X-Men ’97 Can’t Happen Without Anime

By Jason Collins | Published

x-men '97

X-Men ’97 has become a certified hit following its release this March, and it’s quite obvious that the show incorporates anime influences, adding a ton of emotion and maturity to the action-packed animated series—which is a victory by all counts and one that Marvel desperately needed.

X-Men ’97 Is Exactly What Disney Has Been Hoping For

x-men '97

X-Men ’97 received plenty of praise and enthusiastic reviews ever since its release, pleasing the Marvel fandom worldwide and showing that the hunger for superhero narratives still hasn’t been satiated—while simultaneously proving that Disney’s recipe is a bit stale. Despite that, the series creators, Eli Yonemura and Chase Conley, recently discussed some of their anime inspirations—particularly the ’80s and ’90s anime styles—and how they affected the newly released X-Men ’97.

X-Men: The Animated Series

According to the series creators, plenty of things have been taken from the original show, which is quite evident if you look at the character designs. However, the show isn’t only raw action; it also brings a surprising amount of emotion and maturity that was the hallmark of the ’80s and ’90s anime movies and series storytelling styles. This made the show more appealing to broader audiences, not just the established fandom, and all of that can be attributed to anime, which has grown in popularity over the past two decades.

Ninja Scroll

Both Eli Yonemura and Chase Conley grew up watching old anime, and the duo wanted to incorporate that style into the X-Men ’97 series. When presenting the idea to Larry Huston, the animator of X-Men: The Animated Series, Huston shared that he also drew inspiration from anime of his time, Ninja Scroll. However, Huston’s team faced various production challenges, such as a limited budget, hectic schedules, and animators hailing from different schools and styles, which affected the final products.

Audiences Love X-Men ’97

x-men '97

One of the major factors was the audience reception; the animated series was considered children’s entertainment in the 90s. However, the modern market has shifted thanks to its exposure to anime over time, and the demand has increased since then, making the modern X-Men ’97 series more appealing to all audiences. This includes the original fandom, many of which are now grown-ups, and those who just forayed into the franchise due to interests sparked by the MCU, X-Men, and Deadpool movies, as well as anime content.  

X-Men ’97 Gets Everything It Needs

Fortunately, the new series doesn’t really suffer from budget constraints as the original series did. Marvel Studios Animation’s success with What If…? already proved that investing in animated content pays well, so it’s more than likely that the X-Men ’97 production was backed up by significant financial means. This allowed animators to mix and match the animation style of the original with the storytelling methods of the Japanese anime movies and series of the ’80s and ’90s to create something as great as X-Men ’97.

More Animated Marvel Content

And the trend is likely to continue. X-Men ’97 proved that there’s a massive interest in animated content, and Marvel Animation has already announced other animated projects such as Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and Eyes of Wakanda, both of which are scheduled for release this year. It’s becoming quite obvious that Marvel is planning a cohesive, expansive universe that mirrors the interconnected nature of the MCU—hopefully with the same attention to detail.

Source: ComicBook

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