REVIEW: Mega Man Mastermix vol. 1 #01 (A Masterful Remix with Splashes of Colors!)

In 20XX, the Nobel laureate in robotics, Dr. Light created the Robot Master series to help mankind with their lives. But one day all of his robots went rogue! It’s up to Rock, Dr. Light’s lab assistant/ household robot and son, to stop his fellow brothers by transforming into the super fighting robot MEGA MAN! Check out Mega Man’s heroic introduction for this first time ever, in a high quality colored reprint of the fan-celebrated Hitoshi Ariga Manga from Udon Entertainment!

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X-Men DOFP homage by Rob “Robaato” Porter Limited Variant Cover
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Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz Variant Cover
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Chamba 2 Variant exclusive for Fried Pie Comics
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UDON Online Store “Mega Girls” by Aki Li Variant Cover

Writer and Artist: Hitoshi Ariga
Color Artist: Josh Perez
Translation by: M. Kirie Hayashi
Copy Editor: Ash Paulsen
English Series Editor: Matt Moylan
Publisher: Udon Entertainment

⚠️ WARNING:  This review contains major spoilers!! ⚠️

What You Need to Know:

Manga artist and writer, Hitoshi Ariga was well known for his manga adaptation of the blue bomber. In Japan, he released the fan favorite Rock Man Remix/Megamix manga series (A.K.A Mega Man Remix/Megamix) back in 1996. His works were so popular that he officially got hired by Capcom as an artist for the Mega Man series back in 1998 for Mega Man and Bass (Rockman and Forte) which was released on the Super Nintendo (Super Family Computer.) It took more than a decade for the manga to be adapted in English and released internationally. In February 2010, Udon Entertainment published the manga’s 1st volume in English for the first time ever. The series was so successful that the sequel, Mega Man Gigamix was then released in 2011. Hitoshi Ariga had also contributed his works with other Mega Man related projects for Udon Entertainment, recently with the Mega Man Tribute and new artworks for Mega Man MM25 complete works. In 2017, Udon Entertainment announced that they were going to reprint Mega Man Megamix but with a twist, they were releasing the series as a quarterly comic book and for the first time ever in color, just in time to celebrate Mega Man’s 30th anniversary.

What You’ll Find Out:

In the year 20XX, world-renowned scientist, Dr. Light created and released the Robot Masters. The Robot Masters were a series of Robots that were created to specifically help and work side by side with mankind. Aside from the indsutrial robots, Dr. Light created and lived with his two helper robots, Rock and Roll. One day, Rock came in Dr. Light’s office to give his creator a cup of tea. Dr. Light and Rock discussed about the Robot Masters with Rock hoping to one day meet his brothers. Roll then interrupted the two telling them that she had to clean the doctor’s lab, eventually kicking both Rock and Dr. Light out.

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Elsewhere, at a power plant, Elec Man left his post and stopped working on his responsibilities. He was one of the known Robot Masters created by Dr. Light. He then communicated with the other Robot Masters and they all started going rogue. Dr. Light then received an emergency call informing him that all of his industrial robots rebelled and attacked at the same time, to Dr. Light’s surprise. He then received a transmission coming from Cutman’s database indicating that the Robot Master was giving orders for the smaller robots to destroy. Elec Man with his fellow Robot Masters then announced to the rest of the robots that it was now time for them to become the masters and not the slaves.

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Behind the scenes a mischievous figure was enjoying the moment, feeling achieved that Dr. Light’s robots were becoming violent and wished he could have seen Dr. Light’s face at that very moment. The military then reported back to Dr. Light that his industrial robots were too difficult and too strong to defeat. Dr. Light thought and wondered who could be responsible to do this when he knew that he made the programming of the robot very difficult to hack and reprogram. Rock couldn’t bear seeing the good doctor stressed and worried, he suggested and volunteered that he got remodeled into a battle robot. Dr. Light refused and wouldn’t allow Rock to risk his life and get destroyed in battle. Rock insisted and told him that the Robot Masters were his brothers and it was his responsibility to stop them and that even if Dr. Light refused he would still go. This surprised both Dr. Light and Roll.

