Mega Man is a Japanese-American animated television series co-produced by Ruby-Spears Productions and Ashi Productions. It is based on the video game series of the same name by Capcom. The TV series began on September 11, 1994 and ended on January 19, 1996. Two seasons were produced with a third season planned, but the show was cancelled due to budget constraints.
Dr. Light and Dr. Wily were brilliant scientists in the field of robotics, who worked together in a laboratory trying to advance the science. One day, they finished an extremely advanced prototype, but shortly after being activated, it started destroying the laboratory. Dr. Light immediately believed that the prototype's guidance system, which Dr. Wily had personally programmed, was the source of the problem and concluded they would start over again. Angered, Dr. Wily attempted to steal the plans later that night, but Dr. Light catches him. Wily is able to steal the plans after knocking Dr. Light down, and goes off to what is apparently an abandoned area, and modifies the old robot prototype into Proto Man.
Later, Dr. Light builds Rock and Roll, advanced robots with personalities, along with Ice Man, Guts Man, and Cut Man. Dr. Wily and Proto Man go and steal the robots, reprogramming the latter three robots as henchmen. Dr. Wily attempts to reprogram Rock and Roll at his lab later, but Rock decides to trick Dr. Wily. He tells Dr. Wily that Dr. Light also built "super warrior robots", and that if Rock and Roll are let go, he'll tell him how to defeat the robots. Rock uses this lie (Dr. Wily believing robots can't lie) to cause a distraction and escape with Roll. Dr. Light decides to reprogram and reoutfit Rock into Mega Man, who from then on keeps the world safe. This tale is told in Episode 1, "The Beginning".
Throughout the episodes, Mega Man thwarts Wily's various schemes, in a similar fashion to that of the Super Friends, usually ending with Rush acting in a similar vein to Scooby-Doo.
Why It Rocks
- Memorable theme song.
- The animation varies from decent to great.
- Unlike a majority of poorly made and cheap video game cartoons that just exist to cash in on the game's success, this one is actually more faithful to the games and includes several references & nods to them as well, which is a nice feature as it helps the show stand out from many other video game cartoons that came out around the 90s while also being a good recreation of the games.
- Roll is more helpful and heroic here, as she travels alongside Mega Man and even fights Robot Masters at times.
- The plasma shots are done very well, usually adding shading if there isn't any already.
- Awesome voice acting. Especially Scott Mcneil's performance as Dr. Wily, much to the point that it's hard not to love how cheesy it is because you can tell he had a blast with the role.
- It is probably one of the most quotable cartoons of the 90s. Examples of this include "I'm as good or better than you, Proto Man!"
- Its silliest moments have spawned tons of memes. Such that includes Mega Man's derpy expression for example.
- If it wasn't for this show, Top Man would only have been known as an easy boss with a ridiculous weapon to many fans.
- In 1995, it had an amazing crossover episode with Mega Man X named "Mega X". Even Vile and Spark Mandrill made appearances!
- The characters are still as likable and lovable here as they were in the games, such as Rock (who is a more badass characterization of the original characters but still has the friendly vibe the character had), Roll (who is more like her brother in this series than she is in the games, as instead of being a house assistant, she is a Super Fighting Robot just like her brother.) and Dr Albert Wily (who is still a rather diabolical but very charming villain and is also more energetic than his game counterpart).
- Some of the Robot Masters are seen as sinister and badass, such as Pharoah Man (who probably has one of the best introductions out of any of them in the show to date with his wispery appearance and dark voice) and Spark Mandrill (despite being a Maverick and not a Robot Master though) who is seen with Vile entering Mega Man's world from a portal in Wily's fortress.
- Aside from the aforementioned theme song, the rest of the music is very good and well composed, as some of the tracks feature good guitar samples, great production value and fantastic electronical beats. Some of it even changes to fit with the environment that the series would take place in where the scene of an episode is currently at.
- Depending on your point of view, you might find the character redesigns upsetting.
- Most of the Robot Masters only make an appearance in one episode and are never seen or mentioned ever again. These guys stand out in particular:
- Crash Man is only shown destroying a skyscraper in "Mega-Pinocchio" and is the only one of Wily's robots that featured in the show and didn't fight Mega Man.
- Gemini Man in his one appearance is taken down so quickly that he fails to use his powers or really contribute to the episode as a whole.
- Pharaoh Man, who has incredible capabilities compared to the other Robot Masters, only appears near the end of "Electric Nightmare", and could have served as a recurring, challenging enemy (alongside Proto Man). Crystal Man was also similarly competent, but at least he was featured in the entirety of his episode.
- Napalm Man, who only appeared for a brief second in the intro and never in an episode proper.
- In fact, none of the robot masters from 6 ever make an appearance in this series at all despite the sixth game already being out at that time, with the same even being said for the Robot Masters from 7 not appearing in Season 2 and could've had the potential to appear in the show if it wasn't cancelled due to poor toy sales.
- The title of the first episode, "The Beginning", is very generic and uncreative.
- While miles better than anything that Captain N attempted, Mega Man's design is somewhat inaccurate, as he looks more like a bodybuilder in his early 20s than a 10-year-old.
- Curse of the Lion Men is by far the worst episode of the series due to it's nonsensical concept and overall being pretty boring to watch as a whole.
At one time, Mega Man was placed as the number one weekly syndicated children's show in the Nielsen ratings.
- In the 1993 promotional video, the announcer mistakenly refers to Elec Man as Bright Man.
- A majority of the voice actors from the series also did regular work on Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Some specific ones include:
- Ian James Corlett - Coconuts
- Jim Byrnes - Coachnik
- Kathleen Barr - Katella
- Scott McNeil - MacHopper
- Terry Klassen - Dr. Quark
- Garry Chalk - Grounder and Captain Rescue (Dr. Robotnik in Sonic Underground)
- Jay Brazeau - Spelunk
- The Emerald Spears group in Archie Comics' Mega Man series is an allusion to Ruby Spears, the creators of the cartoon. The series also featured characters from this cartoon in its Short Circuits humor comics, notably having several of them appear in Mega Man #55.
- One of the reasons for the show's cancellation is that Bandai had cut several toy lines because they were not meeting sales expectations and had supposedly been putting merchandising pressure on Capcom. There were more toys that were in production that were also scrapped as a result.
- Dr. Wily was originally going to have a British accent, and Proto Man was to have been voiced by Ian James Corlett, Mega Man's voice actor, after Kaj-Erik Erikson was fired. Wily's design was also more faithful to the games, as was Proto Man's, but Bass and a third season were a rumor and the show was complete at 27 episodes.