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 series as head writer, all of these tales would entirely 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 transfering 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 is attacking 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 technolgical 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.

As expected, the armor starts getting infected.  With the virus fighting him for total control, Iron Man hastily crashes through the window and flies off.

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While using his willpower to fend off the virus, Iron Man is flying recklessly throughout the city causing minor damage to buildings and getting Nanami’s attention.  Eventually, he crashes in a park just outside of town as our young reporter managed to follow him.  After Tony warns her to stay away while he tries to control his suit, he hastily takes off towards the skies.

After returning to Sho, we then move into the next part of his backstory.  When he attempted to go outside and play with the other children, a minor trip caused him to start coughing uncontrollably.  Fortunately, his mother managed to get him back to their apartment and into bed.  She then tells him that his frail body can actually help him appreciate the value of life.  By growing up with a gentile nature, he’ll be able to help people.  As such, Sho promises her that he’ll never grow up with hatred in his heart.

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Back in the present, it turns out that Iron Man flew back up into space during his struggle.  Meanwhile, his subconscious is fully aware within cyberspace as he tangles with the virus in its true form: the Zodiac member known as Pisces (another member whose name is never uttered).

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We then move into the next flashback where Sho has grown up into a young man.  One day, he comes home to find his mother working really hard on their computer but also suffering from a nagging cold.  She assures her son that this illness will ultimately pass.  However, the strain on her body becomes too much as she end up succumbing to her illness.

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With no more friends or family, Sho remembers the promise that he made to his mother before burying himself in her computer work.

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While Iron Man continues with his confrontational clash against Pisces within the realms of cyberspace…

…we then move into our final flashback for the episode.  After his treatise on converting people’s own will into program codes was rejected, he’s confronted by Ho Yinsen who was impressed by the concept.  He offers Sho the chance to join Zodiac and receive proper funding for his work, so that his dream can become a reality.  We also find out that Yinsen instilled the idea that Stark Industries has become a shining example of death around the world and that Sho is needed to take Tony out.

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Back in cyberspace, Pisces starts to gain the upper hand on Iron Man.  As Tony states that it looks like he won’t be able to live up the promise he made to Yinsen on saving people, Sho overhears this and starts to personally doubt himself on his terrible mission.

With the personal promise to his mother ringing his head, Sho turns on Zodiac and sacrifices himself in order to destroy Pisces.  With the computer virus crisis over, Sho tearfully says that he lived up to his promise before his computer system shuts down.

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As Iron Man makes it back down to Earth, he’s suddenly confronted by a pair of Cancer robots.  Due to his struggle against Pisces, he doesn’t have enough power to properly fight back.  Fortunately, he gets some unexpected help as Ramon Zero arrives and takes out one of the opposing robots.

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And so, Episode 6 ends with Iron Man confronting this new armor.  Little does he realize is that Capt. Nagato Sakurai is its pilot.

We begin Episode 7 “At The Mercy Of My Friends” with Ramon Zero effortlessly taking out the remaining Cancer robot.  Afterwards, Iron Man tries to ask this newfound ally for some important details.  However, he just takes off without a word.

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Later that night, Tony takes a shower while constantly thinking about his confrontation with the newfound armor.  Afterwards, he finds out that Chika has showed up to his place.  After getting dressed, he heads outside to ask what she’s doing here at this hour.  Just then, a tranquilizer dart flies in and hits him in the neck as Stark passes out from the effects.

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We cut to Nanami and Ichiro who are fresh off of a late-night interview.  Just then, she notices Tony’s car as they start to wonder what he’s up to at this hour.  Sensing a huge scoop possibly attached to it, they decide to follow his car.

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They follow the vehicle down to the docks when they’re suddenly confronted by a Zodiac robot.  As a result, the car ends up rolling over.

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By the time they reach Tony’s car, they find it abandoned before noticing a boat heading out to sea.  Suspecting something foul at play, Nanami proceeds to call the authorities.