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Later, Cut Man saw a jet plane pass through his area. He ordered his minions to attack the flying vehicle but was stopped by an unknown power shot. The pilot of the jet saw this and reported back to Dr. Light that the mysterious robot responsible for that shot arrived safely. Cut Man tried to find in his database who the mysterious robot was but could not find any information. The mysterious figure then introduced himself, it was Rock who was now transformed into the super fighting robot, Mega Man. The two then went into battle with Mega Man finally defeating Cut Man. Meanwhile, the mysterious evil scientist was surprised and wondered who that mysterious robot that defeated Cut Man, was. Mega Man then approached the lifeless body of Cut Man and absorbed/copied his power. He was then more determined to stop his other brothers.

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The evil scientist who was watching him the whole time then gave Mega Man a difficult time by adding more obstacles to stop the Blue Bomber. Mega Man suddenly fell down on a trap door, came face to face with Elec Man and fought with each other. Meanwhile, Dr. Light arrived at the scene trying to repair the lifeless Cut Man. While doing the repairs he discovered a chip which gave him answers to who was responsible for this chaos, it was his former partner who disappeared years ago, Dr. Wily. Back at the battlefield, Mega Man was able to defeat Elec Man by using the Rolling Cutter ability he copied off from Cut Man.

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Mega Man then approached Elec Man and absorbed/copied his powers. The building then started to collapse, during that moment Mega Man heard the alarm system indicating that the nuclear reactor went out of control and will explode in few moments. Elec Man who was still lying down woke up and told Mega Man that it was him who was controlling the reactor, but now that he was defeated he lost control of it and the nuclear reactor was about to explode and destroy everything near a 5-kilometer radius. Mega Man asked Elec Man how to stop the reactor, but Elec Man wouldn’t say. Mega Man said that regardless if Elec Man would give out the information he will find a way to stop it and save everyone. Elec Man wondered why Mega Man was so determined to rescue the humans. Despite this, Elec Man gave Mega Man the location of the reactor.

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Dr. Light was then able to communicate with Mega Man, instructing him to come home for repairs but Mega Man refused and informed him of the information he got off from Elec Man. This then worried both Dr. Light and Roll even more. Mega Man then encountered, fought and defeated Bomb Man, Fire Man and Ice Man respectively. The human soldiers then told Dr. Light that the area was becoming more dangerous than ever and suggested to evacuate. Dr. Light told Roll and the miltary that he was not retreating the area, and went inside the fortress to help out. Meanwhile, Mega Man encountered the last Robot Master, Guts Man. Mega Man had a hard time penetrating Guts Man’s armor. Guts Man’s power caused the earth to shake making it challenging for Mega Man to move around and fight back. Mega Man was able to find a solution and used Bomb Man’s Hyper Bombs to defeat Guts Man.

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Mega Man entered into another room and was then caught off guard. A giant one-eyed-robot called the Yellow Devil captured the Blue Bomber. Mega Man then heard a mysterious voice congratulating him for the efforts in defeating the Robot Masters. That mysterious voice then revealed himself, it was the evil Dr. Wily. Mega Man was able to break free of the Yellow Devil’s grasp using Guts Man’s powers. Mega Man then shot the Yellow Devil’s eye with Elec Man’s Thunder Beam, destroying the giant robot in the process. Shocked, Dr. Wily then tried to persuade and invite Mega Man to join his rebellion. Mega Man refused the invitation, was about to attack Dr. Wily when all of a sudden something really quick sliced and cut off Mega Man’s arm. Dr. Wily then told him, that he was not only relying on Dr. Light’s robot to take over the world, and that he had now just finished creating the Wily Robot Masters. Mega Man then saw 8 new hooded robots which helped Dr. Wily escape the scene. Mega Man was about to go after them when Dr. Light arrived and stopped his son. Mega Man informed Dr. Light that he was in danger since they were near the reactor. Dr. Light told Mega Man not to worry and shown him that the good doctor was able to repair his 6 brothers who were all now able to stop the reactor from exploding. Mega Man then thanked the Robot Masters who felt awkward and sorry for the chaos they had caused. Dr. Light told them that it was not their fault and that it was Dr. Wily’s chip that changed their programming without their choice. Their talk was then interrupted by Cut Man who was being chased down by Roll who was helping out repairing the Robot Master. The scene was so funny that everyone ended up laughing at Cut Man and Roll.

