In a world where Marvel releases on average around three movies a year, one in which every superhero and their sidekick have a TV series, animated or otherwise, you probably think you’ve seen all the Marvel universe influenced material that the world has to offer. Well, what if we were to tell you one you’ve never heard of–Marvel Disk Wars: Avengers from Toei Studios–is one of the best Marvel animated series that you’ve probably never seen?
It’s rare to find a new incarnation of heroes, some of whom have been around for literal decades, but Marvel Disk Wars: Avengers offers one of the most original and bonkers takes on superhero adventures that we’ve ever seen. Developed for TX networks by the legendary Japanese animation studio Toei, the show debuted in 2014 and ran for just under a year, with a total of 51 episodes.
The premise is a relatively complex and strange one as we enter a universe where Tony Stark has invented a high tech and incredibly flawed system known as Digital Identity Securement Kits, or D.I.S.K. The basic concept (as far as we can understand it, there’s still no officially released American dub of the show) is that the technology will be able to trap the villains inside small, more ergonomic, Digimon-style containers.
Alas, as is the way with 90% of all Tony’s plans, this one goes awry with Loki (who is the main antagonist we deserve! YAY!) freeing all of the Marvel Universe’s evil doers while simultaneously trapping some of the most famous Avengers (Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Wasp, Hulk, and Spider-Man) in the plastic contraptions.
It’s just as wild as it sounds. Luckily for the Avengers, there’s a group of brave children–including the kids of the Japanese scientist who helped Tony come up with his doomed scheme–who discover the disks, and the all important “biocodes” which allow Akira, Hikaru, and their buds to free the superheroes out of their plastic prisons, like so many human Pokemon, to fight Loki and his minions. In case you hadn’t guessed yet, there was a line of toys from Bandai which tied into the series and likely shaped the very odd conceit behind it.
The show’s animation is brilliant. It’s colorful, adventurous, and totally original, but the true highlight is the vast amount of Marvel characters, most of whom you would never see on screen otherwise. The first episode, for example, introduces a roster including but not limited to: Cyclops, Absorbing Man, MODOK, Beast, Abomination, Crimson Dynamo, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Baron Zemo, King Cobra, Loki, War Machine, Pepper Potts, and Tiger Shark. We also get some great guest spots from icons like Blade, Fin Fang Foom, Sunfire, and Silver Samurai. Disney’s notorious licensing issues are obviously not as much of an issue in Japan as your eagle eyes have probably noticed the series includes the X-Men, whose characters appear throughout the series.
Sadly there has never been a full English released in America though episodes of the series were dubbed in English for Disney XD and the Disney Channel in multiple Asian territories. We’re hoping that the show will get a new life as an addition to the Disney+ streaming service, but for now you’ll just have to watch the few available videos which we’ve kindly embedded in this piece!
Images: Disney, Toei