Mega Man Star Force (anime)
|Mega Man Star Force|
Cover art of the DVD box set released in the UK
(Shooting Star Rockman)
|Genre||Police procedural, Science Fiction, Action Adventure, Mecha, Magical boy, Video Game|
|Anime television series|
|Shooting Star Rockman|
|Music by||Shuhei Naruse (Japan)
Thorsten Laewe (U.S.)
|Original run||7 October 2006 – 27 October 2007|
|Anime television series|
|Shooting Star Rockman Tribe|
|Music by||Shuhei Naruse|
|Original run||3 November 2007 – 29 March 2008|
|Shooting Star Rockman|
|Written by||Masaya Itagaki|
|Published by||CoroCoro Comic|
|Original run||November 2006 – January 2008|
|TRIBE Shooting Star Rockman War Gaiden|
|Written by||Masaya Itagaki|
|Published by||CoroCoro Comic|
|Original run||February 2008 – July 2008|
|Farce On Air!! Shooting Star Rockmen|
|Written by||Kawano Takumi|
|Published by||CoroCoro Comic|
|Original run||December 2006 – December 2008|
|Shooting Star Rockman 3|
|Written by||Ryo Takamisaki|
|Original run||December 2008 – January 2009|
The anime first premiered in Japan on October 7, 2006, two months before the game's Japanese release, and concluded March 29, 2008 with a total of 76 episodes. Its debut followed shortly after the conclusion of a preceding Mega Man anime series, MegaMan NT Warrior, which ran from 2002 to 2006.
The manga was serialized in CoroCoro Comic in September 2006. The anime was licensed by Viz Media and first premiered in English on the online streaming video service Toonami Jetstream on July 23, 2007. The series made its only television premiere on Cartoon Network with a 2-hour special on August 25, 2007. The series was later added to Viz Media's Neon Alley digital anime channel on June 1, 2015.
Mega Man Star Force follows the adventures of Geo Stelar and his extraterrestrial partner Omega-Xis, a duo capable of merging through "Electromagnetic Wave Change" to become Mega Man. Together, they combat various EM wave beings that threaten to conquer or destroy the Earth, especially the invading FM Planet's forces.
The series has a strong theme of strength through bonds. The first series borrows many elements from astrology and space, whereas the second series focuses more on folklore (such as the Loch Ness Monster).
Airing October 7, 2006 on TV Tokyo, the Shooting Star Rockman anime filled the timeslot previously held by Rockman EXE Beast+, the series' predecessor. Each of its episodes are approximately ten minutes in length as the program also shared the thirty-minute segment Oha Coliseum with the Saru Getchu anime series.
On April 17, 2007, VIZ Media announced that they acquired the rights for an English anime release titled Mega Man Star Force. The press release mentioned that 13 episodes were to be released at lengths of 20 minutes each (each containing approximately 2 Japanese episodes worth of content). During the E3 2007 video-game convention, IGN revealed in their hands-on impressions of the Star Force video game that the English anime would premiere on Toonami Jetstream on July 23, 2007. The show made its television debut on Cartoon Network on August 25, 2007, edited as a 2-hour faux-movie presentation composed of Japanese episodes 1 thru 9 and heavily slimmed-down versions of episodes 12, 15, and 16. The series would never air in normal episodic format on television, and subsequent episode airings online revealed that the unusual edits are exclusive to its television appearance.
The series is no longer being shown on Toonami Jetstream as the service is currently defunct. It was later added to Neon Alley on June 1, 2015.
According to the September 2007 issue of CoroCoro Comic, the anime would conclude in Japan on October 27, 2007 and, following the trend of its predecessor, continue with a new series called Shooting Star Rockman Tribe, premiering on November 3, 2007. The second anime follows the events of the second video game (which was also released in November). According to an interview with Fuyuka Ōura (Geo's voice actor in the Japanese version) at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, Tribe has a deeper and "cooler" storyline than before, and the new character Solo is a prominent character in the plot.
As of October 6, 2007, the time-slot previously held by Saru Getchu was replaced with the Zero Duel Masters anime. On March 29, 2008, Tribe concluded with 21 episodes, and its time-slot was replaced with Pengin no Mondai. There are currently no known plans for another Mega Man anime in Japan, marking the first time a Mega Man anime has not been on the air in Japan since the six-month hiatus between Rockman EXE and Rockman EXE Axess in 2003.
Although the entire Rockman EXE series was distributed in Japan on DVD, there is no word on Star Force receiving the same treatment in Japan or in the United States. However, Manga Entertainment released a Region 2 box set in the UK on November 3, 2008. The box set contains all 13 episodes of the English dub that aired on Toonami Jetstream.
