Mill Creek Entertainment // 2005 // 263 Minutes // Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // August 8th, 2010
"Duty calls, Nanoboy!"
Not many superheroes can lay claim to having saved the day by transplanting the obedience gene from a dog into a supervillain, but Nanoboy can. And it's exactly that kind of unorthodox thinking that might just see the little fella earn a place in a few discerning DVD collections.
When duty calls, as it so often does, 10-year old Oscar must de-atomise and become Nanoboy, the world's smallest superhero. Together with Isaac Neuron and Corona Jane (a reformed flu virus no less), Nanoboy must lead his Nanosquad to defeat the evil forces of Czar Zar and Careena Payne, and keep the Microcosmos safe. Simple, yet colorful and appealing characters ensure that youngsters not yet ready for Ben 10 or Wolverine and the X-Men can get their superhero fix, while parents can rest easy knowing that nothing offensive will corrupt their fragile little minds.
Our titular hero, Nanoboy, is an appealing lead. Smart, brave and yet still prone to the same mishaps that befall most 10-year olds, Nanoboy offers a parent friendly superhero that kids should love. His Nanosquad are just as engaging, with science whiz Isaac Neuron fulfilling the comedic sidekick role, while Corona Jane presents a strong female lead -- a nice touch in what is so often a male dominated genre. Support characters are also well written, with The Germinator a particularly fun addition being a vigilante style superhero.
Each 20-minute episode is split into two separate stories, meaning each adventure zips by at a great pace, and never risks losing the viewers interest. Night of the Living Dead homage, "Rise of the Living Dead Cells," which utilizes a suitably creepy soundtrack, stands as the pick of the 10 episodes included on the disc. The story sees an outbreak of zombie-like cells on the face of Vicky, the scourge of Nanoboy's alter-ego, Oscar. Creating a kid-friendly horror vibe that sits perfectly with the shows innocent sense of humor means there isn't anything not to like here, and any watching adults are just as likely to be entertained.
While I've no hesitation in recommending Nanoboy to parents of children under 8-years old, I doubt the show will hold a great deal of appeal to those children, particularly young boys, already enthralled by the likes of Spider-Man or Batman, as the show's more innocent tone and lack of real depth doesn't hold up to the more sophisticated offerings of Marvel or DC. Still, Nanoboy isn't really aiming for the same market demographic, and does just fine on its own terms. Most episodes have a simple moral to them, often about the importance friendship, and lack the complexities that could confuse youngsters. Fittingly the show contains relatively little violence.
The voice cast does a good job. There's nothing too memorable going on, but there's also a welcome lack of overacting, something that spoils oh so many 'toons. Visually the show is surprisingly pleasing on the eye. Character designs are sharp enough, though far from original in their use of spandex; but they are also bright and colorful, and blend the look of popular US cartoons, like Spongebob Squarepants, with a more traditional anime approach.
The 1.33:1 transfer features particularly vibrant colors, while the image remains sharp at all times. The 2.0 soundtrack offers a clean mix, which while never really exploding into life, lacks any real flaws. The only extra included is a bonus episode from World of Quest, another Mill Creek Entertainment release out now on DVD.
With a low retail price, and over four hours of animated fun, Nanoboy: Adventures of the World's Smallest Superhero! offers excellent value. It's also nice to see a superhero series aimed at younger children that doesn't feel the need to dumb down. Definitely recommended.
Review content copyright © 2010 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 263 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site