Monday, April 5, 2010

Heroman - First Impressions

Japan, thank you. Studio Bones, thank you. And Stan Lee, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Aside from an ill-advised comeback attempt, Taikutsu Remedy has not seen an update in months, due to the fact that I had lost absolutely all interest in anime since late last year. Being awash in the crappy, formulaic, pedophilia of the anime of the past few seasons, I decided it was time to call it quits, and focused my attention and adoration for my other great love, professional wrestling.

Freedom is the only way, yeah!

But all that has now changed thanks to the wonderful people mentioned above. Heroman has singlehandedly rekindled the fire, and so, like a phoenix, Taikutsu Remedy rises from the ashes! And what better way to celebrate this occasion, then with a first impression post of the very thing that made it happen?

Guess what country this show takes place in. Go on, guess.

Now before we begin, there is something I would like to address. Some of you might be scratching your heads as to why Heroman of all things is what brought me back. If the reviews round the net are any indication, Heroman has it's fair share of detractors. In the medical profession, these people are what we call, dirty communist. Heroman is awesome.

Heroman disapproves of those who do not approve of him.

Also, he watches you while you sleep.


The year, is something. The place, America. Sick of her life as the lead guitarist of a failed girlpop band, Yui from K-On has changed her name, forged a new identity, and flown to Center City, America to begin her life anew.

Stan Lee, in America!

Fearful of her now spiteful bandmates finding her, she now leads a double life as Joey Jones, a geeky loser who lives with 'his' grandmother and attends a local highschool. There, she is lusted over by the head cheerleader, and is constantly bullied by the school jocks. Presumably for contaminating the world with bullshit songs about fluffy times and the shit.

American jocks in their natural environment. Note the tasteless green jacket of the specimen to the bottom right, an evolutionary trait unique to the Rich Bastard subspecies of jock.

Anyway, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, some jerkass scientist who happens to know Yui has accidentally contacted an alien species. And as we all know, aliens are assholes, and so now that they know where we are, they're going to come and destroy us. Thanks professor.

Ok, anyone else getting massive Teppelin and Lazengann vibes here?

In the meantime, as Yui is walking back home, she spots the jocks playing with a toy robot, as jocks in highschool are known to do. Eventually, they break the bot, and throw it in the trash. Being the pitiful carrion crawler that she is, Yui rescues the bot from the trashheap, bestows on it the name, Heroman, and brings it home to fix, in the hope of finally having a friend to talk to.

"And soon, I will have friends!"

Sadly, life in America has done little to fix Yui's moronic clumsiness, and she leaves a window open in her room during a thunderstorm. Naturally, lightning strikes the Heroman toy, gives it powers, turning it to the giant robot hero we will all soon know and love. Because as we all know, that's what lightning does. It gives us superpowers. Because it's lightning. Super lightning.

It's a logical progression.

So yeah, presumably it will then be up to Yui and Heroman to beat up alien bastards. Kickass.


Yui Hirasawa
The much maligned lead of some shitty anime that nobody liked, Yui eventually realized that life with her band was a trainwreck waiting to happen. Thus, she wisely decided to cut off all ties with her previous life and start afresh in America. In order to further divorce herself from her past, she now lives under a new name, and even gender.

She now spends her days in Center City as Joey Jones, a loser. So...she's pretty much exactly the same really. Only with breast binding.

No. I haven't forgiven you for your shit music.

The titular mecha. Once a lowly toy, Heroman received his kickass mecha powers after being struck by a bolt of lightning. He now spends his days saving the world and staring down on people. May possibly be the American cousin of Dix-Neuf.

Ok Lee, you'd better have a scene where Heroman fights and kills millions of aliens while Fly High is playing.

The spunky, popular head cheerleader of the local highschool. Despite her social standing, she openly crushes on Yui, the town geek. Obviously she never got the cheerleader memo.

Wait, what!? The cheerleader likes the loser hero!? Right from the start!? What kind of shitty cheerleader are you!?

