Hey, have you ever heard of Bravoman? It’s OK if you haven’t. He’s a really obscure Namco video game character. But I found out he recently got his own totally legit cartoon show. Huh? How did this happen? Usually only the most popular of popular game characters get their own show. So what’s the deal? Read on to find out.
But first a bit of history. Bravoman was originally a Japanese arcade game from Namco that came out in the late 80’s. It starred a superhero named Bravoman who could stretch his limbs out to punch and kick enemies in a side scrolling platformer. We did see the game in the US when it was ported to the TG-16 home game console. You can also download it on the Wii’s Virtual Console service. Years later, on the PS2, Bravoman was a playable character in the Japan only game Namco X Capcom. I only mention that because in a week or so, Project X-Zone is being released in the US, and it’s basically a sequel to that. Although I don’t think Bravoman is in it this time. Anyway, here’s a gameplay video so you can see what the original title was like. It’s an all right game. Not very good, but not too bad either.
So anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was doing some searches for things online and I came across something surprising. Turns out an online comic web site called Shifty Look has teamed up with Namco Bandai and some other places to bring us a web cartoon starring Bravoman and the game’s cast! Of all the video games out there, I have no idea why they picked Bravoman. I’m not familiar with web cartoons, so I don’t know how this stacks up to others in terms of quality. But I’m going to go with my gut and say that it is of higher stock than most web cartoons. Animation and gags seem to be typical web cartoon stuff; however, I was most impressed with the talented voice cast they got for it. Cartoon watchers may recognize the voice of Bravoman right away, as it’s a very prolific voice actor. Anyway, here’s a video of the first episode:
And here’s a video of Episode 3. Not a very eventful one, but I liked it for all the commentaries on today’s video game consoles. Plus, Bravoman has some pretty sweet posters in his room.
Anyway, I’m not going to post the other episodes here. Don’t want to bombard you with YouTube links. If you’re interested, you can find the others on your own. As of this writing, I think they have five episodes in total, not sure if there are more on the way. I will note while the second episode was too much like Teen Titans for my liking, it did feature Waya-Hime, one of the bosses from the original game. Waya-Hime was a ninja princess lady, and one of Taki’s alternate costumes in the Soul Calibur games was based on her outfit!
In a way, I kind of wish this stuff was on TV instead of the Internet, then I’d be more inclined to find out more about it. But after viewing these cartoons, I decided to check out Shifty Look’s site and see what else they have. To my surprise, they had a whole plethora of comics based on obscure and well-known Namco game characters! They have Bravoman, Legend of Valkyrie, Wagan Land (a Famicom plaformer starring a little dragon), Dragon Spirit, Golly! Ghost! (a light gun game), Dig Dug, Katamari, Galaga, Xevious, Wonder Momo, Sky Kid, and Klonoa! I think I’ll be reading some comics for a while. But what I want to know is, WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS STUFF SOONER? Maybe nobody knew? Or thought I knew already? Ah, it doesn’t matter. You’d think I would’ve read news about this stuff on a gaming web site or something. Can’t believe I would’ve missed it!
I also wonder how the site makes money off these comics and cartoons. Was the licensing rights to use these character really cheap to get from Namco, or did Namco just not give a flip? Maybe Namco is trying to boost sales of Bravoman on Virtual Console? (Yeah, not likely) I can’t figure it out. One thing I do think is neat is that the Bravoman animated cartoon is fairly family friendly. Maybe Namco had restrictions on what they could do. Granted, in the second episode Waya-Hime talks about stabbing, but that’s it. I’d say if this were on TV it would get a PG or Y7 rating, kind of like Adventure Time or Regular Show. I don’t know if the comics are that way, too, since I haven’t read ALL of them yet. I would think the Wonder Momo comics would be a bit racier, given the nature of the game, perhaps. At any rate, as a classic Namco fan, I thought all this stuff was interesting and I’ll definitely be reading more of those comics. If only I could…pull myself away from…Animal Crossing: New Leaf…