Anime Review: Heroman Episode 2

(Originally posted to Livejournal on 4/25/10)

Anime Review Second Look:
Heroman Episode 2

What This Is All About: I am currently in the middle of the process of taking a quick look at the first episode of each and every fansubbed anime series of the Spring 2010 season. So far, several shows have already received a “passing grade” based on the first episode; now it’s time to revisit some of those shows for a closer look at the second episode. Will it pass the muster the second time around?

Synopsis: Joey Jones is living the life of a normal kid in southern California. Orphaned and living with his grandmother, he’s poor but manages to get by with a part-time job that is frequented (apparently) by Stan Lee. Joey manages to get his hands on a broken, discarded remote control robot (the latest fad), and puts it back together. That night, a mysterious lightning bolt strikes him and the robot, which turns it into the massive Heroman. Joey, who guides Heroman with a wrist controller, then rescues Lina (the cute cheerleader girl who has a crush on him) from a fiery car crash.

In this episode of Ben 10…er, I mean, Heroman, Joey is perplexed on just what to do next. He suddenly finds himself as the master of a super-strong, super-powered robot — it seems almost like a dream. Conflicted, he seeks advice from his skateboarding friend (who I’ll call Weird-Afro-Man), but doesn’t know what to do. As if on cue, three insectoid aliens (called the Skrugg) land in the center of the city and cause all sorts of havoc. The Skrugg are searching for the person who sent out an intergalactic “Hello” signal – a scientist who just happens to be friends with Joey (wow, what an amazing coincidence, eh?).

Joey and Weird-Afro-Man run down to the scientist’s lab as the Skrugg arrive. Mr. Scientist is all gleeful, until the aliens explain they are not here to greet him, but to destroy the planet and to capture him as a “sample”. Joey whacks the big Staples Easy Button and summons Heroman to bring a big ol’ can of whupass down on the aliens, through the magic of…uh…punching them really hard. Inexplicably Lina also shows up, aliens say “Hey, let’s grab her, too!” for no particular reason, and Joey has to play the hero and save her. Hooray, the Earth is safe…but, for how long?

The Skinny: Ehhh…as deftly the first episode managed to quickly lay out the whole by-the-numbers “Marvel superhero origins” bit, this episode seems to fall flat. I know that this show is really aimed at the pre-teen boy market, and this episode painfully brings that into focus. It’s written about as well as your average Marvel superhero rag (yes, I intend that as an insult, you Marvel zombies out there), layering stupid on top of stupid. And without even a *hint* of originality, either – there’s nothing new here, not that I was expecting much, but even the slightest twist would be welcome. I can see this series appealing very much to all those eight-year-olds out there, rushing home from elementary school to catch the afternoon cartoons (just like I did when I was a little kid), but that’s about it. Sure, Lina the Cheerleader is absolutely as cute as a button (I hesitate to search for images online for her, I’m sure there’s all sorts of *ahem* fan-art already there), but cute anime girls are a dime-a-dozen; it takes more than cute character designs to carry a show.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Heroman is a terrible show. It is what it is: A giant-robot superhero fantasy for little boys, and doesn’t pretend to be more. Okay, that’s fine, I’ll let the little kiddies get all excited over it, and move on.

The Verdict: – Sorry, Stan. You’re not the Anime Man.

My original ‘Anime Review in a Minute’ of the first episode:
Otaku Revolution Review:
Heroman at Crunchyroll:

Second episodes that have already passed muster: Working!!, Angel Beats, Kaichou wa Maid-sama
Up next for a second look: Arakawa Under the Bridge, Giant Killing

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