Anime Monday - MegaMan NT Warrior (Rockman.EXE)

It's been 3 years since I last did an Anime Monday blog post, but with the announcement of MegaMan NT Warrior being streamed over Twitch later this month, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about the series! You see, I was beyond excited to hear a show for MegaMan Battle Network was coming out. I still remember when I was watching Kids WB (for Pokemon mainly) on Saturday morning, and when the commercial came across! It was something I never expected -- the game series I loved so much, was getting a show, and now I could finally show my friends what I had been talking about for years. It was going to be great! Of course, it wasn't all great...

When the show finally released, I was the kid waking up early Saturday morning each week to make sure I didn't miss the newest episode. To put it bluntly, it was pretty much everything I had hoped for! It did a great job introducing the characters, and episode 1 added a scene where Lan meets his Net Navi MegaMan, and included the stove fire arc that begins the first Battle Network game. It was perfect for those who knew nothing about the series, as well as long time fans. So that being said, what is it about? Well...


NT Warrior is an anime adaptation of MegaMan Battle Network, which in return is a spin off/side series in the MegaMan series. It takes place in it's own world/timeline, and showcases a world where the vast majority of it is connected to the internet, and everyone has handheld computers with virtual AI (or Net Navis) in them. Net Navis are basically living beings (just made out of data), so they're much more advanced than the AI we see in our real world. They become life long friends to those who own them, and can be used in a verity of different ways. Lan himself is into Net Battling -- which is where Navis fight other Navis using special Battle Chips loaded into the handheld computers (a device known as a PET). This is also how he fights back against viruses that invade the Cyber World, and protects his friends and family. Again, the first episode focuses on how Lan got MegaMan, and shows the cyber terrorist Mr. Match set his house on fire using Lan's stove. Of course the stove is connected to the internet, which shows us right away why it might not be a good idea to be fully connected online. (Keep in mind, this series came out in 2001, so all of this was sci-fi at the time.) 

Going forward, each episode of the anime focused on different big bads from the games, and did mini story arcs that revolved around them. Some of these stories are loosely based on events from the games, but for the most part NT Warrior goes off and does it's own thing. Once the characters were brought in, the creators of the show were free to do as they wish with said characters, and create all new stories revolving around them in the process. This actually worked out for the better, as it allowed them to tell more stories than the original games had -- and helped develop the characters even more. Once the major leads were introduced, the show took a major turn from the original games, and went off in it's own direction completely.

While Battle Network 3 featured a small tournament arc, the show took it to another level and had it play out during the events of Battle Network 1's story instead. This is where more major BN1 characters entered the mix, and the tournament itself became the main focus point of the overall story. It would eventually lead to some other crazy/unexpected events, which would be the turning point for the original part in the anime. Of course I'll avoid spoiling it, but let's just say I still consider it one of my favorite stories in the entire series. And it only got better from there.

Eventually the anime did get into events from Battle Network 2, but even this had multiple major changes. Net City was introduced to the show, and it became the main setting for the Cyber World scenes. It was something new and unique that the games didn't have, and it allowed them to dive into even more unique plot points. The evil group Gospel got introduced as well, but the dub renamed them "Grave" and changed their story greatly. This wasn't a bad thing necessarily, but it was a little bit of a let down to see how much of BN2 (and 3) got rushed to conclude the first series. Thankfully the anime original content continued to be unique and interesting, and it embraced the fact that it was it's own thing moving forward. This is when things got really crazy.


"Lan turned into MegaMan!" 

I still remember hearing the commercial on TV and being excited once again. This is when the series hit a much higher popularity, and they were ready to cash in on non stop toys and games! Walmart's toy section had countless action figures, cards, props, and other MegaMan NT Warrior related merch, and I loved it! As for the show itself, it returned with exactly what that quote said. In Axess the Cyber World comes to the real world, and virtual domes cover different parts of the city. These areas are where virtual viruses and Net Navis can walk around said real world, and cause mass destruction! To counter this, our heroes come up with a way to fuse people with their Net Navis, and of course our hero Lan is the first to do so. Using Cross Fusion, Lan gains MegaMan's armor and abilities (with MegaMan basically talking to him/helping guide him by being inside Lan's head), and fights off the new "Dark Loids" who are attacking humanity. While the Dark Loids themselves are adapted from Battle Network 4 -- again the show has nothing to do with BN4's original story (besides a few plot points at least). From here on out the series mostly focuses on the real world, and humans fighting against the new "monster of the week." It's a familiar concept, with shows like Power Rangers and all, and it works very VERY well for MegaMan.

