Mega Man (TV series)
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Mega Man title card with Mega Man and Rush.
|Written by||Erica Yano|
|Directed by||Hiroyuki Yokoyama
|Voices of||Ian James Corlett
|Country of origin||Japan
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||27|
|Running time||22 minutes|
The Summit Media Group
|Distributor||ADV Films (former)
Discotek Media (2013–present)
|Original channel||first-run syndication|
|Original run||September 11, 1994– December 10, 1995|
Mega Man is a Japanese-American animated television series multi-produced by Capcom Productions, Ruby-Spears Productions, Ashi Productions, and Ocean Productions and is based on the game series of the same name. The TV series began on September 11, 1994 and ended on December 10, 1995 and was aired on many syndicated stations at the time. 2 seasons were produced with a third season planned, but the show was cancelled despite respectably high ratings 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".
Mega Man starred in a Saturday-morning style cartoon that premiered in 1994. Ruby-Spears, one of the producers of the show, redesigned the characters from the Mega Man video games to varying degrees. At the time the show was undergoing its early development, anime had not yet achieved a "mainstream" acceptance, plus the producers felt the look skewed too young for the retro-80's-style action-adventure cartoon they had in mind. The final look of the characters was among many different interpretations proposed and was the most well received by test audiences (it is worth noting that characters who appeared for the first time in season two were considerably more faithful to the original models, only given slightly different proportions and the occasional nose). The series was targeted towards the late preteen boy audience, though Roll's expanded and much more active role in the series was calculated to try and draw in more girl viewers as well (producer Joe Ruby joked "Also, it showed we're not male chauvinistic pigs as our wives think"). X, along with Vile, Spark Mandrill, and "Cigma" (Sigma) made a guest appearance late in the second season, and was planned to make more appearances in later shows, with the potential for his own spinoff cartoon as well.
Despite consistent high ratings and being a series producers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears really enjoyed working on, the show was cancelled after 2 seasons. The decision to end the cartoon was handed down from Capcom, most likely due to merchandising pressures from toy-partner Bandai, which cut several other popular toy lines at the time short due to not meeting sales expectations (including The Tick, Sailor Moon, and Dragon Ball).. The show's animation director Kenichiro Watanabe went on to direct Power Stone, based on another Capcom franchise.
Promotional Show and Change in Design
Before the show's premiere a short animated promo was released which utilized a graphic-style more similar to the graphic design of the games. When the show was being produced, the designs of characters were changed, most likely to better appeal to American audiences. Most characters gained more masculine or realistic looks, and usually somewhat different appearances in powers. Mega Man was given an edgier and more realistic look compared to his original anime design. Also, Mega Man's persona changed from boyish into a teen with an attitude. Roll, instead of wearing a dress, wears a red and yellow jumpsuit. Roll comes equipped with a vacuum blaster device on her left arm, unlike the games where she is just a civilian robot.
The design also changed as Mega Man and Proto Man became taller and more muscular. Proto Man and Mega Man sometimes use their fists or wrestle instead of using their in game abilities, although they retain them to the fullest extent.
Mega Man and Roll were changed from children to teenagers and Eddie was changed from red to green. In the TV series, Proto Man was a villain who served Dr. Wily instead of a loner hero from the games, as the character who plays this role in the games, Bass, had not been created. In the games, Mega Man gains a Robot Master's ability after destroying the Robot Master, but in the series, Mega Man just has to touch the Robot Master, although their power is not his to keep-he can use it only a certain number of times and it does not carry over between episodes.
The entire series was released on 2 DVD sets by ADV Films in 2003. Both sets are now out-of-print. In 2009, ADV Films re-released the 1st half of the series, but was shut down in 2009. Discotek Media will release the entire series in early 2014.
- Mega Man (voiced by Ian James Corlett) – Mirroring his origins in the video games, Mega Man was originally an assistant robot built by Dr. Light and called Rock. He originally donned a blue T-shirt and shorts but also wore his typical robot boots. After Wily reprograms Light's first industrial robots (the Mega Man robot masters) he captures Rock and Roll to make them his servants too. Rock tricks Wily into freeing them as he can't conceive of a robot being able to lie. Rock is then rebuilt into a fighting robot. His primary weapon is the plasma-cannon which he fires from his left arm after withdrawing his hand into it. He can also copy Wily's robots' abilities by touching them. During battle, Mega Man cracks jokes and puns. He has numerous catchphrases; the one he uses most frequently is "Sizzling Circuits". Ironically, Corlett, who voices Mega Man here, previously voiced Dr. Wily in Captain N: The Game Master.
