Marvel Anime (Part 1): Iron Man

Welcome to 2017, my friends!  With the dawn of a new year, it’s about time that I launch a brand new review series as well.  As such, welcome to the inaugural entry of…

Marvel Anime!

Serving as a joint venture between Marvel Entertainment and the Japanese animation studio Madhouse, this project was first announced at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con as a way to introduce the Japanese populace to these comic book properties.  With Warren Ellis guiding these TV series as the head writer, all of these tales would mainly take place in Japan.  With that said, we begin our venture with the Armored Avenger himself…

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Debuting on the Japanese TV channel Animax from October 1 to December 17, 2010, this inaugural series wouldn’t arrive in America until it was shown on the now-defunct channel G4 from July 23 to October 14, 2011.  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment would release the 12-episode series for DVD on April 24, 2012.  For this series, I watched each entry with the English dub and will only credit the English voice actors.  My reason is that these will be long enough in discussing the overall plots & characters and I want to keep these episode summaries as short and precise as I can.  As such, let’s suit up and being our overseas romp.

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We open on our first episode “Japan: Enter Iron Man” as Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (voiced by Adrian Pasdar a.k.a. Glenn Talbot from “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) arrives in Kyoto, Japan.  He meets his fellow partner who’s also the lead scientist of Lab 23, Dr. Chika Tanaka (voiced by Laura Bailey).

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After a short ride, Tony boards a helicopter and meets with Japan’s Minster of Defense named Kuroda (voiced by Neil Kaplan).  We learn that Stark Industries has built an Arc Station here and that Tony has an upcoming armor to present to the local public called Iron Man Dio with training for its eventual wearer already underway.  He also tells Kuroda that he’s giving up his world-known role of Iron Man.  Shortly upon landing, Tony asks for a favor concerning Iron Man Dio’s press conference.

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Inside, Chika informs Tony that the Arc Reactor is nearly good to go and that it needs a Plutonium Priming Device in order to be completely operational.  We learn from Tony that this station will supply the Japanese citizens with an unlimited supply of free energy, but Dr. Tanaka has her doubts concerning what they would think it was actually being used for.  She also tells him that in order for him to understand what it takes for the Japanese populace to care about him, he must start with “a modicum of humility”.

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Later, Tony returns to his Japanese estate where he receive a Vid Call from Virginia “Pepper” Potts (voiced by Cindy Robinson).  She informs him that the Iron Man Dio armor is ready and that the trainees are on their way to Japan.  Tony tells Pepper that things are looking up for his Japanese Arc Station and that it’s going to lead to greater things.

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We cut to the next day at the Tokyo Journal where Chief Editor Nomura (voiced by Daran Norris) rejects an article from reporter Nanami Ota (voiced by Eden Riegel).  Via a competing newspaper, he tells her and her fellow photographer Ichiro Masuda (voiced by Benjamin Diskin) to cover Tony Stark’s business venture.

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Over at the Arc Reactor compound, Tony introduces the three candidates to the Iron Man Dio armor.  After learning which pilot will give the initial test run (the one on the far right), Tony takes his leave to go watch.

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We then cut to the Japanese Self-Defense Force test site at Mt. Fuji where the armor gives a quick demonstration by firing a Repulsior Ray that’s powerful enough to stop a tank’s shot mere inches from itself.  Afterwards, Tony declares that it’s time to demonstrate its flight capabilities and for Kuroda to help him out with his “favor”.

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As he departs from Mt. Fuji, Tony is confronted by the Japanese press (including Nanami & Ichiro) who question him if his project is going to be used for military purposes.  Stark proceeds to inform the press that he has no such desires towards combative purposes and that his Arc Reactor will provide the country with unlimited free energy as a step towards World Peace.  When a reporter asks him if he’ll be suiting up as Iron Man during his stay, Tony tells them that he won’t and uses the opportunity to announce his retirement from his superhero persona, but also states that they’ll still have an Iron Man to protect them.

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When Ichiro tells her to go ask Tony a question, Nanami proceeds to head towards him.  However, she accidentally trips over a reporter’s foot and lands onto Stark.  After Tony makes a cute remark to her about a “1-on-1”, the scene ends with an embarrassed Nanami slapping him in the face in response.

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Sometime later, Tony Stark shows off his live demonstration of his newest gift to Japan: Iron Man Dio.  Also, it’s Tony himself and not one of the test pilots that’s in the suit and demonstrating it for the Japanese masses.

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Suddenly, a flash of light pops in as the armor suddenly malfunctions and slams down onto the streets.  Fortunately, he survives the crash and lands next to Nanami (who was watching the event from her car).  He contacts Dr. Tanaka and lets her know that he’ll leave the suit for her team to pick up.  Nanami agrees to give him a ride back to his place, as long as he agrees to give her an exclusive interview.

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After confirming to her that he’s retiring from his Iron Man persona, Tony asks Nanami for her opinion on what the Japanese think of him.  She says that they admire him, but are also a bit worried about him withholding a “secret agenda”.  After their conversation sidetracks into dating and has Tony talking about how he kisses, Nanami gets embarrassed again and stops her car.  From there, Stark gets out under his own power and makes it back to his house having skimped out on Nanami’s interview.

