If you want to talk about inconsistent, these guys take the cake. The Mega Man cartoon shows couldn’t even be consistent with themselves. Sure they sounded great when we first heard about them, especially with the disappointment in the way the Captain N shows drew the blue bomber (the “green bomber” in the Captain N shows...). But what we ended up with fell disappointingly below our expectations.
The Mega Man cartoon shows basically take from their source—the games—the characters’ names and a bit of their appearances...and then toss everything else out the window and rewrite history. The shows contradict almost everything revealed in the games to the point that you have to wonder if the cartoons’ creators have ever even played the games.
Just for fun (here we go again!) I have attempted to sit down and list all of the discrepancies found in the cartoons. This is by no means a complete list—I’m sure I’m missing lots of stuff—but I touch on most of the major things. After that list, I’m compiling a list of “Irritating Aspects” (things that grate on your nerves) and “Stupid Questions” that are so common to the cartoon series as a whole that you could use them to play drinking games (personally I use M&Ms, but that’s besides the point).
Oh, and please make sure you also read the important note at the foot of this page.
The cartoons haven’t clearly identified who exactly they think built Proto Man (one show claims Dr. Wily—another claims Dr. Light) or why he’s called Mega Man’s “older brother.” However, the shows fall victim to many of the most common misconceptions about robots, so maybe this “brother” thing is one of them. After all, Proto Man could logically only be Mega Man’s “brother” if they were both built from the same designs. The plot fails either way. If Wily built him, he could only be Mega Man’s prototype if Wily had stolen the plans. If so, how did Dr. Light get the plans back in order to build Mega Man? For that matter, if Proto Man is Mega Man’s older brother (and hence was built first), how could Wily steal plans for a robot that didn’t yet exist? And if he isn’t
a prototype, why is he called “Proto Man?” Also, according to the show “The Beginning,” Mega Man was built first
(or pretty close to the same time—the two robots were built independently from each other, which brings me back to where I’d started) so why would Proto Man be “older?”
Update: Through the years since I first wrote this, I’ve had a number of people say that Dr. Wily stole the little red and white robot that went berserk in the lab during the flashback—and turned this robot into the final Proto Man. There are a couple of reasons this theory won’t work however. First of all, the body shape and size was completely wrong, so Dr. Wily would have had to have rebuilt Proto Man from scratch—which would make Proto Man a totally new robot anyway, so what’s the point? Even if he transplanted the “brain” itself to the new shell, keep in mind that the original robot was completely dysfunctional. Wily would have had to reprogram him from scratch—which again, would mean Proto Man’s mind would be a totally new mind, not anything even remotely resembling the original. And besides, if I recall, in the flashback cut scene you actually see Wily escaping the lab when he stole Proto Man’s plans. You don’t see him carrying Proto Man. Just a rolled up piece of paper. Even with as small as the berserk robot was, I don’t think Wily could have fit him into his pocket. All of this implies that, one way or another, the final product of Proto Man is still completely separate from the little thing Dr. Light and Dr. Wily built together. So my points above are still valid.
Now that I’ve said all that, I’d like to mention that you gotta give the people who work on the cartoons some credit. As cartoons, they are fine. The animation is decent, the voices are good (or at least appropriate), the music is fine (it’s just the lyrics that need changed), and overall, the cartoons are of a decent quality. The main problems came with the initial character and plot designs. The animators cannot be blamed for the art style, because they must follow the existing character designs. The writers cannot be completely blamed for the plots because they have guidelines to which they must adhere. The voice actors did an admirable job with the (oftentimes corny) lines they were given. So in the end, if you care nothing about consistency, the cartoons, sans their occasional moronic parts, are great.
So, lest you think all I can do is criticize, allow me to go a bit further and mention a few specific things that I think the cartoons can be praised for:
- The voice acting is vastly superior to the English version of Mega Man 8. Okay, that’s a low bar. Let me just say the voice acting is good. So much so that I recorded a lot of the lines because they were delivered so well.
- Mega Man and all the other robots actually move as if they are robots. The animation is smooth without unnecessary exaggerated stretch and squash. There are even nifty metallic sound effects for when they walk and land and such. This can’t be said of Mega Man 8 or any of Capcom’s newer Mega Man games.
- The plots stuck mostly with the characters in the games, at least, and didn’t attempt to add too many unnecessary new characters. New characters are fine, but I find it annoying when major characters in a game are overshadowed by totally new characters in a derived cartoon/comic/whatever. Just look at poor Tails in the new Sonic cartoons...
- Proto Man can use Master Weapons. Though he only does this once, it was a rare example of the cartoons getting a plot device right. The games indicate that he can indeed use Master Weapons, so it was neat to see this in the cartoons. Too bad he doesn’t do so more often.
- Mega Man’s eyebrows are done especially nicely. His mouth is animated well most of the time too. His eyes and nose look funny, but the eyebrows and mouth are cool. Really, I notice these things!
- Proto Man’s visor was drawn/animated quite well in some of the shows, such as the reflections on it in the end of “The Strange Island of Dr. Wily” and the cool flash it makes during one quick scene in “Bro Bots.”
- The show made use of shading. That is, the characters are usually colored with at least one level of shading, instead of just a single flat fill. If you think this is common, check out other cartoons. Perhaps as many as 80% of them don’t even bother to do any shading unless there’s a strong light source. In fact, most Disney movies don’t do much shading.
So the cartoons have good points, too. The only problem is that there are those of us who expected differently, and aren’t happy with what we got. Most people I know watch the shows and cringe. (Personally I spend most of my time either yelling at the TV or rolling on the floor laughing. But that’s not the point.) Point is, despite all this, I still watch all of the shows (and not just to be informed or to bash them, either). In some bizarre way, I even want to see the series continued. Because some part of me is just waiting for the perfect show. One that is as accurate as possible given the past shows. One that will just blow me away with how cool it is. Then I will be satisfied.
Some of the cartoons have come close (such as “The Strange Island of Dr. Wily” and “Bro Bots”) but none has yet to quite hit the mark.
And I am still waiting...