At this point the show also got much more violent, and dove into darker topics. This is where our issues arise, but it's with the dub and not the original show. (More on this later.) Now we have real humans getting hurt/possibly dying, and there are even scenes of mass destruction that make it clear people were killed. Axess also has some pretty messed up scenes revolving around fan favorite character Chaud, but again this is something I wont spoil. Once again, that story arc is great, and easily one of the highlights of the show. Still, this had to be heavily censored for it to be released outside of Japan.

Axess ends on a cliffhanger that introduces the real threat to humanity, but unfortunately, this was the end in the US.


Stream is the season we never got sadly, and it's also where things get pretty insane to say the least. Cross Fusion becomes even more of a bigger deal, with multiple characters being able to use it, and even bigger and badder villains to take down. This season even got a movie, and featured yet another pretty shocking character arc. It was such a good season, but even more violent than the last. Compared to the games, it basically covered Battle Network 4 and 5, but again, only characters and a few plot points were actually included. I can't stress this enough -- the anime is it's own thing.


Beast was the follow up to Stream, and used Battle Network 6 as a base. This seasons focus on the Cyber Beasts, and actually has our heroes being pulled into another world. (Yes, this is an isekai.) In this world time flows differently, so alternate versions of those who have died are very much still alive, and Net Navis are able to walk around in the real world freely. It's a pretty unique season, but sadly it wasn't as long as the previous ones. It was also the beginning of the end.

Beast +:

The follow up to Beast was Beast +, and this is where a lot changed. The show was cut down to 10 minute episodes (including opening and ending), and it had a low episode count. It felt more like one continuous movie split into 10 minute blocks, rater than watching full anime episodes. Sure, a lot happened in them, but it wasn't as developed as the previous series. It's events were roughly based on MegaMan Network Transmission (which is a spin off platforming game that took place between Battle Network 1 and 2), but once again, it was mainly only characters that got pulled from Network Transmission. (One of which being the Zero Virus.) Sadly due to this format, the show only had a limited time to end the world and save it, and they ultimately had to throw in some characters last minute. It wasn't the best send off for the series, and it instantly lead into Ryuusei no Rockman (MegaMan Starforce).

The Issue with the Dub:

Remember when I said things weren't all good? Besides that final season, the main issue was with our version. The dub had to be censored. The thing is, while MegaMan NT Warrior was being aimed at kids and was airing on the Kids WB block (which is where shows like Pokemon, Static Shock, and other action yet kid friendly shows could be found), the original Rockman.EXE wasn't quite the same in Japan. Sure it was still technically a "kid's anime," but in Japan you can get away with a lot more than what you can in the west. With Rockman.EXE's increasing violence, more and more had to be removed as the show went on. Originally shots where MegaMan pointed his buster gun at the camera were removed, and swords were given a glow to make them look more like beam swords. These changes didn't really hurt too much, but many fight scenes would even remove the impact of hits, and remove the more "graphic" sword strikes. (Sometimes the limbs of the Net Navis would be cut off, or virus programs would be cut in half, etc.) This censorship wasn't actually consistent throughout the series, but it eventually got to the point where you had episodes that had to fill in for lost time. One episode in specific had a random prolonged shot of the Net Battle Tournament's stadium for no reason other than having to fill in for all the time that was lost to cut content. Of course this didn't "ruin" the show, but at the rate it was being censored, it's hard telling how far they could've possibly continued.