Back on the boat, Tony lies unconscious while being hooked up to some wires and gizmos as a familiar mystery man works on him.  There’s even a moment where Stark seems to be naked while being scanned by familiar lazers.

Sometime later, Tony and Chika wake up within a shed.  They’re surprised to find out that the door is unlocked and that there’s no guards to be found anywhere, but they soon discover why: They’re on a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.  After checking out their surroundings, Chika says that they’re still within striking distance of Japan but this spit of land is used as a dumping ground for landfill.

Just then, Tony feels a pain in his chest.  He discovers that his Arc Reactor has been replaced with an old-fashioned pacemaker.  Just then, Ho Yinsen reveals himself as the man who imprisoned our two heroes and swapped out Stark’s main life support.  Tony is then informed that his pacemaker will only last one whole day before its batteries run out.  Yinsen will only save him if he pledges himself to work for Zodiac.  With 24 hours of decision time to go, Ho takes his leave after telling our heroes to not bother trying to escape.  Tony tries to follow him, but he starts feeling intense chest pains as he collapses onto the ground.

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A short time later, Stark is resting up.  He wonders how the man who gave his life purpose & who despised using “violence as a means to an end” would just turn his back on those ideals and join Zodiac.  With that notion hanging over them, they plan on escaping back to the Arc Station and acquiring a spare Arc Reactor for Tony’s heart.

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Chika says that calling for help is out of the equation since there’s no cell phone service out here.  Fortunately, Tony looks at the massive amounts of junk and see them as his materials towards freedom.

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Using the shed door as a make-shift table, Tony gets to work on their escape plan.  Using the junk and Chika’s cell phone, he creates a make-shift internet modem to hook up to a still-functioning laptop in order to call for help.  However, Yinsen pops up and informs our heroes that he’s placed a jam on all wireless signals in a 10 km (slightly more than 6 miles) radius around the island.

After cutting off Tony’s connection, we find out that Yinsen is hiding out on a personal yacht somewhere on the island.  In his thoughts, we learn that Ho actually managed to plant a subliminal trigger within Stark and have him revert back to being the weapons manufacturer that he once was, given the right mental message.

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While Tony and Chika desperately work against the clock to try another method for their escape…

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…Yinsen is scanning Stark’s Arc Reactor while talking to his superior.  Ho assures his master that the final analysis will be sent to him in time.

After creating a make-shift motorboat, Tony and Chika climb aboard and begin their trek back to Japan.  Shortly after Stark notices Yinsen’s yacht hiding out nearby, he and Chika are suddenly attacked as their boat gets decimated.  Once underwater, they discovered what wreaked their craft: another Scorpio robot.  As such, Tony and Chika are forced to swim back to the island.

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After getting back on shore, Tony feels a strain in his chest and proceeds to lie down.  After he claims that he feels worthless without his Arc Reactor, Chika denies such a notion.  She goes on to proclaim her admiration towards Stark’s drive to find a solution despite his weakened state.  Impressed by her feelings towards him, he tells her about discovering Yinsen’s yacht and feel that it’s their key to getting home.  Tanaka fears that they’ll come across Scoprio again and will be unable to defend themselves.  Tony responds with the fact that they’ll “get creative”, since he wants to prove to Yinsen that he’s not the weapons maker that he once was.

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Back on the mainland, Nanami and Ichiro are back at the Tokyo Journal exhausted from last night’s incident.  Just then, their boss Nomura comes in and tells them that they have a visitor, which turns out to be JSDF Capt. Nagato Sakurai.  After our reporters learn that both Tony and Chika were kidnapped, Nagato asks our pair on which direction the fleeing boat went.  Fortunately, Ichiro had his camera at the ready as he catches the seacraft fleeing and even the instant before he and Nanami were attacked.  With this newfound information, Nagato discreetly takes his leave.

Back on the island, Tony and Chika get to work on their plan.  Unbeknownst to them, Scorpio is watching from above.  As Yinsen observes them, he starts to realize that something’s amiss.

