X-Men is Marvel Comics’ second attempt at an animated X-Men program, after the poorly received half-hour pilot “Pryde of the X-Men” was broadcast multiple times between 1989 and 1992. It is considered to be one of the most faithful animated series based on a comic book. The popularity and success of X-Men (along with Batman, which also debuted in the Fox Kids 1992–93 season) helped launch a number of comic-based animated series in the 1990s.
X-Men was one of the longest-lasting series on Fox Kids, second only to Batman: The Animated Series, its most acclaimed and successful to date. Despite its final new episode airing in late 1997 after five complete seasons, Fox did not remove the show from their line-up until 1998. The show is also one of the highest-rated and most-viewed Saturday morning programs in American history. During its peak years (1995 and 1996), the show was often shown weekday afternoons, in addition to Saturday mornings.
X-Men also stands as the longest-running Marvel Comics-based show, running for five seasons and 76 episodes. The second longest, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, lasted for five seasons and 65 episodes. Although produced by different animation studios, both series were set in the same animated universe, and the X-Men even made guest appearances on Spider-Man’s show. (The second X-Men animated series, X-Men Evolution, does not share this continuity.)
After the box office success of the live-action X-Men movie in the summer of 2000, Fox began airing reruns of the cartoon on weekday afternoons. This ended in early 2001. Soon after, ABC Family and Toon Disney, due to Disney’s buyout of all Saban Entertainment programs, began airing reruns.
A number of famous storylines and events from the comics are loosely adapted in the series, such as the Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, the Phalanx Covenant, and the Legacy Virus. The third episode, “Enter Magneto,” features a confrontation at a missile base: this is largely based on the X-Men’s first battle with Magneto, as told in their 1963 debut X-Men #1. The season four episodes “Sanctuary, Parts I & II,” which involve Magneto creating an orbiting haven for mutants, were influenced by several storylines from the comics, chiefly the first three issues of X-Men (Volume 2) and the "Fatal Attractions" crossover.
Beyond faithfully recreating many of the popular characters and stories from the comic books, the series also dealt fairly openly with mature social issues. The ills of prejudice, intolerance, isolation, and racism were all frequent themes in the animated series, as they were in the comics. The series also deals with other social issues, albeit sometimes in subtext, that are not often handled by children’s programming: divorce (“Proteus”), Christianity (“Nightcrawler” & “Bloodlines”), the Holocaust (“Enter Magneto,” “Deadly Reunions,” “Days of Future Past,” and “The Phalanx Covenant”), AIDS hysteria (“Time Fugitives”), and even satires of television itself (“Mojovision” and “Longshot”). The Friends of Humanity, a prominent anti-mutant group that appears in the second season, bears great resemblance to the Ku Klux Klan and other white-supremacy groups. Adult sexual themes are also explored: in “Till Death Do Us Part,” Morph shapeshifts into Rogue to attract Gambit, and in “Whatever It Takes,” he morphs into Jean Grey, to manipulate Wolverine’s emotions. Likewise, Mystique would often shapeshift into, and flirt with, men and women. Gay mutant Northstar would make two appearances into the animated series, when he had recently come out in the comics.
Select episodes, predominantly from the first season, were released on VHS during the show’s original run. Within Australia, the first two episodes "Night of the Sentinels Part 1 & 2" was included in an X-Men branded Showbag in the Royal Show of each state.
At the height of the series’ popularity, Pizza Hut sold two VHS tapes that featured Night Of The Sentinels (Parts 1 & 2) and Enter Magneto/Deadly Reunions. Also contained was round-table discussion between prominent names such as X-Men creator Stan Lee and writers Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, and Bob Harras.
So far, very few episodes have been released on DVD. According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, X-Men is the ninth most requested unreleased television show and the second most requested animated television show behind MTV's Daria. Regardless, there are no plans for an official release of season box sets.
As of 2008, the series is planned for release on Region 2 DVD in the UK in 2008 by Liberation Entertainment as part of a release schedule of Marvel Animated series. The first season is scheduled for release on August 25, 2008 in two volumes. Season two will also be released in two volumes scheduled for release on October 27, and November 14.
In the first season only, the credit sequence consisted of computer-animated rotating 3D models of the different team-members created by graphic design artist, Dave McCarty, set to a different, electric-guitar-based heavy-metal theme. In subsequent seasons, the computer-animated sequence and guitar-based closing theme were dropped and replaced with clips from the regular animation over the regular instrumental theme. When UPN began airing repeats on Sunday mornings an alternate credits sequence was used: a high-quality Japanese-animated version of the original opening.
Rede Globo cut all of the intro sequence except for the logo at its end—which they do to almost all animated series they air. The American intro was retained when it was aired later on Fox Kids and Jetix.
The opening intro was replaced with a new, Japanese-animated segment of the characters as well as a new Japanese theme with vocals called “Rising (ライジング),” by the Japanese band Ambience (アンビエンス). Starting with episode 46 an alternate anime intro was used, featuring the new theme “Dakishimetai Dare Yori Mo (抱きしめたい誰よりも…).” The end credits sequence was also changed: it featured shots of X-Men comic books set to the song “Back to You (バック･トウ･ユー),” also by Ambience.
