The Megaman X adventures continue as we head into X4. The manga has always made sure things were quite tough on X and this series is no exception. Just when X feels like he has finally beaten the bad guys and can relax, things go off the rails again. The series had to end rather quickly so we don’t actually make it to the ending of the game this time but it’s still a fun adventure. If you’re a Megaman fan or just want a good action title then this is a good one to check out.
The story starts with X and Zero enjoying the peace from the space station. It seems like the world is finally back to normal since Sigma is no longer around. X no longer has access to his post death environmental form and is back to his standard gear. For some reason Zero doesn’t seem pleased at how everyone is cheering on X as a hero but doesn’t say anything. Unfortunately peace is very short lived as a monster known as Eregion appears and immediately destroys an entire city. It begins laying waste to the world until X and Zero stop it.
The government needs someone to blame though so they say Repliforce is behind the incident. There is a lot of machinery around which does seem to link them. Repliforce is to be disbanded and all of the robots incinerated to achieve world peace. Repliforce doesn’t agree with this though and declares war on humanity. Zero ends up joining them as he doesn’t think it’s right for them to all be destroyed while X is left with the Maverick Hunter group to take them all down. Will X really be able to put aside his feelings and destroy Zero and the Repliforce members or will he have to abandon the fight?
By this point X is sick and tired of always having to fight off these mavericks. He takes it all rather hard and the worst part is how he can never save anyone in time. Later on the Repliforce group shuts off a power grid which ends up taking out a bunch of hospitals so many people die. As X watches all of this go on with no way to stop it. This has been a running theme in each series where X does save the day but only after major casualties. It’s why he has retired several times and why he detests the mavericks so much.
At the same time X has so much humanity within him that he is unable to keep from crying many times. He certainly cries a lot in this series as well and you can see how he’s emotionally unbalanced at this point. A ticking time bomb of emotion you can say and it does catch up to him. After X is defeated by Frost Walrus and he has to watch as another one of his close friends is murdered right in front of him, X goes completely insane. He turns into a dark form and just wants to murder everybody.
It was certainly a drastic shift although it’s one that doesn’t last long as the series quickly ends up finishing. I thought it was interesting although I think this already happened to X in a previous series. Either way it makes sense that this would all start to effect X quite a lot. You really do feel bad for him, I dare say that few main characters have suffered nearly as much as he has.
Meanwhile Zero is a mixed bag here. The mild subplot of him being jealous of X feels completely out of left field. By the end of the series we learn that what he is truly jealous of is X’s ability to feel emotions. Zero can feel sad and everything but he can’t cry, it’s just impossible for a robot like him and he takes that personally to the point where he even strikes X. Zero’s decision to stay close to Repliforce to keep an eye on them is very much in character with how he operates though and he got a lot of good fights. Having X and Zero in different locations was a good way to have each of them deal with a lot of mavericks.
Like with X things don’t go very well for Zero though as he can’t save everyone either. Being a Maverick Hunter is really a business where you shouldn’t expect any gratitude since nobody seems to like them at this point. Zero has his skills as always though and looks very impressive here. He’s still one of the strongest heroes on the block that’s for sure. At this point X and Zero are the only two good maverick hunters so they better keep their guards up.
As for the villains, Eregion was a cool one to start things off. He’s fairly mindless but still a strong maverick who really put the heroes in a tough spot. I certainly missed him when he was gone but you won’t forget that intro scene. Cyber Peacock is another fun one mainly because I enjoyed the mini arc where Zero enters the data world. In a way it reminds me of Battle Network which was always fun. Magma Dragoon doesn’t do a whole lot but I always like his Street Fighter type moveset which is handy for any fight like this. He is able to get up close and deal massive amounts of damage at any given point.
For someone with a big role though, Frost Walrus is your guy. This guy gets a ton of credit not just because he defeated a whole army of fighters but because he beat X and the Flame reploid in a 2 v 1 fight. Sure, X was using his base armor, but that’s been enough to defeat most fighters up until now. Against Frost Walrus that didn’t cut it. Walrus doesn’t really hold grudges either and approaches the fight as he would any other. He even lasted for a little bit against X in his rage mode. If not for Walrus doing so well and Double goading X on for a while, the hero may not have gone back into his more powerful forms to end the series off. Without a doubt you won’t see a villain more memorable than this guy here.
Colonel has a big role too of course since he is one of the Repliforce leaders. He has a big rivalry with Zero so they fight quite a few times but I definitely didn’t like him much. He’s never worried about putting Iris in trouble and puts her in a really tough spot all the time. He’s not as honorable as he tries to act. I agree with Colonel that Repliforce is being used as a scapegoat and of course he should be fighting back but intentionally targeting civilian areas like the hospital is really an underhanded play. There’s absolutely no honor in doing that.
