Two weeks ago was Free Comic Book Day, and I was out with my /co/mrade friends. While we were standing on line for our free comics, the conversation turned to Heroman, an anime I had told them about weeks prior to its airing.
“So, what does /co/ think about Heroman?” I asked RJ, one of the writers of Comicgasm.
“We just post shopped images of Stan Lee from it. That’s what we only care about,” he answered with a shrug.
I was bothered. Heroman had great cross-fandom potential. It had the zanyness of western comics and lively Japanese animation. Well, it had potential. The actual product is, frankly, less than stellar. I told my friend about my problems with the show, and we talked about other things instead.
What went wrong in Heroman? Or more exactly, what’s wrong with the show?
For a protagonist, Joey is not even interesting at all. In fact, I wished Psy was the main character of the show, for reasons explained by the image above.
In addition to that, Heroman is slow. For a show that involves an alien invasion plot starting right at episode 2, for a show that involves a sentient giant robot PUNCHING COCKROACHES TO DEATH, it is pretty languid. Episode 3 is the most damning example of this, which consisted entirely of the kids running from school to Joey’s home. The action scenes in the end even seemed like an afterthought.
Then came the balls. They were too damn strong for Heroman to handle. Losing a fight or two opens up roads for character development, but losing this early makes the protagonist look too weak. Heroman seems underleveled in comparison to his opponents.
Actually, this could have been averted. Heroman didn’t need to have a running plot right from the start. BONES could have dropped their aspirations of making an innovative show and focused on making an entertaining show instead. Formula isn’t all bad! Heroman needed less powerful baddies to thrash. For something that’s influenced greatly by western superhero comics, it needs to take more advice from its parents.
Spider-Man had to catch small crooks first before graduating to stronger villains. We could’ve had Joey fighting bank robbers, mad scientists, or even rescue more people from car accidents. Forcing him to fight against the brunt of an alien invasion so soon is, well, like telling Amuro to take a shot at the Big Zam right after obtaining the Gundam.
One needs to give victory to the heroes first, before ramping up the challenge. If you keep on showing kids episodes of Heroman utterly failing to stop gigantic, city-wrecking balls, or Joey looking distraught and saying “HIIROOMAN” in a pouty voice all the time, would you expect them to like Heroman? Who will buy the toys? (I’m sure there will be toys!)
There’s also the question of how long they’re going to fight these aliens. I don’t like speculating, but how are they going to keep up the energy with this kind of pacing? After the aliens, what next? I suppose there will be more kinds of villains to fight, or it would be a boring world indeed for our Stars ‘n Stripes robot.
One solution I could think of, is that BONES takes another problematic show of theirs, combine it with Heroman, and make:
HEIROMAN. With Suou filling in the role of Joey Jones, it would be perfect.
- Landon delves far more into western comic tropes than I have. [->]
- Shin Mazinger had a running plot from the start, but it was densely-packed in comparison. [->]