- Anime: Megaman NT Warrior (Season 1 & 2)
- Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction
- Age Rating: Good for All
- Studio: Xebec
- Music: Gordon McGhie
- Author: Ken'ichi Araki
- Dub/Sub: Dubbed
- Ecchi Level: Non-Existent
- Triggers: N/A
I watched some of it when I was younger, and I got a Megaman.exe bug after playing the Battle Network games again. So, I decided to watch this all the way through and see how it faired with my much more critical mind. Aaaaand, as with most cartoons catered towards kids, I was highly disappointed.
To be clear, I haven’t watched the Axess series. I just watched the first two seasons of the regular series, so this will not be a judgement of Axess at all.
So, let’s start off with the good. The music was pretty awesome. And the animation was amazing and fit well with the theme of the series. From net navies logging out, to virus busting, the mix of anime style animation with the 3D graphics added for that “internet look” fit really well. And lastly, the voice acting for the English version was on point. I also have to give a gold medal to Andrew Francis for his portrayal of Megaman.exe. He was easily the best thing about this entire series.
Unfortunately, that’s where most of the good ends. While the animation and the voice acting stay consistent throughout the entire series. It doesn’t cover up the worst parts of the show. The most disappointing part of the series is that they took no notes from other Saturday morning shows like Yu-Gi-Oh! Like the lovable and ridiculous card game show, this one relies on opponents facing off against each other with their net navies. But, I’ll get to that in a bit. For now, let’s just go over the ridiculous story.
Lan, the lazy, always hungry, and constantly love oblivious protagonist of the series is a young boy still going to school. When the series starts off, Lan is at the bottom of the net battling ladder. Net navis are avatars that people can use to interact with the internet world. And he doesn’t have a personalized navi yet. Conveniently, his dad happens to work for the biggest corporation in the country. It’s never explicitly explained what this corporation does, but it’s there. Anyway, his dad sends him a personalized navi named Megaman.exe.
With his new rocking net navi, he suddenly becomes a master strategist of net battles! Aaaand... By that I mean he just uses the same battle chips over and over in every battle and ends up winning because Megaman is overpowered as hell. And that’s where the lack of awareness of other shows comes in. Yu-Gi-Oh!, while absurd in its own lovable way, had card games that left you hanging at the edge of your seats. You wondered exactly how Yugi and the crew were going to get out of the seemingly doomed children’s card games.
There was none of this tension in this show. The Battle Network games gave you hundreds of chip combos to use for tons of varied fighting styles that made the games incredibly diverse and action packed. They used almost none of them in the show. All of the battles Megaman entered could be summed up as “Megaman uses some kind of sword chip and slashes through the enemy.” And the side characters like Roll.exe and Gutsman.exe were even worse. All of the side navis basically had one navi specific chip that they used, and if that didn’t work, they failed.
There would occasionally be a random chip thrown in to try and appear diverse, but it failed miserably. This series was a good chance to have another show where the battlers used strategy and cunning tactics to win battles against stronger opponents. But no, it’s a carbon copy from one battle to another. This only changes about halfway through the series when Megaman discovers the Program Advance, which is a chip combo that creates a super powerful attack for a limited time. But, as is typical with this show, they only used one program advance. Out of the 36 different PAs in Battle Network, they only used one for this entire show. To say that was disappointing is an understatement.
As you can imagine, this wipes out any tension from the series. In season one, there was maybe a single instance where I was drawn into the fighting, and it was the culmination of the entire season. The rest were easily forgettable, and were the biggest disappointment, as they were the focus the entire time.
To give them credit, in season two, they did add the Style Change function, where Megaman changes his elemental power. And this could have been really cool, but again, they blew it by not using them strategically at all. No Megaman using Wood Shield style to protect and counter against electric type navis. No dowsing enemy fire viruses with Aqua Custom style. Just a bunch of random transformations that only exist to make Megaman stronger. It was a huge disservice to the series where the main character copied the styles of others like himself. No Roll style, no Iceman style, no nothing.
Speaking of other characters, they practically did nothing at all. There was amazing potential here for them to participate in battles throughout the series. But they did nothing at all. Megaman was really the only one to do much of anything in this show. On occasion, it will show them doing something by firing at enemies and busting small viruses. But there’s no sense of battle either. The PET (Personal Terminal) Operator would give the people the same chips to use very duel.
The story itself was pretty lazy. World 3, the undernet organization responsible for acts of terrorism throughout the series, is basically just another Team Rocket. Three bumbling idiots who inevitably lose to Lan and Megaman end up being troublemakers who pester the main cast throughout the series. Despite Doctor Wily’s apparent evil intentions, World 3 has no clear goal until it reaches near the end of season one.