What Just Happened?

I have seen the original Remix edition back in early 2000’s and back then I had always wished that it got published in English one day. Thankfully that wish was granted thanks to Udon Entertainment finally releasing the manga in English back in 2010. Back then they had wonderfully kept the manga as close to the Japanese version without altering the art for the sake of making it accessible for the western readers.

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Rock Man REMIX by Hitoshi Ariga (1996)

The book was a big success, which resulted in Udon releasing the sequels a few years after Ariga published them in Japan. I am only surprised why it took them this long to finally decide to remaster the book with colors! I won’t complain though since the wait was worth it and I can definitely say that the book looked better than ever in color.

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Original B&W Page from Udon’s Mega Man Megamix Manga by Hitoshi Ariga (2010)

I will address and discuss primarily what this version had to offer compared to the manga version. Josh Perez’s colors definitely gave a new breath of fresh air to the series. Who would have thought he could masterfully color a comic which was primarily made for the manga’s black and white format. I love the fact that the style he went after was the same coloring style Hitoshi Ariga would color his artworks back when he was teasing the fans a colored version of this manga in the 90s. He meticulously colored the book and made sure he paid attention to every detail without altering the gorgeous art by Ariga-san. Aside from emulating Ariga’s coloring, another thing to note was the fact that the colors matched the whole theme and style of the Mega Man series. Which meant that he was able to capture the very vibrant and colorful world of the Mega Man games. The colors felt natural and did not feel flat at all. Especially after seeing how every special effect looked wonderful from Dr. Light’s computers emitting light, to the Robot Masters explosive powers and minor details like Cut Man’s eye displaying “Cannot Comprehend” when he first met Mega Man. I cannot say much after that but only praise Perez for the quality and heart he had poured out to his work for this remaster. I think it was a plus that Udon Entertainment had added Ariga-san’s character designs at the end of the book with Perez’s colors.

Hitoshi Ariga’s works still looked beautiful after 2 decades. His art is bursting with life and is still fun to look at to this day. You knew by reading the book that he is a huge Mega Man fan with the care and attention to details he added and done for this adaptation. I still really love the fact that he wrote the story so close to the original source and added depth to the origins of Mega Man. Even up til’ this day I still think this was one of the best adaptation of the origins of the Blue Bomber comparing it to other adaptations of the story like the 90’s animated Ruby-Spears series and Archie’s recent comic adaptation.

Overall, this remastered version, in my opinion, was a success at what it was trying to achieve. It gave us another reason to collect Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man adaptation again. Plus it was amazing how Josh Perez’s ability was able to bring new life to Ariga’s works and gave us a different version to enjoy and appreciate for both old and new fans. Of course, I know for a fact that this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some might not like the new colored editions and that is totally fine. If you’re a black and white manga purist then Udon has your back, you can always buy the original English manga version they had released before if you haven’t read the series yet.

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Pros:

  • Hitoshi Ariga’s art still looked wonderful after 2 decades. It even looked better with colors!
  • Josh Perez beautiful coloring added life without altering the art which was originally drawn for a manga format.
  • Udon Entertainment masterfully remastered and published the book at high quality
  • Newcomers/readers don’t require to play or know the game to jump into the book

Cons:

  • The pricing is a little bit too much, but for an 80 pages comic book printed in high quality, I don’t think I should add this comment as a con.
  • It would have been better if we got a better backstory for the robot masters, however, I can’t really complain since this was already an established 20 years old manga.

Rating: 10/10

Final Thought:

Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man Mastermix is another testament to how good his adaptations were and still are to this day.  His work is aging like a high-quality wine when after 2 decades, the art and story are still beautiful to look at and fun to read. Now with colors added by Josh Perez, the book feels fresh and has brought in new life to the series. Udon Entertainment did an excellent job producing a high-quality book that has given a new life to a classic. A remaster that is a definite must buy for the veteran fans and a book that is easy to pick up for newer readers who doesn’t need to play the game or know the history and lore of the character.

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