- Dr. Light (voiced by Jim Byrnes) – Mega Man's creator. He used to work with Dr. Wily to create a line of industrial robots until the latter stole their plans and a defective prototype. Light built Rock, Roll, and the first three robot masters (unlike the six from Mega Man 1), Cut Man, Guts Man, and Ice Man. After Wily reprogrammed his industrial robots, Light rebuilds Rock into Mega Man in order to stop his schemes. Throughout the series, Light builds other robots and inventions to help humanity and to stop Wily's plots. His appearance differs slightly from his game counterpart; he has a shorter beard and grey hair. Fans of the show also note his ability to state the blatantly obvious.
- Roll (voiced by Robyn Ross in season 1 & 2, and Kathleen Barr in "Cold Steel") – Mega Man's sister who assists him on missions. She was built as a household robot and possesses a number of home-appliances which switch on and off similarly to Mega Man's plasma cannon. Most frequently she uses a vacuum cleaner which has enough force to pull robots to pieces and which can also occasionally suck in enemy projectiles and fire them back. Roll is depicted as being much more mature than her game counterpart physically, and dons a red-and-yellow jumpsuit instead of a dress.
- Rush (voiced by Ian James Corlett) – Mega Man's robot dog. Mega Man uses Rush's jet-mode, in which he turns into a jet board, as a primary means of transportation throughout the series. Rush also has a number of other modes though none which are directly derived from the games. Rush's nose can "sniff out anything" and was once used to locate a bomb planted by Wily. His ears also detect faraway sound. Rush acts similarly to Scooby Doo in many respects, often performing silly antics on his own. He also alternates between making typical dog-sounds and speaking. Though most of the time he only parrots other characters, he also appears to have a limited ability for independent speech, mostly for comedy purposes (such as announcing "Mega, Mega. Right back. Messages." during the show's commercial bumpers).
- Dr. Wily (voiced by Scott McNeil) – Light's former assistant who stole the plans for the prototype industrial robots after their first test with a humanoid robot failed. Wily was convinced that Light sabotaged his work in order to get the credit and runs off before returning with Protoman to reprogram Light's industrial robots. In the first episode it is revealed that Wily has suffered envy through his entire life ("I didn't even have toys like the other children") and plans to exact vengeance on humanity by having his robots control everything. He is depicted very much like his original counterpart. He speaks with a German accent and is prone to fits of maniacal laughter.
- Protoman (voiced by Scott McNeil) – Mega Man's older brother and Wily's constant lackey. Despite working for Wily, Proto has a tendency to disobey him and ruin some of Wily's plans as he is obsessed with destroying his brother. Protoman's abilities are similar to those of Mega Man; he fires plasma resembling blue-energy and has on one occasion copied Guts Man's power in order to fight Mega Man. The first humanoid prototype built by Light and Wily resembles his color-scheme though it is not directly stated if Wily rebuilt Protoman from the prototype. Unlike in the Mega Man games, Protoman does not carry his trademark shield in the series. Unlike his counterpart from the games, he is loyal to Wily alone, filling the role that Bass plays from Mega Man 7 onwards.
- Cut Man (voiced by Terry Klassen) – One of Dr. Light's original six industrial robots that would serve as a logging robot who used his Rolling Cutters to chop down trees. He was reprogrammed by Dr. Wily and is one of his stock-lackeys alongside Guts Man and Proto Man appearing in every episode. He speaks with a Peter Lorre-esque nasal accent and makes cutting and scissors-related one-liner puns ("Cutting you down to size is going to be shear delight") while laughing at his own jokes. Despite his somewhat arrogrant attitude, he is usually defeated and this has become a joke among fans of the series. His overall design reflects his game counterpart though the details of his head and uniform are slightly different. Originally, he carried only one weapon that was thrown in a boomerang fashion; however later in the same episode he fired his weapon a seemingly unlimited number of times. However, he has used both methods throughout the series.
