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English logo of the anime.

Mega Man Star Force, known as Ryuusei no Rockman (流星のロックマン Ryūsei no Rokkuman) in the Japan, is a Japanese animated series based on the video game series of the same name. It is a spiritual successor to the MegaMan NT Warrior series, taking place roughly 200 years in the future. It premiered in Japan on October 7, 2006, two months before the release of original Mega Man Star Force, and concluded March 29, 2008. It was followed by Shooting Star Rockman Tribe. It is the third animated series based on the Mega Man franchise.

The anime was licensed by Viz Media and first premiered in English on the online streaming video service Toonami Jetstream on July 23, 2007. On August 25, the series made its television premiere on Cartoon Network with a 2-hour special. The series only ran for 13 episodes before being cancelled, however, because each English dubbed episode combined two of the Japanese episodes, which were roughly 10 minutes long, nearly half of the series was aired.

The series was later added to Viz Media's Neon Alley digital anime channel and started streaming on Hulu on June 1, 2015.[1]

It’s opening theme in the Japanese version is Heart Wave, sung in the series by Misora Hibiki. The English version of the opening, despite keeping the original footage and sounds, instead features original scores performed by Thorsten Laewe.

Plot

Set in the year 220X, the story is about a boy named Geo Stelar, whose father goes missing one day while trying to contact alien life forms. Geo, who does not take news of this well, goes into a state of depression before meeting the FM-ian Omega-Xis, who tells Geo he knows his father. Joined by new found friends and gaining the ability to EM Wave Change with Omega-Xis, Geo embarks on a quest to find his father and stop the invasion of Planet FM as the Star Force MegaMan.

History

Ryūsei no Rockman began airing on October 7, 2006 on TV Tokyo, filling the time slot of Rockman.EXE Beast+. Each episode ran for approximately 10 minutes, sharing the 30 minute segment Oha Coliseum with Saru Getchu.

On April 17, 2007, VIZ Media announced that they acquired the rights to the anime series, with the title Mega Man Star Force.[2] The press release mentioned that 13 episodes were to be released at lengths of 20 minutes each (each containing approximately 2 Japanese episodes worth of content). During the E3 2007 video-game convention, IGN revealed in their hands-on impressions of the Star Force video game that the English anime would premiere on Toonami Jetstream on July 23, 2007.[3] The show made its television debut on Cartoon Network on August 25, 2007, edited as a 2-hour faux-movie presentation composed of Japanese episodes 1 through 9 and heavily slimmed-down versions of episodes 12, 15, and 16. The series would never air in normal episodic format on television, and subsequent episode airings online revealed that the unusual edits are exclusive to its television appearance.

The series is no longer being shown on Toonami Jetstream as the service is currently defunct. It was later added to Neon Alley on June 1, 2015.

According to the September 2007 issue of CoroCoro Comic, the anime would conclude in Japan on October 27, 2007 and, following the trend of its predecessor, continue with a new series called Ryūsei no Rockman Tribe, premiering on November 3, 2007. The second anime is loosely based on the events of the second video game (which was also released in November).[4] According to an interview with Fuyuka Oura (Geo's voice actor in the Japanese version) at the 2007 Tokyo Game ShowTribe has a deeper and "cooler" storyline than before, and the new character Burai is a prominent character in the plot.[5]

As of October 6, 2007, the time-slot that had been held by Saru Getchu was replaced with the Zero Duel Masters anime. On March 29, 2008, Tribe concluded with 21 episodes, and its time-slot was replaced with A Penguin's Troubles. There are no known plans for another Mega Man anime in Japan, marking the first time a Mega Man anime has not been on the air in Japan since the six-month hiatus between Rockman.EXE and Rockman.EXE Axess in 2003.

Production

Mega Man Star Force's Electromagnetic Wave Change sequences take after the Cross Fusion sequences of its predecessor. Depicted here is Geo at the beginning of his transformation.

Mega Man Star Force's animation is overseen by XEBEC, with musical arrangements by Naoki Maeda.[6] Character designs (which have in some cases deviated from Capcom's original concepts) are handled by Mitsuru Ishihara and Shingo Adachi (who is also one of the series' art directors, some of the others being Masayuki Nomoto, Akira Takahashi, and Yasuo Shimizu). The art directors usually work independently of each other on any given episode. Shogakukan manages computer-generated imagery.

A background identical to that used for Cross Fusion sequences of MegaMan NT Warrior is employed in the anime's Electromagnetic Wave Change scenes. Easter eggs referencing other series within the Mega Man franchise are also inserted into the program on occasion. Examples include a broadcast of a girl wearing Roll Caskett's clothes from Mega Man Legends, as well as a boy in Shepard's class wearing Lan Hikari's clothes from Mega Man Battle Network sans the headband.[7][8]

With the premiere of the English version, it was revealed that two Japanese version episodes are combined to create one English version episode to fill a 30-minute time slot. Furthermore, in order to fill more time, a few minutes of footage from various episodes are added at the start of episodes, usually narrated by a particular member of the cast, acting as a recap of previous episodes and slight foreshadow of upcoming events. As voice recording was outsourced to Studiopolis in Studio City, California, Star Force became the first (and as of the premiere of Mega Man: Fully Charged, only) animated adaptation in the franchise to not be recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia.

One noticeable oddity, however, exists in English episode 13. Instead of combining Japanese episodes 25 and 26, the next two episodes in order, Viz opted to fill 26's time with ten minutes of recycled footage with narration by Geo Stelar. This was presumably done because the series ends on an odd number of episodes, with the only other alternative to ending the series with enough footage being to skip an episode entirely. However, this strategy would prove fruitless as the dub was discontinued before reaching that point.

Unlike the English version of the series' predecessor Mega Man NT Warrior, the dub for Mega Man Star Force features a considerably more accurate translation with far less cut footage and censorship. While many names and terms were changed, they mostly coincided with changes first made by Capcom of America for the English versions of the video games. However, there are a number of translation inconsistencies. Some examples include the character of Misora Hibiki, who is referred to as Sonia Strumm in the English games but as Sonia Sky in the English anime.[9] There are also instances where the original Japanese name is used instead of the localized version used in the games, such as an instance where Mega Man shouts "Rock Buster" instead of "Mega Buster."[10] Furthermore, appearances of Japanese text (such as on signs or hard subtitles for setting information) are left untranslated and unedited.[11]

Episodes

Megaman Starforce.jpg

The original Japanese episodes are roughly 10 minutes long, with the English version combining two episodes together to fill a single 30-minute time-slot. Although most of the plots in the Japanese version are already split between two 10-minute episodes, a few one-part and three-part plots disrupt what would otherwise be a seamless combination of episodes. Thus, many English-dubbed episodes begin with the conclusion of the previous episode and end with a cliffhanger. Either way, this is problematic, as the series ends on an odd number of episodes. In order to compensate, Viz has combined Japanese episode 25 with ten minutes of recycled footage from the previous 25 episodes. This footage acts as a recap of the story up to that point and is accompanied with narration by Geo Stelar.

The series loosely follows the events of the first Nintendo DS Mega Man Star Force video game. However, the storyline makes an obvious shift at Japanese episode 32 using many concepts not featured in the games, specifically, the FM-ians' quest to gather "minus energy" and their ability to transform into doppelgänger forms of the humans they once possessed.

Home media

Cover art of the DVD box set released in the UK.

The Star Force series saw neither an American or Japanese home media release, despite the Rockman.EXE series being released in full. However, a region 2 UK collection of the 13 English dubbed episodes was released in 2008 by Manga Entertainment.

Gallery

References

External links


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