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lkmjr's Heroman Tv Review

Heroman Heroman Screenshot Look! Stan Lee! Heroman Screenshot Joey and Heroman Heroman Screenshot Lina Heroman Screenshot Psy and his 'fro

Heroman tv Review

Story & Characters

Since the main page for this series doesn't have a plot summary, I'll go ahead and give a short one here. Joey Jones is your average American kid: sweet but rather nerdy, poor, and often bullied. That is until he picks up and repairs a broken toy robot, discarded by one of Joey's frequent bullies. When the little toy is struck by lightning, it mysteriously transforms into a twelve-foot-tall defender of justice that Joey finds himself capable of controlling, and decides to name Heroman. It turns out that Heroman could be the key to saving the world, however, when Professor Denton, Joey's (mad) science teacher, actually manages to make contact with creatures from outer space. Because the Skrugg aren't interested in simply communicating with the Earthlings; they want to take Earth for themselves, and Heroman is the only thing that can stand in their way, with help from Joey, the professor, and Joey's close friends Psy and Lina.

The usual superhero formula is played incredibly straight here: ordinary kid is somehow endowed with an incredible power just in time for an evil nemesis to appear and threaten our hero's home town. Butts are kicked. And the weird thing is, it works. It can be goofy and cheesy (cockroach aliens? Really?), but it's also surprisingly smart, energetic, and entertaining, managing to make old feel new not by giving them bizarre new spins and twists but by slightly modernizing them and playing them entirely straight in all the right ways. It also helps that, while Heroman is most certainly a kids show, it does not underestimate the intelligence of it's target audience, and thus makes it a fun watch no matter how much older than eight you may be.

The characters are another example of old-made-new, classic archetypes played gloriously straight. We have Joey, our (bizarrely feminine) hero, a slightly dorky but overall nice guy who wants to help people (and get Lina's big brother Will and his friends to stop bullying him) but simply doesn't have the power, power which he then proceeds to receive in the form of Heroman. He is an incredibly likable protagonist, smart and sweet, and the show does him a favor by giving him abilities beyond his control over Heroman (a force field and super speed, to complement Heroman's large strength but relative slowness). His best friend Psy is definitely a cool guy, helping Joey out despite a bad knee (which arguably just makes him cooler). Joey's (totally not girl)friend Lina, meanwhile, while certainly not a weak character, could certainly stand to be a little stronger (surely being a cheerleader gives you some strength and flexibility?), but it's nice that the usual "unpopular kid wants cheerleader who won't give him the time of day" cliche is actually inverted here: Lina likes Joey, but he thinks she deserves "someone better" and turns her down even if he obviously feels the same way, which is a pleasing twist.

Rating: 8

Art

Another thing that makes what might have otherwise been a rather shoddy series work is the excellent art and animation, something that shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Studio BONES. Heroman himself has an interesting design, a sort of cross between a machine and something more organic, solid white except for some stripes of (what esle?) red and blue, with a strangely human face. Joey meanwhile... looks like a girl. No, really, I couldn't figure out if he was male or female until half way through the first episode, and even then it took the shower scene in episode eleven to convince me and the beach in episode twelve for me to be really sure. The guy's even got curves. It's a little scary. The character designs in general are good looking, if rather silly. Psy's got really cool crutches and hair that would make Spike Spiegel envious, while Lina's cute as a button with a (from my perspective as a female) rather unfortunate penchant for mini skirts.

The Skrugg, however, look downright ridiculous. Big bipedal red cockroaches with blobby, purple guns. The Skrugg as a whole sort of bother me. Surely they could have come up with some more interesting, unique villains? Fortunately they aren't stupid (mentally at least), making use of some human-crushing tactics that certainly would have worked had Heroman not been around to screw them up.

The animation in this series is flawless. Gorgeous fight scenes and transformation sequences, things that wouldn't have looked out of place in Eureka 7. The series makes full use of Joey's speed and Heroman's various abilities to come up with some truly beautiful fight scenes.

Rating: 9

Sound

The music for this series is fairly good. The opening "Roulette" is an energetic rock song performed by Tetsuya of L'Arc-en-Ciel, while the ending is the equally fun "Calling" by Flow. Background art for the OP is as expected: even better animation than the rest of the show, nothing truly shocking but also with a whole lot to admire. The ending is shown as a comic book (not manga, this is a fully American superhero-style affair) featuring Joey, Heroman and the rest, cute and fun if not groundbreaking. The background music is mostly techno tunes, a few featuring English lyrics. Not a bad score, I think, certainly pleasing to the ear. Episode eleven also features an excellent insert song courtesy of Joey's big sister Holly, something I'd kill to have on my iPod but have sadly have yet to find a download of. In all, Heroman has a pretty great soundtrack, complimenting the story as well as may be possible to do.

Voice acting is also good as a whole. Joey is voiced by and sounds just like a girl, which does not exactly help his girly appearance. Psy sounds suitably laid-back, Lina cute and bubbly – in general, the cast fits their roles perfectly and turn in good performances. Heroman himself mostly just roars and grunts.

Rating: 8

Presentation

Honestly, Heroman is a far better series than it has any right to be. It's a flood of tropes from start to finish, combining American superheroes with Japanese giant robots and throwing in a good-old-fashioned alien invasion just for kicks. Heroman really doesn't offer anything new to the proverbial table, but it captures the spirit of classic Saturday morning cartoons in all the right ways, mixing together and slightly modernizing old ideas and formulas to come out with something that feels fresh but still familiar.

This is quite possibly the most American anime I've ever seen. It takes place in America, features a red white and blue robot, and the one Japanese guy (judging by his name, Dr. Minami) is a villain. That probably comes from being a collaboration between a Japanese studio and the very American Stan Lee.

Heroman is, in essence, a kid's show, but that doesn't stop it from being smart and well-written. It's also a great reminder that new ideas can often be found in old places; this series manages to combine classic giant robot and superhero formulas to come out with something surprisingly fresh and unique. The characters are interesting and likable, the art and animation pristine, and the story well-plotted and fun. The only things that stop it from being worth ten stars are that it doesn't exactly go out of its way to deliver something new and at times it can be a bit too goofy – it's called Heroman, for Pete's sake – but otherwise, you couldn't ask for anything more.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

8.17 (good)

Reviewed by lkmjr, Jun 21, 2010

Comments

  1. rukasu04 Mute Member Aug 12, 2010

    Nice review :P

  2. SchRita Aug 27, 2010

    Thanks for the summary.

  3. patriz0 Oct 05, 2010

    domo...

  4. Warpten29 Jan 11, 2011

    This great, thanks for the anime's review it inspires me!

  5. Thiendrah Mar 10, 2011

    Great Review. Wish you'd gone into more detail about Psy, since he's my fav character, but really great anyways!

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