Marvel is going anime again. I don’t want to get caught up in a typical fanboy comparison of all past iterations of this effort. Let’s discuss the teaser for the Japanization of Wolverine, which you can watch here. (Notice in the screenshot that his claws aren’t even coming out of the right spot on his hands. It’s like he’s holding a bunch of kitchen knives and posing for a myspace photo. Ugh.)
When I read that article about how Wolverine would be one of the first to be converted into an anime-style cartoon, I knew straight off the bat that there would be one big problem which should be obvious to anyone who watches anime, and one big upside, a bright spot in what seems like a really bad idea.
If I had to name the manliest character in all the American comics I’ve read, I’d say hands down that Wolverine is it. He’s a remorseless, self-centered, devil-may-care, indestructible killing machine. He can be riddled with holes and survive to kill the guy who did it. He’s loved and lost; now he’s a jaded, motorcycle-riding, cigar-smoking womanizer. He’s what every man has at some point wanted to be.
Now let’s have a look at your typical anime manly-man:
–Naraku (Inuyasha)- Falls in love with a totally hot priestess, and gives his body to demons if they will give him the power to claim this woman. It doesn’t work, but throughout the series, he ends up killing tens of thousands of people (at least).
–Abel Nightroad (Trinity Blood)- A Methusela (vampire who feeds on other vampires) who is torn between his hunger for human blood, and the soft spot in his heart for one annoying girl (a NUN, no less).
Notice a pattern emerging here? Abel is possibly the most masculine-looking dude to make the list, and still, I could probably bench press this guy. All of these male characters could be mistaken for females on a good day. Anime men typically have effeminate faces, flowing hair, slender builds, and soft voices. [For some reason this is considered sexy in Japan. I don’t get it.] Now picture Wolverine with those traits. Yikes.
The Bright Spot
American cartoons are notoriously hammy. The creators refuse to kill off main characters, show blood, or frighten their viewers with suggestions of mutilation, violence, etc. I’m not saying I’m looking forward to watching Wolverine cut on a corpse for an entire episode (frankly, I think the Japanese could give the topic of rape a rest), but current American cartoons that feature Wolverine are… adorable. Which is very, very bad. The gore that’s allowed in anime is a perfect fit for Wolverine’s character, assuming he’s still allowed to be a crazed slicing, dicing madman on occasion. Personally, I can’t wait to watch him fuck some shit up anime style as long as there isn’t too much hair tossing.