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Welcome to 2013's Battle Arena Otaku Fight! Fight!, MTV Geek's annual brawl between the biggest and best in characters from anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture characters. Not only will we get a chance to spotlight some of most interesting, most intriguing, or simply odd characters from 2013, but it's also a chance to you to have your voice heard. You know the drill: we'll present the matchup, and you the reader will get to choose which character comes out on top. So which mech, heroine (or hero), monster, or mascot will come out on top this year?

iron-man-vs-chie

Billionaire playboy inventor vs. high school badass. The carnivore tomboy against the man in the iron suit. Who will win?

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Now you can see Iron Man on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. in this trailer for "Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore" from Madhouse Studios and Marvel.

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The latest anime based on the Marvel Universe has been dated for April 16th, just in time to get you all hepped up over "Iron Man 3."

We've got the disc details, cover art, and stills from the feature after the jump.

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It looks like Marvel was apparently happy enough with the anime incarnation of their line of characters from the "Ninja Scroll" studio this and last year--so much so, that they're collaborating again on a full-length animated feature called "Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore."

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Jubei's back--and not in a sequel, a remake, or a TV series, either. This winter, Section23 Films is rereleasing Madhouse Studios' "Ninja Scroll" on DVD and giving the anime classic its first domestic Blu-ray release.

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The version of Blade that makes his way into Marvel Anime: Blade is as distinctly unlike the version of the character you've probably conjured in your head based on the three New Line films. This isn't the cooler-than-cool professional badass that Wesley Snipes portrayed in the movies, nor is it the street-level monster hunter from the short-lived TV series. It's not even all that much aligned with the magic combatant and vampire slayer version that took hold around the time of Captain Britain and MI6.

No, Madhouse went another way, seemingly drawing inspiration from samurai films (as Blade '98 did), while also mining the far-flung elements of the character's fictional history (for instance, I'd forgotten that in the comics he was raised in a London brothel after his mother's death). So Madhouse gives us a Blade that walks and talks unlike any version we've seen before, but is still familiar.

And then he starts killing evil harpies and things go sideways (in a good way).

As with Marvel Anime X-Men and Iron Man, Blade is based--roughly, I'd imagine--on a story by Warren Ellis. It takes Blade to Japan and later on an extended tour of Southeast Asia to hunt down Deacon Frost, the vampire that fed on his mother and made the boy who would be Eric Brooks the half-vampire Blade. And that means using his trusty katana to slice through an endless army of vampire henchman who burst immediately into flames while picking up Frost's trail.
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No matter what medium he's in, Blade just can't stop killing vampire. Take Ninja Scroll animation studio Madhouse's interpretation of the half vampire in Marvel Anime: Blade. In the 13 episode series, the Daywalker slices and dices his way through anything that looks even remotely like a vampire in his hunt for Deacon Frost, the enigmatic vampire who infected and turned Blade's mother while she was pregnant, ultimately creating the stylish vampire killer in the process.
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In this sizzle reel for a currently unproduced sequel to the 1993 feature, you can see Madhouse's vision for an sequel that hasn't quite happened yet.

Catch Jubei in action after the jump.
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Marvel's next wave of anime releases are on the way this summer, featuring the two heroes most likely to cut you.
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With the distance of a few days behind me, my feelings on Madhouse's X-Men anime have soured more than during the initial viewing. Even though it specifically called out surface elements from the series, populated the show with characters bearing the names of familiar heroes and villains, and even borrowed heavily from classic stories like "The Phoenix Saga," Marvel Anime: X-Men still failed to feel like anything more than some generic anime script with Marvel dressing. Actually, it took Madhouse's very solid take on Iron Man to realize how much of a wash their previous effort was: where the latter was concerned with name-checking as many familiar X-Men elements as possible, Marvel Anime: Iron Man is a decidedly more specific vision of its character. And while it's not exactly a 1:1 take on the Tony Stark we all know and love (and sometimes roll our eyes at), it's a far more successful adaptation which looks to get to the heart of the character.
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Fairly early in the 12 episodes which comprise the Marvel Anime: X-Men: The Complete Series set, the viewer like myself who has the kind of "deep in the weeds" knowledge of the X-Men will be struck by the sheer familiarity of it all. The story draws on everything from "Days of Future Past," to Professor Xavier's sometimes estranged son Legion, to the modern Astonishing X-Men lineup, to that series' first story arc involving Dr. Kavita Rao. The villains alternately between the mutant vivisecting U-Men to the Hellfire Club (here down a few members and simply dubbed "The Inner Circle"). The second thing that knowledgeable viewer will be struck by—right along with the casual or new fan—is how very thin the story is, stretched out over 287 minutes of TV.

It's not precisely bad (although it does rely on the X-Men to be a little more dense than one might be used to), the X-Men's first foray into anime is equal parts clever reinvention and missed opportunity.

In the mountainous countryside of Japan, young mutant Hisako Ichiki is kidnapped by a person or persons unknown. Her parents reach out to Professor Xavier (Cam Clarke) for help. He reassembles his team of mutants including Storm (Danielle Nicolette), Cyclops (Scott Porter), Beast (Fred Tatasciore), and of course, Wolverine (Steve Blum) to investigate the abduction, although they're still reeling from the death of Jean Grey in her third onscreen Phoenix death. What they find in Japan is an outbreak of sudden power surges by young mutants along with new recruit Ichiki (who takes on codename Armor) and Emma Frost (Alli Hillis). From there, the series juggles the induction of their newest team member along with the mysteries surrounding the local mutant population.
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A little secret about me: I love Blade as a character, but am almost exclusively only familiar with him from the three feature films (two great, one terrible), and his brief appearance in Paul Cornell's Captain Britain and MI:6. So my curiosity is piqued a bit when I remember that there's a Blade anime coming from Madhouse Studios, the company behind TV and feature productions as diverse as Ninja Scroll and Paprika. It's joining Wolverine, Iron Man, and X-Men in the quartet of Marvel anime properties produced for and airing on Japan's Aniplex network, and getting a stateside release on G4TV.

I had a chance to see some footage of Wolverine and Iron Man at WonderCon and I can say that the animation of each--done in the fluid, long-limbed style of many of Madhouse's works--looks pretty good but I didn't see enough to have any sort of opinion of the story.

You can check out the teaser-ish trailer for Blade below.

Blade will air July 1st on Animax and will be coming to G4 later this year.

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