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That night, Tony runs a diagnostic but is unable to find anything wrong with his suit.  After calling to tell him that the trainee team is conducting their own diagnostic, Chika proceeds to overlook the operation as a test pilot dons the Iron Man Dio armor and tests out the Repulsor Beams.

Suddenly, the pilot receives a massive strain on his head and falls to his knees.  Shortly afterwards, the armor gets up and fires a massive Repulsor Blast at the remaining test pilots.  When Chika informs him on what just happened, Tony realizes that Iron Man Dio has been compromised.  In his thoughts, Stark believes that it’s connected to the flash of light that he saw earlier.

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Suddenly, the hacked armor starts to blast its way out.  Tony tells her to not let it escape, to which Chika orders for some blast doors to get shut.  However, the heavily-reinforced hatches easily fall as Iron Man Dio effortlessly blows them down with powerful Repulsor Beams.  After Tanaka informs him of the bad news, Stark tells her to send the building into lockdown and that he’ll get there as fast as he can.

Realizing that his superheroic days still aren’t behind him, Tony once again suits up as Iron Man and takes off towards his Japanese lab where he arrives just as the Dio armor has completely blasted its way outside.  From there, the two Iron Men tussle for a brief moment in the skies before Iron Man forces the Dio armor down onto the beach.

Just as he’s about to reclaim his armor, Tony is suddenly attacked by a giant, mechanical monster.  After pinning Iron Man down, the beast introduces itself as Scorpio, a “warrior” who’s also a member of a group called Zodiac.  From there, it powers up its stinger in order to execute Iron Man.

Fortunately, Tony uses his leg boosters to blast the creature off.  With the weakened Scorpio saying that it’s “only the beginning”, Iron Man finishes it off with a massive Repulsor Beam.

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And so, Episode 1 ends with Iron Man returning to the unconscious pilot.  However, he discovers that the Iron Man Dio armor is gone.

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After Episode 2 “Going Nuclear” opens with a ship getting robbed of a particular item at night…

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…we shift over to daytime at the Tokyo Journal where Nanami reads an informative article about Tony Stark.  Suddenly, she sees a news broadcast about Stark being called to the Parliament Building where not only is his Arc Reactor coming under question, but he’s also being accused of illegally smuggling Plutonium into Japan.  As such, she and Ichiro head out to cover the event.

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Shortly before his meeting with the Japanese Parliament, Tony learns from Minister Kuroda that Plutonium was stolen from a cargo ship owned by one of Stark Industries’ companies that didn’t have any military escort.  Feeling that someone is trying to frame him for the crime, Tony asks for permission to recover the missing Plutonium.  However, Kuroda says that the Maritime Self-Defense Force is already working on it.

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From there, he meets in front of the Japanese Parliament.  With the event being covered on TV, Tony is asked about his current accusation, to which he responds by saying “It’s a friggin’ lie”.  Sometime later, various reporters surround him with questions as he takes his leave from the governmental building.

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Fortunately, he sees Nanami and Ichiro arriving too late to cover the official meeting.  He manages to reach their car and ask for help in eluding the press.  With the reporters bearing down on them, our threesome climb into the vehicle and escape.

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After making their getaway, Nanami gets started on her second attempt at an interview with Tony.  With accusations hovering over Stark and his company, she offers to write about his side of the story and help prove that he’s innocent.  However, that’s the only thing that she’s able to say to him as Tony denies her chance to interview him.

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Sometime later, the Maritime Self-Defense Force calls in to report that they searched the entire cargo ship and didn’t find anything suspicious.  However, a smirk hangs over the leader’s face shortly afterwards.

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Not too long afterwards, Tony arrives at the cargo ship as Iron Man and proceeds to head below deck.  After his computer system detected a sparse group of human life aboard, he makes his way towards them.  After discovering the actual Maritime Self-Defense Force members unconscious, he asks one of them on what happened.  He learns from the barely-conscious man that they were attacked by a creature.  Shortly afterwards, he makes his way to the main holding cell where the Plutonium used to be stored.

Just then, another robotic member of Zodiac arrives as Cancer proceeds to tangle with Iron Man.  After blasting their way outside, they fly around for a while before Iron Man knocks the behemoth into the Pacific Ocean.  As he flies back to Japan, he contacts Minister Kuroda and informs him that he found the cargo ship and that Zodiac (a terrorist affiliate of Advanced Idea Mechanics or A.I.M.) is behind this.  However, Kuroda doesn’t believe him and thinks that Stark is making an excuse for his crime.  As such, Tony says that he’ll find the Plutonium in order to prove his innocence.

Shortly after arriving at the docks, Iron Man hacks into the security camera and plays back the recent footage.  From there, he discovers a group of men in suits with their stolen plutonium getting into a black car as he takes off to find them.

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Little does he know however is that someone was watching him from afar as he then heads out on his motorcycle.

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After arriving back at his Japanese home, Tony programs his company satellite to track down the thieves’ car and have the coordinates sent to his armor.  From there, he proceeds to head out in his slick car.