With Axess bringing the fighting to the real world, things were cut down even more. Of course any blood (even virtual blood) was taken out as well, and (as I mentioned before) scenes where people die were done in a way to make you think no one was in the area/harmed. Trucks and cars blowing up? Eh it's fine, those were the new self driving prototypes that they just happened to have in a single episode. No big deal. Then you have characters who are held hostage at gun point, yet no gun exists. Classic 4kids style censorship. Again, it's not like you couldn't follow what was happening with the show with changes like these, but unfortunately it mixed with other changes really hampered the experience. Full episodes were cut/skipped over, any reference to Lan and Mayl having feelings for each other was removed, and a lot of the music was changed as well! Gone are the amazing opening theme songs (which remixes of said songs were used during the episodes as well for heroic moments, sad moments, and touching moments -- so the impact of those scenes just weren't the same), and in their place was generic "MegaMan.... MegaMan.... MegaMan... The Net Battle is About to Begin!.... MegaMan!.... MegaMan NT Warrior!" sayings. It's nostalgic for those of us who grew up watching the dub, but it can't even compare to the real opening songs. 

Then you have the whole issue of the show getting canceled after Axess. We stopped at basically the half way point, and at the moment where things get crazy. Sadly a lot of people didn't realize this is what happened, and that's actually what lead me to the creation of my username "NettoSaito." Back then Kids WB had a forum to discuss MegaMan NT Warrior, and I saw it was filled with kids wondering what would happen next. So I signed up for the site, and my username of "Netto" was too short to be accepted. So I stuck Saito onto the end of it (key character in the Battle Network games), and thus "NettoSaito" was born. (Again, Japanese names of Lan, and this other key character who is technically a spoiler... So I'll leave it at that.) Anyway, I made sure to inform them of what happened next, and let them know that Kids WB had dropped it at that point. I hated telling them that, but I figured they should at least know that it wasn't technically over -- but still, it was something they most likely would never be able to finish.

Eventually MegaMan did return to Toonami Jetstream (the online streaming website for Toonami back before it originally closed), but this was actually MegaMan Starforce -- and once again a modified version. Like Beast +, the Starforce anime was done in 10 minute blocks, so the English dub took this and spliced episodes together to make something a little more complete. In theory this sounds like a good thing, but again it too was censored. Scenes that contained "offensive" content was reserved for slide shows/episode narrations or intros to explain what was going on, but the scenes themselves weren't actually shown/weren't fully played out. This even included one of the intro scenes where our main character Geo meets his friends for the first time -- an important scene that was pretty much completely skipped and only slightly explained. The scene was most likely removed due to one of the characters getting hit in a bad spot, but whatever. No excuse to remove the entire scene just for a few seconds -- but that's how that dub worked. Other than that, it honestly wasn't too bad of a dub, but Toonami shut down, and they didn't keep going with it. Heck, even in Japan the show ended after it's second series "Tribes." By this point Battle Network/Star Force had seemingly ran it's course, and that was the end.

Is it Worth Watching Today:

So with everything being said and done.... Is it worth watching? Yes. I'd say so. The show does the whole monster of the week thing, but it's entertaining, and has a lot of great moments throughout the entire show. I'd say anyone who is interested in MegaMan Battle Network (or anyone who is a fan of the games) should check it out for sure. Of course it being a kid's show based on a game series means they play it a little "safe" with some things, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's share of drama as well. Typically you don't have to worry about your main cast dying or anything, but that doesn't mean they don't go through hard times, nor does it mean death isn't a part of the show -- it's just one of those series you know that at least the main character will make it out okay. But that's fine, not every anime needs to be like that. NT Warrior is a fun adventure, with fun fights, and many, many different stories to be told. It's a series you can easily watch off and on as the mood hits you, but specific story arcs are ones you'll want to finish watching back to back. Of course the show wont appeal to everyone, but in general I'd recommend most to check it out. The only down side is that at this time fan subs are the only way to truly experience it -- unless you understand Japanese. I honestly can't recommend NT Warrior's English dub after watching the entire thing in Japanese, but if you have no choice and you are fine with how much was removed... Then it is what it is. Still worth watching. (Just do yourself a favor and watch some of the better uncensored clips online -- especially the scenes with Protoman during Axess.)

Well, I guess that's it for today's Anime Monday! Thanks for reading! 

Answer must be somewhere ~

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