Anime: Viewtiful Joe Preview
Joe is an ordinary guy. He’s obsessed with giant robots and superheroes and such, prefers action figures over talking about his feelings, and spews endless streams of supercool catchphrases. If you’re reading this, you either ARE Joe or you know someone much like him. Joe starred in the Viewtiful Joe games and, if you’re up early on Saturday mornings, you might’ve caught the anime version, wherein the slang-spouting hero battles baddies for truth, justice, and to make up for his girlfriend Silvia’s abduction by said bad guys. She’s kind of cranky about that, as you might imagine.
The first episode introduces us to Joe and sets up the premise: kinda geeky dude obsessed with Captain Blue while his girlfriend sighs and kind of tolerates him. Things go terribly wrong, though, when the movie comes to life and grabs Silvia, dragging her into the film. Soon, he’s dragged in, too, and tasked with battling evil and saving his girlfriend in a cool red outfit…though he still has to think of a name for his superhero self.
Joe sets off in pursuit of the bad guy who made off with his girlfriend, despite the lack of Slushee machines in the desert. Joe catches up with the bad guy and, of course, a cliché-filled fight ensues, but it’s the kind of cliché-filled fight where they all know it’s cliché and they crack wise about it. A posedown takes a turn for the bad, though, and Joe finds the whole being a hero routine isn’t quite as easy as it looks
Viewtiful Joe isn’t, say, artsy groundbreaking anime that leaves you deeply moved as a person. It is a lot of fun, though, with plenty of action and quirks that keep you watching. Even the occasionally-irritating Joe will fire off a good wisecrack every now and than, and the barrage of slang soon becomes so much background noise. The art style is exceptionally good, capturing the look of the games and then going from there. It’s definitely different from, well, anything I’ve ever seen. The writing is pretty good, too, as bad guys grumble and complain and come to life, rather than just being easily-beaten antagonists for our hero. Or maybe I just have a weak spot for guys in top hats with obscure accents flailing around with swords. It’s not *art* by any means, but Viewtiful Joe looks like it’s going to be pretty cool if you’re looking for something filled with action and fun.