The new Stan Lee anime The Reflection is not feeling the love from anime fans. The first episode of the Marvel comics legend just aired in Japan, and already reviews of The Reflection are tearing the 12-episode TV show apart. Worse, some reviews are calling the new 2017 anime a bad My Hero Academia knock off.
Japanese anime company Studio DEEN is collaborating with Stan Lee and his Pow! Entertainment company for the project. The comic book creator not only came up with the concept, but he also provides narration, and he's the voice actor listed for the character Mr. Mystic.
The first episode of The Reflection anime came out in Japan on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Funimation announced plans for an English dub for The Reflection although an exact release date has yet to be confirmed. The company also listed the English voice actors for the upcoming dub release.
|Eleanor Everts||Aviva Pressman|
|Steel Ruler||Yasmina Shaw|
|Lisa Livingston||Talya Sindel|
|Flaming Fury||Laila Berzins|
|Vy Le||Saki Miata|
|Mr. Mystic||Stan Lee|
|Additional Voices||Kyle Chapple|
|Matthew David McCallum|
The simplistic art style is highly reminiscent of the golden age of comics and people either love it or hate it, but everyone agrees the animation seems to be poor. "I've heard it described as elderly people fighting underwater and find that comparison to be absolutely spot on," wrote one reviewer. Studio DEEN has produced classic anime like Fate/stay night, so it's odd how the fight sequences come off as extremely stiff and clunky.
My Hero Academia and The Reflection are often compared in reviews since many have noticed the similarities. Both have a sudden world event trigger the rise of heroes and villains, although in the case of MHA it's been multiple generations since powers began to appear. The Reflected have only been around for three years, and it's uncertain whether they question why they are labeled as villains. Both stories seem to have a focus on the interplay of that relationship.
The story for Stan Lee's anime is another source of criticism since even the fights come off as boring and bland. "Nothing is at stake" since audiences don't have an emotional investment in the characters. By contrast, the shonen anime immediately built an interesting world by introducing watchers to young Izuku Midoriya and establishing his hopes and dreams. Any conflict has a tangible impact. In The Reflection, the people are simply templates for heroes that have yet to be fleshed out, and it's difficult to tell who the main character might be.
Perhaps the reviewers are simply not giving ample time to reflect on The Reflection? After all, only the first episode has aired so far, and earlier press releases indicated that the story follows the fight between the main superhero and a villain.
This is actually another contrast between My Hero Academia and The Reflection. The character Xon so far appears to be the main protagonist, and he has the ability to absorb other powers and store them for future usage. Similarly, the MHA villain character All For One can absorb powers, and he's the arch-nemesis of All Might.Regardless of powers, it's how the story develops Xon and other The Reflection characters like Ian Izett (I-GUY) and the teleporter Eleanor Everts that will determine the success or failure of Stan Lee's anime. The first episode may have stumbled but let's hope the entire season leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
[Featured Image by Studio DEEN]