Rising Sun: The Day of Sigma – An X-cellent Mega Man Film

Noah Meyer, Blogger

Hello again for another Rising Sun. Today I’ll be going back to video game-based anime for a full review. And what better game anime to look at than Mega Man Maverick Hunter X: The Day of Sigma?

Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, available on PSP and PS Vita, is a polygonal remake of the SNES classic Mega Man X, the inaugural installment of a subseries of the classic run-and-gun Mega Man games. Upon completing a playthrough of Maverick Hunter X, a player can watch a prequel film entitled The Day of Sigma.

The Mega Man X subseries revolves around X, the last creation of roboticist Thomas Light. X is a robot with the ability to think and act of his own accord, and when unearthed 100 years after the classic Mega Man games, Dr. Cain uses his design to create “Reploids” with similar capabilities. Of course, Reploids are capable of criminal activity, prompting the government to establish a police force known as the Maverick Hunters, led by the powerful Reploid Sigma.

In The Day of Sigma, less sophisticated robots, Mechanoloids, begin going berserk and causing mayhem, eventually overwhelming the Maverick Hunters as X and his companion Zero set out to investigate, leading them to a shocking conclusion to their trail.

The first strength of The Day of Sigma, plotwise, is the way it expands on the basic storyline of the game and explain some lingering questions. For instance, part of the reason the plot plays out the way it does is because Sigma is interested in the limitless potential of X, who is the first of the Reploids. And another nice touch is the use of Biblical symbolism, which was probably unintentional on the scriptwriter’s part. It’s light, but when you notice it, you begin to take the Mega Man X storyline in a completely different perspective, and something that encourages me to rethink the narratives of such plot-heavy games is welcome.

Turning to the look of the short film, the animation is well done. Not only are the characters well designed (but those designs are 20 years old), they are animated very well. It also helps that the backgrounds really feel like you’re looking at the world of Mega Man, 100 years later. The only thing that bugs me about the animation is the lack of choreography. There’s some cool action sequences, but Mega Man X is a game where you run and jump while you shoot the Mavericks. So not having the characters move around in fights really hurts when you think about how The Day of Sigma is a Mega Man X movie.

The music’s not exactly memorable, compared to that of the game. Seriously. The music is one of Maverick Hunter X‘s strongest assets, and not to have that level of musical strength in the prequel film is a massive misstep. But I am willing to overlook such a audio-related shortcoming when I remember that Mark Gatha and Lucas Gilbertson brought in their A-game performing as X and Zero and that the rest of the voice cast isn’t too shabby either. I guess performing in three Mega Man X games before doing the movie played in their favor.

Despite some serious missteps, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X: The Day of Sigma is an excellent OVA film that I can happily recommend to even non-fans, as the film is also available on Youtube, so you don’t need to buy the game to watch it.