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Unbeknownst to him, he passes by Nanami and Ichiro.  Still kicking herself for not getting the chance to interview him, Nanami proceeds to give chase after him.  After a short while, Tony manages to get past the railroad tracks right before the gates come down.

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Fortunately, this doesn’t slow Nanami down as she takes Ichiro’s camera and makes it past the tracks right before the train passes by.  From there, she takes a bystander’s scooter in order to get back in the chase.

Tony then accesses the city’s traffic system in order to turn all of the traffic lights red.  As the mysterious motorcyclist is puzzled by the sudden gridlock, the Plutonium thieves attempt to weave their way around the vehicular jam.

As a result of his plan, Tony manages to reach the criminals as they attempt to elude him before reaching their rendezvous point.  However, they’re forced to stop due to an approaching security checkpoint.  At the same time, Nanami catches up and drives down some stairs to order to reach her target.

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From there, Tony proceeds to fire a pair of mini-missiles from his car which hits the thieves’ vehicle and tips over.  Afterwards however, Nanami unintentionally crashes into the upturned car as both parties drop their cases.  Tony then arrives and demands for the return of his Plutonium to the thugs.

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Just then, the mysterious man from before confronts him and exclaims that Japan doesn’t need Stark and his recklessness.  Using this distraction to their advantage, the thugs pick up their metal case and take off for their destination.  Meanwhile, Nanami joins our current group in order to finally get her elusive interview.

Before she gets the chance however, they’re interrupted by the arrival of a massive armored car.  As the mystery man and Nanami take off, Tony’s personal computer detects a radioactive signature coming from the spunky reporter.  It turns out that she accidentally acquired the Plutonium.  With the thugs fully aware of their screw-up, they proceed to hunt her down as she flees for her life.

As Tony keeps up his pursuit, he activates a special function in his car that allows him to don his Iron Man armor.  Shortly afterwards, the armored car turns on its cloaking device that even shields it from Tony’s scanners.  As the mystery man joins in on the pursuit, he contacts his superiors on clearing the streets.  We also find out that he’s Nagato Sakurai (voiced by Travis Willingham), a member of the Japanese Self-Defense Force.

Nagato manages to deliver a key assist by sacrificing his motorcycle.  The explosion creates enough detail for Iron Man to pick up the armored vehicle and bring its rampage to an end with a powerful Repulsor Beam.  However, Nanami’s not out of trouble yet as Cancer returns to retrieve the Plutonium.

After saving her life and informing her that she’s unintentionally carrying the Plutonium, Iron Man engages Cancer and manages to best the robotic beast.  The fight concludes with our Armored Avenger tossing the creature into the sky and blasting it with a pair of Repulsor Beams.

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Later, Nanami has written an article about Tony Stark who’s been cleared of all charges thanks to his effort as Iron Man and that the Japanese citizens shouldn’t be too quick to judge their American ally.  Afterwards, Ichiro arrives and gives her a flower bouquet sent from Tony himself.

And so, Episode 2 ends with Nagato talking to Kuroda about Tony Stark and his rule-breaking style.  Later, the JSDF Captain arrives back at the underground base where a particular armor is being constructed.

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Following a tornado that pops up out of nowhere to cause some quick death and destruction…

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…we begin Episode 3 “Reap The Whirlwind” over at the Arc Reactor Station.  Chika presents Tony with the mechanism that will serve as the building’s security system: an EMP Generator.  Dr. Tanaka explains that the device sends out an electromagnetic pulse that can disable whatever device its targeted at.  After a demonstration where it takes out a nearby flat-screen TV, Chika informs Tony that it’s currently in Beta form since it only has a limited range at the moment.

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Just then, she gets a phone call from Professor Satoshi Yamaguchi who’s driving as fast as he can to get away from the tornado.  He tells her that “they” managed to knock off Professor Ohno (as evident from the episode’s opening scene) and tries to warn her.  Unfortunately, he gets sucked up into the tornado and dies.

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We then cut to the next day at the Tokyo Journal where Nanami shows an article to her boss Nomura about the freak tornado incident that claimed Prof. Yamaguchi’s life.  After bringing up Prof. Ohno’s similar fate, the scene ends with her believing that a connection between their deaths exists somewhere.

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Over at the U.S. Military Base, another freak tornado has suddenly popped up.  With its violent winds, it proceeds to suck up various vehicles and aircrafts.

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Fortunately, Tony Stark was quick to respond as Iron Man.  After making his way through the vicious wind funnel, he discovers the cause of these freak storms.  It turns out to be another robotic member of Zodiac named Aries.

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Several miles away at a local university, Nanami meets up with Professor Michelinie (Sakamoto in the Japanese dub) in order to write an opinion piece concerning the recent freak tornadoes.  Shortly afterwards, Chika arrives and meets the young reporter with Prof. Michelinie telling her that Dr. Tanaka was one of his best meteorology students.  From there, the scene ends with her explaining to Nanami that even though she works with Tony, she doesn’t exactly “know him”.