Several very well-known seiyū (Japanese voice actors) played roles in the TV Tokyo edition of the Japanese dub, such as Kōichi Yamadera (Cyclops), Shinobu Adachi (Jean Grey), Rihoko Yoshida (Storm), Akiko Hiramatsu (Jubilee), Masashi Ebara (Wolverine), Norio Wakamoto (Mr. Sinister), Yūko Kobayashi (Rogue), Yoshito Yasuhara (Gambit), Ayako Shirashi (Dazzler), Ryūzaburō Ōtomo (Magneto) and Rokurō Naya (Professor X).
|Professor Charles Xavier||Cedric Smith||Rokurō Naya||Seizō Sasaki||X-Men (Leader)|
|Forge||Marc Strange||Kiyoshi Kobayashi||X-Factor (Leader)|
|Wolverine/Logan||Cal Dodd||Masashi Ebara||Takeshi Maruyama||X-Men|
|Cyclops/Scott Summers||Norm Spencer||Kōichi Yamadera||Takashi Nagasako||X-Men|
|Mister Sinister/Nathaniel Essex||Christopher Britton II||Norio Wakamoto||Nasty Boys and Savage Land Mutates (Leader)/Apocalypse|
|Juggernaut/Cain Marko||Rick Bennett||Shōzō Iizuka||None|
|Colossus/Piotr Rasputin||Akio Ōtsuka||N/A||X-Men (Temporarily)|
|Storm/Ororo Munroe||Iona Morris (Season 1)|
Alison Sealy-Smith (Season 2)
|Rihoko Yoshida||Yōko Kurata||X-Men|
|Gambit/Remy LeBeau||Chris Potter (Season 1)|
Tony Daniels (Season 2)
|Yoshito Yasahura||Shinya Fukumatsu||X-Men, Thieves Guild|
|Rogue||Lenore Zann||Yūko Kobayashi||Megumi Yamato||X-Men|
|Beast/Doctor Henry “Hank” McCoy||George Buza||Shigeru Chiba||Haruo Satō||X-Men|
|Bishop||Philip Akin||Daisuke Gōri||Xavier Security Enforcers/X-Men|
|Sabretooth/Victor Creed||Don Francks||Tarō Arakawa||Magneto|
|Puck/Eugene Milton Judd||N/A||N/A||Alpha Flight|
|Jean Grey/Phoenix||Catherine Disher||Shinobu Adachi||Jun Sagawa||X-Men|
|Morph||Ron Rubin||Mitsuru Ogata||N/A||X-Men/Sinister (Temporarily)|
|Jubilee/Jubilation Lee||Alyson Court||Akiko Hiramatsu||Saori Seto||X-Men|
|Cable||Lawrence Bayne||Tesshō Genda||N/A||Clan Chosen/X-Men|
|Erik the Redd||N/A||Shi’ar Empire (Evil)|
|Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner||Paul Haddad||X-Men (Temporarily)|
|Banshee/Sean Cassidy||Jeremy Ratchford||Kunihiko Yasai||X-Men (Temporarily)|
|Doctor Moira McTaggart||Lally Cadeau||N/A||X-Men|
|Snowbird||Melissa Sue Anderson||Alpha Flight|
|Carol Danvers/Miss Marvel||Roscoe Handford||Mako Hyōdō||None|
|Longshot||Rod Wilson||N/A||X-Men (Temporarily)|
|Gorgeous George||Nasty Boys|
|Kenji Utsumi||Horsemen of Apocalypse (Leader)|
|Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr||David Hemblen||Ryūzaburō Ōtomo||Jin Urayama||Himself|
|Archangel/Angel/Warren Worthington III/Death||Stephen Ouimette||Daiki Nakamura||N/A||X-Men/Apocalypse (Temporarily)|
|Mystique/Raven Darkholme||Randall Carpenter|
|Yūko Sasaki||Brotherhood (Leader)|
|Avalanche/Dominic Szilard Petros||Rod Coneybeare||N/A||Brotherhood|
|Pyro/St. John Allerdyce||Graham Halley||Brotherhood|
|The Blob||Robert Calt||Brotherhood|
|Ilyana Rasputin||Tara Strong||none (Colossus' sister)|
|Henry Peter Gyrich||Barry Flatman||Project Wideawake (Temporary Leader)|
|Graydon Creed||John Stocker||Friends of Humanity|
|Shadow King||Maurice Dean Wint||Kiyoyuki Yanada||Himself|
|Sentinels||David Fox||Shinichirō Miki||Sentinels|
|Master Mold||N/A||Sentinels (Leader)|
|Sasquatch/Doctor Walter Langkowski||Harvey Atkin||Alpha Flight|
|Famine||Cathy Gallant||Horsemen of Apocalypse|
|War||James Millington||Horsemen of Apocalypse|
|Pestilence||Judy Marshak||Morlocks, Horsemen of Apocalypse|
|Ruckus||Dan Hennessey||Nasty Boys|
|Amphibius||Peter McCowatt||Savage Land Mutates|
|Vertigo||Megan Smith||Savage Land Mutates, Nasty Boys|
|Northstar||Rene Lemieux||Alpha Flight|
X-Men Adventures is a comic book series published by Marvel Comics. Beginning in November 1992, it adapted three of the five seasons of the X-Men animated series. Following that in April 1996, it became Adventures of the X-Men, which contained original stories set within the same continuity. It lasted until March 1997, shortly after the show’s cancellation by the Fox Network. In the final issue, #12, of Adventures of the X-Men, it is revealed that this universe existed prior to the current Marvel Universe, and was destroyed by the fracturing of the M’Kraan Crystal.