Mega Man MEGAMIX is a storyline over a decade old that started under the name “Rockman REMIX” in its first iteration. The mastermind behind this work, Hitoshi Ariga, is very well known for this comic and for a good reason; his art is distinctive and unique, serving well in the story settings that are told extremely well. However, the most important part in Ariga’s MEGA/GIGAMIX series is the atmosphere, the feeling and the heart, as every line on the pages convey something that can only be called as “Mega Man.” You get the same experience, the same feeling and the same excitement from reading these as if you were playing the games. They’re just that good, and I usually have far higher standards than most people (or so I’ve heard.)
This song has a very special place in my heart, as it helped me to overcame a pain that I had held inside of me for some time
In these some sixteen years Ariga has worked with Mega Man its clear that art has been improving constantly, and in the latest editions of MEGAMIX he went back and retouched some scenes that just didn’t work. While it’s nice to see an artist to go back and fix his works, it always loses some “originality,” but quite honestly it doesn’t matter. No product is never truly ready, they’re only at a point that they can be given away. Ariga’s style, thou evolved, has always looked very similar and the evolution is barely noticeable to an untrained eye. However, if you read MEGAMIX and GIGAMIX back-to-back you’ll notice how everything builds up to the finish both story and art perspective.
The story of MEGA/GIGAMIX is based on the Mega Man games, the little they have. Ariga basically took the basis, took a look at the characters and their nature (every character has a defined set of traits, believe it,) and rebuild the story using those elements to tell the same story, but in far more grandiose, important way. Every characters gets their chance to shine like a star in the sky, every character has a specific function in the stories, and every set of characters is utilised to their maximum extent in the frame of the story.
Ariga also explores themes that are pretty much forgotten by fans and CAPCOM in Mega Man; the theme of robotics and their relations to humans, friendships, rivalry, what is to be a human being and what is it that drives us. The latter is far more important to the Mega Man X series, but Ariga’s robots are more freeroaming Robots than their game counterparts. At times Ariga’s Robot Masters act far too much like Repliroids of the X-series, but I’ll give it to him gladly, as the is willing to explore those themes to long extents and still keep the action and comedy at top of all.
The characters are fleshed out and that’s all fine and dandy, but Ariga’s skill to bind multiple games together becomes clear in the GIGAMIX storyline, which includes Mega Man 3, Battle & Chase, Mega Man V/Rockman WORLD 5 and parts of Mega Man 8. It’s so well made that the little fanboy in be screamed like a little bitch he is. Actually, Ariga managed to tie down parts of the Mega Man Legends as well, but lets not go into that now. The way he did this was to take certain elements of the games’ stories and combined them into one larger whole. These games have points that fall well between each other, like Mega Man 3’s Robot Masters searching for Energy Crystals in space, Battle & Chase being a middleshow, Mega Man (WORLD) V having extraterrestrial Star Droids coming to destroy the Earth and Mega Man 8’s mysterious white giant ridding space of evil, DUO. Ariga actually uses large quantities of unused material here and applies it to the story setting, a thing that makes my inner fanboy cry tears of joy to insane extents.
How does it all fare up in the end?
Without a doubt, Mega Man MEGAMIX and GIGAMIX are the definitive Mega Man experience outside the games. I’ve put them into my personal TOP 5 of comics of all times even without regarding what my own feelings towards the series is. You can’t ask more from an adaptation comic that this. Ariga’s story goes far beyond what anyone was expecting him at any point, and you can feel that he too is a big Mega Man fan himself. These pages are filled with love and care. It’s a comic that tells you how much Mega Man means to so many people.
I would recommend this to anyone who has ever graced Mega Man, and even to those who haven’t even heard of the Blue Bomber. If you value a good set of comics that is both well written and drawn, you’ll most likely like this. There’s very little wrong with Ariga’s masterpiece, and even those faults are soon forgotten when everything around them kicks in. It’s a well thought out product that has become legendary in the Internet, and now you finally read it.
Rather than ending with a low note (as CAPCOM has done with Mega Man) let’s end with this