Home > Check-out Station > Check-out Station: Heroman (there’s plenty of time for average, later)

Check-out Station: Heroman (there’s plenty of time for average, later)

There’s potential, and then there’s reality.  There are the hopes for Heroman, and then there’s what Heroman really turned out to be.  Seeing as this show was a mecha from Studio Bones, you have to forgive me for having high hopes.  With shows like RahXephon and Eureka 7 under their belt, and my desperate need for a new mecha to satiate my desires I stuck around with Heroman, hoping for some great moment that would make this series memorable.  I like to compare my anime to women and relationships with them (this isn’t the best habit, I admit).  To say that I was sticking with the homely girl so I could have something secure and get some regular loving when I wasn’t sure where else I could get it would be accurate.  Heroman was me sticking with the mediocre because that was all I had.

The show wasn’t all bad mind you.  The beginning left me with lots of hope, as I and many others had compared it to a Gainax production.  That in and of itself was probably where the problem started.  Comparing it to TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN or Diebuster just exposes how tame Heroman really is.

Through its production, I figured out that Heroman had two things going for it; production values and potential.  And three quarters of the way through the story I realized that I couldn’t count potential any longer.   The show wasn’t going to magically change it’s style or goals.  It wasn’t magically going to get more interesting.

When it comes to animation, BONES put it’s full weight behind this.  Heroman is WELL animated.  The basic, nagging production value problems that have plagued anime since it’s birth are non existent in this series.  The character designs are consistent, beautiful and detailed.  I won’t say it’s near movie quality like a Madhouse production, but it’s definitely worth seeing this series in 720p.  There is some recycled animation, but given that this is basically a mecha series, that is to be expected.  Dare I say it may even be required for that genre.  It’s amazing how fluid and lively the action scenes remained through the whole show.  It says something when you can brag about consistency and quality in a show.  It’s so easy to cut corners nowadays with studios worrying about budgets and outsourcing their animation at times.  I’m glad to see that BONES impressed in this regard.

The music for the show was anything but memorable, but it was quality work.  Nothing really annoyed me, which is a feat.  I tend to always find at least one song or insert that I despise.  I did hear some action theme music that I took a shine to, but other than that it was an average soundtrack.

As for what I didn’t like about the series, the top of my list was pacing.  Sure the plot was somewhat boring or even standard by some measures.  There weren’t really any big surprises.  But I can become interested in something if it moves at a brisk enough pace.  Boring is temporary, but someone not paying attention can easily make it feel like an eternity if they’re not aware they’re being that way.  That’s Heroman‘s problem.  Too often the show followed a formula, as if it had a boss that was telling it that it had to be made of 85 to 90 percent plot with middling progress and the rest would have to be squeezed into the beginning and ends of epiodes.  This drove me nuts!  I’ll accept some staring and standing around from a shounen action series.  When it comes to mecha, we have enough launching and transforming sequences to waste time as it is.  I tolerated it at first.  But when I started to see a pattern and it didn’t get any less prevalent, I started to get frustrated.  There were exceptions mind you.  And they usually came at the end of arcs.  The fight with Kogorr at the end of the first arc gave everyone watching good moments; such as Joey using his Flash-like speed to its potential in the battle.  There was also the rather epic battle at the damn between Heroman and Dr. Minami’s own robot.  They both were rather spectacular.  The final battle had that potential as well, but it devolved into a battle with Kogorr and the tired technique of using tentacles as a threat to anything.  Next time anyone wants to use tentacles for their monsters in a story, they should go ahead and immediately change that story to a hentai.  Just get it out of my sight, please.  As a side note, Minami’s design came dangerously close to that of the old Asian stereotypes from the post World War II era.  I’m just saying.

Another gripe was that I didn’t find the characters particularly lovable or memorable.  They ranged from terribly annoying and borderline nonsensical, like Will, to incredibly bland and nearly forgettable like… almost everyone else.  The Professor was a bit of a nutjob, but he was incredibly helpful.  I couldn’t understand why everyone gave him so much grief.  Psy was somewhat cool, but not a terribly great of a character.  Joey was too much of a girl for me to stand through most of the series.  I think the only character I actually liked was Hughes.  But who doesn’t love an awesome big brother type character like him?

I think everything basically boils down to these elements making Heroman a somewhat boring and average show.  Without a great character to latch onto, or anything resembling a compelling plot, the series just felt like it was taking up space in my queue from week to week.  So while there’s nothing overtly terrible about the series, there are way too many good legacy mecha series out there for this to be anyone’s first, second or third choice.  So if you meet the Heroman out in the street, tell her you want to remain friends.  Stream her, watch her casually without commitment and don’t think you have to marathon her.  Then go out date something hotter and more compelling like Giant Robo, Gunbuster or Eureka 7.  There will be plenty of time for “average” later.

Further Reading:

Find all my posts on Heroman here: http://www.mobypicture.com/group/heroman

This post brings up an interesting discussion on how Heroman could have been more successful.

I suppose I didn’t make much mention of the heroine for this show, Lina Davis.  I suppose there’s a good reason for that.

I think Will (while definitely not one of my fave characters from this show) got the shaft during the latter part of this show.  Someone else agrees.

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