Before I go into Mega Man and other things, I’ll just remind everyone that Schwarzesmarken has a TV adaptation coming up and two VNs. You can pre-order the first one wherever you wish, be it Amazon or AmiAmi.
Secondly, you may have noticed that I haven’t been all too active as of late. This is due to workload I’m carrying at the moment, but that’s life for you. We all have to prioritise at certain times.
So, a Mega Man cartoon is coming up. That came pretty much out of nowhere, despite we’re hitting the Rockman 30th Anniversary not too soon. The staff that is making the series is more than well versed in making a show about kid character gaining new, colourful powers and fighting against evil powers that threaten the peace and balance of the world. Man of Action may be a bit divisive, but they seem to know to make what is needed for Mega Man to return; be a hit with kids.
It’s not going to be the same Mega Man we’ve come to know, and it should not be. Mega Man is an irrelevant character and franchise at this moment. Archie is at least putting out pretty decent Mega Man comic, and while their treatment of X is a bit bonkers, at least they’re making something relatively original with the franchise. This show needs to take the core of Mega Man and show that it can be done successfully once again, even if it is on TV.
Doing a new Mega Man at this point in time is both troublesome and near suicidal. Either you go in and make a game that continues one of the pre-established series in the franchise and carry all the baggage it brings with it. You can see that the decline of each series began when the games began to repeat the same exact thing with generic theme templates. Legends can be excused for this due to small games it had, and Zero series was killed because the staff wanted to tell stories rather than make games, which was more or less evident with the decline in level design and visuals becoming less and less unique by each entry.
Of course, you could go and do completely new Mega Man game with little to no connections to any of the series, a reboot. However, both Mega Man and Mega Man X saw reboots on the PSP, thou the term remake would fit better. This was a huge damn misstep, as people were expecting something more and something new rather than same shit all over again. This is actually a thing CAPCOM is doing right now with re-releasing all the Mega Man games on PSN, Nintendo VC and similar. The proposed Irregular Hunter X remake that never came to be is an example that could’ve gone both ways, but the backlash from fandom after it got leaked was harsh enough to convince that it would’ve been shred apart. Then again, if it had gone well with the general audiences, then it would’ve done its job.
Mega Man, however, is a children’s franchise, and at this moment CAPCOM is everything but a company producing games for children. It doesn’t fit their image. One needs to remember that even if it is a franchise to children, it can and should have something to the adults. The original games were like this as was all the other series well up to Zero, which was not for children. If we would need to make a point where Mega Man became a series that stopped being universal and never returned from it, Zero series is where it happened. It took itself far too seriously and became grimdark extreme example how a series that was for everybody changed. It’s not to say that a serious take on Mega Man could not be made, but that’s what X series did. Zero series just amped it to eleven.
You can make a game that would cater the older fans, you could make a game that would cater to everybody and even start over if you wanted. All three are valid options, but what matters how they’re realized and executed. Zero series was released at a right time when certain part of the fandom was old enough to like its slightly Heavy Metal style visuals, and it being a series on the GBA, it hit a good niche. Too bad the developers didn’t give two shits about what the customers wanted.
A new animation is probably the best way to go. The Ruby-Spears Mega Man showed that there are multiple things that can be done with the overall idea in a Saturday morning cartoon. It may have been a generic show in the end, but I can’t call it bad or something that could not be enjoyed in earnest. If you hate how the visuals look localised, the original pitch for the series was absolutely faithful to NES games’ visuals. Whether or not it would’ve been more successful series or not is just bunch of useless ifs. With the new cartoon, children who don’t know Mega Man are getting to the age where the base character will be interesting to them. While I wouldn’t call any digital release a major one, Mega Man 10 was released in 2010. Children born at that year will be at the first grade or so and would be perhaps in the best age to enjoy the show and any possible game that could go with the series.
Resurrecting a franchise often comes with changing winds, and long time fans should expect the upcoming series to bring in new fans and new Mega Man products. While I personally hope that the old Mega Man games will see new entries, that is highly unlikely at this point in time. But hey, you never know. Perhaps the 2017 cartoon will be dead spot on adaptation, if we’re hoping for the best and lucky. There is huge story potential in there, and 26 episodes is more than enough to discuss the nature of artificial life, if they wish to.