18 December 2013

DVD Set Review: "X-Men" (Anime)

Rated: TV-MA (US) / PG (Canada)
Starring: Steve Blum, Cam Clarke, and Danielle Nicolet
Released: April 1 - June 24, 2011 (original TV premiere) / 2012 (DVD)
Synopsis: A year after the death of Jean Grey/Phoenix, the remaining X-Men are sent to Japan to find a missing young mutant, Hisako Ichiki, by request of her parents.  What they end up finding is more than they bargained for; a massive conspiracy unfolds involving an old enemy of theirs, a well-intentioned experiment gone wrong, a big secret that even Professor X doesn't know about, and mental trickery that could lead to world destruction! Only the X-Men could face something like this...but will even their combined powers be enough?

Artistic Merit

Plots: 4.5/5
The series starts out very intriguingly, and continued to keep me on the edge of my seat...until the final episode, which fell a little flat.  Still, it was almost entirely quite the thrill ride.

Production Values: 4.5/5
The animation within the series was fabulous; the character designs, backgrounds, effects, and everything else was well done.  I liked the American voice actors, though it would have been better if the cast of the film trilogy--or even the later film(s)--had reprised their live-action roles.  The one problem laid in the fact that the closed captions and spoken dialogue almost never matched up, sometimes having one character talking when you could hear someone else was! Maybe that was meant for people who watched it with the Japanese audio.

Moral Content

(Warning! Though I will try my best to avoid spoiling the plot details, even vague descriptions might give some of the story away! Proceed with caution!)

Positive Elements: 5/5
Like any group of superheroes, the X-Men work together, putting their lives on the line for not only each other, but the greater good.  Two parents realize that their son must die to save the world, but decide to let it happen, even being willing to die themselves if necessary.  Mutants and humans also learn to cooperate.  A girl takes a serious risk to save her friend...and the world.

Sexual Content: 4/5
It is implied that two unmarried friends had an illicit affair that produced a child, but the two of them are never seen in bed together or even kissing.

Nudity: 3.5/5
One female character's costume shows a great deal of cleavage, and another's shows some slight midriff.  Parts of male characters' chests are seen at times.

Language: 3/5
Though definitely not deserving of the "TV-MA," the language within this series alone could earn a "PG-13" from the MPAA.  D-words, h-words, b-words, and other "fit for TV" profanities are thrown around at least three or four times per episode.  There is also some occasional name-calling.

Violence: 2.5/5
Is the violence intense? Yes. Is it graphic? Not in the least bit! Characters hit, kick, punch, claw, blast, etc., each other throughout the series, but there's very little blood and zero gore.  I'm not sure why this was rated "TV-MA"; I think it deserved "TV-14" at worst.

Drugs: 4/5
The plot involves chemically-based transformations, but they're intended for usage only in the name of science.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 1/5
There's little within this series that couldn't be considered frightening and/or intense.  It is implied that a villainous group is harvesting mutant organs; more than one character undergoes a scary transformation; and, some of the projected visions are a bit freaky, if not emotionally intense.

Final Score: 4/5
Some discerning moviegoers had problems with the original X-Men film trilogy, especially the last two movies, if only because of the sexual content; that is pretty much not present here.  What is present is a gripping story, amazing animation...and a heavy dose of intense (though not graphic) violence, along with a moderate amount of language.  For those who don't mind such content, this is definitely worth watching.
A side note: It's funny how both the American and Canadian ratings would be wrong; the latter is too high, whereas the former is too low.  Previously, I prided myself on not watching anything rated "TV-MA"; I had no idea this series was until I looked the rating up for purposes of this review.  How a show like this can get the same rating as movies or shows that are too raunchy, violent, and/or profane to even be shown on network television--or Disney Channel Original Movies, which often get a "PG" from the Canadian raters, for whatever reason--is a complete mystery.  Come on, media rating people; get it together!

No comments:

Post a Comment