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Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 21, 2013 by  



“Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” is an action-packed, thrilling animated film featuring one of Marvel Comics’ iconic characters, Iron Man plus appearances by a few other well-known names from the Marvel Universe.  The Japanese treatment of the series from Madhouse looks and sounds wonderful on Blu-ray.  If you love Iron Man and love anime, “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 SH DTV Partners. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore

YEAR: 2013

DURATION: 88 minutes total

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio), English, French and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital,  Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Korean, Thai

COMPANY: Marvel/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (For Some Intense Sequences of Violence and Action)

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Directed by Hiroshi Hamazaki

Story by Brandon Auman

Screenplay by Kengo Kaji

Character Design by Masanori Shino

Mechanical Animation Director: Hiroki Mutaguchi

Music by Tetsuya Takahashi

Anime Production: Madhouse Inc.

Featuring the following voice talent:

Keiji Fujiwara/Matthew Mercer as Iron Man/Tony Stark

Tessho Genda/Norman Reedus as Frank Castle/The Punisher

Miyuki Sawashiro/Clare Grant as Black Widow/Natalia Romanova

Hiroki Yasumoto as War Machine/James Rupert “Rhodey” Rhodes

Miyu Irino as Ezikiel Stane

Billionaire Tony Stark, in his Iron Man armor, prevents an attack from a mysterious new foe, but innocent bystanders are killed, including his best friend War Machine, Lt. Colonel James Rhodes. Detained for questioning by S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man escapes, determined to find the mastermind behind the attack. Pursued by Black Widow and Hawkeye, Iron Man enlists the help of the ruthless vigilante The Punisher. But can the Armored Avenger handle what he finds when he catches the person responsible and is forced to face his deadliest weapon, a biotechnology called Technovore that could wipe out all life on the planet?

With the success of the 2010 “Iron Man” anime series featuring a collaboration between Marvel Studios and Japanese animation studio Madhouse Inc.  The two companies collaborated once again for an direct-to-video animated film featuring Iron Man titled “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore”.

Featuring characters from the Marvel Universe such as Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, The Punisher, Hawkeye and S.H.I.E.L.D., the animated film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in April 2013.

“Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” begins with Tony Stark/Iron Man and James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine on a race against each other in their armor.  But immediately out of nowhere, unknown beings in armor begin attacking them.  Are they human?  Are they with a terrorist organization?

But when Tony Stark sees a boy being able to manipulate his armor, it’s high technology which Tony Stark has never seen before.

And as the fight continues, both Tony and Rhodey are separated.  As Rhodey goes to look for Tony, a blast blows up the building that Rhodey was inside of.  And Tony fears that his friend may be dead.

As S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives to interrogate Tony and find out what caused all the destruction, Tony is unsure what caused the problem, but he knows that he saw a kid who has taken over high-technology or alien technology that surpasses his own technology.  But who is the arrogant boy that he confronted?

Needing some answers, Tony knows he must leave S.H.I.E.L.D. but Nick Fury tells Tony Stark that because he is the sole witness to what happened, it’s important they keep him safe. But Tony, refuses to be a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D. and flies out to get some answers.

Angry at Tony for escaping, Nick Fury sends Black Widow and Hawkeye to retrieve Tony Stark, as well as his many soldiers at S.H.I.E.L.D.

But as Tony tries to get some answers of who may be involved…whether it was the terrorist organization A.I.M or someone else, while trying to get information in the Middle East, a well-known individual known as The Punisher is trying to eliminate them.

Needing to find answers quickly, before S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Widow and Hawkeye try to capture him, will the Frank Castle (The Punisher) help Tony Stark? And will he find out how this boy is possessing incredible power and why is he targeting Iron Man?

Find out in “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore”!

VIDEO:

“Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  As one can expect from animation studio Madhouse Inc.  Art backgrounds look fantastic, CG rocks look very good but also the city landscape looks well-detailed.  Animation is well-shaded and the character designs are very awesome.  Colors are vibrant and sharp, I detected no banding issues or artifacts during my viewing of the film.

If anything, you do notice the quality differences from the previous TV series vs. an animated film.  “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” looks great on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” is presented in English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  the film is also presented in Spanish, Portuguese and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital.   First, let me discuss the lossless audio.  As one can expect from a Marvel animated release, each film I have watched, has utilized the surround channels effectively and with this film, a great use of surround channels from Iron Man and War Machine flying, to the various destruction and weapons utilized in the film…the soundtrack is rather active.  Good amount of LFE and for the most part, a solid lossless soundtrack.

