The Directors of X-Men ’97 Reveal How Anime Influenced the Show

X-Men ’97 is a certified hit, and two directors on the series revealed how their anime influences seeped into the show.

The Directors of X-Men '97 Reveal How Anime Influenced the Show


  • X-Men '97 successfully incorporates anime influences, adding emotion and maturity to the action-packed animated series.
  • Creators Eli Yonemura and Chase Conley draw inspiration from eighties and nineties animation styles, enhancing the Marvel show.
  • Despite challenges like budget limitations and diverse animator styles, X-Men '97's anime infusion enriches the series, driving its success.

Just a month since its premiere, X-Men '97 is receiving enthusiastic reviews, pleasing Marvel fans everywhere. The creators of the animated series recently discussed some of their anime inspirations that shaped the show.

The revival of X-Men is unquestionably a success. Packed with incredible action scenes and a surprising amount of emotion and maturity, the animated series is making waves. The show's anime influence is not a secret as two creators of the show openly discussed how they incorporated their inspirations into the series.

In an interview with ComicBook, Eli Yonemura and Chase Conley discussed their favorite anime influences in X-Men '97, revealing their pervasive presence throughout the series. While acknowledging their debt to the original animated series, they emphasized their strong inspiration from the animation style prevalent in the eighties and nineties. Like Larry Houston, the animator of the original series, the new X-Men '97 creative team drew inspiration from anime but was not limited by budgetary constraints, driving them to aspire for an even greater creation.

Yonemura explained:

"Chase [Conley] and I talked about that first off, when we both were signed on. We said there's a lot that we want to take from the original series, but there's also so much more from eighties, nineties animation. One of the biggest things that even Larry Houston talks about on the original was being restricted by budget. But then you go over, and you look at the Japanese animation that was coming out at the time, and I'm sure that they were restricted by budgets as well. But look at them. Look at them. They're gorgeous."

Having grown up watching anime, the duo wanted to infuse these references into the show, a sentiment shared by Houston himself. Yonemura expressed, "Oh. Good. So we're all in the same mind frame here that 'Let's just bring that to the X-Men. We've got this budget now thanks to Marvel. Let's show some cool s***.'" The impact of these influences is widespread, embraced by animators from both the old and the new animated series. The X-Men '97 team effectively uses anime to enrich the Marvel series, a strategy that is evidently paying off given the show's success.

Conley mentioned that during a dinner with Houston, where they talked about the new animated series, Houston shared his favorite anime influence: Ninja Scroll. However, the creative team faced various challenges at the time: a limited budget, hectic schedules, and animators from diverse schools and styles, all of which significantly affected the final product. One major factor was audience reception, as there was not an enthusiastic embrace of this particular style. Conley elaborated, "The audience is much more in tune with somewhat more cinematic staging I think when it comes to certain series, because of anime." Houston praised the creative team behind X-Men '97, expressing that they had created a show he wished he could have made himself.

X-Men '97 is currently available for streaming on Disney+.

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