Adaptation Distillation: They change quite a bit from the manga chapters, such as cutting out a villain whose kidnapping of Lina leads into the creation of Heroman, a Skrugg in chapter 3, etc. Considering there was only three chapters out, it was interesting to see how things worked out in comparison to the manga.
It wasn't that only three chapters were out, but that only three chapters were available to fans in the west. The manga had yet to be licensed when the anime started, but that didn't stop BONES, and, presumably, Stan Lee and co to enact an unusually tough crack down on any and all scanlations of both Heroman and Stan Lee's other manga, Karakuridouji Ultimo. It's only several years after the anime concluded that the manga became available in American bookstores. Now, the arcs that were included in the manga before the Skrugg invasion that were absent in the anime included:
Several Monster of the Week-style Skrugg antagonists. Each of whom are confronted by Will, who fails miserably at saving the day before Heroman and Joey get involved.
Psy, Joey, and Heroman inspiring a wheelchair-bound boy who wanted to be able to skate like Psy. Psy gives him the special motorized skateboard he uses in the anime so he can follow his dreams.
A Bring It On-esque mini-arc in which Lena gets Will and Joey to join the cheerleading squad so they can finally win against a rival cheerleading squad. Despite the rival team's sabotage, they win. Right before the Skrugg invade.
A Day in the Limelight: In episode 20, quite a bit of time is dedicated to Holly and her antics (finding what's causing the disappearances and humiliating Joey and Psy).
Adults Are Useless: Averted more than one might expect, given the genre. Professor Denton is generally very useful for figuring out what's going on, and can even handle himself in a fight if the situation calls for it, whilst Agent Hughes has rapidly become the gang's most valuable ally thanks to the resources he's capable of calling upon.
America Saves the Day: It was bound to happen. The odd thing is we don't get to see what the rest of the world's governments and people thought about the Skrugg invasion for the time being.
As of episode 26, the rest of the world basically wants to raze Washington DC (understandably, as nuking Kogorr is a much better option than letting him literally eat the rest of the planet).
And I Must Scream: It is implied that the "shells" left behind after Heroman kills a Skrugg are the real evil behind them, while the part that explodes is only a harmless victim. While this is never confirmed one way or the other, Will does seem to have a degree of freedom, at least in his head.
Bland-Name Product: The fictional "American comic book" in the first ending is supposedly published by "Bones Comics", with the logo using Marvel Comics' distinctive font.
Bloodless Carnage: For the most part, the fights within the show feature no visible blood or wounds, despite earlier scenes of the military being massacred and civilians being attacked by the Skrugg. It might be the least violent show to be produced by Studio Bones, given it's Saturday Morning Cartoon influences.
In episode 18, a scientist collapses on the ground outside the summerhouse the gang is staying at, and you can see a trail of blood behind him.
Body Horror: A curiously subtle example in Episode 21. It is strongly implied that the two new-model Skrugg warriors our heroes face are based off the test subjects the aliens were kidnapping from the area - a cow and a dog, specifically. Except, of course, that cows' and dogs' heads do not naturally have the option of opening up into honking great plasma cannons.
Skruggification in general seems rather icky. Especially when one considers that the only known survivor of the process is willing to blow up entire buildings, incapacitate whole police squads, and threaten the heroes with death in order to prevent the process from happening to anyone ever again.
Or try to, anyway. The heroes manage to free Will, but Nick-though not brainwashed-is still a little crazy...
Break the Haughty: Will, full stop. Oh, boy, let me see: in episode 2, he uncovers the relationship between Joey and Heroman, and, in a jealous rage, grabs his best friend and sneaks aboard the Skrugg base to stop them himself. Not only does he not succeed, but he is caught, treated like a joke by Kogorr, has both his body and mind violated as he is assimilated/brainwashed by the Skrugg, is responsible for the corruption and (possible) death of said best friend, is freed from enslavement by the kid he used to bully, and has to deal with being obviously non-human and is cut off from his family and friends, and has to go into the wilderness to escape ostricization and hopefully get better. He...doesn't. And even after all of this, he owes his life to Joey again, and is still limited in the difference he can make. Kid really can't catch a break.