And season two flaunts this hidden organization named Grave that Lan keeps foiling. But again, there’s no clear goal until near the end. And speaking of the end, the entire arc of Grave was entirely different from the game. While the game’s story wasn’t very good either, it was still leagues above what they put into the show. There was little to no mystery or intrigue in the show at all. I really wish more effort was put into the battle and story of this show. It had amazing potential that was squandered by poor execution.
The reveal of Net City in the series was a huge reveal that was supposed to be magical... I guess. But it was ham-fisted and handle poorly by bad writing. Like, battle chips are banned in the city, but they don’t make it clear how that works. Can navis not use them at all? Or can they use them, but get penalties from authorities? It’s not really clear, and leads to a lot of confusion later when Megaman is trying to protect the city, but is constantly reminded not to use battle chips by other members of the party. They could have easily used this as a neat plot point to lure the big baddie into the arena so that he could rock their world with sweet chip combos, but no. Just another forced attempt at injecting tension into the series.
I loved the characters (aside from the cartoonishly bad net agents), the voice actors, and the concept of the entire show. But it was a serious letdown. Where other series’ like DBZ and Yu-Gi-Oh! had tension, strategy, and amazingly orchestrated battles, this was just a bland time waster. The comedy and character interactions were fine, but nothing in the show made up for its downfalls. And as a super Megaman fan, that hurt bad.
- TLDR: If you can ignore the crappy story and lame battles, the animation and voice acting can be entertaining. I wasn’t put off by the show, just disappointed by the wasted potential of the series. The characters are all fun and enjoyable, though the fact that Megaman and Protoman were the only navies who could apparently battle was annoying. It’s good if you go in with low expectations, and can be entertaining if you don’t require much from an anime. If you require more, I would pass on this one.
- Animation: 10/10
- Music: 9/10
- Story: 3/10
- Comedy: 5/10
- Overall Rating: 5/10
- SPOILER TALK: This series really hurt me. The potential was entirely squandered so they could just make another Saturday morning substitute babysitter. The only thing that this show is good for is portraying the amazing work of the voice actors and keeping children busy so their parents can have a break. And that hurts to say considering Megaman was one of my favorite game characters as a child. This show could have been top tier entertainment, but it was wasted.
Honestly, there’s really no spoilers here that I need to talk about. Maybe I should bitch about the fact that they completely ditched the entire plot of Grave (Gospel) from the game and went with their own Wily centric plot line. But it sucked anyway, and it would have been much better to go with the Sean story rather than making Wily the head of Grave at the end. And honestly, there should have been much more cooperation between the W3 grunts and the main cast. Seeing Elecman fighting alongside Megaman to battle off Grave would have been awesome. But honestly, there was little to no cohesion here between two navis battling together. It was always, “Megaman uses this sword on one virus, then Gutsman uses Gutshammer on this virus.” No team attacks, no nothing.
And lastly, the side characters like Roll and Gutsman were horribly underused. Anytime Gutsman was in a battle, he used his hammer or tried punching someone, and that was it. No fist launching chips, no cannons, no nothing.
Roll had kind of a unique move where she can turn viruses against each other. But she barely ever uses this. In a few episodes, she used some other chips that were given to her by Yai. But I’d venture to guess that none of the operators in the show ever used more than five different chips. It was highly underwhelming to watch the battles. AND... There was an episode (maybe two), where Roll gets taken control of by Jack Zapp from W3. And somehow, this operator swap/mind control turns her from a navi who barely does anything into a psychotic, unbeatable queen of hell. Who knows, maybe Maylu is the reason why Roll is so impotent in the series. I don’t really understand why they didn’t do more with the characters they had, but what do I know.
- BEST GIRL: Roll. She’s adorable, and never got her time to shine. Despite her being horribly underused, she was always charming as a character and only ever showed attitude after Megaman acted like a jackass. She deserves all the best, and deserves a lot more spotlight than they gave her.
- BEST BRO: Chaud Blaze. Despite being an arrogant asshat towards the main group most of the time, he shows his true colors as a caring protector when needed. He cared for Megaman, he cared for Yae, and he stepped up and sacrificed when he was needed. Out of all the guys in the series, he was the coolest, and should be the real role model for kids as far as responsibility. This also may have something to do with the fact that Chaud instantly mastered the program advance, rather than spending half a fucking season doing the same thing over and over again like Lan did.