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Meanwhile, Aries’ tornado continues its destructive path as it rips through a train yard.  Iron Man tries firing his Repulsor Beams at a receiver on top of the mechanical monster, but it has no result.  From there, Aries takes Stark out by launching a retractile hand out to grab and fling him out of the funnel, causing Iron Man to crash down onto the streets.

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Back at the university, Nanami and Chika try to learn about the connection that Prof. Michelinie had with the deceased Ohno and Yamaguchi.  He explains that they (and Chika) were part of a research initiative called the Tesla Project, a way to control typhoons and hurricanes in order to avert these natural disasters.  However, the project was ceased before it could become perfected.  Due to recent events, Dr. Tanaka gets the feeling that Tesla isn’t as dead as they thought.

Just then, Aries’ tornado reaches the university as our threesome get struck by the fierce winds.  In the aftermath, Chika finds Michelinie unconscious and wounded as she tells Nanami to call for an ambulance.

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Meanwhile, Tony has a Stark Industries truck transport his armor back to Lab 23.  As if losing to Aries within the destruction wasn’t bad enough, the head relief worker acts rude to him and tells Stark to clear out so that he can tend to the injured and displaced.

A short time later, relief workers are trying to save an unconscious mother and her child who are trapped in a damaged bus that’s about to fall into the water.  However, time is running short before the ropes give out while a helpful crane is unable to reach them due to the pitiful road conditions.  Just then, Tony emerges and offers to assist them.  Unfortunately, the head relief worker rejects his help.  Stark states that it’s okay if someone doesn’t like him, but he’s more than willing to give them the equipment that they currently need.  However, his act of kindness is still turned down since the head worker wants no part with a man whose company used to create weapons.

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Meanwhile, Chika and Nanami are on the road as the young reporter tells our scientist that she got a tip about the recently-damaged U.S. Military Base.  She tries to ask the good doctor for some background on the Telsa Project, but Tanaka doesn’t say a word and drives off. Nanami tries to catch up, but Chika is able to speed away.  Fortunately, our tabloid girl reaches the head scientist who has arrived at a particular destination.

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Back at the disaster site, Tony manages to help the relief workers secure the lines in order to prevent the bus from going over, despite the group leader’s orders for him to clear out.  However, the weight has put too much strain on the ropes as the embedded spikes are ripped out of the ground, causing the bus to fall into the current.  With the crane still blocked by debris-covered roads and the massive vehicle starting to get pulled under, Tony dives in and attempts to save the mother and her crying child.

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Back with our two heroines, Chika discovers that someone managed to open certain encrypted files even though access was only allowed for those who worked on the venture.  In order to help out, Nanami wants to know what exactly the Tesla Project is.  Tanaka finally gives in and tells her that it combines Tesla’s electromagnetic principle and Butterfly Theory in order to essentially turn the planet into one giant electromagnetic device.

Shortly after Chika discovers an e-mail extension coming from Prof. Michelinie’s university, our two heroines are suddenly confronted by the corrupt tutor himself.  He explains that Zodiac was able to give the Tesla Project its necessary funding, securing the preservation of his work.  With the satisfied feeling that his research will live on (albeit through villainous acts), Michelinie fires his ray gun.  Fortunately, our heroines dodge the blast as Nanami shoves a crate towards him.  He ends up getting disarmed and falls down, allowing the two women to escape.

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We then have a quick scene where the relief workers wait in baited breath for any sign of life.  Fortunately, Tony emerges with the mother and child on a successful rescue.

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Later, Chika presents Tony with a powerful EMP Cannon that can shut down any piece of tech in its path.  The drawback is that due to its widespread range, his Iron Man armor could also be affected by it as well.  She offers to give his suit some EMP protection, but she doesn’t get the opportunity as they’re informed that a pair of F-5 tornadoes are striking the Yokosuka Base.

Despite being noticed by the relief workers, Professor Michelinie is too delusional and delighted by the sight of his destructive work as he gets himself sucked up into the massive funnel.  Meanwhile, Iron Man takes the EMP Cannon into the violent winds and proceeds to fend off Aries’ attacks.

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Ultimately, Iron Man manages to plant the EMP Cannon on top of Aries and unleashes its power.  This manages to shut down the mechanized tornado terror, but it also effects Tony’s armor as the two of them begin to plummet towards the ground.

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Stark manages to begin the reboot process on his suit, but has to wait 30 seconds before it becomes complete.  Just as Aries slams into the ground in defeat, Iron Man manages to finish its start-up in the nick of time.  And so, Episode 3 ends with the head relief worker admiring him for his guts while Iron Man flies back to base while engaging in comforting conversation with Chika.

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Following the birth of his superhero persona by defeating his terrorist captors, but not before losing an important friend…

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…we continue our trip into the past which opens Episode 4 “A Twist Of Memory, A Turn Of The Mind”.  Back when his company used to make weapons, Tony unveils a revolutionary aircraft that travels through the air and underwater: the Screamer.  A small squadron emerges from the ocean and demonstrates their firepower by blowing up a deserted island, impressing the U.S. Military personnel at hand.

