Marvel Is Going Anime

Published 7 years ago by

marvel manga wolv spidey hulk Marvel Is Going Anime

Marvel Comics has done a bang-up job expanding their brand over the course of the last decade. After many stalled attempts to break into the realm of television, with bland animated show (Spider-Man), after bland animated show (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk), all throughout the 90′s, Marvel decided to leave the cartoon stuff to rival DC and start the Millennium off right by conquering the multiplex.

Thanks to that bold endeavor, we fanboys now live in an age where our beloved icons serve as tent-poles for the summer blockbuster season, and our years of ardent hero-worship has made us sages in the geek-chic world order.

But now, with Marvel having dominated the comic book industry and striking major blows in the battle for the box office, what’s left? Well, as an answer, Marvel has turned its focus East… FAR East… hoping to break into the last undiscovered country for comic book heroes: the world of anime.

According to MTV News, Marvel is joining forces with acclaimed Japanimation studio Madhouse, in an effort to re-imagine some of their headlining characters (Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron-Man) for a series of four anime feature films, to be released in 2010. Said Marvel International President, Simon Phillips:

“It will create an entire parallel universe for Marvel.”

These new anime films will essentially re-vamp the characters we know and love, giving their traditional costumes some anime influence, while re-tooling the characters and their origins to reflect Japenese culture. Those who have picked up any one of the Marvel Manga comic books should already have an idea of how this works (or doesn’t).

marvelmanga2 Marvel Is Going Anime
Anime version of Marvel Comics characters

While there’s been no official word on which heroes will get “anime-ted” first, word is that Madhouse President Jungo Maruta has been seen toting some manga-style sketches of Iron Man around the office. (Wouldn’t surprise me if ol’ Shellhead got the first flick, given his current popularity and the Japanese obsession with technology. I’ve always been surprised that Iron Man isn’t to Japan what Superman is to America.)

Finally, there is some light rumoring that the Marvel/Anime initiative will try to push the industry further into the realm of mobile-media, offering cellphone downloads, clips, and other mobile fare to help you bring the Marvel Mangaverse with you wherever you go.

marvelmanga Marvel Is Going Anime

We’ll keep an eye on this as 2010 an approaches. In the meantime, do you think Marvel should be going anime? Or did Batman: Gotham Knight make you want to keep your favorite comic book characters 100% made in the U.S.A.?

Source: MTV News

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Well, I certainly hope that it’s not based on the Marvel Mangaverse.
    And with Madhouse at the helm (they did what, in my opinion, were the best two animated segments on Gotham Knight, “Working Through the Pain” and “Deadshot”, as well as some amazing anime series), it ought to be beautifully animated, though I would probably prefer Sunrise or Bones, mostly because I love me some Cowboy Bebop and a lot of their other series.

  2. Oh yay, more of the super-exaggerated animations since we’re all too stupid to realize a character’s emotion without it being shoved into our faces…

    I’ll stick to the live-action movies and my “Dark Deco” Batman TAS DVD’s, lol. Best animation style for a comic book hero ever, and Kevin Conroy is the man…

  3. Some could cross over Spider Man has a good shot as well as X-Men. Iron Man is iffy because the market there is saturated with Robo-Anime done to styles they have become familiar with and accustomed too. Maybe Fantastic Four, but I would be surprised if Hulk even has a chance. Daredevil, Punisher, Ghost Rider about the same chance as the Hulk.

  4. God… When will Anime ever die? -Stark

    What POS…

  5. I really don’t like the misconceptions people are having over anime. I know, some anime are that over exaggerated, badly animated stuff.
    The most common argument I hear is the whole “more detail, less well animated” bit, and that couldn’t be more wrong. B:TAS, S:TAS, JL, and JLU are amazingly animated, and fantastic shows, but some anime are truly BEAUTIFULLY animated. They’re more detailed than any American cartoon and flow so smoothly it’s crazy.
    And the serious anime tend not to have that over exaggeration, which is definitely good. I hate it as much as you do.

  6. I can’t STAND anime. UGH!! But hey, if it makes Marvel money and they can keep the Marvel characters in the mind of the general public, I guess it’s all good.

  7. S.Matt, obviously there are exceptions, but basically you’re comparing extraordinary anime with sub-par American cartoons. Typically the thing that defined something to be anime is that style of over-exaggerated expression and overly dramatic dialog and settings.

    If they had the modern digital processes in animation during the days of Batman TAS, it would be three times as good as it already was simply because of the amount of effort those people were willing to put into it. But unfortunately they were using standard animation cells which got dirty and dusty during the transfer which resulted in so many artifacts and the such. But if they took the time to actually draw out frame by frame every explosion and facial expression by hand, imagine what they could have accomplished with modern streamlined techniques. If they would just make the shows with how it would look in reality in mind, it will be better than any special crazy “style” these jap animators could come up with since the best shows rely on great story telling, not just crazy eye candy.