As such, he gives the order to fire at our two heroes.  After Scorpio shoots down a stinger blast, it goes down to investigate.  Unfortunately for it and Yinsen, it turns out that Tony and Chika weren’t even there to begin with since Stark created a make-shift hologram projector, to which Scorpio immediately destroys.

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With their cover blown, Tony and Chika are forced to make a run for it.  From there, Yinsen orders Scorpio to hunt down Stark in the hopes that the subliminal messages coax Tony back to his weaponized ways.

During their mad dash, Chika suddenly sprains her ankle.  She tells Stark to leave her since he’s important to the world, but Tony says that he’s not ditching her.  He explains that he needs her and her brilliant mind to help create “a world without violence”.  From there, he carries Tanaka to a nearby hiding spot.

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With Scorpio lurking about, Tony gets one last break when he discovers a still-working lighter on the ground.

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Shortly after reaching the top of the cliff, Tony takes out his cannon, ignites the fuse and yells out to Scorpio.  As the mechanized terror charges towards him, the subliminal messages start pouring into his head with the temptation to fire his newly-created weapon at Scorpio in order to kill it and give in to his weapons-filled past.

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However, it turns out that it wasn’t a weapon after all as Tony fires it into the air.  Stark actually made a make-shift flare gun as his call for help sparks in the afternoon sky.

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Fotunately, Nagato was in the vicinity with his Ramon Zero armor as he flies over to the island.  From there, he makes quick work of Scorpio’s attacks before slicing the mechanized menace into oblivion.

Tony then runs down to Yinsen’s yacht, only to see it blow up.  Ho then confronts Tony as Iron Man Dio and tells him that this entire exercise was nothing more than a test.  After giving Stark his Arc Reactor back, Yinsen acknowledges the change that he’s gone through before taking off.

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Shortly afterwards, Ramon Zero comes in.  After Tony thanks him for his help, Nagato reveals himself to Stark as the armor’s pilot and says that Nanami deserves a lot of thanks for pointing him in the right direction.

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Amd so, Episode 7 ends at sunset with a rescue boat coming to pick up our two heroes.  After Tony thanks Chika for his help in proving to Yinsen that he’s a changed man, the two of them cap off their recent series of events by sharing a kiss.

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After a quick scene where a tactical group breaks into a warehouse and discovers a human within a chamber only for a mysterious being to axe them off…

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…we begin Episode 8 “Daughter Of The Zodiac” over at the Arc Station where Tony invites Chika out to dinner.  However, she declines his request due to her claiming that she still has loads of work to do.  Once she gets inside the elevator, it turns out that she’s feeling emotionally awkward over the shared kiss.

Sometime later, Tony is in his car wondering how their shared kiss somehow made her emotionally unavailable for dinner.  Suddenly, a little girl pops up in the road as he swerves away in time.  After stopping, he gets out and berates her for just standing in the street.  However, she states that she finally found Iron Man.  From there, the scene ends with her introducing herself as Aki and that she “ran away from Zodiac”.

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That night, Tony takes her to dinner at a fancy restaurant as he wonders why she needs his protection from Zodiac and how she’s connected to the devious organization.  Aki proceeds to demonstrate her telekinetic power on a pair of silverware in order to prove to him that she’s “special”.  When Stark asks her why she needs his protection, Aki says that he’s causing problems for Zodiac.

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Thinking that she was sent to somehow get him, Tony confronts her and demands to know if she’s working for Zodiac.  However, Aki starts crying.  Realizing that his assumption was false, he proceeds to order her some ice cream to calm her down.

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Meanwhile, Capt. Sakurai and the JSDF are investigating the remains inside of a warehouse.  It turns out that a Special Ops team went in to retrieve a Zodiac weapons stash before they met their maker by a mysterious creature.  Just then, a soldier comes in and gives him a USB Drive containing recovered data.