And in a single line, Yui makes me hate her more then I already do.

Yui's only friend. That's probably because he's on crutches and can't play ball with the jocks. Bet you he ditches her once his legs heal.

I was going to make fun of his hair, but then again, pretty much every review I've read has already done that. So, up. I got nothing.

Lina's big brother and leader of the jocks. Spends his free time beating up Yui and gelling his hair. Has a seriously massive sister complex.

Unconvinced by Yui's disguise, Will attempts to rip her jacket off, so he can see them titties.

Prof. Matthew Denton
The retard responsible for summoning the evil aliens to earth. So when you're getting your still beating heart ripped out of your chest by giant cockroach men, it was because of this guy.

The face the doomed the world.


As you'd probably be able to surmise, story is not a strong point of Heroman. The premise is ridiculous and the characters cookie cutter and predictable. However, this does not detract from Heroman. In fact, I would argue it enhances it, as messy plotlines never get in the way of the experience of watching Heroman. And that I believe is what defines Heroman, a show not to be thought about, but to be felt.

Bet you he dies first.

The simplicity of Heroman's story and characters is in fact one of its strengths. Did it ever bother us that no one ever figured out Superman's identity despite the fact that all he did was wear tights and part his hair differently? No! All we wanted was to see the Man of Steel save the world from Lex Luthor's latest dastardly plot. In much the same way, Heroman is a throwback to those simpler times, where heroes were righteous, bad guys were assholes, and all the worlds problems could be solved by punching it in the face.

Just in case you forget, we're American! And we're made by Stan Lee! Who is also American!

And in its simple charm is the magic of Heroman. It was obviously never meant to be deep and contemplative like Ghost in the Shell or Serial Experiment Lain, nor was it meant to challenge and disturb viewers like Perfect Blue. All Heroman sets out to do is to recapture the magic of entertainment of yesteryears.

Yui's grandmother, the coolest human character in the show. Also a midget.

Those of you who can remember the days of Saturday morning cartoons will be familiar with the objectives of Heroman. When we would sit entranced at the screen as Sonic, Captain Planet and other sat morning stalwarts saved the day and delivered a preachy aesop at the end. Heroman condences all those saturday morning elements and repackages it in modern production values, allowing us to relive the experience once again. And with Studio Bones on animation, those production values are bloody good.

Heroman raping a car. What? As if you don't have any weird fetishes!

And that is why Heroman succeeds and surpasses the competition. It does not believe itself to be more then it is. It is well aware of its simplicity and cliched premise, and rather then fight it, it revels in it. Viewers never need worry about plot or motivations, all that matters is that Heroman is fighting evil aliens, and looks hella cool doing it. Now some critics are going to call this mindset childish, and brand Heroman a kids show. But y'know what? Gurren Lagann was also a kids show, so shut up.

I didn't really know where to put this in the review, so I figured I'd just tack an extra note at the end. One of the really cool things that I liked about Heroman is how he's controlled. Yui has a funky arm attachment thing which she uses to control Heroman by pressing a button that tells Heroman to perform an action. The catch however, is Heroman is the one who chooses which button Yui has to press. Essentially, Heroman is the one deciding on his course of action, with Yui authorizing it.

Dial 1 to get Heroman to do what he wants you to tell him to do.

Now most people are going to think that's a pretty redundent control system. What I like about it is how it can be interpreted as a rather simple analogy to the doctrine of the Seperation of Powers, where government power is seperated into three arms to keep each other in check. In this case, Heroman serves as the Legislature whereas Yui functions as the executive.

Heroman always had trouble fitting inside the House of Representatives.

...what? I can't nerd out over shit no one cares about? Bah! If people can jerk off to lolis, then I can jerk off to constitutional doctrines!

Also, I was genuinely surprised that Studio Bones animated this. Between alien Teppelin and Lazengann, and Heroman looking almost exactly like Dix-Neuf, I could have sworn this was a Gainax show.

Ok. There's no way in hell this wasn't deliberate.