Grab yourself an Ellen Page and get your consciousness transferred back to 1992, it is time to revisit X-Men: The Animated Series - but not as we know it! We all know that the next X-Men film will be taking us to the '90s, a time of Spice Girls, Clinton and those Wolverine ice creams (they existed!). 1992 wasn't just the year that Barney & Friends started, it is when X-Men: TAS started. As Marvel's longest running cartoon, it still only ran for 76 episodes, but had us instantly hooked with its bright colours and catchy titles.
Do a little digging in the archives though and it turns out that our favourite X-Men cartoon was even better in Japan. That's right - over the water there were two alternative openings and a whole new theme song. Whilst we kind of prefer the classic theme song, the Japanese credits knock dancing around in front of your own name out of the water!
So who wins, the original title sequence of the Japanese versions? Let's duke it out!
Making a light show with your claws, or jumping out of a plane to attack flying cyborgs? Wolverine was going to cause carnage wherever in the world you put him, but over in Japan he took it to Expendables level crazy.
Point 1 for Japan
Cyclops's Clark Kent style intro was always a highlight of the original titles, featuring him front and centre as the leader of the team. The Japanese version has a rather sombre, rubber-faced version...maybe he is still pissed after the Dark Phoenix Saga.
Point 2 for Original
The cutesy anime tone of the Japanese version seems to give Jean an elongated neck of a giraffe; also, her hair isn't fiery enough. We always liked the semi-nude, peach, tones of her costume from the original titles, plus that ponytail that could whip your eye out.
Point 3 for Original
Evading helicopters, or mid-air cyborg fights? The Japanese Beast joins Wolverine with some Hulk-level rage. Japanese Beast looks decidedly more pissed off than his calm and collected western counterpart and we can't see this guy reciting any poetry anytime soon.
Point 4 for Japan
Japanese Storm has a Dragon Ball Z look about her. Instead of firing weird yellow bullets, we get some actual thunder bolts! Plus, sorry to point it out, but the original version looks like she is carrying a bit of water weight around the chin.
Point 5 for Japan
Even that cheeky anime wink can't save Rogue in this round. Bright yellow and green spandex, the original titles had Rogue quite literally bursting out of her costume. Sorry, but for teenage boys everywhere, the original wins.
Point 6 for Original
Flaming playing cards made this guy one person who you wouldn't want to face in a poker match. Aside his troublesome relationship with Rogue, Remy Etienne LeBeau was a highlight of the Animated Series. When it comes to the openings though, a bit of stick fighting, or facing off against mutant Spiral with swords...easy call!
Point 7 for Japan
A helpless girl trapped against a fence and needing assistance, or a pink shade- wearing sorceress with a crazy blue tinge to her hair. Japan totally makes us rethink a girl that is only handy around the 4th of July. To be honest though, TAS completely reinvented Jubilee and is a clear inspiration for Lana Condor in Apocalypse.
Point 8 for Japan
It is hard to imagine anyone other than Patrick Stewart as the wheelchair bound Prof.X, but back in the '90s it was Cedric Smith who hopped in the hovering chair. Smith's relaxing tones definitely fit the soft tones of western Xavier, compared to his angry looking Japanese cousin.
Point 9 for Original
Whoah, has Japanese Magneto been taking his protein shakes. The team faced A LOT of enemies in their short 76 episodes, but Magneto was always in the background. The Japanese titles put him a bit in the background, but for that grizzly jawline and Judge Dredd style stare, Japan takes it again!
Point 10 for Japan
Japan: 6 Original: 4
The Japanese version just kicks ass - I mean c'mon, it has a super pumped Bishop raining bullets on some weird Alien style Xeneomorphs. It is just a shame we never got the 'darker' tone titles here. Either way, X-Men: The Animated Series is up there with Batman: The Animated Series as one of the best cartoons to grace our screens. If you are looking for some source material for the next big screen outing, those execs at Fox has better dust off their old VHS tapes and do some research.