Both are well-acted but there are differences in translation between the Japanese and English release.    If anything, the English dubbed version reflects a style that captures how the characters are in the comic book, while the Japanese version is slightly changed in dialogue.  Both work well, it’s just when Frank Castle makes a sarcastic remark to Tony Stark, you expect that sadistic humor from Castle, while in the Japanese version, it’s more subdued and not as violent.

As for subtitles, subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), Korean, Thai/

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” comes with the following special features:

  • Concept Art Gallery – A Blu-ray exclusive, you can view concept art for “Iron Man: Rose of the Technovore”.
  • Tale of Technovore – (8:26) A featurette about Marvel Studios working with Mad House Studios and creating an anime film, the characters featured in the film and more.
  • S.H.I.E.L.D.: Protecting the Marvel Universe – (8:19) A featurette about what S.H.I.E.L.D. is, the characters of Nick Fury, Maria Hill and more.

EXTRAS:

The Blu-ray for “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” comes with an UltraViolet code to allow people to download to their computer and select Apple and Android devices and stream to computers, tablets or smartphones.  Also, the Blu-ray release comes with an embossed slipcover.

As a long time reader of Marvel Comics and an anime fan, “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” is a storyline that appeals to both old school and new school Marvel fans who love the character of Iron Man but also anime fans who appreciate the quality that comes from a major anime studio such as Mad House.

The partnership between both Marvel and Madhouse have been fantastic as I really like how much mature and darker, the anime series have been.

First, the storyline.  The storyline centers around the antagonist known as the Technovore which was first featured in 1993 in “Iron Man” issue #294.  In the original comic book series, Tony Stark was the creator of Technovore, which was intended to be a virus.  The computer program combined with nanobots and would eventually become an antagonist towards Iron Man and also War machine.

In the animated film, Ezekiel Stane (the estranged son of Tony Stark antagonist, Obadiah Stane), has found a way to combine with the Technovore and create a suit that incorporates technology that is far advanced from the technology that Stark Enterprises uses.

After the Technovore levels the city, S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to protect Tony Stark because he is the only witness to who was the cause of the destruction.  Tony being the person who does things his way, flies out to get some answers, while S.H.I.E.L.D. is not too thrilled with Tony Stark escaping.  So, S.H.I.E.L.D. sends the Black Widow and Hawkeye to retrieve Tony Stark.

As Tony tries to find out if the terrorist organization A.I.M. is being used, he eventually has an uneasy alliance with The Punisher.  And the fact that you get quite a few kick butt characters like War Machine, Black Widow and Hawkeye is a major plus.  Also, throw in a storyline that incorporates Pepper (Tony Stark’s assistant and girlfriend) a bit more as well as members of S.H.I.E.L.D. including Nicky Fury, you know that you’re going to get a lot of action and battles.

But as a fan of the characters, it was great to see a fresh storyline but also cool characters including cool character designs.  The fighting is well-animated but Madhouse did a great job for the art backgrounds.  Beautifully painted backgrounds, as well as CG backgrounds, well-shaded characters, great mechanical design…there is a lot of things going on in this series that looks very good and it’s fascinating to see how the Japanese did with the character designs of Black Widow (which are fantastic), The Punisher and also Hawkeye (kind of reminds me of “G.I. Joe” leader Duke), but from the design of Iron Man, War Machine and the other robots and attack planes, I thought everything came together very well and for an animated film, Marvel did a great thing by working with Madhouse!

Voice acting is well-done for both Japanese and English, but as mentioned, if you watch both, you will notice a slight difference in dialogue.  The Japanese is slightly subdued when compared to its more in-your-face dialogue that is featured on the English dub.  But with awesome picture quality, lossless audio is immersive and definitely an active soundtrack which was very cool.  You also get three special features included on the Blu-ray release.

Overall, “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” is an action-packed, thrilling animated film featuring one of Marvel Comics’ iconic characters, Iron Man plus appearances by a few other well-known names from the Marvel Universe.  The Japanese treatment of the series from Madhouse looks and sounds wonderful on Blu-ray.  If you love Iron Man and love anime, “Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore” is definitely recommended!

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