In late 2018, I shared some thoughts about the first two episodes, and my opinions on it weren’t too flattering. I did leave myself open-minded to see if this could prove to be more than meets the eye, which is the new standard for judging today’s cartoons. 40 episodes in thus far, Fully Charged does a few things pretty well and touched on some aspects of Mega Man the games have either scratched the surface of or not tried at all.
MEGA MAN’S PERSONALITY:
Suffice to say, I’ve always thought Mega Man himself was too much of a whitebread goody two-shoes, the very epitome of good. Now there’s nothing wrong with that in nature of the games, but leaves little room for him to be a dynamic. What I like about Aki is he has a knack to be a bit overconfident and occasionally full of himself. In some manners, he acts a little bit like Sonic the Hedgehog. Along with his persona taking on traits of the Robot Masters when using their skills, this is a welcome addition that sheds light on how Mega Man functions, both in the heat of battle and when dealing with more complex emotions, like fear and doubt. That degree of transhumanism gives Fully Charged a slightly deeper look into how the robots in this universe function. And this isn’t just for Aki himself. Hypno Woman (voiced by the awesome Kathleen Barr), a Robot Master introduced in this series, doesn’t appear as of this writing to follow orders from Breaker Knight and acts on her own. She seems to use her powers to make humans act more like machines, but fails to understand the necessity of the human element. Aki enjoys fighting to be the hero and occasionally glamorizes it, but uncertainty gets the best of him, and his bravado leads to lessons for him to learn.
THE ORIGINAL CHARACTERS:
I talked about Aki’s sister, Suna, last time and how she essentially facilitates the same role of…Roll (did I really just do that joke twice? I’m fired, just all the way fired). Since it’s perceived that Dr. Light doesn’t know about Aki being Mega Man, Suna acts as moral guidance and a cautionary voice of reason for him, along with Mega Mini, whose style of comedy has been dialed down since the earlier episodes. I’d say she’s more comparable to Gwen Tennyson to Aki’s Ben, acting as the more level-headed and proactive thinker/problem solver. Fully Charged also introduced a romantic interest for Aki in Ashley, a brainy classmate who has a strong fascination with Mega Man. Aki likes her, but thus far the feelings are unrequited. Her playing the part of being Mega Man’s number one fan makes for some humorous moments, like writing, directing, and starring in a play serenading him for school, playing jabs at how on the nose Aki’s “secret identity” should be to guess.
I mentioned Hypno Woman previously, and one of the recent episodes, “All Play and No Work”, introduced another antagonist in Chaotique, a renegade prankster who’s jokes begin to go too far. I really like this character’s design, she looks like what would happen if Capcom designed an Overwatch character. Like Hypno Woman, she seems to hold allegiance to herself and seeks to become a thorn in Mega Man’s side for spoiling her fun rather than grander dreams of hostile takeover. Chaotique is a great enemy for Aki, she can act as a fulcrum for how fun and games aren’t all that comes with being a hero.
And the there’s Namagem, introduced in the mid-season two parter Lightfall. A seemingly unhinged and powerful adversary who’s a subordinate to Breaker Knight, under the moniker Lord Obsidian. Namagem (which is Mega Man spelled backwards. Words fail me to describe how corny that is), appeared, attacking the Light household, and severely damaged Mega Man. Whereas Aki can only use several copied Robot Master schematics at one time, Namagem has access to all of them at once, making him very dangerous. As of this writing, his identity hasn’t been revealed yet, and he holds great enmity towards Mega Man for reasons not divulged.
The mystery is currently the most captivating aspect about him, but his ability to have the upper hand over Mega Man makes him an interesting threat. It’s also why I feel these villains, while they may be archetypical adversaries from any given Saturday morning cartoon since the 1980’s, are a refreshing departure from the goofy antics of Dr. Wily. These original characters have their own nuance, along with the retconning of some of the Robot Masters, like Wood Man being a grizzled former soldier/ninja, putting a neat spin on something familiar. It’s a touch silly, but different enough to be compelling.
Thus far in the run of Fully Charged, I find it to be a rather enjoyable show. I’m impressed by how little it relies on the source material and seeks to pave its own incarnation of the tale. Like the aspects of the Sonic Boom cartoon series (which I dearly miss), Mega Man Fully Charged seems very comfortable in its own shoes. The art style isn’t too spectacular (though there was a very neat noir episode that I thought looked impressive), but the well directed action is the series’ strong point, the pace of the fights is pretty well done, and the voice talent does a great job. I really like Vincent Tong’s Mega Man voice. An Caitlyn Bairstow is great as Suna. Overall, it’s become a respectable cartoon show and a fun alternative adaptation that I would like to see stick around for a while. Man of Action has done a solid job with it.
Mega Man: Fully Charged airs on Cartoon Network Saturday & Sunday mornings at 6:30am