Written by “Man of Action”
Directed by Gino Nichele
This episode properly introduces Bert Wily and his quest to save this show while also continuing the classic games’ unfortunate quirk of having every single character in them be more interesting than Mega Man himself. (Save us, Ian Flynn!) Then Drill Man attacks and makes the episode’s quality bi-polar. Then after you watch the rest of the cartoon, you can see most of its original sins being sewn here.
– Bert Wily, full stop. The way he deliberately humiliates himself to make Aki’s bad day better is only a small part of what makes him great. Even when he’s a bit awkward because the whole darn show is, I’m willing to handwave that as being due to his middle school years. He’s one of the only characters able to make me keep my willing suspension of disbelief.
– Why doesn’t the rest of the franchise explore the potential limits of and problems with Mega Man’s weapon copy system as much as this show does? It’s neat to watch Aki struggle with how Drill Man’s schematics wreck havoc on his body. This is an awesome, untapped premise.
– The way Mega Man beats Drill Man is actually pretty creative. It’s one of those moments that makes no sense until after he wins.
– OK, seriously, what the heck is a robot even supposed to be in this show? Because Drill Man’s backstory about his abusive robot dad isn’t funny. It’s just weird and confusing. If we are to take this show’s dramatic underlying plot seriously at all, it is critically important for it to define what a robot is instead of haphazardly treating them as identical to humans. That needs to happen in order for us to understand why the humans vs. robots conflict matters, why Dr. Light and anyone involved in the war is important, and why Mega Man is such a special robot that he’s the main character.
– After you’ve seen how inconsistent the entire cartoon is, you can’t help but wonder why Aki starts sprouting drills on his feet instead of his buster arm. Curiously, this is the only time his powers are treated as if he’s Beck from Mighty No. 9.
– Why does Aki get a soda at school lunch? Are all robots powered by human food in this show? I’m guessing the answer is yes because, again, all robots in this show are treated as functionally identical to humans. Many later episodes will try and fail to walk that back, like how Borderlands has tried and failed to establish that its New-U Stations aren’t canon.
– When using Fire Man’s weaponry, Mega Man warns Mega Mini to “cut the power” if his temper flares out of control. This is the only episode that implies Mini actually has the ability to do that. It would have been a very useful ability to leverage in many future episodes. If he had used that ability throughout the entire show instead of everyone telling Mega Man to overcome personality corruption with willpower alone, that would have gone a long way toward fixing one of the show’s most irritating problems.
– This episode kinda has no ending. Mega Man dives after Drill Man into a hole and… that’s about it. It seems like something the next episode should follow up on instead of handwaving it away by saying Drill Man is probably already gone.
– Mega Mini playing the Mega Man 2 title theme on his guitar serves as an especially painful reminder of what this show isn’t.
– Continuing with that idea, every time this show uses classic Mega Man music note-for-note, it’s embarrassing to behold since Sgt. Night and other factors solidly establish that this show is an artificial construct engineered to prey upon nostalgia. Drill Man could have fixed that though. His backstory is that he wants to be not a drilling robot, but a musician, so it could have been cute and even funny if he was the only one ever seen singing or humming classic Mega Man music. Smart writers would have even watched machine and device orchestras on YouTube, leading to Drill Man discovering that even drills can be musical instruments.