Mega Man Star Force's animation is overseen by XEBEC, with musical arrangements by Naoki Maeda. Character designs (which have in some cases deviated from Capcom's original concepts) are handled by Mitsuru Ishihara and Shingo Adachi (who is also one of the series' art directors, some of the others being Masayuki Nomoto, Akira Takahashi, and Yasuo Shimizu). The art directors usually work independently of each other on any given episode. Shogakukan manages computer-generated imagery.
The title sequences of each series are sung by Misato Fukuen as Sonia Sky. In the original series, the theme is entitled "Heart Wave" (ハートウェーブ Hāto Uebu?) and in Tribe, the theme is entitled "Bond Wave" (絆 ウェーブ Kizuna Uebu?). Several characters appearing in the original series opening are colored incorrectly.
A background identical to that used for Cross Fusion sequences of MegaMan NT Warrior is employed in the anime's Electromagnetic Wave Change scenes. Easter eggs referencing other series within the Mega Man franchise are also inserted into the program on occasion. Examples include a broadcast of a girl wearing Roll Caskett's clothes from Mega Man Legends, as well as a boy in Shepard's class wearing Lan Hikari's clothes from Mega Man Battle Network sans the headband.
With the premiere of the English version, it was revealed that two Japanese version episodes are combined to create one English version episode to fill a 30-minute time slot. Furthermore, in order to fill more time, a few minutes of footage from various episodes are added at the start of episodes, usually narrated by a particular member of the cast, acting as a recap of previous episodes and slight foreshadow of upcoming events.
One noticeable oddity, however, exists in English episode 13. Instead of combining Japanese episodes 25 and 26, the next two episodes in order, Viz opted to fill 26's time with ten minutes of recycled footage with narration by Geo Stelar. This was presumably done because the series ends on an odd number of episodes, with the only other alternative to ending the series with enough footage being to skip an episode entirely. However, this strategy would prove fruitless as the dub was discontinued before reaching that point.
Unlike the English version of the series' predecessor Rockman EXE, the dub for Shooting Star Rockman features a considerably more accurate translation with far less cut footage and censorship. While many names and terms were changed, they mostly coincided with changes first made by Capcom of America for the English versions of the video games. However, there are a number of translation inconsistencies. Some examples include (but are not limited to) the character of Misora Hibiki, who is referred to as Sonia Strumm in the English games but as Sonia Sky in the English anime. There are also instances where the original Japanese name is used instead of the localized version used in the games, such as an instance where Mega Man shouts "Rock Buster" instead of "Mega Buster." Furthermore, appearances of Japanese text (such as on signs or hard subtitles for setting information) are left untranslated and unedited.
The animation for the introduction sequence is also left completely unchanged. However, all of the original background music is completely removed—including the introduction song "Heart Wave"—and original scores performed by Thorsten Laewe are put in place of the Japanese version's soundtrack. Nevertheless, all the original Japanese sound effects are left intact.
The series has a wide array of personalities outside of Geo Stelar and his AM-ian partner, Omega-Xis, including classmates Luna Platz, Bud Bison, Zack Temple, and Pat Sprigs; pop-singing heroine Sonia Strumm; Aaron Boreal and Tom Dubius of the AMAKEN Laboratories; and various members of the planet FM.
The year is 220X. Technology has advanced rapidly since the age of the internet, leading to the creation of new and more efficient modes of transportation, as well as the construction of futuristic cities, all linked together by three satellites orbiting the Earth—Pegasus, Leo, and Dragon. The satellites accomplish this by maintaining a network of EM waves around the planet's atmosphere, thereby powering the invisible EM Wave World. The human population carries portable devices called Transers to interface with the EM Wave World and other electronic devices. Problems caused by criminals and EM Wave Viruses manipulating the EM Wave World are commonly dealt with by the Satella Police.
A proud warrior of the FM Planet, Omega-Xis, betrays his kind and escapes to Earth where he makes contact with Geo Stelar. Like his fellow extraterrestrials called FM-ians, Omega-Xis is capable of initiating a process known as "Electromagnetic Wave Change," which transforms ordinary humans of the same frequency as themselves into "EM Wave Humans," allowing them to freely operate in the EM Wave World. With these new powers, Geo becomes known as Mega Man, a hero of Echo Ridge. However, Omega-Xis holds the key to accessing the weapon Andromeda, capable of destroying planets. As such, many FM-ians pursue Omega-Xis with the intent of retrieving the key in their goal to destroy the Earth. Meanwhile, Omega-Xis also knows the secret to the disappearance of Geo's father in a catastrophic space accident months ago.