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As Tony heads out to secure his weapons deal, he’s suddenly under attack as a terrorist fires a rocket launcher and strikes the helicopter, causing the craft to plummet to the sandy ground.

Fortunately, Stark was able to survive the crash.  Unfortunately, he suffered a massive wound in his chest and ultimately collapses onto the desert floor.  From there, the terrorist group capture him and take him back to their base.

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Sometime later, Tony wakes up bound to a chair and calmly asks how much the ransom will be for his safe return.  Surprisingly, the terrorist says that they’re not interested in Stark’s money.  However, he gets a double dose of bad news.  Not only does his chest wound require medical help in order to prevent him from dying, but now he’s forced into making weapons for his captors.

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From there, a man named Dr. Ho Yinsen (voiced by Kyle Hebert) preps his shot and states how this “death merchant” would be far off better if he was dead.  Thinking that he’s about to be injected with a toxin, Tony screams for the man to “Wait!”.

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Just then, Tony wakes up as it turns out that he was having a nightmare.  From there, he takes out a coin that he received from Ho Yinsen as we learn from Stark that those scenes played out five years prior.

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We then cut to the hospital where Nanami and Ichiro are with Kawashima, a racer who broke both of his legs after a vicious crash.  Looking towards a full recovery, he promises to give Nanami an exclusive first interview the moment that he’s back on the track.

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That evening, Tony and Chika are at a charity banquet where Stark Industries-sponsored race cars are on display.  When Tanaka asks about his investment towards these automobiles, he says that he wants to help his company’s image in the eyes of the Japanese and prove that Stark Industries does have a human side.  When Chika asks what made him go from a weapons manufacturer to a World Peace advocator, Tony begins to explain his backstory, starting with his imprisonment via foreign terrorists.

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As Tony scrambles through the provided scrap in order to find necessary components to make a weapon, he finds out that Yinsen is actually a prisoner like him.  Stark says that he doesn’t care that he’s building a weapon for his enemy, since it’s the only thing in his mind that’ll keep him alive.  In response, Ho punches him in the face and asks him if he’s ever wondered about the number of lives lost due to the weapons built by his company.  Yinsen also tells Stark that he only prolonged his life by one week since that’s how long the battery in his makeshift pacemaker will last.  As such, Ho tells him that it’s just long enough for Tony to “regret” what he’s done with his weapons.  The flashback ends with Stark telling Chika how these events help bring “clarity” to one’s life.

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Having spent his adult life creating and profiting from weapons that have ultimately taken lives, Tony tells Tanaka of a personal vow that he made upon getting his freedom: He would dedicate his life to undone the damage that he has caused.

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We then have a quick scene at the hospital where Kawashima is in misery as he hits his helmet across the room, since he’s been informed that he’s unable to make enough of a recovery to race again.  Just then, a mysterious figure (who also observed Tony at the gala earlier) comes in and gives him an opportunity to get behind the wheel again, with one favor in mind.

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We then cut to the next day at the race track as Tony watches his sponsored car take a test run on the course.  Just then, Nanami arrives and informs him that she’s here to interview Kawashima, since he made such a miraculous recovery.

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However, we find out in Kawashima’s thoughts on how he was able to make an impossible recovery.  It turns out that the mystery man helped him and even managed to program him in a way with one goal in mind: Kill Tony Stark.  As such, he steers his race car towards the stands and attempts to ram him.

Fortunately, Tony gets some unexpected help as a familiar friend comes in and slices the car in half.  After Stark saves Nanami from half of the debris, he sees that his life was saved by James Howlett a.k.a. Logan a.k.a. Wolverine (voiced by Jess Mariano and Peter Petrelli himself, Milo Ventimiglia).

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Shortly afterwards, our threesome soon discover how Kawashima fully recovered and survived his firey crash as well: He’s become part-cyborg.  From there, he makes his escape.

Back in flashback mode, Tony manages to create the signature key to his heart’s survival: his first Arc Reactor.  He explains to Yinsen that it’ll keep his main ticker alive for 150 years.  Not only that, but it’ll help out with the key to their escape: an armor that will fend off the opposing terrorists.

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When offered the chance to help out, Ho says that it ultimately comes down to chance.  As such, he shows a coin that saved him from an opposing knife and flips it into the air.  Since it landed in favor of Tony, they proceed to get to work.  During their conversation, Yinsen is very pessimistic towards Stark since it was “men like him” who came to this once-peaceful country and ravaged it, bringing civil war and the deaths to many people, including Ho’s family.

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After a while, the first piece of Tony’s armor is complete as the flashback comes to a temporary end.

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Back in the present, Tony learns about Zodiac’s scheme of turning people into (as Logan describes them) “Techno-Organic Zombies”.  In fact, it’s because of A.I.M. that Wolverine is in Japan to begin with.  After Stark tells him that he’ll deal with Zodiac, he’s given a USB Drive that contains information on the opposing group.

The next day, Tony heads out as Nanami follows him in order to help.  After donning his Iron Man armor, he tells the young reporter to flee for her safety.  Just then, Kawashima arrives to fight Stark.  When Nanami demands to know how this murderous intent is in anyway involved with him racing again, he explains that his job is everything and killing Tony will help.  As such, he heads inside the warehouse with Iron Man following suit.

