Stan Lee was one of my greatest heroes. His work inspired me more than anyone else in the world. He was a man who created simply because he loved to do so. He was everything I aspire to be.
So naturally, when I heard that he had worked on anime in his time, I simply had to give it a watch. And after his tragic passing, that feeling was only further invigorated.
Heroman is a series with Stan Lee written all over it. From the character designs to the story itself, everything feels like a classic western comic book had a baby with a classic mech-anime. And even better yet, it’s a Studio Bones production! Y’know, guys who made such adaptations as…
- Both Fullmetal Alchemist shows
- Soul Eater (say what you will about the story, but that animation was wonderful)
- Space Dandy
- Blood Blockade Battelfront
- Mob Pyscho 100
- MY HERO FUCKING ACADEMIA
As you can imagine, I was immediately in love the moment I watched the first episode.
For those who haven’t seen it (as it is a show from 2010), let me briefly summarize the plot. Joey Jones (remember, this was a Stan Lee story) is your average hard working loser getting through school. His days are spent daydreaming of heroes and advanced tech, hanging out with his long time friend Psy, and getting hit on by cheerleader Lina (and then getting actually hit on by her brother Will). One day, he picks up a broken toy and fixes it up, naming it Heroman. Then, practically the same day, lightning strikes Heroman, and he transforms into a giant robot filled to the brim with extreme power. Around the same time, a race of aliens called the Skrugg appear to conquer the planet for all it’s resources. Now it’s up to Joey and Heroman to stop them and save the world!
Because anime. And also comic books. But don’t worry! If that’s not catching your fancy, then maybe the Stan Lee cameos will!
No I’m not joking, look at this.
The story and characters are about as simple as you’d expect from a Stan Lee story. The kids (as well as their wacky scientist teacher friend who helps them out) are the good guys, and the paranoid government and conquering aliens are the bad guys. It never deals with any super complex themes or moral questions. Instead, it focuses on keeping the audience entertained.
Which means one thing: robots doing cool robot things and fighting aliens!
The action in this show is a god damn treat to watch. Be they fighting aliens, rampaging robots, or paranoid government agents, watching Joey and Heroman conquer the obstacles in their path is always a good time. This is thanks to the especially creative choreography, drop dead gorgeous animation, and strangely amazing music.
I’m not fucking joking, this show has one of the best soundtracks to any anime that I’ve ever watched. It’s super fucking good!
It’s far from flawless though. Every episode features the same recycled (though still well animated) shots of Joey slapping his gauntlet thing and yelling “HEROMAN… ATTACK!” or something along those lines. It’s just like a Sailor Moon transformation; beautiful, repetitive, and thrown in there to pad out the episode. If you’ve seen as much anime as I have, however, you’ve grown numb to it, so it won’t be an issue.
If you haven’t, however… Well…
The characters are about as simple as the themes as well. Joey Jones is the robot anime equivalent of Peter Parker, Lina is Qwen Stacy, her brother Will is Flash Thompson, so on and so forth. They have enough personality to stand out, but the core of each character is extremely similar. Is that a bad thing? If you ask me, no.
Cause I fucking love Spider-Man and every character in it.
This is a fantastic popcorn anime. Sit down with your kids/ younger siblings, grab some snacks, and just have a good time. This is a great show for children or those who have the hearts of children. It’s not the peak of Stan Lee’s career, but I’d say it’s certainly a worthy addition to his many many works. If you feel the need to celebrate his life and work now that he’s gone (which still feels like it’s wrong even a month later), I’d recommend giving this one a watch.
It’s just a damn shame we’ll never get a season two.