After the critical and fan success of Batman: The Animated Series, Warner Brothers and DC Comics decided to animate another important character. In this case, it was the Man of Steel. The result was Superman: The Animated Series.
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Launched in 1996, the show ran for three seasons. It covered serval facets of the character, his supporting players, and the villains who constantly tried to take him down. Many of the show’s themes relate to those found in shonen anime programs. With a focus on young male adolescent viewers, fans of Superman: TAS will be able to enjoy these Japanese animated programs.
10 One-Punch Man Is A Satire Of Superman: TAS
Superman is one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC Comics universe. With one punch, he can knock out most opponents. The same is true for Saitama, the main protagonist of One-Punch Man.
However, where Superman: TAS takes most things seriously, this shonen anime is a satire of these metahumans. Saitama has trained himself so well that he’s gotten bored of doing it. Nevertheless, he’s willing to train others to become heroes so he doesn’t have to be one.
9 Dragon Ball Is Similar In Theme To Young Clark’s Upbringing
The first part of the Superman: TAS pilot episode focuses on a young Clark Kent and how he starts to understand his powers. As he learns about them and why he has these abilities, he decides to leave Smallville to help others.
The young Goku of Dragon Ball doesn’t want to save humanity. However, as he seeks out the seven legendary Dragon Balls, he ends up rescuing his friends and the rest of society from several incursions. It’s something that continues through the show’s sequel, Dragon Ball Z, and subsequent series.
8 Hunter X Hunter Characters Learn How To Use Each New Power
Clark Kent doesn’t know the full extent of his powers. He tends to hold back from using their full strength to protect everyone around him. It’s only when he’s given the chance in Superman: TAS that he understands how strong he really is.
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It’s a similar situation with Gon Freeces in Hunter x Hunter. He has to gain an understanding of each Nen and how it works with his spiritual aura and natural abilities. He really doesn’t get a complete understanding of them until a tragic incident causes him to make a bargain. One that trades in all his powers to become an adult with complete control over every power he could ever have.
7 Astro Boy Teaches Responsibility And Sacrifice
True, the origins of Superman and Astro Boy are different. The former came to Earth from an alien planet. The latter is an android version of a scientist’s dead son. Still, the themes between their two shows are the same.
They’re about responsibility and sacrifice. There are plenty of times in both shows where the heroes know what they have to do to save others. Even if it’s at the cost of their lives, both Superman and Astro Boy are willing to do anything. In the case of the young android hero, he does sacrifice his life at the end of the original 1960s series.
6 The Heroes Of Cyborg 009 Face Insurmountable Odds
In Superman: TAS, the Man of Steel constantly faces insurmountable odds. Whether it’s an attack by Lex Luthor, Brainiac, or Darkseid, Clark pushes through to maintain freedom for the societies of Earth and the galaxy.
The same is said for the members of Cyborg 009. For them, it begins when they’re kidnapped by the Black Ghost organization and converted into cyborgs. They not only have to evade the group after their escape. They also have to stop the Black Cloud from taking over the world.
5 In Heroman, A Boy And His Robot Face Alien Invaders
The 2010 shonen anime has a similar theme to American superhero shows like Superman: TAS because the manga and show were co-created by Stan Lee. Hence, it’s potentially one of the reasons the main character, Joey, is an orphan who lives somewhere in the U.S. with his grandmother.
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Joey dreams of becoming a hero by purchasing a toy robot called a Heybo. He finds a derelict one he tries to fix up. It isn’t until the Heybo is struck by lightning does it gain sentience. The underlying theme of “with great power comes great responsibility” is constantly prevalent in Heroman.
4 Heart Is The Underlying Theme Of Samurai Flamenco
Not every shonen anime features a metahuman. Sometimes, a character’s power comes from within. This is the subtext to Superman: TAS. Though the Man of Steel can punch a hole through time, he has the internal strength to hold back.
In Samurai Flamenco, the main character’s power comes from inside. It’s an urge to help others despite his skill set. The titular Samurai Flamenco is in fact a former male model and is lacking in knowledge about being a superhero. Luckily, he as a police offer friend who encourages him to keep going.
3 Tiger And Bunny Promote Heroics
Superman would never allow corporations to sponsor his heroics. Thus, there will never be a LexCorp logo below the big S on his cape. Nevertheless, fans of Superman: The Animated Series might still like Tiger and Bunny because it presents a what-if scenario.
In the 2011 anime, those who are Noted Entities with Extraordinary Talents, the NEXT, become corporate-sponsored heroes. Wild Tiger is one of these individuals. He’s eventually paired with another hero, Bunny, who has similar powers. Though they don’t like each other, they need to work together to stop a NEXT lunatic from destroying their city.
2 Trigun Is About Friendship And Peaceful Resolution
There’s an underlying theme of friendship in Superman: TAS. The Man of Steel doesn’t figuratively fly solo. Instead, he relies on help from Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and his other superhero friends to keep going.
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Vash the Stampede, the main character in Trigun, does the same thing. Due to amnesia, he relies on friends like a gun-toting preacher to keep him moving and tries to resolve conflicts without violence. It’s all in the name of figuring out if he destroyed a city or not before he lost his memory.
1 Fighting Spirit Is About Never Giving Up Despite The Odds
Superman always fights against evil for those who can’t. He doesn’t take his powers for granted. If he did, then many more people in Metropolis would perish.
In Fighting Spirit, Ippo Makunouchi does the same thing. Except, in this scenario, he was the little person. After a middleweight boxer heals his injuries after a bully attack, Ippo realizes he has a natural talent for fighting. Thus begins his journey of responsibility and battling for the innocent.
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About The Author
(220 Articles Published)
Rich Keller is a 30-year freelance veteran. He began his career as a stringer, covering school board meetings for a local paper. Since then, Rich has written millions of words for both online and print publications. He is the author of “Coffee Cup Tales and Thinking Outside My Box. Rich was also a podcaster, hosting “The Daily Author” for nearly 300 episodes. Rich is an avid comic book fan who once braved the world of San Diego Comic-Con. You can follow Rich on Facebook.
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