Image via Wikipedia
Warning: this is not the usual Bruce Timm production (though Kevin Conroy was hired for the Bat-Voice). The animation style is completely different. It is much more a work of Japanese anime than a work of American animation. I confess, I’m not an expert of anime, so I didn’t recognize any of the names of the directors. I did look up their credits and found ".hack//SIGN", Gundam, and Akira. So right away you should know that this might not be for Saturday morning cartoons. It isn’t. It’s very, very good, but you should read the rest of this article, or even watch it without the kids before deciding whether or not to watch it with them.
Personally, I think it’s interesting to note that Warner Brothers seems to be of one mind about their Bat-Audience, and that that audience is not five years old. One other important thing to note about this DVD is that it does not contain one story. It contains six vignettes all of which take place before and after the events of "Batman Begins", but before "The Dark Knight".
Breakdown after the jump…
Values: I have to say that other than a few interesting ideas here and there about things like responsibility ("Field Test"), detachment ("Working Through Pain"), and higher purposes ("Deadshot"), there isn’t much here. That being said, there didn’t seem to be anything disturbing or objectionable. It’s just a very stylish action/adventure story with a very angst ridden super-hero.
Violence and Horror: I’m lumping this together this time because in these stories, they are so closely woven together as to be inseparable. These stories are violent, and they are scary. The animation in these stories is highly stylized. As a result the villains, even the human villains, don’t look really human. They are gritty, cruel, and insane. People bleed and die. Punches are not pulled. A man dressed as a bat actually looks like a force for order next to these people. If you have very little kids (my geek-pup is 12 now) they will be scared. Some of the ideas and scenes may also be disturbing to them. One story which stood out for me is "Working Through Pain" wherein a young Bruce Wayne is taught how to ignore serious pain by a woman in India. Watching her and Bruce take serious blows to the head and body might seriously disturb some kids. They aren’t invulnerable, they are injured, they just ignore it.
The Pup’s Response
"It was awesome! Wicked! Everyone should totally watch it!"