Megaman, a Retrospective
March 03, 2020

Megaman began airing on Saturday mornings on my neck of the woods in 1994; a full year after Sonic the Hedgehog was introduced on TV for the first time and which would come up earlier than the super fighting robot's animated series. It was curious to see a cartoon featuring cute bipedal animals fighting robot dominance while a couple hours later you would see a robot fighting totalitarian robotic global control as well. Both cartoons based on famous gaming franchises that have tested the passing of time even to this day.

While there was a previous incarnation of the blue bomber in the late 80s cartoon titled Captain N, he was not fully fleshed out until getting his own spot in American animation. He was also not as high regarded as he was on this iteration of the character either. Megaman on Captain N was more like a Pokémon than anything else, repeating the word "mega" and adding it to any other sentence thereof. He was not too annoying but hardly what a kid would ever compare to his original gaming counterpart just as well.
In the 90s incarnation of the fighting robot, Megaman is brought back on a more westernized design and even added Roll as his fighting sister, who would also play the part of the damsel in distress in some occasions. Along with his creator and mentor Dr. Light and his faithful robotic canine friend Rush, Megaman would take on Dr. Wiley and his own robotic squad consisting of Gutsman, Cutman, and Protoman, who would side with the bad guys and act as the defacto leader as well as Megaman's primary rival. Along with them a third Robot Master would be introduced in every episode, which would be rotated as they would simply be disposed in the end and rarely ever brought back.

It was interesting to see that Protoman was made into a villain and be on Wily's side all the while having a continuous grudge with Megaman, rather than being in the shadows at times helping the titular character on occasion in the original games. While it was entertaining enough to see both getting entangled in battle, I personally would had preferred that Protoman would be displayed as he would be in the games, at times keeping an eye on his younger robotic sibling and others interacting directly when the chips were down, along with his tragedic dilemma of never accepting coming back to Dr. Light and choosing a lonely life.

As it was, it was more than enough for me to keep my interest in every episode aired; always wanting to know which Megaman character would show up this time around. To my surprise, there was an episode where Megaman X would be featured, along with Vile and Spark Mandrill both who would travel back in time to ensue chaos. However this version of the Reploid hunter was careless and devoid of sympathy, not caring about how much damage would cost as long as he would stop said villains. This was a fatal blow to the original premise in the X series, where X himself is a compassionate, self-guilting hero who cares too much in order to get things done. Someone sure didn't get the memo on that one.

The plot summary of any other episode revolves around Megaman and his friends stopping Dr. Wily's nefarious plans to create chaos and discord around the world, a constant theme which went unresolved till the end of the series. As one would assume, the American cartoon would be filled with cheesy jokes and puns while characters confronted one another. Aspects like acquiring the powers of his enemies, Rush turning into various modes for use, and most characters from the game series would be present in every episode. Each episode would open with a rocking intro full of explosions and heavy duty action, although the episodes themselves would not be filled too much with such.

Megaman aired in 1994 till 1996 with a total of 27 episodes. It would resonate pretty well with audiences and while it does not entirely reflect its game counterpart, it was campy enough to warrant a rerun run in other networks and a release in DVD by ADV films. The American show was surpassed by Megaman Battle Network also being aired in western TV stations.

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