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Later, Tony takes Aki back to his house and lets her sleep in his bed.  Wanting to know more about this little girl, he contacts Nanami and asks her to do “a favor”.

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After spending the night on an adjacent couch, Tony wakes up and sees that Aki is out of bed.  He ultimately finds her in his basement workshop doing some cleaning.  However, her good intentions and naive nature go a bit too far.

From accidentally shredding important documents to damaging his tech (not to mention machines causing some physical harm to Tony himself), Stark ends up as the victim to a comedy of errors caused by Aki.  Just then, the door bell rings as she heads off to answer it against Tony’s wishes.

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It turns out to be Chika who’s come to do some official business with Tony.  When Aki answers the doors and states that she’s “Tony’s daughter”, Tanaka is taken aback.  Fortunately, Tony arrives in order to meet with her.

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After things calm down, Stark and Tanaka try to talk about business details.  However, Aki butts in and makes things uncomfortable between the two.  First, she asks if Chika is Tony’s girlfriend, but Dr. Tanaka sets things straight by saying that they’re only business partners.  Then, Aki embarrasses Stark by stating how “when it comes to the ladies, Tony’s quite popular” and that she was just awake enough to catch him making a call to “some woman”.  This makes Chika feel uncomfortable enough to leave, telling him to look over the provided materials before she heads out.

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Tony responds by berating Aki for messing up his lab and for making him look like a foolish jerk in front of his fellow co-worker, even going as far as saying that she “might as well be working with Zodiac”.  This makes Aki emotionally distraught enough to send out a telekinetic blast, causing Tony to fly over to his personal bar before she takes off.

We then have brief scene where Nanami arrives at the orphanage and asks the head nun if she’s familiar with a certain girl.  It turns out that she is.

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Sometime later, Tony is out trying to find Aki.  At that moment, he gets a call from Nanami as she fills him in on the young girl’s backstory.  Two years ago, she lost her parents in a plane accident, since the aircraft was hijacked and it somehow exploded mid-flight.  Aki was the lone survivor and ended up at the orphanage.  Six months ago (or 1 1/2 years in the Japanese dub), a group of people (Zodiac) came by to adopt her.  In that time, the head nun didn’t have anyway to contact the group.  If that wasn’t enough, Nanami wasn’t the first person to drop by and ask about the little girl.

Afterwards, Tony finds Aki overlooking a soccer field being used by a group of children.  He asks her if she would like to join them, but she turns the offer down since she’ll risk putting them in danger.  As she levitates a nearby soda can, she says that she doesn’t have complete control over her power, which is how she lost her parents.

In a quick glimpse into her past, we see the hijacking while one of the terrorists heads over to Aki and her folks.  In a state of fright, she unintentionally unleashes a blast of telekinesis which causes the passenger jet to blow up.

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Feeling sorry for her tragic past, Tony picks her up onto his shoulders and states that they’re done talking about what’s already happened.  He proceeds to give Aki some much-needed levity as he dashes off and gives her a piggy-back ride.

After a fun-filled day, Tony and Aki prepare to go grab a bite to eat.  Suddenly, they’re confronted by Capt. Sakurai who’s come to take her with him.  Realizing that it was him who talked to the nun prior to Nanami, Tony declines his request.  With no other choice, Nagato gives the order.  It turns out that JSDF agents were hiding as they zap Tony with a taser and knock him out before taking Aki away.

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Sometime later, Tony wakes up within a trailer truck as Aki is unconscious and strapped to an examination table.  Nagato tells Stark that they need to control her powers since her mind generates a “strong magnetic field”, which could manipulate the iron in a person’s blood stream and even their own hemoglobin.

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Capt. Sakurai then shows the information that he acquired at the desolate warehouse.  Tony learns that Zodiac has been using her mental ability in order to power their weapons, since they’re connected via brain waves.  Nagato then asks for his help in analyzing the data in order to keep Japan safe.  Stark agrees, but only for her.