- Guts Man (voiced by Garry Chalk) – One of Dr. Light's original six industrial robots that created as a robot to help in construction. Along with Cut Man, he appears in every episode as one of Dr. Wily's main henchmen. Contrary to his persona in the games and somewhat stereotypically, Guts Man is all muscle and little brain and always attempts to crush Mega Man. A recurring joke involves Rush biting Guts Man's leg before being kicked off. Guts Man is also shown often breaking through walls in order to get somewhere, rather than using/opening doors. This habit was used in one episode to trick him. Chalk's Guts Man voice is very similar to the one he used for King Hippo on Captain N: The Game Master (who was that show's "big and strong but slow-witted" character as well.)
- Eddie (voiced by Scott McNeil) – A suitcase on legs, Eddie's primary function is to deliver Energy Cans (E-Tanks) to Mega Man when he is critically low on energy. Eddie is always ready for action and appears in a handful of episodes. Though resembling his game counterpart outwardly he was colored green rather than red.
- Met/Doc – A single Met acts as an assistant to Dr. Light in the first episode. It does not make an appearance in any other episodes, although it is presumed to still be around since it was not destroyed. It is not equipped with a weapon like it's in-game counterparts and its only feature is a flexible grabber arm, which it uses to produce a variety of items, suggesting he was another lab assistant and a prototype for Eddie. He is referred to as "Doc".
- Robot Masters – Various Robot Masters from the first five Mega Man classic games make appearances throughout the series, including Snake Man from Mega Man 3, Elec Man from the original Mega Man, and Pharaoh Man from Mega Man 4. Some appear more often than others, for example Snake Man appears in five episodes, while Pharaoh Man appears only in the second episode and Napalm Man only appears in the introduction. Interestingly, none of the Robot Masters from Mega Man 6 made appearances even though the show's first episode aired a year after the game's release. Most of the Robot Masters are voiced by the show's main cast, particularly Terry Klassen, Garry Chalk, Jim Byrnes and Ian James Corlett. Notable exceptions are Richard Newman, who voiced Wood Man, and Spark Man, Gemini Man, and Gyro Man from the episode "Cold Steel," who have distinct voices and are commonly believed to be voiced by Sugar Ray members Mark McGrath, Craig Bullock, and Charles Stan Frazier, respectively.
- Mayor (voiced by Garry Chalk) – Appearing in a number of episodes, the Mayor often goes to Mega Man when a crisis involving Wily is threatening New York City. Despite his inability to stop Wily the Mayor did stand up to him during the Big Shake, refusing to surrender control of the city despite Wily's threats, his obvious fear of him, and Mega Man being out of commission. In the post season two episode Crime of the Century, a new mayor is introduced. Despite the notable physical change, the old mayor being a standard size, moustached white man and the new one a large African American, Gary Chalk also provided him with the same voice. The Mayor characters did not appear in any video game and were made up for the show.
- Batontons – The series version of the Bomb Bat enemies introduced in Mega Man 2. They're also referred to as Wily's Spy Bats. They're most frequently used for spying missions though they also possess the ability to attack using lighting projectiles.
- Bree Ricotta – A recurring news reporter character, appearing most prominently in the episode "Mega-Pinnochio". Her name seems to be a reference to brie and ricotta, which are both types of cheese. She did not appear in any video game, and was made up for the show.
- Mega Man X (voiced by Michael Donovan)– The main character of the Mega Man X series, X makes an appearance in the same episode as Vile and Spark Mandrill, having chased them through time to stop them from taking Lightanium back to their own time to help Sigma finance his wars against humans. Like Mega Man, X has the ability to copy weapons from enemies by touching them, as he is seen copying Snake Man's weapon to destroy Dr. Wily's plasma cannon. Unlike Mega Man, X seems to be able to copy a weapon multiple times-Mega Man can only use a copied weapon once (as he only copies it once), while X was seen copying and using Snake Man's weapon three times.
- Vile (voiced by Lee Tockar) – A battle Reploid and Maverick Warrior sent from the future to obtain Lightanium power rods in the episode "Mega X". He and his partner Spark Mandrill are hoping to distribute the rods to his master Sigma, who is the leader of the Mavericks planning to use to rods to finance his war against the humans in his time. Vile has entered into an alliance with Wily after learning that Wily has gained hold of the schematics of the power plant containing the rods. As compensation for Wily helping him tto get the rods, Vile allows Wily to obtain some of the rods to power up his new blaster weapon that can annihilate anything in its way. However, the two are foiled by Mega Man and his future counterpart, Mega Man X, causing Wily and his henchmen to escape after the blaster weapon is destroyed while Mega Man X drags Vile and Spark Mandrill back to their time.
