Megaman: Botched in Translation

Megaman, Rockman, The Blue Bomber... whatever you want to call him, this little dude almost always made for a great videogame, unfortunately there is no character as frustrating within the lets-make-this-videogame-character-his-own-cartoon-series cosmology.

Megaman is one of those characters that America had a hard time translating from the very beginning. His first appearance in the U.S. on the Nintendo Entertainment System included a box that had the graphic design technique of Bob Ross attempting to capture a scene from Logan's Run with three colored pencils and an air brush. The box design was so bad and so miscommunicated, it's a wonder so many of us got to play the game during it's first go round. I remember as a 6 or 7 year old thinking how dumb the box looked that Christmas morning, and then playing the Cutman stage and realizing for the first time I finally had a game with the stones to compete with my precious Mario. This franchise delivered, but it's crossover attempts into TV Land are as cursed as the Poltergeist movies.


Megaman first appeared as a cartoon on Captain N the Game Master. The character designer for this show was anything but a purist as she made the little blue man, a little green man. This particular episode entitled Mega Trouble in Mega Land featured many characters from the Megaman universe, and Captain N admitting he had to play through "50 times before he got to Cutsman" which should be pretty hilarious to any nerd that is familiar with the original game.


Going in chronological order, the first Megaman solo cartoon, and probably the least known, was a 3 episode production that gave an American Megaman some basic lessons on the culture of Japan. The first episode was so very meta, and had Megaman and Dr. Wily entering the home of a Tokyo Family and taking their battle all the way to the top of Mt. Fuji. This series had some great looking character design. Wily's destructive attempts to overthrow Japan looked great, the problem was Megaman. He had the voice of a eunuch... it was a voice that might have done o.k. on a "Wonderboy" or an "Alex Kidd" but what kind of man talks in a high pitch squeal and hangs out primarily with young boys? To be fair though, the 90s was a time when casting young male characters with effete voices was still a pretty standard faux pas, and pretty forgivable when considering the target audience and point behind the 3 part series, which I assume was to help English speaking children adapt to the Japanese Culture...


The big issue with this mega-incarnation is what happened to Megaman's adorable little face. It seems the testicles dropped and the cute Bambi meets Astroboy character design coyly transformed our deep blue protagonist into a true-blue member of the lollipop guild. Ever wonder what the little man from Twin Peaks dream sequences was doing for extra cash? Apparently modeling for the producers of this short lived Saturday Morning cartoon.

Oh and this "Lack of Social Awareness Mega Man" video is pretty funny.


Even when Megaman failed at solidifying a place on the ol' boob tube, his animated visage and newly revamped high pitched squeal was still ruining pretty solid animantics for such decent games as Playstation's Megaman 8.


Megaman NT? Who cares... the answer is very few people, at least on this side of the Pacific. I'm not going to say anything, because I tend to ignore the fact that this Megaman exists anyway. I think there is another one called Battle Network. (There is also of course Megaman X, but that's a whole digression of continuity and argument... don't think I'm ignorant to his existence, he's just not going to be discussed here and now.)


Many would claim the newest Megaman game, Megaman 10 released March 10th 2010, proves that old school gaming is still strong, but I say it proves something far more blatant. When you depixelate this stellar video game hero what you are left with is something that screams sexual deviancy during midnight mass. You don't see Mario going back to 8 bit, because who doesn't love an overweight plumber that destroys each of the Jungian vices that come after you halfway through a psychotropic mescaline holiday? I don't see Sonic the Hedgehog downgrading to the Nintendo style. No, it's Megaman alone, because when we saw him for what he really was we were irritated, because nobody likes a guy with a fallice for an arm if he doesn't have anything in the family jewelry-box*.

*I apologize for the rampant use of testicle euphemisms, as appropriate as they might be.