Marvel has released several anime recently, Iron Man and X-Men being two I've already taken a look at, so today I'm doing another two titles, Blade and Wolverine. Like the other Marvel Anime, the artwork in both is really cool and they don't shy away from hardcore violence. Both characters use bladed weapons, Blade a sword and Wolverine his claws, and both use them to both slice and puncture the bad guys, not like typical Saturday morning or weekday afternoon cartoons where blades are typically just used to block, reflect, and hit inanimate objects. These two shows are definitely not for kids!
Okay, so lets start with Blade. Blade is half-human, half-vampire (his mother was bit when she was pregnant), which means he has the strength of vampires but non of the weaknesses, except for the thirst for blood. He controls this with a serum created by his mentor, and he craves revenge on Deacon Frost, the vampire that killed his mother. Towards the beginning of the series, we find another vampire hunter, a girl named Makoto, and I don't want to give anything away but I'll say that she is a major part of the series and brings humanity to the series that I think might have been laking otherwise.
Now one of the things that's cool about this Blade anime is that we get to see a lot of Asian-influenced vampire designs, so they're not always just men with fangs, they are various types of animalistic creatures with strange but really cool designs. It also takes place in several different locations all over the world so there is a nice variation in scenery. Oh, and just like in Iron Man and X-Men, Wolverine makes an appearance. Man that guy really gets around! But it's cool to see and when you watched the Wolverine anime you'll see that his being there does make sense.
There is a lot of action in both shows, and it's all very well done. It always seems to have a purpose and flows from the adventure (unlike with Iron Man). And as I mentioned earlier, this is not censored to be a children's show, so you really get to see these two characters putting their blades into bad guys. In Blade, the bad guys usually tend to instantly burn up into a puff of ash, making Wolverine seem more violent by comparison since the corpses are human and stick around. I would like to mention that in the Wolverine series, Wolverine not only seems to have excessive super strength but also the ability to perfectly judge weight, distances, and centers of gravity for throwing objects with precise aim. For example, there's one scene where he picks up a huge concrete slab at least a meter in diameter over his head with just one arm using his claws), and then throws the slab a good distance away at a target and hits it perfectly. And he does this not once, but several times, AND all while riding a motorcycle. I know he's supposed to be a badass, but c'mon!
Okay, lets move on to Wolverine. Who doesn't know about Wolverine? He has a mutant ability to heal from major wounds, he has retractable claws in his forearms, and his entire skeleton is coated with a nearly indestructible metal. His series finds him in Japan trying to rescue his love from her father, who is making her marry some sleazeball for some kind of business deal. Unfortunately, her dad isn't just any old fart, he is a master swordsman that can apparently beat just about anyone. Even Wolverine has a tough time taking him on. But her dad isn't the only bad guy in the series, and one of them actually appears in the Blade series where we get to learn more about his background, which is cool.
Lets move on to the special features. There are three special features on the Blade DVD. The two on the first disc are "The Marvel Anime Universe: Blade Re-awakened" and "Blade: The Vampire-Slayer". The first is about ten minutes long and talks about bringing Blade to life as a Japanese animation series. The other is about six and a half minutes long and talks about Blade the character. Both are interesting. The special feature on the second disc is called "Special Talk Session: Marvel Anime's Blade and Wolverine" and this one is just over a half hour long. This one features the Japanese team talking about the entire process of imagining and putting together anime series based on these two characters. It's pretty cool to get the inside track on the thought processes on how to accomplish this melding of Marvel characters into an anime universe.
The Wolverine DVDs have three extras. The two on the first disc are "The Marvel Anime Universe: Wolverine Reborn" and "The Ferocious Anti-hero: Wolverine Defined". These two are just like the Blade extras, where the first focuses on brining Wolverine to anime and the second talking about the character of Wolverine. The second disc has "Wolverine Meets X-Men" which is a half hour long and again is the Japanese team discussing what they went through to bring Wolverine into the anime world, both for the Wolverine series and also for the X-Men series.
Both series are very well done and I think fans of both properties will really enjoy seeing these characters let loose. That's not to say that you have to be a fan, as I think anyone who loves action films will enjoy the ride that these two shows take you on.