The first half of the series focuses on the FM-ians hunting Omega-Xis for the Andromeda Key. Eventually, they succeed, but by using Star Force, Mega Man is able to sustain Andromeda and destroy the key. In the latter half of the series, the FM-ians band together, taking the guise of their original human counterparts, and seek a way to energize a new Andromeda Key. Eventually, Gemini Spark takes the reins of the operation and succeeds in reviving Andromeda, but the FM-ian king Cepheus descends onto Earth to put a stop to all of the chaos. Geo also has an encounter with his father Kelvin who reveals that he has become an EM wave being and is still exploring space, and that Geo's place is on Earth, fighting for justice as Mega Man.
The second series follows the events of the second game focusing on the lost continent of Mu. The ancient civilization vanished ages ago, and a few of its remnants still exist as myths and legends called UMAs (Unidentified Mystery Animals similar to FM-ians that also have the ability to fuse with humans). The UMAs begin merging with humans in order to search for the treasures of Mu, the powerful OOPArts, which will give them the power to revive Mu. After Geo and Omega-Xis encounter several unusual enemies, they meet a professor named Doctor Vega who sends them on a quest to find the OOPArts and stop the UMAs. Using the OOPArts, Mega Man is able to take new forms, primarily the sword-wielding Thunder Zerker form. Near the end, Geo discovers that Doctor Vega and her accomplice Hollow are manipulating Geo to use the OOPArts for the revival of Mu and the devastating force known as Le Mu. But Mega Man combines the three OOPArts together, forming Tribe King, and uses this new power to stop Le Mu and seal Mu once more. The series premiered November 3, immediately after the original series' conclusion, and concluded March 29, 2008.
The Shooting Star Rockman manga began running in CoroCoro Comic in November 2006. The manga differs vastly from the video-game and anime iterations of the franchise, although the premise is set up similarly. Geo is grieving the disappearance of his father and questioning the unusual partnership he has gained with the "FM-ian" Omega-Xis. By combining their powers, they are able to transform into the EM Wave Human named Mega Man and battle crime. Geo soon learns of the Wave Coliseum, a tournament that awards the champion a power known as Star Force. Geo believes this power will allow him to travel to space and find his father, so he enters the tournament. However, complications occur when one of the competitors, Gemini Spark, steals the Star Force in order to revive Andromeda, the king of the FM-ians. This story arc concludes with Mega Man discovering that Andromeda and his father Kelvin had fused as a single EM Wave Human. Defeating Andromeda, Kelvin is freed and returns to Earth to live with his family and new FM-ian friends.
From chapter 17 and on the story shifts to focus on characters and concepts from the second video-game. However, Geo and Omega-Xis are completely absent. Instead, the three Tribe-On transformations from the second video-game—Thunder Zerker, Fire Saurian, and Green Ninja—are personified as entities of their own. In the past, their tribe was ravaged by a warrior named Rogue. Having grown up, Zerker has taken on the task of invading the continent Mu and hunting down Rogue for revenge. But in order to reach Rogue, Zerker must first traverse an eight-story tower and battle Rogue's underlings every step of the way, including Saurian and Ninja who are under the influence of Mu.
Another manga was also serialized in CoroCoro Comic by Kawano Takumi called Farce On Air!! Shooting Star Rockmen (笑劇オンエア!!流星のロックメ～ン Shōgeki On Ea!! Ryūsei no Rokkumen?), a light-hearted story that appears to focus on two separate Mega Men.
In order to promote the third installment of the video-game series, Ryo Takamisaki (author of the MegaMan NT Warrior manga) produced a new manga series to run in CoroCoro Comic as of November 2008. Entitled simply Shooting Star Rockman 3 (流星のロックマン3 Ryūsei no Rokkuman Surī?), this manga does not reference the previous works by Itagaki and more closely follows the concepts and premises defined by the video-game franchise. The manga introduces A. C. Eos and his Wizard Acid, as well as battles with a Noise-corrupted Spade Magnes and Jack Corvus.
As of the January 2009 issue of CoroCoro Comic, the manga has concluded after only two chapters for unknown reasons. As two chapters is not enough to fill a single tankōbon, it's doubtful Takamisaki's version will receive a separate release unless it is picked back up for serialization in the future.
Manga by Masaya Itagaki
Manga by Kawano Takumi
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- Capcom's Shooting Star Rockman game series splash page (Japanese)
- Shogakukan's Shooting Star Rockman anime page (Japanese)
- Shogakukan's Shooting Star Rockman Tribe anime page (Japanese)
- TV Tokyo's Shooting Star Rockman anime page (Japanese)
- TV Tokyo's Shooting Star Rockman Tribe anime page (Japanese)
- XEBEC's Shooting Star Rockman anime page (Japanese)
- XEBEC's Shooting Star Rockman Tribe anime page (Japanese)