Iíll admit, when I first saw Iron Man Armored
Adventures on the shelf I thought it was the Madhouse created
Iron Man Anime that looked so cool when its first trailer debuted
back in 2009. To say I was disappointed to find that it wasnít that
anime project is an understatement. So with my hopes already dashed
before Iíd even seen it could Iron Man Armored Adventures win me
Iron Man Armored Adventures
follows the adventures of a teenaged Tony Stark. After his father is
killed in a plane crash and he is left seriously injured Tony Stark
becomes Iron Man using technology he created for the suit to keep him
alive. He uses his new found superhero status to track down why his
father was killed and thwart numerous enemies who try to harm him or his
friends Rhodey and Pepper Potts. The series contains elements that fans
of the Iron Man character will instantly recognize, like Pepper, Rhodey
and a host of villains like Obadiah Stain and the Mandarin, but the
series puts its own unique spin on the character and the universe. The
series doesnít just rest on pre-existing Iron Man material as it
introduces a host of new characters to help make the series its own.
Unique spin also means kids spin as the focus is
definitely on kidís entertainment here, but thereís still some fun to be
had with Iron Man Armored Adventures. Sure there are many things
that existing older fans will find annoying, like Tonyís surprisingly
good relationship with his father and the similarities between a young
Tony Stark trying to juggle school and being a hero with Peter
Parker/Spider Man, but thereís some pretty high octane action going on
and some quality hero and villain character designs, especially old
series favorites that will appeal to the younger target audience and
older fans. The change to Tony being a genius teenager and not a
womanizing alcoholic is hard to swallow but itís been made with a
younger audience in mind. These changes make the young Tony Stark a bit
of an annoying little brat. Heís got a bit of that spoilt rich kid thing
going on and a rich manís Peter Parker is nowhere near as interesting.
Over the course of the series he also develops a bit of that ďI have to
do this aloneĒ mentality that sees him push away his friends, which
doesnít help you to like him. Pepper is also ridiculously irritating as
the Ďnever shut upí daughter of an FBI agent. Pepper was great when Tony
and her would constantly flirt and go back and forth with their
employer/employee relationship but as school yard friends their
relationship is nowhere near as interesting or fun. Rhodey,
surprisingly, is still the ever reliable best friend who, as weíve come
to expect from Rhodey, is often the voice of reason when it comes to
Tonyís latest actions. He was probably the only main character I could
relate too because he was very similar to his traditional character.
The story largely focuses around Tony trying to find
out what happened to his dad and growing into his role as a superhero.
There are several continuing plot points throughout the series, which
relate to the villain Iron Man is currently facing. Thereís usually some
sort of message to every episode, which youíd expect from a kids show,
but the real highlight of the series is the action. Interestingly the
whole series has a focus on fatherís due to the young characters and
While the character animations for the heroes and
villains looked good and the action was largely well done overall Method
Animationís 3D CGI was not impressive. The characters didnít look
natural when they were walking around performing everyday tasks and
their faces were particularly poorly animated. The matchup between
words, facial expressions and lip sync were not good. Also you had a
feeling that the characters had been layered over the top of the
background and were two separate entities not one cohesive animation.
Even in the action there were things that needed to be more detailed,
like the effects of battle damage that would have made for a more
engrossing viewing experience. They also use some random slow motion
scenes that seemed out of place in the overall production.
The Blu-ray is presented in 16:9 widescreen 1080p HD.
The colors were bright, clear and well defined but itís hard to comment
on imperfections with the image, not being familiar with the 3D CGI
format and its conversion to Blu-ray. To me the transfer looked fine and
any faults were more due to the animation than the transfer.
The voice acting was okay but didnít really stand out
as being overly impressive. Interestingly the audio is only presented in
English 2.0 LPCM so thereís a lot of focus on the front end. The track
was loud but suffered from not featuring full surround sound. Repulsors
and lasers sounded good but a few of the guns didnít sound right,
emitting a very metallic noise.
The complete collection unfortunately does not come
with any bonus features.
Iron Man Armored Adventures
is a kidís show thatís looking to capitalize on the success of the
live-action Iron Man films. In that respect it probably succeeds
as thereís a lot of action, a basic but interesting plot and a main
character who probably appeals to kids due to his wealth and ability to
create whatever the hell he wants while he breezes through school. The
animation wonít be everyoneís cup of tea and it certainly wasnít mine
while the audio suffers from a lack of surround sound and longtime fans
will be annoyed by key changes. Definitely one for younger audiences.