By Matt Springer,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Anime-style adaptation with strong hero, military setting.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Lines between heroes and villains are clearly defined. Though there are some situations in which those who appear to be trustworthy end up being evil. A lead character's efforts to establish a new global power source adds a generic environmental message to the plot.
Positive Role Models
The series' lead character is depicted as a smart and brave individual who has worked hard to apply science to solve problems for the benefit of others. He also demonstrates a willingness to share his great power by developing additional suits of battle armor that others can use to perform the same heroic acts he has always done.
Violence & Scariness
While the violence depicted is ultimately sci-fi in nature, it is incorporated into a very real-world depiction of the modern military industry. Most violence is generic in nature, for example exploding buildings and tanks. On the occasions where characters are killed, the violence typically takes place off screen. Detailed hand-to-hand battles between robotic suits of armor are frequent and lengthy.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very mild flirting between lead male and female characters; no kissing or any further sexual contact between characters.
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Products & Purchases
The show is based on a major Marvel Comics character who has also starred in his own blockbuster movie series, a number of other animated series, and more than 40 years' worth of comic books. The series acts as a form of indirect commercial for the many currently available products featuring the character, from action figures to children's bedding.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this half-hour animated adventure series depicts plenty of sci-fi violence and the storyline takes place in a fantastical version of the modern military industry, complete with talks of defense contracting and warfare. There are many explosions and robotic suits of armor engaging in outlandish hand-to-hand combat. The series is one of many Iron Man media titles backed by an extensive branded product line.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Based on the Marvel Comics character and star of the blockbuster film series, IRON MAN is Tony Stark, a multimillionaire and CEO of a major military defense contractor who constructs a fantastical suit of powerful armor after being critically wounded by terrorists. The suit is capable of flight, increases Stark's strength, and protects him from massive attacks, but also keeps him alive by maintaining the function of his heart. In this series, Stark has retired as Iron Man and travels to Japan as CEO of Stark Industries to initiate a new energy program. As he's testing the new armor that will allow other pilots to protect the planet just as he once did, the armor becomes overtaken by an evil organization known only as \"Zodiac.\" It's up to the original Iron Man to don the armor and stop this cabal to protect the world once again.
Is It Any Good?
By now, Iron Man has been put through his paces in popular culture. For decades, he was little more than the star of a Marvel comic book; the 2008 feature film pushed him front and center into the mainstream. Now he's carried two movies, several animated series, and a shelf full of graphic novels -- with G4's Japanese import, you can add "anime" to the list.
Although the stories for this series are credited to the wildly creative novelist and comics scribe Warren Ellis, he contributed only a rough outline and no actual scripts. Instead Iron Man hews more closely to a traditional animated adventure formula with a light sprinkling of technology and ecofriendly-related theming. The computer-aided animations used on the Iron Man armors help to make the battles compelling and there are strong techno-thriller moments throughout. Ultimately, the Iron Man anime is a decent slice of comic book comfort food that fans of the character should enjoy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the impact of sci-fi violence as opposed to more realistic violence. How does it feel to watch men in robot suits doing battle rather than actual human beings?
Did you pick up any messages about how energy use has impacted our planet's enviornment? Do you think cartoons are good places to teach larger lessons, or should they stick to pure entertainment?
- Premiere date: September 24, 1994
- Cast: Adrian Pasdar
- Network: G4
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Superheroes
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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