With this episode, we finally see how Yinsen survived and we see what drove him toward his mad obsession with Tony. It’s told in flashback, interspersed with the present plot, that centers around some stolen plutonium. Really though, it’s just a backdrop to give Tony and Yinsen a chance to confront each other and throw down, as you do.
The flashbacks were highly effective as you really did feel for Yinsen. We also see that he’s not as gruff and anti-social as the earlier flashbacks made him out to be. I did have to wonder why the military would unleash a wave of missiles on a wedding ceremony, but that tidbit is clarified when he tells Stark that they were simply errant.
While the plot itself is fairly straight forward. There’s quite a bit going on. We learn that Sakurai has had his security access taken away and there is tension building regarding Tony’s plans. Given Japan’s history, it’s not surprising that they are a little on edge about missing Plutonium. Tony is well aware of the risk and vows to get it back.
His speeches about world peace seem, well, naive. Yeah, providing the world with free energy will reduce the amount of conflict, as resources will no longer be an issue, but there’s more than that. More to the point, not every issue can be wrapped up like energy can. There will always be people who want power and influence, I’m not sure how you change that.
The real highlight of the episode though, is Yinsen. Not only are the flashbacks very well done (Yinsen’s anguished cry notwithstanding) but Kyle Hebert’s voicework greatly added to the tension. It came off like a mix between Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons, all things considered, that’s not too shabby. Hearing him berate Tony for not changing and condemning most of humanity really made for some great dialogue.
Sadly, this was countered by some of the other dialogue, which was a bit on the weak side. Tony’s attempts at trashtalk? Yeah, that didn’t go over so well. I’m also not sure why Tony lamented that he had Yinsen in his grasp. This is self serving memory if I ever saw it. The first confrontation had Tony pinned and beaten. Yinsen left, rather easily, of his own free will, while sicking another Zodiac mech on Iron Man to keep him busy. I wouldn’t exactly call that “in your grasp”.
The episode was heavy on the action, but I wouldn’t call it the most gripping. A lot of it was just long distance shots, watching the two suits fly at each other and then repel. The closer shot sequences were better, but the actions seemed a bit stiff. I guess it’s not that surprising, considering both fighters are in metal suits, but we’ve seen fight sequences with shell head that were more dynamic in other iterations, so it did come off as a bit jarring.
The cliffhanger is a simple one, but it is rather effective. Yinsen manages to knock Tony unconscious, steals his Iron Man armor and tosses Stark off a cliff into a river. It’s understated as there isn’t any sort of dramatic musical cue to accompany it. It just happens and we fade to credits. I think it works a lot better than the sort of cliffhangers used in Wolverine.
Fans of Marvel, or anime in general, in the local Wichita area can catch Iron Man, on Friday nights at 10 pm Central on the G4 network.