeting Garia ("from the planet Spider") who gives him a bracelet that fills Takuya with "Spider-Essence" and heals him.  Oh, and he gets to use the Marveller in his fight against giant monsters by having it transform into a giant robot.

What I'm trying to say is that if Sony really, really wanted to reboot the Spider-Man movies after the Tobey Maguire ones, they went with the wrong Spider-Man.

Where was I?  Oh, right.  Needless to say, the Japanese Avengers program is nothing like that at all.  Yet.  I'm not ruling out each one summoning a portion of a giant robot that wields a gamma-powered hammer, but let's get back to the action.

When we last left the Avengers, they were preparing for an all-out war against an army of supervillains lead by Loki.  Akira and his brother, Hikaru, were trapped with their father facing down the Crimson Dynamo until Spider-Man showed up.  Three other kids (Edward, Jessica, and Chris) are ... well, I have no idea where they are, because they're lost.  During a prison break-out.

These are not the smartest kids.

Meanwhile, in the lab, the Crimson Dynamo is able to rip apart Spider-Man's webbing like it's tissue paper, leading him to need to use physics and parabolic arcs to fling the Dynamo out of a window.

Dynamo was after something called "the installer," which the boys' father summons forth from a panel on the ceiling.  Inside the world's most expensive suitcase is a strange device known as the "biocode installer."  Their father asks Spider-Man to lead his kids and the installer to a helicopter to leave the Raft behind.  Akira is entrusted with the suitcase in a "you're a man now, right, son?" moment, and-

Well, gee, what are the odds?

Back at the battle, Thor is fighting what I can only describe as five versions of the Destroyer armor (you know, that walking suit of armor from the first Thor movie?), Hulk is intentionally blocking the Abomination's fists with his face, Whirlwind is battling Captain America, Iron Man and War Machine are battling the Green Goblin, and Cyclops and Doc Strange are, well, they're fighting something giving Cyclops a chance to yell out "OPTIC BLAST!"

Oh, and Wasp is straight-up lighting the Absorbing Man on fire with her "wasp stings."

Tony wants to know what's going on with the Helicarrier, but they have their own problems with Whiplash and MODOK running loose on board.  Colonel Fury draws his pistol to face them down, but it means the Avengers are without any SHIELD backup for the moment.

At the ground, civilians are being escorted to helicopters by Pepper Potts.  Rosetta Riley from "Big News Channel" tries to get an interview out of her, but Pepper shuts it down.  But oh no, it appears Rosetta might actually be working for the bad guys, as she's carrying around a DISK of her own!

Back at the kids, Spider-Man is wrapping up, I dunno.  Cottonmouth, I guess?  However, his spider-sense warns him in time of an impending explosion, as it appears the Green Goblin spotted him through a window and decided to make him a priority target.

Spidey gets separated from the kids during the fight against two villains (Cottonmouth got free, I guess?), and the kids discuss whether they should ditch the encoder if it means keeping themselves safe.

But enough child drama, we want action!  We want excitement!  We want drama!

Ooh, a hostage situation.  That's good drama.

Loki appears, and things look pretty bleak for everybody.  The Avengers don't want to risk Pepper's life.  The helicopters are destroyed (presumably by King Cobra, I guess), the kids have no escape route to take the biocode installer, and Loki has just shown up to gloat.

Loki demands the heroes surrender (while Pepper complains that this is the reason she didn't want Tony to hold the venue on a prison),  Apparently Loki's goal is to trap the heroes in DISKs, and the Wrecker starts taunting the heroes up until the point lightning starts to flash in the sky.

It's pretty great that, even when the heroes are faced with something like this, the moment Thor starts walking forward, they all get really, really, pants-wettingly nervous.

Tony and Thor start debating any possible plans amongst themselves before Cap shuts them down.  Loki demands Thor kneel to him, and when Thor refuses, the Wrecker simply starts smacking Iron Man around with his crowbar...which might mean more if we could see Tony's face.  Instead we just hear grunt sounds and the armor falls over, which could just be him humoring the Wrecker.

So, what's the great plan to defeat all the villains and save Pepper?

Did you see the title of the episode?

So yeah, the heroes have surrendered.  That is, all except one hero.

That's...really not the best shot of the Hulk we'll see in this show.

Especially since, in order to have it look like he was flying forward, they had a tiny version of the same image scroll up for a half second, grew the image and have it scroll further up, and then blew it up to that size in order to start the trip back down.  Hooray for cut and paste animation!

The Hulk swears to Loki that he'll pay (which is pretty eloquent for a Hulk so enraged that actual steam is rising from his body), but Loki simply responds by activating one of the DISKs and capturing Hulk like he was a random Pokemon in the tall grass.

I'm actually willing to give the previous animation a pass, since this animation/cg is actually pretty nice to watch.

So, the heroes are going to be transformed into data in storage DISKs.  Spidey's (possibly) still fighting two villains.  The news woman is recording the whole thing with a psychotic grin on her face.  Who's left to save the day?

Why, the kids, of course!

Akira points out that if they save Pepper (that is, fight a super villain to save a woman hanging from a rooftop where any number of other villains could shoot her easily) then the heroes could fight back, rally, and win.  Akira's determined to save Pepper and Iron Man while still keeping the case safe.  When Chris asks how he'll do such a thing (Chris is soundly in the "let's watch out for ourselves" camp), Akira has possibly the best possible comeback to it.

Well, then.  As long as he has a plan., what was his name again?

Hikaru.  Right.  Hikaru.  Shouldn't be that hard to remember.

While Hikaru comes up with a plan, War Machine, Cyclops, and at least three other heroes (let's see...Dr. Strange, Beast, Iron Fist?  Okay, the math works out) are put into DISKs, leaving just the Avengers.  Loki and Cap get into a debate about pain and whether Cap will ever actually "surrender."

Cap tells Loki that "one day he'll pay."  Loki smugly asks who would be able to make him "pay," and we get a standard Cap speech about "those who believe in Justice" and "those who believe in righteousness" and yadda, yadda, yadda...

And that's where we stop.

Episode's over.

So this isn't a two-part introduction to the whole series... it's a three-parter.  I guess since movies now have to be trilogies these days, it means that cartoons have to be as well.  Maybe they meant for the first few episodes to act as a movie, like they used to do with cartoons in the old days.  Or maybe it's just for DVD sales.  "See how it all began on the the first X episodes and one stand-alone episode which is usually just a fun story that doesn't really pertain to the main plot!"

So next week, we'll get the conclusion to this whole mess the Avengers have gotten themse- sorry, the mess that TONY got the Avengers into.

Way to go, Tony.  This is why you're the only one with nice things.  Nobody else can afford them after you cause bad things to happen to ALL THE NICE THINGS.

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