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After a brief search, he’s suddenly confronted by the next member of Zodiac: Taurus.  With Kawashima at the controls, he begins the fight by charging at our Armored Avenger.

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After a short while, Iron Man slows down Taurus by grabbing its horns and standing his ground.  He tries convincing Kawashima to break free from Zodiac’s control, but the tragic racer isn’t given the chance as electrical pipes and tendrils wrap themselves around him and take control.

As such, Taurus pushes Iron Man towards the wall and pins him.  Fortunately, Wolverine comes in and slashes off one of its front legs.  This allows Iron Man to deliver the finishing blow as he fires a chest beam into the mechanical beast and causes it to explode.

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Fortunately, he managed to save Kawashima from the blast.  From there, he tells Nanami to get to Lab 23 since they’re the only ones that can save his life.

With Nanami on her way and his computer system detecting the return of the Dio armor, Logan offers to help out.  However, Iron Man says that this is something he must deal with.  After Wolverine takes his leave, Tony takes to the skies as he encounters Iron Man Dio.  The two armored figures proceed to fight before Dio’s chest beam takes Iron Man out of the skies as he slams back down into the warehouse.

With Iron Man Dio preparing to deliver the final blow, we move into the episode’s final flashback as Tony is in his completed armor.  From there, Yinsen begins the process of transferring some of the Arc Reactor’s power into the suit.  Unfortunately, a terrorist walks in on them.  Despite Ho taking out the fiend with a wrench to the face, he ended up getting shot.  With the process nowhere near completion, Ho decides to fend off the approaching terrorists in order buy Stark some time.

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A short time later, Yinsen lies mortally wounded.  Fortunately, his stalling tactic paid off as Tony emerges in his newfound armor and decks the terrorist out.

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Afterwards, Tony tells Yinsen that it’s time for them to escape.  However, Ho is too badly wounded to go and tells Stark that the armor was built for him to do some good for the world.  He then gives Tony his coin and has him promise to take his knowledge & wealth in order to carry out their goal.  From there, Yinsen passes on as the newly-born Iron Man makes his escape and brings the flashback to an end.

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From there, Tony recovers and fends off the attack.  After demanding to know who’s piloting his newest suit, he gets the shock of his life as Iron Man Dio’s wearer is actually Ho Yinsen.  As such, Episode 4 ends with him flying off while Stark is left in utter disbelief as to how his former ally has returned from the grave.

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We begin Episode 5 “Outbreak” with Iron Man testing out a space booster attachment.  He manages to prevent himself from freezing up thanks to an anti-icing solvent as he sees how high up he can go.  Unfortunately, he’s not able to escape Earth’s gravitational pull by the time his armor gives out and starts plummeting back down.  Fortunately, he’s able to activate his stabilizers in order to ease his rate of descent.

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Back at his Japanese home, Tony preps some adjustments for his armor including a stronger radiation shield.  Wondering how his one-time ally managed to cheat death, he contacts Pepper Potts back in America and asks her to run a detailed background check on Ho Yinsen.

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As she heads off to take care of the task, Stark gets contacted by Chika.  The scene ends with her explaining that a situation has arisen and that she requires his assistance over at the control tower’s medical center.

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Meanwhile, Nanami and Ichiro are out and about, supposedly to have a meeting with Tony Stark.  While waiting at an intersection, a young woman at the crosswalk suddenly starts to feel sick.  Our two reporters witness in horror as she vomits a blue liquid before collapsing onto the street.

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Over at the medical center, we see that this sudden sickness isn’t an isolated incident.  Chika shows Tony an Arc Station worker whose health is in rapid decline due to a failing immune system and is “in a state of toxic shock”.  She also explains that the cause hasn’t been found yet, but the virus also attacks white blood cells.  Just then, Tanaka gets a call informing her that another victim is being rushed in.

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We find out that its the same lady from before as Chika heads off to take care of her situation while Tony discovers Nanami and Ichiro as the ones who brought the victim in for treatment.

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Shortly afterwards, our two reporters take their leave with a sense of something sinister happening around Stark Industries.  As such, they agree to investigate and find out what’s going on.

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Meanwhile, Capt. Nagato Sakurai arrives at a military base and learns that one of their recon satellites has malfunctioned, despite a diagnostic check that didn’t detect any software or hardware problems.  After re-positioning another recon satellite at the previous spot, they start to zoom in on a foreign-looking spacecraft.  Just then, it creates a single flash of light before the video feed cuts out.  Despite no harm towards their satellite, they discover that its camera has been damaged.

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Back with Tony and Chika, they discover that this newfound sickness isn’t being caused by a virus, bacteria, or even anything chemical-related.  Just then, Tony gets a call from Nanami who informs him that it’s becoming a pandemic as more and more people are becoming sick while trauma centers are running out of room.

