Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan are bringing 4 new anime-style cartoons to television in 2011. Entertainment-themed network G4 will air all four of Marvel’s upcoming series, which center on franchise superheroes Iron Man, Wolverine, Blade, and the X-Men. Warren Ellis, comics extraordinaire behind Transmetropolitan, has been hired to “guide” each of the 12 episode series. The point of the series, other than the fun of giving everyone excuses to fight ninja and samurai, is to bring the heroes to Asian markets. And for some franchises, the move is easy; for instance, the series plans to adapt the famous Frank Miller/Chris Claremont run on Wolverine that brought the mutant to Japan.
The trailer for the Wolverine series has been around for a while, but as far as I know, the Iron Man trailer is brand new. The Wolverine one strikes me as a bit generic, (is there some sort of law that all anime must include cherry blossoms?) but the Iron Man trailer has robot pirates, so it’s not a wash yet.
Here are Marvel’s official summaries for the four projects:
“Iron Man” In an effort to make amends for his weapons manufacturing past, Tony Stark has dedicated himself to building the world up rather than tearing it down. Traveling to Japan to build a new arc reactor that will deliver unlimited free energy to the Japanese people, Stark is challenged by the Japanese government and the media when he attempts to import the necessary nuclear priming device. And when the reactor-in-construction is repeatedly attacked by the mysterious Zodiac consortium, Stark must gather his allies to take on Zodiac and its mastermind.
“X-MEN” The X-MEN are reunited following the death of a teammate, and are summoned by Charles Xavier to Japan following the abduction of Hisako Ichiki (Armor). There, they confront the U-MEN, a lunatic cult that steals and transplants mutant organs to further strengthen their own army, and the battle for justice is on.
“Wolverine” Based on the popular graphic novel by Frank Miller, the series begins in Japan, where Logan is challenged by Shingen Yashida, the notorious leader of a powerful mafia clan. When Shingen’s employee Yukio, a female assassin, falls out of Shingen’s favor, she must kill him or be killed. Teaming up with Logan, the pair seek out the villain to exact their revenge.
“Blade” Eric Brooks — known as Blade — seeks revenge on Deacon Frost, the vampire lord who killed his mother while she was still pregnant with Eric. With all the powers of a vampire and none of their weaknesses, Blade’s quest leads him throughout Southeast Asia in search of Frost, and, in Viet Nam, he discovers a vampire plot that threatens to take down the whole world.