Astro Boy to Cutey Honey to Kenshiro to Goku to Naruto, America's long-running hero comics might sound a bit stodgy (to contrast, the longest-running manga and anime in Japan are usually kid-friendly titles like Doraemon and Sazae-san). I've heard it said-- by people who would know --that most of Batman's fans in Japan are mangaka, rather than mainstream audiences. Of course, that was before The Dark Knight!
See, Japan has always been interested in Hollywood movies on some level, and the recent spate of popular superhero flicks like X-Men, Iron Man, and the Christian Bale Batman movies have clearly done a lot to build up interest in those franchises in Japan.
TOKYOPOP and Dark Horse, and giving him a superhero transformation, complete with superhero suit and utility belt. He can also fly with his special shoes and has gloves that give him super-strength punches.
But that's just one piece of the puzzle. A trailer for the new Stan Lee-branded anime series Heroman, which starts this April, has launched, and it looks pretty good-- sort of a fusion between mech and superhero in theme. It'll be very interesting to see how the series performs, given that its design is very heavy in Americana (particularly the mech itself, which is decked out like the American flag, as though Stephen Colbert's TV persona was involved somehow).
And then, of course, there's the upcoming Iron Man anime due out this season, one of five projects that Marvel and Madhouse are working on (including Wolverine, Blade, and the X-Men, as well as a direct-to-DVD Hulk anime).
Quite a few of you came here from superhero-lovin' sister site Comic Vine. How do you feel about Japan's growing interest? And how interested are you in all these superhero projects?