The call out for alien visitors is fully answered as the Skrugg have made first contact. And they've come to kick ass so they can take over the planet.
What They Say
Seeing Heroman's power before his own eyes, Joey wasn't able to hide his happiness or bewilderment. He worries about what he should do with this power and what Heroman really is. Meanwhile, the mysterious life forms called "The Skrugg" have begun their Earth invasion. When Joey hears of it, he runs to tell Prof. Denton who was broadcasting to them of the imminent danger. However, the Skrugg appear there with weapons in hand! And Lina encounters them as well!?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The opening episode of Heroman made me stupidly happy on a couple of fronts. First it gave me more of the fun that Stan Lee brings to all of his projects, including a couple of great cameos where he's waiting on his cup of awesome. I grew up on his writing and his creations so there's an affinity there. The show gave us a fairly standard opening in that we get to know the basics, the locale and how the hero gains his power or friend that he can work with while hinting at numerous other things that will crop up as time goes on. And we got all of it and some action done with beautiful animation. Honestly, I cannot remember another show where the backgrounds felt like it was authentic rather than just a slightly different setting in Japan. Much of this felt like America and that helped to give it a solid flavor outside of the norm.
While we saw the start of the alien invasion in the first episode, I was definitely surprised to see a forthright approach from them as they come to Earth and simply show up. A lot of shows tend to go the other way with a secret war fought against them by the hero, but here they land right in California and everyone thinks they're just doing a new TV show or movie of some sort. The aliens, known as Skrugg, have a good insectoid look to them that's detailed but still fairly simple. I love a good alien invasion and the first three that show up have fun flipping cars, police officers and generally making a problem for everyone with rampant destruction. Their initial mission is pretty straightforward too as they want to find Professor Denton since he foolishly made himself to be the representative of the planet with his broadcasts that managed to reach them.
The realization that he's called down an invading force is priceless, though things are a bit forced when Lina arrives in the area after following Joey. I like Lina a lot but I'm really hoping she avoids the role of the girl who is always screaming or needing to be rescued. Where the show takes an uncertain turn, now that Joey and Heroman engage in their first actual fight, is how the two will work together. If it's Joey controlling him from a distance, that takes him out of the danger but makes him a target. If the device on his arm gives him some abilities, which it seems to when he rescues Lina, it could make them an interesting duo in a fight. Instead, it seems like Joey wants to be right in the thick of things but just doing the controlling aspect which puts everyone in danger. Visually it's fun to watch the two work together, but it's an awkward pairing at best in terms of reality.
The blending of familiar superhero elements with Japanese animation continues to work very well here and this episode builds upon what came in the first while adding some fun new elements. There's a lot that is standard to anime and Western comics here and I'm finding it to be very accessible across the board. There's something simply fun about it while also dealing with a larger storyline that could turn decidedly dark along the way. The characters are appealing, the situations are moving right along at what I find to be a good pace (not everything needs to be rushed!) and I'm loving the animation. So far, Heroman is a show that's making me smile throughout and eagerly looking forward to each new episode.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.