    But you’re obviously going to find more examples of that in Japan than here because they take their animated series more seriously than we do. For some odd reason, most American production companies think that animated movies/shows are exclusively for kids. I don’t know why BTAS didn’t make them realize they are wrong because the reason why that was so successful was because it drew in both children and grown ups alike. Some of those stories were pretty mature in nature… I recently watched the entire series and still found them to be highly entertaining and thought provoking. Well, except for that last season when they started simplifying everything, you know it was one of those when Robin became Tim Drake the little kid and Batman’s logo turned from the yellow circle with the bat in the center to just the wide bat logo on his chest.

  8. You know what Ken, you’re right. I really just kind of got to the point of annoyance, because I hear it so often. Of course, while a lot of anime have great stories (that we usually don’t see because of shoddy dubbing and editing), they are still no match for stuff like BTAS.

  9. If done right, I think some of the characters could be pretty cool in anime. Love the line about Iron Man in Japan being like Superman in the US. Ive been to Japan many times, and Ive been an Iron Man fan for nearly 20 years. I can say that he should be Japans “Superman” and with this announcement he could be. But not all characters would work. Doctor Strange, Luke Cage, War Machine and maybe even the Moon Knight would be great characters in the world of anime with a little twist in their tales of origin. I am all for this. Do it Marvel! I’ll buy every one you put out!

  10. Well, my only objection is if they would do it in that style for the USA. Of course if they want to get the Japanese people hooked, they’ll HAVE to do it in their style and like they said, change around the story a little to match the Japanese culture. I guess why not, maybe it will make Marvel fans out of the Japanese as well, and they will start watching the American movies of them more, lol.

    It can’t hurt I suppose. I’m not a fan of anime in general, but I have definitely seen some exceptional examples. Although personally they are very far and in between. In general I’m not very impressed with the typical anime style. But unfortunately good animation from America is even more rare… Like I’ve already mentioned, BTAS was the ultimate and I haven’t really seen another great example since then. I could never understand why they don’t just bring that back. I’m positive the Batman cartoons were plenty more popular back in those days than they are now…

    Disney’s Gargoyles was alright too, but not nearly as good. They were more or less trying to copy BTAS’s style.

  11. I did NOT like the Marvel Mangaverse, but then I’m not a fan of anime. The thing is, I don’t think it’s bad… I think I just don’t have the taste to appreciate it.


  12. NO!!!! Even though i was a fan of manga, i still think that they shouldn’t combine it…. its too different. Plus most manga have characters that is just….so fake. And marvel characters are not designed to have big eyes, skinny body, and a tiny sharp nose.

  13. The problem is that I am willing to be that Marvel doesn’t understand culturally what Anime is. Japanese Animation. It’s not just cartoons with big eyes, that’s the problem here. That’s why it will fail. I know it’s gonna be done with Madhouse but Whenever some comic studio teams up with a Japanese anime studio it always comes out as this kind of “wanabe anime” Because the anime studio doesn’t understand what makes the american comic good and the comic studio has no idea what Anime is really all about. It’s not just an art style, it’s a culture style. That’s why they all look like crap, because people think it’s just a style of art. So you take a comic from america that is all about heroes in american culture and then you have Japanese people that don’t understand American culture visualize it and you get Witchblade anime. Which was garbage. I’m going to laugh at Marvel when these movies look like complete crap.

  14. Why do they keep doing this? Anime is cool, but why isn’t American animation good enough? They are just trying to cash in on a trend. Instead of pushing American animation to another level and producing something awesome, they want to Animize it and turn a quick buck, but in the process it cheapens the brand imo.

  15. @wisedome and daniel

    I agree with both of you, but I don’t think this will affect the main story arcs of the characters. If I’m understanding it correctly, they want to anime-up Marvel characters in alternate story arcs to try to get some Japanese fans into the franchise. So it’s more to get Japan’s attention than it is for us. We will still get the normal versions of all of these characters. This shouldn’t be like Gotham Knight where the only version we all could see are the anime versions. I think they are making separate versions. So we could simply ignore the anime ones and it shouldn’t affect how much of the Marvel stories we know about…

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the impression I’m getting. If I am wrong, and they are going to permanently anime-up our Marvel characters for everyone, then WTF??? I will be mad as hell!! lol

    Seriously, I feel exactly the way you do Wisedome, I’d much prefer they polish up normal American style animation to have a more realistic view and less of a childish influence than to make it anime…

  16. They’re doing four anime feature films for a kind of counter-universe feel. Could be cool, or could be crap. I’m going to give it a chance, at least. As I mentioned in the post, DC has always been king of the American Animated comic book series. B:TAS and JL/JLU were AMAZING. The JL original series with the widescreen hour-long episodes were epic pieces of story telling. I’ve always thought that DC’s characters were too big for comic books and worked better on screen, while Marvel’s characters were perfect for making engaging, enduring comics. Every Marvel cartoon of the 90′s and since 2000 has been HORRIBLE. Hopefully the colorful absurdity of anime will be a better fit.

  17. I don’t get why they characters need to be turned into exaggerated non-human forms to be appealing in the east.

    If the animated X-men show from the 90s played out there, would they not approve?

