The Blue Bomber is Finally Back! Celebrating 30 Years of Mega Man!

He’s Back! Mega Man turned 30 on December 17, 2017, and Capcom definitely kickstarted the celebration with the big announcement of Mega Man 11. While we wait for the game, we at Comic-Watch would like to discuss a brief history of the Blue Bomber and the road to Mega Man 11. Plus, other highly anticipated Mega Man products, cartoon series, and the movie adaptation all being released to celebrate the Super Fighting Robot’s 30th birthday!

What You Need to Know:

Mega Man is known as Rockman (ロックマン Rokkuman) in Japan was created back on December 17, 1987, by Capcom. The fathers of Mega man, developer Akira Kitamura, and designer Keiji Inafune created this mighty “Blue Bomber” for the NES (Family Computer) which became a massive hit in worldwide. It was not after the release of the 2nd game that the series became one of the most iconic characters in video game history.

For the past 30 years, the game had released multiple spin-offs, each and everyone continuing the spirit of the original game but adding a twist to it. These series were, Mega Man X, Mega Man Legends, Mega Man Battle Network, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man Starforce and Mega Man ZX.

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A lot of the younger generation wouldn’t have even played a Mega Man game much like most of the younger folks don’t even know what a walkman is. These days he retains his relevance as an easter egg or as a guest character featuring in games like Marvel vs Capcom, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and even in Super Smash Bros. 4. Aside from video games, Mega Man has been popular in other media forms too. In Western television, he appeared in the late 80’s animated series “Captain N: The Game Master.” During the mid 90’s Ruby-Spears Production produced the popular Mega Man animated series (I admit that catchy “Super Fighting Robot” theme song is playing in my head right now!) Japan also had their fair share of animated adaptations with the 3 part OVA, which was also an educational way to teach kids a few things about Japanese culture, and also the popular Mega Man NT Warrior series.

But, I guess most of your readers are wondering why am I talking about a video game franchise on a website that focuses more on comic books? Well, Mega Man is also being adapted in comic book format too. Adaptation of the Blue Bomber was mostly dominant in Japanese manga format. Some of these mangas were so popular that most even got translated into English and were released internationally. A few popular ones were Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man Megamix books which are now published in English by Udon Entertainment,  Mega Man NT Warrior by Ryo Takamisaki which was translated in English by Viz Media and Battle Story Rockman.EXE by Keijima Jun and Miho Asada. But Mega Man comics were not only published in Manga format, there were a lot of countries that produced their own comic adaptation too. From the disturbingly strange Brazilian Mega Man comics (trust me you don’t want to know about that adaptation.) To the now defunct, Dreamwave’s short-lived Mega Man series, which was good in its own way despite taking its own liberties with the story. Sadly that comic publishing company had to shut down before it could even release an issue 5 and after teasing a Mega Man X adaptation. And finally to the recent critically acclaimed Archie Comics adaptions written by Ian Flynn. Trust me the Archie adaptation was really well written, even with the major cross-over with Archie’s adaptation of Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog, the quality of the story was still great.

The Dark Times:

But before Mega Man 11 was revealed, fans were already losing hope with the franchise after Mega Man 10’s release and after co-creator, Keiji Inafune left Capcom back in 2010. Things spiraled down for the Blue Bomber’s franchise, 1st with the character being absent in Marvel vs Capcom 3, plus it’s expanded Ultimate version, then the online side-scrolling game Mega Man Universe was canceled on March 31, 2011. The last straw for the fans was the cancelation the highly anticipated Mega Man Legends 3 which was canceled on July 18, 2011, followed by Mega Man Online being canceled in March 2013. The worst part of these cancelations was how all games were still in production. The only thing that kept the franchise alive were other  3rd party merchandises like Kotobukiya’s Plastic Model Kits, Bandai D-Arts Figures, Udon’s Tribute Book and English Publication of Ariga’s mangas, Archie comics’ comic adaptation and the fans.

Capcom, however, did try to release a few Mega Man game after Inafune left the company. Back in 2012, they released the mobile game Mega Man Xover which was received poorly and ironically, they had officially published a fan-made PC game, Street Fighter X Mega Man during both franchise’s 25th anniversary. Despite being developed by a fan, the game gained a favorable response.

Then on August 31, 2013, Keiji Inafune announced his new company, Comcept’s Kickstarter project: Mighty No. 9.

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Fans of the blue bomber got so excited that the co-creator of Mega Man is finally creating a spiritual successor. The Kickstarter campaign was an unexpectedly huge success and was able to meet their goal in a short span of 2 days. However, the production of the game was very controversial because of multiple delays and an awkward advertisment which made fun of their market. When the game officially got out, it was met with poor review and backlash from the fans. The game was poorly developed and felt incomplete. Aside from that, the gameplay did not capture the essence of the Mega Man franchise and also felt flat. Not only was that the issue but those who supported via Kickstarter had reported that the freebies and other exclusive items for backing up the project were either delayed or never arrived.