The Bully: The Distressed Damsel's older brother, Will, who insists he's the hero. He is disabused of this notion very, very quickly.
The manga's much more merciful to him. While he does get his ass handed to him by threedifferent Skrugg attackers, he finally learns his lesson during the manga's version of the invasion arc, without dragging his friend into the Skrugg base and getting the both of them turned into enemy soldiers.
But Now I Must Go: At the end of the first Skrugg Arc, Will, still half-Skrugg disappears into the wilderness to avoid human contact.
Calling Your Attacks: Joey has several commands to shout when pressing the button on his control gauntlet. Also played with on on occasion - during a covert infiltration, Joey whispers his usual "Heroman attack!"
In fact, given Heroman's status as a Living Weapon, this could even be seen as him offering suggestions to Joey regarding the best course of action - a theory supported by various bits of body language throughout the series.
To drive the point home, guess what his character's name is? Stan.
He also shows up in the new opening. Three times. Sheez, Stan! We get the freakin' point!
Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Skrugg. After seeing that Heroman can, at most, directly challenge at least their basic soldiers, all attention is turned on it. No ignoring it; chalking Heroman and Joey up to being powerless against their forces, no, they send a nice sizable force to take care of them and not run the risk of problems happening in the future.
And when they realise that Heroman also a territorial advantage, they fall back to reassess the situation whilst they get to work on making sure their hostages turned super soldiers don't go wild in the field again. They also attempt the indirect method of dropping a ship on Heroman to crush him.
And again when Kogorr is fighting Heroman and Joey; after not being able to match Joey's speed, he makes a show of facing off against Heroman; then suckerpunches Joey.
The Skrugg themselves used their own "defeat" to slowly take over things for a much larger second invasion.
Kogorr did it again, he had a fake weak spot (the eye) and used it to lure Heroman to murder him, and succeeded.
When Heroman apparently get killed, Joey rises out of his Heroic BSOD and decides to carry on fighting, no matter what. This triggers an upgrade in his gauntlet fueled by "his own power" that gives him Heroman's abilities and would have allowed him to take out Kogorr at the cost of his own life. He's a few yard away from finishing it when Heroman stops him.
Declaration of Protection: After he gets yelled at in episode 23, Joey tries to tell this to Lina, but ends up getting drowned out by the approaching helicopter that's come to pick him up (however, we can just hear him say it).
Demonic Possession: The villain in the first chapter of the manga is possessed by a mask that feeds off the grudges of people.
He seems to have been removed from the Anime, makes sense considering the anime and manga's Sci-Fi feel, this was most likely a decision for the better.
Development Hell: Despite all the hard work Stan Lee put into making the anime version accessible to Western audiences, infighting between Buena Vista Entertainment and Studio BONES have ensured an English dubbed version won't be coming any time soon (well, not outside Malaysiaanyhow). As of August 2012, there is no news of a release (whether on disc or broadcast) in the US or any English-speaking region.
Disc One Final Boss: Kogorr, though there are hints that he may be making a comeback later in the season - which he indeed does, making this a subversion of the trope. It's played straight with the other Big Bad candidate, Dr. Minami, though.
Disappeared Dad: While having already been established (along with Joey having a Missing Mom), Episode 13 reveals him to have been a coal miner, which may have had something to do with said disappearance.
The first opening features Joey's parents in mining gear, and the second opening pretty much offers a glimpse of a mining hat flying upwards above an explosion, which probably implies that they're dead.
And episode 13's rap sheets for Holly and Joey confirm this.
Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Sure, there are probably a few Skrugg left, and they kicked the military around like nobody's business, but none of that changes the fact that Kogorr managed to get his operation completely wrecked in only nine episodes, without much to show for it beyond one devastated city and the (narrow) trail of property damage from the spheres.
The End... Or Is It?: The Skrugg have failed and their spheres have been stopped... But who is that grabbing Kogorr's remaining armor eye?