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Just then, Aki starts to wake up and begins warning them about Virgo.  Sure enough, the convoy gets attacked by said Zodiac member as it blasts the truck off of the road.

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The surviving JSDF agents try their best to defend themselves from Virgo.  However, bullets easily bounce off while a rocket launcher isn’t even able to penetrate its force field.  As such, Nagato gives to order to retreat.

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Fortunately, Tony managed to slip away with Aki during the chaos.  He then makes it to the adjacent road where he gets a driver to stop.  After paying him an undisclosed amount, he then takes the man’s car and drives off to the Arc Station.

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Following an MEG (or a Magnetoencephalography) Scan, Chika says that Aki’s suffering from some abnormalities.  Fortunately, Tony also managed to grab the USB Drive from the JSDF truck as he gives it to Tanaka in the hope that a solution can be found.  With their radar picking up Virgo’s incoming approach, Stark heads out to deal with the monstrosity.

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A short time later, Tony emerges as Iron Man and proceeds to engage Virgo with his Repulsor Beams and missiles.

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Back inside the Arc Station, Aki is suddenly bombarded by an intense wave of mental pain.  When Chika goes to check up on her, the vital signs and the acquired information unveils a startling revelation.

With Virgo going down, Iron Man prepares to finish it off.  However, Chika tells him to stop firing.  She reveals that Aki’s brain is somehow hardwired to Virgo, meaning that she’ll feel the effect of every shot that’s sent the robot’s way and even possibly kill her.  Using this distraction to its advantage, Virgo fires a powerful shot which hits Iron Man and severs his communication.

Aki tries to get up and help Tony, but Chika manages to stop her since she’s too weary.  However, Aki sends her away with a telekinetic blast before she wearily rushes out to aid Iron Man.

Meanwhile, Tony gets blasted out of the sky.  With our hero on his last limb, Virgo unleashes its finishing shot.  Fortunately, Aki arrived in time and uses her telekinesis to shield Iron Man from the blast while yelling at the floating head to stop.

Unfortunately, the peace is short-lived as Virgo gets attacked with Aki collapsing in pain.  It turns out that Sakurai has returned as Ramon Zero and is ready to finish it off.  However, its missiles are destroyed by a Repulsor Beam as an enraged Iron Man engages Sakurai in the skies.

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While Tony and Nagato continue their airborne clash, Virgo manages to use its tendrils and place Aki inside itself.

With the young girl tucked away inside the monstrous head, Iron Man and Ramon Zero can only watch as Virgo creates a destructive field.  Even worse, it continues to expand itself right for the Arc Station.

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Fortunately, Chika gives the order to activate the EMP Generator.  It manages to form an EMP Barrier to counter Virgo’s destructive field.  However, the strain that Virgo is putting on the energy shield threatens to doom Aki.  Realizing that Iron Man is holding out on the mechanized head running out of power before attempting to save her, Ramon Zero then asks our hero if one girl is worth the potential damage and lost lives.  Tony then asks Chika if his armor can withstand the magnetic fields for 30 seconds, to which Tanaka replies with a Yes, but only in theory.  Willing to take the risk, Iron Man flies right towards Virgo in order to save Aki.

Despite the fierce expulsion of energy, Iron Man fights through it all as he reaches Virgo and opens the cockpit area.  A weary Aki is surprised that he came to rescue her, to which Iron Man tells her “that’s what friends are for”.  She proceeds to pass out as Tony picks her up and flies out.  From there, the weakened Virgo proceeds to get destroyed by the EMP Barrier.

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Sometime later, Aki is fully recovered and is playing soccer with a group of children.  We learn from Tony and Chika’s conversation that she’s been relieved of her telekinesis, but she also has no memory of Stark or Zodiac.  Satisfied in the fact that Aki can now live a happy life, Episode 8 ends with Tony finally taking his leave with Chika as they finally get to their dinner date.

