According to a NY Times article, Marvel has partnered with Japanese animation studio Madhouse to produce four new animated series specifically for Japan for 2010.
But this won't simply be anime versions of the characters we know and love as we recently saw in Batman: Gotham Knights, instead the heroes will be recreated with backstories, costumes and personalities that are relevant to the Japanese culture.
"Marvel today is so open-minded," said Jungo Maruta, the president and chief executive of Madhouse, through his interpreter, Alex Yeh, the chief operating officer of the studio, during a recent meeting in New York. "Marvel gives creators freedom to fly."
Names that have been thrown around to get this anime treatment are Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Man. No surprises there. Marvel has taken their three biggest properties in order to ensure good ratings. I'm sure the fourth will be the Hulk.
I personally think this is a great idea. Marvel's What If... comics are some of my favourites along with alternate storylines like Age of Apocalypse, the Ultimate Universe and 2099 series. I love seeing these characters re imagined in a different light. So the proposition of a whole new Marvel universe has me very excited.
However, Marvel has already tried the whole Japanese-versions-of-superheroes thing with the short-lived Marvel Mangaverse comic books which weren't very good. I'm hoping that this will be better.
I already know the animation will be top notch. Madhouse has been animating since the mid 70s and have produced shows like Trigun, Ninja Scroll, Death Note and the In Darkness Dwells segment of Batman: Gotham Knight, as well as American animation such as the two Hellboy animated films and Todd McFarlane's Spawn.
Details are sparse right now but I will bring you much more information as I get it!