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While Ho Yinsen watches Nanami describe the medical chaos from afar, Tony and Chika are suddenly confronted by a group of soldiers.  The leader explains that under the orders of Minister Kuroda and the Ministry of Health, the Arc Station is being determined as the cause of the outbreak and that the whole base is now under lockdown.  Hoping to get some answers, Chika tells Tony that she’ll personally contact Kuroda.

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Over at the Japanese Parliament building, Nagato informs Kuroda that they’ve lost their surveillance satellite.  The Defense Minster exclaims that they must send a spacecraft to go deal with the unknown threat, but it’ll take too long to properly prepare through their normal routine.  Fortunately, the captain exclaims that he does have an alternate idea.

Back at the Arc Station, Chika has been unable to receive a response from Kuroda.  As such, Tony plans on tricking the guards in order to escape and see the Defense Minister for himself.  Before he can enact his plan, Nagato arrives in order to inform Stark of their situation.  Sakurai requires Iron Man to help him take care of the menace that made a JSDF surveillance satellite go offline.  Despite his reluctance, Tony is convinced by Chika that this situation requires them working together.

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After comparing the footage from recently to six months ago, our group discovers that some foreign object has attached itself to the satellite.  Not only that, but a simulation from its solar panels down to Earth reveals that it positioned itself 200 kilometers (or just over 124 miles) over the Arc Station.  Tony asks if the JSDF has a jet with boosters powerful enough to help Iron Man get to the thermosphere, to which Nagato says that they do, but it’s in the prototype stage.  Stark tells him to have it ready in six hours along with the best pilot they’ve got.  After Capt. Sakurai takes his leave, Tony tells Chika that the disabled satellite problem is connected with the current outbreak.  He explains that Zodiac has attached this monstrosity to the spacecraft in order to beam down the illness in an undetectable frequency towards the Arc Station.  Because the building has a powerful shield, only a small-enough beam is able to get in while the rest is spreading out and causing the citizens to get dangerously sick.

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Over at the main entrance, the soldiers are bombarded by the press who are looking for answers while they continue to keep the Arc Building in lockdown.  Among the reporters are Nanami and Ichiro who claim that they have a scheduled interview with Tony Stark.  However, Nanami suddenly vomits the familiar blue liquid as she horrifyingly discovers that she’s now among the infected.

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As they make their way towards prepping for the space mission, Tony admits to Chika of a major snafu with his armor: He has yet to perfect the Particle Radiation shields.  She tells him that heading into space without that specific kind of protection is simply tempting fate, but he says that there’s not much that he can do about that due to their current situation.

As they get off the elevator, they see some medical workers taking their latest patient in for treatment.  To Tony and Chika’s horror, they discover that it’s their newest friend Nanami.

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As Stark heads off to prepare, Tanaka tells him of an alternate application that he can use to shield himself from cosmic radiation.  She tells him of a protective coating that she’s working on which protects space shuttles from said emission.  Tony accepts, but she warns him that the substance hasn’t gone through its final tests yet.  However, Stark’s devil-may-care attitude towards routine testing doesn’t deter him in the slightest.

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A short time later, Tony makes it back to his house and begins the coating process.  After a brief moment, both the suit and the space rocket attachment are covered in the material as Tony suits up for action.

After Chika informs him that she’ll be monitoring his progress and that the specialized jet is en route, Iron Man flies off to rendezvous with the aircraft.  Shortly after seeing it, he makes his way over to it and grabs on.  After discovering that Capt. Nagato Sakurai is the one piloting it, the two of them begin their climb towards the upper atmosphere.

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From there, Chika tells Nagato to get Iron Man to a elevation of 50,000 meters (slightly below 164,042 feet above sea level).  As such, the climb starts off smoothly.

The higher up they go though, the more atmospheric strain gets put on the jet.  Fortunately, Nagato is able to fight through it and reach 50,000 meters.  From there, Iron Man disembarks and activates his rocket booster attachment.

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Upon reaching 150,000 meters, he detaches them and activates his secondary boosters.  After he makes it to the target elevation of 200,000 meters, he disengages from his attachments and flies off to the compromised SDF-1 satellite.

Shortly afterwards, the Zodiac beast called Aquarius (its name is never uttered here) unleashes its missiles.  Fortunately, Iron Man manages to protect himself with powerful Repulsor Beams.

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During the commotion however, Aquarius managed to disappear from sight.  Iron Man tries to locate his target, but he falls prey to a sneak attack as it entraps him with its tendrils and severs his communication before trapping him inside itself.

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Shortly afterwards, Iron Man starts getting bombarded with Aquarius’ energy waves.  Fortunately, his communication lines are restored as he transmits it towards Chika and company.  Upon receiving them, Tanaka has the data sent to Lab 23.

From there, Iron Man blasts his way out.  Aquarius proceeds to give chase, but loses its target upon gazing into the sun’s bright light.  Our Armored Avenger uses this to his advantage and fires a series of missiles, sending Aquarius to a permanent grave.

Afterwards, Chika informs him that the provided data has given them the cure they need to counteract the radiation.  As such, every patient (especially Nanami) will be back on the road to full health.  And so, Episode 5 ends with Iron Man taking in the peaceful view of Earth before beginning his descent back down in order to take care of some unfinished business.

