Quick Review; Mega Man MEGAMIX and GIGAMIX

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.

Compare this to the Rockman REMIX cover and you’ll see how Ariga’s style has been refined rather than changed

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

I cried today (Goddamn what a terrible title)

Today I finally read Mega Man GigaMix 2, the second book in the GigaMix series and fifth of Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man comic.

The following synopsis has spoilers and is intentionally blocky and wooden. I do not have the skill to represent the events in their full scale.

The book opens with with a dark scene in space where GigaMix’s Mega Man 3 took place, on Asteroid Alpha. The asteroid gets shattered to pieces by something white, and something strong. This giant repeats words about destruction of evil and proceed towards Dr. Wily’s hidden island, and literally decimates everything that stands there. Shade Man knocks Wily out so that Shadow Man can take wounded doctor away while he distracts the white robot.
Shadow Man brings Wily to Dr. Light & co. Roll takes care of the wounded Wily and takes him off just as the white giant arrives, instigating battle against Mega Man as he protects evil. After a battle never witnessed in Classic Mega Man lore, the white robot is defeated… only so that the Stardroids, the most dangerous foes in the series, are released from within the white giant.

At this point I staggered. I had to wipe a tear drop off my book. The writing is brilliant, scenes are beautiful and pace is perfect. This is standard Ariga Mega Man, but why did it strike so hard? This is, by far, the best Mega Man story I’ve ever read. It takes CAPCOM’s lazy stories from the games and turns them into a completely different entity altogether. The white giant naturally is Duo in his original form. Using Duo as a prison for evil, ie. Stardoids is something seems simple trick, but in all reality, nobody had thought it before. The battles against Stardroids are completely one sided; out heroes, that is quite literally all the robots in the whole world, are nothing against of the Stardoids. Ariga uses thus far unseen robots from Mega Man 6 here to show them defending their own nations, as well as fan designed robots in massive double spread page, where near hundred robots are going against Terra, the leader of the Stardroids.
All hope is lost. Light doesn’t want his children to fight and suffer any more, but here we see why Wily is his rival: Dr. Wily beats some sense into Light with verbal abuse in order to remind him why these robots where built in the first place. It shows both of their nature and relationship between them. It’s not that Dr. Wily is megalomaniac scientist with wants to conquer the world, he is a megalomaniac scientist who wants to conquer the world on his own skills against the only person in the world who can match him. If he isn’t there, Dr. Wily has no reason to exist; his insane dreams are nothing more than competition, a twisted form of Light’s own dream of peaceful coexistence of humans and robots.

This still doesn’t answer why I began to cry. A great story can make dwelling emotions into a raging storm. This time it wasn’t the story or the art, superb they may be. It was the love towards Mega Man, care towards the story and the characters, the inspirational will that seeps through the pages. It’s all about what Mega Man games are at their finest. It’s all about how Hitoshi Ariga himself sees in Mega Man, alongside with thousands of other people.

It’s love that has been lost in the people who have control over Mega Man. By reading this I realized that Mega Man GigaMix will be the last time when I will have in my hands something that is genuine Mega Man. When GigaMix 3 is released, it will end an era to me. That the is the day when I am cut from all that is to come regarding Mega Man. The series is no more alive and is merely a shell what it used to be. There is only a handful of people who know how to treat the characters let alone the games; Keiji Inafune, Hitoshi Ariga and Iwamoto Yoshiro, and few other individuals. Sadly, none of them work at Inti Creates.

I should feel empty, but I feel content in this matter. I will still have everything that has been made and I can play the games as long as I live and the equipments allow me to. Whether or not the future will provide a new real Mega Man product, be it game, comics or toys, I’ll be there. I wish all the best for the franchise, but I see no future in it as it stands now.

This realization, that something I deeply have loved is now lost because of corporate bullshit, finally hit me.