- Spark Mandrill (voiced by Richard Newman) – A battle Reploid and Maverick Warrior who appeared in "Mega X". He is Vile's partner, supporting Vile to obtain the Lightanium rods to finance Sigma's war on the humans in the future. He is defeated by Mega Man X, who pushed him and Vile back to their time.
|1||1||"The Beginning"||Mark Jones||September 11, 1994|
|The first episode of Mega Man. Wily attacks New York's Kennedy Airport and Mega Man is crushed by a falling object, leaving him in need of repair. While Mega Man is being fixed, Dr. Light reveals his past history working with Dr. Wily and how it led to the events that happened that day.|
|2||2||"Electric Nightmare"||Jeffrey Scott||September 18, 1994|
|Dr. Wily takes over the power grid with a device that allows him to control machines through electricity. He then proceeds to attempt to take over the city with things like rampaging soda machines and runaway monorail cars and only Mega Man can stop his plans.|
|3||3||"Mega-Pinocchio"||Jeffrey Scott (story) & Michael Maurer (teleplay)||September 25, 1994|
|Dr. Wily cons Mega Man into trying to become human, which he then uses to his advantage to reprogram the blue robot.|
|4||4||"The Big Shake"||Richard Merwin||October 2, 1994|
|Dr. Wily has found a way to create earthquakes and demands the city surrender or be destroyed. Mega Man must go out in search of his new machine, while Dr. Light attempts to find a way to counteract Dr. Wily's earthquakes.|
|5||5||"Robosaur Park"||Jeffrey Scott||October 9, 1994|
|A de-evolution serum that only has an effect on robots is released. Now Dr. Light has to find an antidote so he can change back Mega Man and the other robots, before they destroy the city.|
|6||6||"Mega Man in the Moon"||Jeffrey Scott||October 16, 1994|
|Mega Man goes after Dr. Wily, who wants to gain control of a giant laser on the moon.|
|7||7||"20,000 Leaks under the Sea"||Martin Pasko||October 23, 1994|
|Dr. Wily attacks an underwater mining operation, then tries to get rid of Dr. Light and Mega Man with a fake laboratory that turns out to be a mobile prison.|
|8||8||"The Incredible Shrinking Megaman"||Gary Greenfield||October 30, 1994|
|Dr. Wily steals three gems from a museum and uses them to shrink major cities and Mega Man.|
|9||9||"Bot Transfer"||Richard Merwin||November 6, 1994|
|Dr. Light, Mega Man, Roll, and Rush fly to a conference and encounter Dr. Wily’s robots on the airplane along the way. Turns out Wily has built transport chambers capable of somehow transferring circuits from one robot to another. Mega Man gets swapped into Snake Man’s body and has to save the world in that form.|
|10||10||"Ice Age"||Jeffrey Scott||November 13, 1994|
|Dr. Wily steals a super freeze technology from Zero Refrigeration Company to create a giant glacier and freeze cities, drive out their leaders, and replace them with his robots (and that’s in his words). Ice Man, however, decides he’s being replaced by Air Man and double-crosses the evil scientist.|
|11||11||"Cold Steel"||Michael Maurer & Matt Uitz||November 20, 1994|
|Dr. Wily's robots disguise themselves like a rock band to unleash a mind controlling music. Only Mega Man, Roll, and a young deaf girl remain unaffected.|
|12||12||"Future Shock"||Michael Maurer||November 27, 1994|
|Mega Man is accidentally booted to the future by Dr. Light’s new time machine, where he discovers that because he wasn’t in the past to stop Dr. Wily, the evil scientist has taken over the planet. Mega Man must find his way back to his own time so that he can reverse this horrible future.|
|13||13||"The Strange Island of Dr. Wily"||Richard Merwin||December 4, 1994|
|Due to a malfunction in Dr. Wily’s newest invention, the scientist and his bots get stranded on an island with none other than Dr. Light, Mega Man, and Roll. With no other alternative, the good guys and the bad guys team up in an attempt to get off the island alive. Of course, Dr. Wily is using the truce as a way to get his invention back.|
|14||1||"Showdown at Red Gulch"||Micheal O'Mahony||September 10, 1995|
|Dr. Wily finds a meteor with crystals that can super-power robots. However, the crystals also have a nasty side effect of overloading the circuits of the robots using them after a random period of time.|
|15||2||"Terror of the Seven Seas"||Matt Uitz||September 17, 1995|
|Dr. Wily labors to create a sea fort, stealing navy battleships for parts. His plan works for a while but when Mega Man comes to investigate he soon learns of Dr. Wily's plot and puts a stop to it.|