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As we begin Episode 9 “A Duel Of Iron”, we start to learn about Yinsen’s decline towards villainy.  Sometime after Tony Stark made his escape, Ho was discovered by a woman named Shehla who brought him back to her home and was nursed back to health.  While recovering in bed, Yinsen sees the kind heart that she brings to the local children.

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We then cut to one year later (or a month later in the Japanese version) where he’s become well-integrated among the locals as he strives in farmwork and is adored by the neighboring children.

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Back in the present day, he receives a call from his superior that “an opportunity” has arisen and he’s to report to him immediately.

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Over at the Arc Station, Tony has invited Nanami and Ichiro over for a special purpose.  With the numerous Zodiac attacks gripping the populace in fear and distrust, Stark wants to remind them on why he installed his Arc Reactor in their country to begin with: providing the Japanese with a limitless energy source, thus helping to cease the international power struggle for fossil fuels and help build towards World Peace.  Thus, Tony feels that Nanami can write a positive article to educate the citizens on his grand project and quell any safety concerns.

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Meanwhile, a JSDF convoy is hauling plutonium to its destination.  Suddenly, Iron Man Dio comes in and delivers a surprise attack on the troops.

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Afterwards, Minister Kuroda is informed that the personnel has been wiped out and the plutonium is being stolen by “an unidentified assailant”.  The scene ends with him giving the order to send troops over to the disaster site and to keep this incident under wraps.

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Meanwhile, Nanami and Ichiro begin their exclusive interview coverage.  When she asks if World Peace can be achieved at some point in their lives, Tony says that it can.  He states that humans have the capability to make it achievable and that it can be done by creating a world without weapons, which all starts with his Arc Reactor.  To Stark, the path to international harmony begins with eliminating the struggle over energy resources.  Thus, his Arc Reactor creates an unlimited and free energy source for all.

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Just then, he gets a call from Chika and gets informed about the JSDF’s plutonium convoy getting attacked.

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Back on the highway, the troops arrive and open fire on their target.  Unfortunately, Iron Man Dio is able to shield himself before he wipes them out with a Repulsor Blast.

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As if that wasn’t bad enough, we head over to the military base where Capt. Sakurai receives some awful news from an aide.  It turns out that Minister Kuroda has revoked Nagato’s clearance, thereby preventing him from using the Ramon Zero armor.

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A short time later, Tony arrives as Iron Man and proceeds to investigate the crime scene.  Just then, his computer system detects a radioactive signature over in the nearby woods.

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Dio heads over to collect the plutonium, but Iron Man arrives and confronts his one-time friend.

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From there, the two Iron Men proceed to fight each other.  After taking their brawl to the skies, Tony subdues Ho and tries to convince his former friend that Zodiac is only using him just to further their own devious goals.

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However, Yinsen is unwilling to be changed as he frees himself from Stark’s grasp and knocks him down towards the ground.  With Iron Man pinned, Dio prepares to finish him off.

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Fortunately, the JSDF arrives and distracts Dio with some gunfire.  Unfortunately, he had a secret weapon waiting as a sudden barrage of deadly lazers emerges from the trees and wipes out the troops.  From there, Yinsen says that he’s “running behind schedule” and that he’ll let Sagittarius take care of Tony.  As such, Dio takes the plutonium and flies off.

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Back on the ground, Iron Man is barely able to defend himself.  It turns out that when Sagittarius fires a single shot, it splits into multiple lazer blasts.  Once Tony is able  to fly up above the trees, he discovers that both Dio and Sagittarius have managed to escape.

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Later, Tony meets with Minister Kuroda, who’s nearing his wit’s end.  He tells Stark how it was bad enough that Japan suffered two nuclear bombings from America in World War II, but now the country has to suffer yet another atomic crisis.  Tony promises to get the plutonium back, to which Kuroda says that it’s his last chance since the fate of both of their respective countries are currently at stake.

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As he takes his leave, Stark meets up with Nagato.  After learning that Capt. Sakurai couldn’t find anything helpful within his base and that he’s also been banned from there as well, Tony says that they need to find some useful answers.

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