What You’ll Find Out: 

On December 4, 2017, Capcom held a Mega Man 30th anniversary live stream to celebrate the iconic character’s 3rd decade in the gaming industry. With the announced the live stream, fans speculated that a potential game would be announced. But due to the countless disappointments for the past 7 years, most fans had low expectations.

Capcom came prepared this time. First, they announced a new Mega Man X collection to be released for modern gaming consoles. After a few question and answers about Mega Man X series, Capcom then showed a video of  an 8-bit Mega Man running forward, detailing the games released throughout the years. After watching the Blue Bomber passed 29 years of the games’ history (which sadly shown the last 7 years of no new games) and reaching Dr. Wily, he entered a room with the capsule displaying 2018. The super fighting robot reached the capsule which had him teleport for the veiwers to get a suprising trailer to show off the future of the series.

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Mega Man 11 was finally announced! After years of fans fearing that Capcom is no longer prioritizing one of their company’s mascot, the Blue Bomber is finally back! Aside from this fans were excited to see that the sequel was not another 8-bit game like 9 and 10 but a 3D side-scrolling game (which most people would consider this as 2.5D)

Game Informer is currently doing an exclusive updates with the game’s development, highlighting their time at Capcom Japan HQ when they had a sneak peak and exclusive interviews with the developers. Aside from that, they had released their January 2018 issue with an awesome cover celebrating Mega Man 11’s announcement and the Blue Bomber’s anniversary.

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But Mega Man 11 is not the only product we should be looking forward next year. I’ll list down the most anticipated Mega Man merchandises to be released next year.

Things To Come:

Now, it’s obvious that Mega Man 11, Mega Man X1 – X8 Ports (Collection) and Mega Man Legacy 1 & 2 for Switch is one of the highly anticipated games in 2018. But here are some of the few Mega Man related stuff we are looking forward in 2018, in celebration of the Blue Bomber’s 30th anniversary:

Mega Man Animated Series (Cartoon Network)
Release Date: TBA – 2018

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Back in 2015, it was announced that Man of Action (the creators of Ben 10) was going to produce an all-new animated series based on the Blue Bomber for Cartoon Network. Some teasers were already shown this year and the series itself is scheduled to be released next year!

Mega Man Mastermix (Udon Entertainment)
Release Date: January 24, 2018

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Next month, Hitoshi Ariga’s critically acclaimed manga based on Mega Man is getting re-released in an all-new colored re-mastered version from Udon Entertainment. The colors will be done by Josh Perez who is well known for his work on IDW’s Transformer series.

You can pre-order the 1st issue at Udon’s Official Store.
Also keep an eye on our review for this comic next month as well.

Nendoroid Zero
Release Date: July 2018

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Good Smile Co. is finally releasing a Nendoroid figure for X’s best friend, Zero and is one of the highly anticipated in the Mega Man Nendoroid series too!

Nendoroid Roll
Release Date: TBA 2018

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Zero is not the only one getting the Nendoroid treatment. Roll, Mega Man’s sister was announced to be released sometime next year sporting her new design. The figure was announced back in Tokyo Game Show 2017 and her design was one of the clues Capcom was teasing for the upcoming Mega Man 11 (which was not announced then.)

Mega Man Collector’s Plush (Pop Buddies)
Release Date: TBA 2018

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Pop Buddies announced that they will produce new Mega Man Plushies coming out next year. Aside from that, more designs are teased and will be announced at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg Germany in 2018.

There are more Mega Man related products that are coming out in 2018, like Bandai’s new Rockman X: Mega Missions 4 trading cards. But everyone is now wondering what is the status of the upcoming live-adaptation movie by FOX. Mid this year, the studio announced that they had found the directors for the movie. So far that was the only latest news about the Mega Man movie. The recent biggest news, however, was Disney announcing that they are officially buying out FOX which also happened this month. After the Disney-Fox merger, the talks about the movie is still unknown as of the moment. But if ever it is still in the works it will be interesting to know that Walt Disney is now the movie rights holder of the Mega Man movie franchise.

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At the end of the day, it’s good to see that Mega Man is getting back to the spotlight again and it’s good to know Capcom has big plans for the series after a long hiatus. Here’s to hoping that Mega Man Legends 3 gets a revival and that Archie comics will continue its comic book adaptation again soon!

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For now, let’s all wish Mega Man a happy birthday and here’s to more of the Super Fighting Robot’s fight for everlasting peace!

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