by Nav Qateel
From the Marvel Movie Universe comes, Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, an Anime-style, straight-to-video animated feature. In this story vein, the Avengers team up two powerful heroes, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, with Frank Castle/The Punisher. This latest Marvel title sees the return of the same Japanese studio, Madhouse, who worked on last years animation, Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, with this title being helmed by first time director, Kenichi Shimizu.
Being a fan of Anime, and having enjoyed Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, this title was of particular interest. Shimizu has created that old-school Anime I admire and find it managed to fit in well with this Marvel Universe, especially The Punisher, whose look was perfect in this setting.
After hearing about a load of high tech weapons being used in recent killings, Frank Castle, The Punisher (Brian Bloom) goes after Cain, the man responsible for the deaths, but Frank has stumbled onto a SHIELD operation and after a struggle with Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow (Dexter‘s Jennifer Carpenter), Frank is taken into custody. During the struggle, Cain escapes but Frank can track him, so together Natasha and Frank go after him, and soon discover a plot to sell an army with superpowers to the highest bidder, which will endanger many lives and threaten The Avengers.
Although only focusing on two superheroes, the characters were both very good, with The Punisher easily my favorite. His animation reminded me strongly of the old Anime flicks I love to watch, as he doled out plenty bone-crunching blows. We were given a few flashbacks from Frank’s past, showing his family murdered, before he became The Punisher, and at one point Natasha reminds him of his dead family near the end of the feature.
In the final 10-minutes the rest of The Avengers make an appearance, where the Hulk stole the show, with Iron Man and the others only showing themselves briefly. We see Nick Fury a couple of times but beyond that, it’s all about Frank and Natasha. I hope we get more Anime being used with the superhero animated features as it adds a bit more style to the films, however, I know from experience not everyone is a fan of Anime. Perhaps this will change their minds.