Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: Fantastic Four: WGH "Doomsday"

And so, it's time to review yet another stock episode title.

Doomsday, Doomed, Dark Side of the Doom....

If Doctor Doom's involved, then he will always be in the title. Appropriate, considering his ego. Anyway, let's review.

Because origin stories have been done to death, our heroes are already heroes. But the events of the episode tie in to the origin story, which still makes this feels like a good beginning.

While I criticized the fact that the fake paper's fakeness could be revealed with a Google search, I do like the idea of Mr. Fantastic having to refute allegations that he mutated his friends on purpose. But, as always, the plot gets hijacked by Dr. Doom's petty revenge plot.

Still, the main story about the faked journal is derived from a classic Fantastic Four vs. X-Men storyline, and that just warms the cockles of my nerdy heart.

I'll say this about the show, it really nails down the characters' personalities.

Mr. Fantastic
A largely unemotional scientist, but one who still has a heart. The original Egon, basically. And this show captures that well. Well, except for the voice actor. Hiro Kanagawa does a more-than-passable job, but his Reed just sounds confused more often than not.

Still, it's an authentic adaptation of the character that presents him as nigh-sociopathic, except actually not. When the fake journal is all over the TV, he can look like he simply doesn't care (or worse, he did do this to his friends on purpose), but when he actually decides to speak, it's obvious that this is tearing him up, despite his demeanor.

Johnny Storm
Hotheaded, but with a heart of gold. Sure, he'll make fun of Ben's ugly face, but he still cares about the big lug.

While a few of his lines try a bit too hard to be "hip," that's kids of how the character always was. No offense, comic writers of the 1960's, but you weren't that good on figuring out what the kids these days were saying.

Sue Storm
The "mother" of the group. She keeps her boyfriend grounded, and keeps Johnny from going too far.

Much like the comics, she doesn't have pink hair.

...Not much else to say about her;she's not as fleshed out as the other characters, beyond her general level-headedness.

Ben Grimm
Monster-angst, Brooklyn accent, heart of gold...

It's Ben Grimm, the Ever-Lovin'-Blue-Eyed-Thing.

Does he enjoy punching stuff? Absolutely. Would he rather look normal? Yes. He harbors some resentment over his situation, but in the end, he's not mad at Reed. After all, it was an accident.

Alicia Masters
Ben Grimm's blind girlfriend with all the wisdom that blind people seem to inherently have.

Though she's little more than a fountain of "Ben Grimm, you're not a monster on the inside," that was her primary role in the original comics, too. So I can't fault the show for that.

Doctor Doom
Though he may look like a metal pretty boy, he's petty to the core.

All he wants is to see Reed Richards shamed, disgraced, and then dead, no matter the casualties. Though faking a journal for the purposes of putting a virus in the Baxter Building is a little contrived, it just goes to show what a master planner Doom is.

Seriously, if it weren't for a random power that Johnny rarely uses because it requires concentration, the Fantastic Four would be dead, and Doom would be victorious.


I don't much care for it.

It's just... why anime? That's all I want to know. Why?

This show has all the stereotypical hallmarks of anime, in the character designs, low frame rate, and the lips not matching the characters' voices. (Though that might partially be because this was made in France.) I get that there was a huge anime craze in France at the time, but it's still an odd choice.

Well, it's mainly the fact that this isn't an all out anime that bugs me. If they had gone all out with the anime styling, reimagined some of the characters a bit more, and even given Sue that pink hair, then I could get behind it. If you're going to do something, go all out, you know? But this is just a standard Fantastic Four adaptation that just happens to look a bit like an anime because France was riding the bandwagon.

As such, the actual animation is always passable, but never really has that anime flourish. You know what I mean? There's never that "anime moment," like a cool, unrealistic battle, or a high-frame rate transformation sequence, or anything visually amazing. It's like they made an anime with storyboards from Western animation. Which might actually be the case.

Most of all, I'm really disappointed in the Thing's design. If they had gone all out, he could have looked really cool. Instead, he's a bunch of orange hexagons with a spray painted "4."

All in all, 'sokay. Fantastic Four cartoons have never been amazing, but this was a pretty good episode. Next time, an adaptation of the first Fantastic Four comic. See you then.

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