Animation worthy of Marvel’s fantastic hero roster finally arrives in the anime series, X-Men. Premiering Oct. 21 and previewed in the exclusive clip above, the series’ debut episode, “The Return,” features mind-wiping destruction, courtesy of Jean Grey’s fearsome Phoenix.
That leaves Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm and Beast to scramble for existential answers. Although few come in the stellar series, X-Men remains the coolest animation experiment yet made by the new Disney subsidiary.
Created by Marvel Entertainment and Japanese animation studio Madhouse — co-founded by anime all-stars Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll), Osamu Dezaki (Astro Boy), Rintaro (Metropolis) and producer Masao Maruyama — X-Men premiered in Japan earlier this year, but has finally made its way to America.
We’re still waiting on a good reason why that took so long, but Marvel has shown many times that it moves according to its own often-inscrutable comics logic. We’re just happy the X-Men anime is here at all.
X-Men is the greatest of the Marvel-Madhouse anime collaborations, which were guided by comics legend Warren Ellis. The predictable playboy mecha of Iron Man and the unwieldy samurai romance of Wolverine premiered in America this July. The undead horror of Blade, the last of the Marvel-Madhouse tag teams, premiered on Japan’s Animax channel this summer, and will cross the ocean soon enough.
All the series have been on torrent networks for months, albeit with English subtitles. G4 has the honor of at last airing dubbed iterations, which translate more easily to ears untrained in the Japanese tongue. X-Men shines the brightest of all four series, charged as it is with cataclysmic showdowns, light-speed action and ambitious storytelling.
Screen the clip above and let us know in the comments section below if you think something is lost in the comics translation, or if Marvel and Madhouse’s collaboration does justice to anime’s bullet-proof legacy.
Marvel Anime airs Fridays at 11 p.m. Eastern on G4. X-Men debuts Oct. 21 on the cable channel.