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Following a quick glimpse of a lonely man plugged into his computer system and holding an origami fish while crying out to his mother in his thoughts…

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…we open Episode 6 “Technical Difficulties” at the Arc Station where Tony asks Pepper if she managed to find any interesting details concerning the resurrected Ho Yinsen.  However, all that she could dig up was the fact that it was slim that he even survived.  Stark doesn’t buy it since he saw his former friend, believing that he’s somehow in allegiance with Zodiac and wondering what could have made him turn his back on their partnership.  Pepper does bring up the fact that two Japanese citizens claim to have seen Yinsen on the streets, but it was during the recently-resolved radiation poisoning outbreak so there’s no proof of his existence.  When Pepper asks him what he’ll do should he find out that Ho really did survive, Tony answers that Yinsen is the reason he’s still around and will look to help “return the favor”.

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Suddenly, the Vid Call is cut off and the building goes into automated lockdown as the fire alarms blare.  Tony and Chika try to figure out the cause of the system’s activation, but there doesn’t seem to be any true sign of a fire in the building.

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Just then, the fire alarm and the automated lockdown comes to a sudden end.  However, the cleaning robots start to go haywire and attack the employees.

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Back in his office, Tony manages to fend off the small army of rebelling robotic cleaners before reaching his desk and starts to shut down their system.  However, he finds out that his command has been overridden and that he’s locked out of his own system.

Meanwhile, Chika has been cornered by a pair of cleaning robots and are about to finish her off with their shocking mechanical arms.  Fortunately, Tony comes in and takes them down with a lead pipe to the head.  Afterwards, Tanaka wonders what could have caused these Robo-Cleaners to go haywire, to which Tony responds by saying that it isn’t a mechanical error.

Just then, the air conditioning starts to pump out chilly air.  Tony tries to access the Heating, Air & Ventilation system, but it’s yet another program of his that he’s locked out of.  Stark and Tanaka try to leave, but the door isn’t able to open.

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Afterwards, Chika is able to find out the cause of these mechanical problems: a worm virus.  Somehow, it managed to access the operating system and is now in the process of going after the Arc Reactor’s main system.

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After we head back to the mystery computer man from the beginning, we then dive into a flashback and start learning his backstory.  As a young boy named Sho, he wanted to play with a group of children out in the snow.  However, his mother denies his request since she doesn’t want him to get sick.

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From there, she invites him over and creates an origami fish. When Sho is puzzled as to why it has wings, his mother tells him that it allows her creation to both swim and fly.

Back in the present, Tony and Chika try various programs to take care of the virus.  Unfortunately, all efforts are easily shot down by the malignant techno-organism.  As such, Stark creates a series of firewalls in order to provide extra protection for the Arc Reactor.  Just then, the scene ends with Tony and Chika receiving a message from the virus’ recipient: “You think you can stop us, but we will never give up”.

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Meanwhile, Nanami and Ichiro are driving around when a car pulls out in front of them.  Fortunately, they swerve away in time as both parties avoid a collision.  Shortly afterwards, Nanami notices that the traffic lights are malfunctioning as they rapidly change their signals.

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Just then, she gets a call from her boss Nomura and learns that it’s not just the stop lights that are messed up since an express train end up derailing due to the railway’s computer system suffering from a malfunction.  Not only that, but ATMs are also under the same plight.

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Sure enough, our two reporters discover the citizens scrambling to stuff their pockets with Yen as it constantly pours out of the automated money machines.

As Tony and Chika watch this mechanized chaos via a news broadcast, everyone’s cell phones starts ringing.  With the worm virus even affecting the cellular network, Nanami reads a text sent from the technological menace stating “I will fight for the weak and those who have no voice”.

Even the Japanese Special Defense Forces’ jets aren’t immune as their navigation systems have crashed and their auto-pilot systems have been compromised.  Nagato and Kuroda learn of this while at their special base, prompting Capt. Sakurai to ask for permission in letting him use their own armor called Ramon Zero and help out the jets.  However, Minister Kuroda tells him not to head out yet since they want to save it as a back-up plan.

Back at the Arc Station, Chika suspects that the virus is purposely attacking all computers in the public sector due to it getting shut out of the Arc Reactor.  With the JSDF jets set on a collision course with the building, Tony orders her to disable the firewall and give the technological menace what it wants.  Shortly after doing so, the virus relinquishes its restraint on the jets, allowing the pilots to regain control and fly away.

Afterwards, Tony receives a message from the virus’ recipient stating “I fight for justice.  My duty is to crush Tony Stark’s evil ambitions”.  Afterwards, Tony replies with his own message stating that he’s trying to advocate peace.  However, the man behind the virus, Sho, still believes that Stark has malicious intentions towards Japan.

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With the virus being mere moments away from infecting the Arc Reactor, Chika proposes on shutting it down.  However, Tony has a different plan as he suits up as Iron Man and decides to jack into the system in order to lure it away towards himself.  As such, the virus stops its pursuit towards the reactor and instead goes after Tony’s suit.