Japan has long appreciated its home-grown animated media with classic titles such as Astro Boy, Speed Racer, and Tetsujin 28-go. More recent titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion have kept the anime industry thriving. This leaves little room for American heroes, but they’re not completely absent. While the Avengers have never made it in Japan as a complete team, there are two members which have seen some success with anime recently.
Iron Man was the first Avenger to get his own anime series, back in the Summer of 2010. The anime spanned 12 episodes and was produced by Marvel Entertainment in collaboration with Madhouse Studios. Naturally, the series is set in Japan, with Tony Stark arriving in the country to oversee the development of a new power station using the Arc System. At the same time, Stark is planning to announce his retirement as Iron Man, with several candidates ready to take his place. Unfortunately, Stark has to put his retirement plans on hold as a new enemy appears and threatens to turn the Arc System into a powerful weapon.
The other Avenger to make it into the anime industry is everyone’s favourite X-men, Wolverine. The Wolverine anime aired early in Japan in 2011 and consisted of 12 episodes. Like the Iron Man series, Wolverine is also set in Japan in order to appeal to more anime fans. In the series, Wolverine travels to Japan to rescue his girlfriend, Mariko Yashida, from her father, who is the leader of a yakuza group.
Both the Iron Man and Wolverine anime stray a bit from what you would expect from them, but given that anime is targeted at a different audience, you can’t expect everything to remain the same. The anime definitely depict the characters having softer personalities compared to their American versions, but it also brings in some aspects of anime that you’re note likely to get in the original comics, such as mechas and samurai duels. For these reasons, the Iron Man and Wolverine anime offer a unique take on classic series and are worth checking out if you’re looking for something new.