Iris is a good character though. She does her best to keep Zero and Colonel from fighting at any cost. Additionally while Iris was conflicted about what side to join, she was doing her best to heal everyone she could. As a doctor she believed her role was to heal everyone regardless of faction and made good on that ideal for as long as she could. Then you have the General who is easy to mix up with Colonel. This guy’s a solid character and while he may not be the one giving out the orders, General follows them rather well. He’s just strong enough to be a threat without overshadowing the others.
It wouldn’t be a Megaman X manga without a traitor though right? That’s where Double comes in. By day he is the comic relief newcomer who doesn’t know anything but then he is one of the top mavericks on the villain side by night. Even his whole design changes into something that looks really cool. He works well enough as the traitor although it’s so fast that you don’t have a lot of time to process this on an emotional level. I don’t think X was particularly broken up about it at least. Man, robots don’t stay as Maverick Hunters for very long do they?
I would mention Sigma, but he doesn’t actually get to appear. As I mentioned earlier, this story ends early so the cliffhanger is the two heroes about to fight him. Too bad it couldn’t get 1 more chapter though since I think that’s really all it would have needed in order to have adapted that fight. It was soooo close, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Too bad too since I rather enjoy Sigma’s X4 design. I have a lot of nostalgia for the game in general since X4 is one of the first Megaman X games I played. It really holds up quite well as both a challenging and enjoyable game. The fully animated cutscenes were also a blast.
The artwork here is very nostalgia since it reminds you of the first 3 adaptions. That said, I do think the art has slipped a bit. Some of the action scenes can get incredibly chaotic to the point where it is really hard to know what’s going on. You know in a general sense of course but following the play by play during an action scene can be a bit of a trial. It means each chapter will take you a little longer to get through but ultimately I still want to emphasize that the art is good. Even if it may not beat the first 3, the action scenes are on point and the character designs are solid.
X4 tackles quite a lot of themes here so it’s a shame that it couldn’t have been longer to really expand on them. Like how X is the only machine who can cry and so Zero and the others are sometimes envious of this. Crying is a rather big theme in the manga and also the reverse which is that X can lose himself in the rage. I think if we had gotten more chapters we likely would have seen the two of them have a big fight to try and get X back to normal. He sort of just went back to normal on his own which was odd.
Then you can also see why X is so upset. He makes a speech about how he’s been stopping Mavericks since forever and saved the world a few times but it feels like nothing has changed. The depressing part is that nothing has changed. It’s hard to look at the world before he saved it and afterwards and see any kind of tangible change. It just isn’t there at all. Everyone is still dying constantly and the divide between robots and humans is as big as ever. After all, the government was very quick to say that every robot in Repliforce should be terminated.
X doesn’t have much time to even think about this before the group is committing terrorism everywhere. Otherwise though, you can see why Zero didn’t like this since it implies that the robot lives are meaningless. They can simply be snuffed out when they are of no more use to the government. By all means X needs to fight for the robot’s rights but once they start hurting civilians X is forced to go against them. It’s interesting because X really can’t reason with them at all right now since every minute spent talking is one where the villains are blowing more people up.
Zero quickly sees how irrational they are as well. The group could have made more good points but in the end they were just too quick to attack. So I would say they are all mavericks just using this as a convenient time to strike. Especially once we have the link to sigma. Some of them seem to really believe in the cause but then they should have been more careful with their targets. I’m convinced that they could have talked X into their side if they were more patient.
After all, X is someone who will absolutely be willing to talk and debate ideas. He’s that kind of robot but they didn’t give him a chance to do it. It was poor planning by Repliforce and another thing to blame Colonel for. As a final note, I really like the strong continuity among the X titles. We have flashbacks to the original series and even some previous guest stars. It’s always nice to be reminded that the previous adventures happened. Of course we know they did but that confirmation is important since otherwise it can quickly be forgotten.
It also gives us a chance to see why X isn’t using his big super powers from last time. It seems like he just lost them and for the upgraded armor he stopped wearing them since it was a time of peace. After being goaded on by Double, X was able to take these back out and go on the offensive. X is very strong in his own right so I can see why he left these initially but I was glad when he went back to get them. Underestimating the enemy is not something you ever want to do.
Overall, Megaman X4 is a great manga. You can certainly see where it starts to feel rushed near the end even though just one or two chapters could have made a difference. The series is filled with ideas even if a lot of them don’t really get to be completed. All in all, it still serves as a solid conclusion to the series. It would have been nice if it could have had a happier ending for X though as he still has no reason to feel anything but despair at how hopeless the whole situation is. To this day I will always be surprised at the absolutely massive body count in this series. Thousands die in every title like it’s nothing. X’s world is certainly the roughest timeline to be apart of. If you haven’t checked this series out then you definitely should.