Marvel and Madhouse have teamed up once again this time with an Avengers themed project featuring the Black Widow and Punisher. The title was released on March 11th, 2014 and if you don’t know Madhouse is a Japanese animation company that’s put out some decent anime in recent years featuring Marvel’s pantheon of heroes.
If you’re a fan of anime and Marvel, you’ll dig this film. The same can be said if you’re a Punisher or Black Widow fan. If you’re not a fan of anime this would be a hard sell, or if you’re expecting the Avengers as a whole you might be disappointed. 98% of the film I’d say is devoted to just the two title characters.
Black Widow is a bad ass. I like bad ass female characters and it’s one of the reasons I tend to enjoy anime. The Japanese aren’t afraid to put a strong leading female who kicks ass in their content and Madhouse doesn’t fail here. Natasha is at the forefront of the film throughout and they even nailed her uncanny interrogation ability. It’s something I didn’t think would transfer well into anime, but about halfway through the movie Natasha gets down to business and as usual gets all the intel she needs.
I’m not a fan of the Punisher and didn’t care too much about his presence. In fact, I would have preferred him to not be in the movie at all. He’s not unwatchable or badly written…I just don’t like the guy. The Avengers are a team and Frank Castle is not a team player…he just didn’t fit much like Ryan Reynolds Deadpool was not the bees knees in _Wolverine: Origins_.
Visually, I liked the art direction. It felt and sounded like Marvel which was great. The animation is crisp and fluid allowing for Widow to use everything in her path to beat up on Punisher and some other folks. Madhouse isn’t known for utilizing repeating frames and they didn’t disappoint here. There is a lot of action and a little downtime.
Once again, if you’re expecting the Avengers: the Anime, this isn’t it. I’d suggest the film, but maybe after watching every other title Madhouse has touched on in the Marvel universe. It’s good, but not great. Definitely watchable.