    In any case, good on Marvel for brand expansion, I just hope that what made the characters so special in the main marvel universe remains intact, and that they don’t just use all the big names and attach them to random characters and character traits.

  18. Hasn’t every marvel animated series been done by japanese animators, except for the goofy ones from the 60′s?

  19. I think this is a good step with marvel, taking over wont happen but fitting in is a possiblity. Spiderman is a great choice and so is the hulk but Ironman should wait I would say they do daredevil. I read bout ameerican comics and Jap mangas so Spidey, hulk and daredevil would be the perfect choice i mean think about anime like Full metal Alchemist and Claymore, or Cowboy bebop and Samurai Champloo, even naruto these are just some of the few anime i can always go back and watch Jap anime manily consist of epic stories like our graphic novels here so that’s why i think it a great move. The three i said would make great action drama’s considering what route Marvel decide to runs its a smart move. All they have to do is stick to their formula they have now and not look back.

  20. I DON’T GET THIS CRAP!?! :(

  21. Why is everyone dissing the 90′s Spiderman toon? I loved it, albeit a very different feel from Batman TAS and JLU. Spiderman was for younger kids. And X-Men was one of the best toons from the early 90′s.

    The rest of Marvel’s animated series were awful, I agree.

  22. Panda, I think they are mainly dissing the animation style and how it’s childish. But I’m sure that was their target audience. But I think younger people also enjoy darker more mature animations like that of BTAS as well, but I guess it’s much easier to make childish cartoons, and with American cartoons it’s all about the bottom line, the less money they spend on making them, the more profits they make. That’s the way they look at it…

  23. marvel as anime is worse to me only

  24. I only clicked this link because someone actually thinks like this:

    ‘After many stalled attempts to break into the realm of television, with bland animated show (Spider-Man),’

    Whoa buddy — what have you been smoking?

    1.Batman The Animated Series
    2.X-Men The Animated Series
    3.Spider-Man The Animated Series

    Some of the best, if not THE best, Saturday morning cartoons/animated comic book adaptions ever… as a matter of fact the success of some of these series is unparalled. Let me find some facts… *checking*…

    And I quote:

    “Spider-Man (also known as Spider-Man: The Animated Series) is an American animated television series featuring the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man, which ran for five seasons (65 episodes) starting November 19, 1994 and finishing January 31, 1998. The producer/story editor was John Semper, Jr. and production company was the Marvel Productions. Reruns can currently be seen on Toon Disney. The show is generally considered by fans to be the most ‘true to source’ Spider-man media adaptation in terms of atmosphere, visuals and characters.”

    Five seasons… uh that seems pretty successful… lets read on…

    “This show is the second longest-running Marvel show created—after X-Men which lasted for six years—lasting five seasons and 76 episodes.”

    I’d say it it safe to say Marvel has had success with Animation and that Spidey TAS was not ‘bland’ but the best of any animated incarnation the character has recieved. Most fans would agree.

    Don’t diss the show just because you wern’t a fan or to hype up a story.

    I’ll take good ol’ fashion Spidey over some manga crud anyday. But that’s me.

    Wow, it’s impressive to note how GOOD that show was with the myriad of censorships that were implemented during the time of its production.

    Anyway, Marvel expanding: Good for business. Manga… uh ok. Point is Spider-Man, by far, was not bland… what are you comparing it to anyway?Super Friends?

    Gimme a break…

  25. Oh yeah just for the hell of it Spawn The Animated Series was the $hit too.

    Does anyone know if the last season is available anywhere or was it simply just never produced? A real shame – I hope what I hear about the new Spawn movie isn’t true, well two things actually:

    1.It Will Be Animated or CGI (Nooooo!)
    2.Spawn will have no speaking lines and the main characters will be the two detectives (I want Spawn!!!!)

    Anybody know what’s up with that? Thanks.

  26. I would love to see it if they kept the characters relatively styled like they currently are. The following links were alternate intros for X-Men TAS from the 90′s during its run in Japan. I would love to see the X-Men in this style.


    or this:

  27. If you’re a fan of anime you might like that, which the Japs are so it would work well over there. I personally don’t like it. Something about a fight scene where the viewpoint is constantly circling the action while the background is just moving streaks never really got my attention…

  28. Think some of you are being to hard on Japanamation
    Its not all DBZ LIKE please I’m a 3d artist you have to open up I loved the Older Series of Spidey, Xmen, Iron all those I grew up off them We take Asian movies and remake them. I would love to see japanimation take spiderman and turn it into ther own adapation. Look at the highlander Anime , or witch blade
    every view is circling and stuff or lines in back ground every second.

    I recommend you check these anime out
    ninja scroll
    I mean i could go own but The stories, the style ,the character development if you havent given seen these then you should i’m sure after you did you would change your mind. every anime is not like pokemon

  29. Jesus…it’s true. American companies have to sell out just to make a profit. After Teen Titans, this is just an insult to american culture.