|16||3||"Mega Dreams"||Richard Merwin & Cheryl Biggs||September 24, 1995|
|After seeing his new device can transfer his robots into dreams and then hypnotize humans in their sleep, Dr. Wily plots to use it to take control of the planet.|
|17||4||"Robo-Spider"||Michael Maurer||October 1, 1995|
|Dr. Light creates a supercomputer that can defend military bases. Dr. Wily wants to destroy the supercomputer and take over the military bases. He uses a robot spider to drain the city of all its energy, to destroy the supercomputer.|
|18||5||"Master of Disaster"||Matt Uitz||October 8, 1995|
|Dr. Wily frees a genie, trying to use his magic for world domination. Mega Man goes after Wily and tries to steal the magic chest, eventually having to fight the genie to stop Wily.|
|19||6||"Night of the Living Monster Bots"||Doug Molitor||October 15, 1995|
|Dr. Wily unleashes horror movie monster robots, which attack everything in sight. He films it as a threat to come if people don't pay to watch. Mega Man has to fight these monster robots and even his family and friends under their curse.|
|20||7||"Curse of the Lion Men"||Gary Greenfield||October 22, 1995|
|Dr. Wily's robots discover humanoid lion creatures who use their strange powers to turn people into lions and make robots obey them. Both Dr. Light and Dr. Wily are transformed and it's up to Mega Man to change them back.|
|21||8||"The Day the Moon Fell"||Richard Merwin||October 29, 1995|
|Dr. Wily has pulled the moon out of its orbit and closer to Earth, creating widespread disasters. Dr. Light now has to figure out a way to put the moon back into its correct orbit, while Mega Man must destroy Dr. Wily's device.|
|22||9||"Campus Commandos"||Michael Maurer||November 5, 1995|
|Light creates a college to school robots in various subjects, not the least of which is how to build his newest invention: an anti-gravity device. Dr. Wily on the other hand decides he wants the device for himself and attacks the school to get it, reprogramming many of the students to help him accomplish this task.|
|23||10||"Brain Bots"||Mark Jones||November 12, 1995|
|Mega Man must prevent Dr. Wily from stealing Dr. Light's new robot, Brain Bot. He is too late and Dr. Wily gets his hands on the robot, but thanks to Mega Man he doesn't have time to make any adjustments and the robot ends up helping Mega Man.|
|24||11||"Bro Bots"||Evelyn Gabai||November 19, 1995|
|Proto Man supposedly switches sides and Dr. Wily plots to replace city officials with robots. Mega Man is wary of Proto Man and has him watched at all times. He then overhears Proto Man talking to Dr. Wily about his plot and stops the whole thing.|
|25||12||"Bad Day at Peril Park"||Michael Maurer||November 26, 1995|
|Dr. Wily's amusement park, Fun World, is really a front to hypnotize the visitors into robots.|
|26||13||"Mega X"||Michael Maurer & Richard Merwin||December 3, 1995|
|The evil Mavericks, Vile and Spark Mandrill have arrived from the future and the two of them quickly prove far too powerful even for Mega Man. He is saved by Mega Man X who's in hot pursuit of the two Mavericks. Mega Man doesn't know what to make of everything but helps X anyway. They work together to stop both Dr. Wily and the Mavericks.|
|27||14||"Crime of the Century"||Craig Ruby||December 10, 1995|
|Dr. Wily reprograms a bunch of dolls and other toys to perform robberies all over the city. However, it's all just a diversion so Wily can get his hands on something much more valuable: a giant black pearl. Mega Man has to figure out his plan and stop Wily's final plot, once and for all.|
All theme and background music was composed and produced by John Lee Mitchell and Tom Keenlyside at Anitunes Music. An official soundtrack was also released with songs by artists such as Sugar Ray. The cover of the soundtrack is from an early promotional image.
- "New video releases for children.". Knight Rider/Tribune News Service. January 24, 1995. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- "Discotek Adds 1993 Japanese-American Mega Man Cartoon". Anime News Network. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "Capcom's cartoon cavalcade begins this fall.". Business Wire. September 25, 1995. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- Mega Man at the Internet Movie Database
- A website dedicated to the Mega Man Cartoon Series
- Mega Man (TV series) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia