X-Men Episode 12: Friendship is Indeed Magic

At last, Madhouse has found something it's good at: Creating perfect romance novel covers. Coming soon to a Barnes and Noble near you: "The Powerful Mutant Warrior and His Coy Teen Mistress," brought to you by Harlequin Books and Superhero Anime Partners.

Summary: As usual, the X-Men are incredibly slow on the uptake figuring out what’s going on in terms of the foe they’re fighting- guys, reality warping power means your reality will be warped. As I predicted (not that it was much of a feat), Hisako saves the world through the power of friendship, Jean’s conveniently omnipotent, and Takeo’s last wish is to make sure that his psychopath of a mother doesn’t get what’s coming to her. On the plus side, Hisako totally feels up Cyclops, making it a pretty good day to be Hisako.

Color-Coded for Your Confusion

Hi Takeo, why are you having so much trouble with your powers? Mine do whatever the hell I tell them to do.

After taking data for twelve weeks, I have compiled this guide to what the color of Hisako’s armor indicates; please note that while I still feel the data is insufficient, this is the most comprehensive study of its kind:

Red Armor: Offensive Hisako; possibly enraged

Blue Armor: Defensive Hisako; she will get between you and the pointy stuff

Gold Armor: Magic Plot Fairy Hisako; she will solve all your problems with a smile

Now, you and I may have thought that Hisako’s power was to generate some kind of translucent physical armor that protects her from physical harm and gives her proportionate mass and strength. You and I were wrong; Hisako’s power does whatever Hisako’s power feels like doing, including getting between the world’s two most powerful telepaths and telling them to stop fighting with their brains.

I don’t even necessarily have a problem with Hisako developing a new application of her power at the eleventh hour, as cliche as it is- she’s young, and it’s not like she really knows what she’s capable of yet anyway. The problem is it’s really unclear what she actually did. Did she somehow use her armor to enter the mental realm of Xavier and Takeo? Is her armor actually psychic in nature, meaning it works on the Astral Plane as well? Or did she just stand there radiating her love of Takeo, which was enough to drag him back to a semblance of sanity? Did she in fact do anything, other than shine a pretty golden color?

Speaking of Hisako, have you noticed that while this episode started to hint at romance between Emma and Cyclops, all of the actual sexual tension in this series has been between Cyke and Hisako? I think in theory, the Cyclops/Hisako relationship was supposed to be mentor drama, and the Cyclops/Emma relationship was supposed to be romantic drama, but if anything it came across as the opposite.

Sure, you could say I’m reading too much into Cyclops and Hisako’s relatively few interactions- maybe so. But hey, did you happen to notice who Cyclops ends up sleeping next to during the X-Men’s brief visit to la-la land?

Is it a coincidence? IS IT?

Half-Naked Cyclops: Madhouse, ALL IS FORGIVEN

Seriously, what was up with the Cyclops fanservice in this episode? It’s like the animators knew they were torturing me with the incredibly blatant sexism on this show, so they decided to swing the barometer the other way for the finale and have Cyclops be the only one to take suspicious clothing damage. Now, he may not be my favorite character- in fact, I pretty much hate him, especially in this incarnation- but I never said he wasn’t a fine specimen of animated manhood, at least on the surface.

Seriously, the Shirtless-Scott camera angles in this episode were so gratuitous, for a minute there I thought I was watching True Blood, except, none of the women on this show are dumb enough to hold a candle to Sookie Stackhouse- seriously, not even Storm. Anyway.

So from this episode, we learn that there are no heinous crimes of dialogue or characterization that I cannot forgive for the sake of an incredibly well-chiseled male torso. Or so I thought, until Cyclops said this:

He's just figuring this out now. Twelve episodes and over a year after Jean sacrificed herself.

You know what, Cyclops? Fuck you. I don’t need you and your ridiculously firm pecs. You are far too dumb to be allowed to even draw another breath, and even that body is not enough to make up for it. Begone from my sight.

Xavier and Yui: Together or Something

It was really frustrating that Xavier never confronted Yui about the ridiculous mess she made of this whole situation- I mean, I kind of expected it, because it’s X-Men, but it was still irritating. At one point Xavier even says something to the effect of “I’ve devoted my life to raising mutant children, only I couldn’t do anything for my own son…”, without acknowledging the fact that this whole turn of events was Yui’s fault.

To be charitable, I guess we can assume that Xavier is trying to honor Takeo’s last wish by being nice to Yui, even though he must know that she’s a terrible lying liar who lies. Once the effect of Takeo’s magic pixie dust starts to fade though, I can only imagine that’s going to get awkward. “Hey, Yui? Thanks for not telling me I had a son for like two decades, and totally mismanaging the situation to the point where he had to commit suicide, and only calling me at the absolute last minute, when all I could do was watch him die painfully. You’re a very special girlfriend.”

This episode included cameos from Colossus, Nightcrawler, Captain Britain (really?), Iron Man...and the ugliest version of Rogue I've ever seen.

Final Thoughts:

Gotta say, those shots we got of Chibi Hisako and Chibi Takeo were pretty adorable- if only this show was about them hanging around in mutant school for a while. It would be just like Hanamaru Kindergarten, only with world-destroying powers.

Well, it’s over; at last, I am free. FREE!

This show was extraordinarily tedious, predictable, and worst of all, presented beloved characters as barely recognizable bastardizations of themselves. Now I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this series, but I think I only enjoyed it because every episode presented the challenge of finding yet another way to mock it- if I wasn’t writing about it, I think I would have given up on it early on.

It may seem as though I just wasted a lot of time blogging this inferior show (actually I think it’s safe to assume that I did), but at the very least, it’s indicative of many of the worrisome trends in anime lately: careless plotting, anvilicious dialogue, sexism that goes beyond the level that can be safely ignored in the spirit of “durr it’s just a TV show,” and a casual disregard, if not outright contempt, for the source material. Maybe years from now, they will study X-Men as the most triumphant example of an industry in decline.

Or maybe we’ll all just forget this ever happened, and hope there’s at least one show for the Summer 2011 season that isn’t about boobs or under-aged girls in skirts doing more of nothing than the characters in a Samuel Beckett play; hey, it could happen.

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