Used again at the end of episode 26: Kogorr has been defeated for good this time when Dr. Minami's secretary Veronica busts her boss out of prison, and he's clearly been making plans...Lampshaded when To Be Continued flashes across the screen, followed by a huge "?". Doubles as a Sequel Hook.
Enemy Mine: Even though they haven't quite resolved their differences yet, Will and Joey team up against Kogorr in Episode 25.
Engrish: Surprisingly enough, averted. Almost all of the english to be found in the series, from whiteboards to road signs to business names to government profiles, is not only correct, but accurate to southern California.
Fanservice: Lina in a bikini in episode 12. Need I say more?
The preview for episode 18 suggests yet another beach episode with Lina again in a bikini, and Hot Teacher Ms Collins in a black, one piece swimsuit. Oh, and not forgetting to mention a conveniently placed tentacle monster scenario.
Fan Disservice: Along with Lina and Ms. Collins in swimsuits, episode 18 also features Professor Denton in a Speedo. Um... ew.
Flat Character: This is not really a Character Development show. Most of the main cast end the show exactly the way they began, with a few exceptions (namely Joey, Will, and Agent Hughes, and Psy and Holly sort of), and everyone else is either a one shot character who is never seen again, or a recurring one that's mostly part of the scenery.
More specifically Joey's teacher Ms. Collins and his grandmother could be considered this, due to having few notable traits. For other characters such as Dr. Minami and Kogor, who have defined personalities but no Character Development to speak of, Static Character would be more accurate.
Frickin' Laser Beams: Weapon of choice of the Skrugg. Though it might be compressed, heated, and energized air (plasma), as shown in episode 2, where a Skrugg first draws in air and then fires.
Gaia's Vengeance: The Professor drops a theory at the very last episode that Heroman is a manifested protector from Earth's atmosphere; hence the electrical field that surrounded the Skrugg arrival was a defense mechanism. That would be an odd Type 3: Gaia's avenger, a toy robot.
Genre Blindness: Episode 18 has Lina saying that the noises and story fit a little too well, and her eventually deciding it is some sort of candid camera trick. She's wrong.
It Runs in the Family, it seems; Will has this in the early episodes, when he sneaks aboard the Skrugg base in the vein of the great sci-fi movies to find weapons to turn against the Skrugg. To say that doesn't turn out well is something of an Understatement.
Given that the Skrugg are only here in the first place because Prof. Denton called them here, this could be the basis for the whole series.
Gratuitous English: In spades. Granted, this is supposed to be set in America, but hearing "SANKYUU", "KUURU", and other, similar borrowed English phrases — not to mention the attack commands like "HIIROMAN, ENGEJII!" — instead of less-hackneyed Japanese ones is more than a little bit jarring.
Green Aesop: Not the show itself, but an in-universe example. Holly does this in order to distract the government agents while Joey (and Heroman) sneaks out of his house to meet Denton and Psy.
Hacked by a Pirate: Professor Denton does this using the alien symbol that appears on his equipment, to temporarily prevent the U.S. government from tracking them via satellites.
Heel-Face Turn: Hughes, after having a nice discussion with Joey about Heroman's true nature. Toward the end of episode 15 he contacts the president in order to stop Heroman and Minami's fight.
In Episode 24, Denton unveils a newly rebuilt MR-1, strongly hinting he and the others will be using it to assist Joey in the DC Battle.
The Hero Dies: Heroman, after being impaled by Kogorr. It's not permanent.
Hive Mind: The Skrugg. They treat their "soldiers" as expendable parts, including referring to the two humans under their control as if they were machines that could be "fixed" (in the case of Will)
It turns out that Kogorr pretty much is the hivemind. He eats the other Skrugg for sustenance once he's ready to consume a planet, so we can only assume that he breeds new ones while en route to a new world.
Hot Teacher: Vera, though she hardly has much screentime, and not to mention no defining characteristics or background.
Subverted: Humans taken over by Skrugg can stop Heroman cold As is what happens toward the end of Episode 5, when mind-controlled Will stops Heroman's Megaton Punch, losing his Mind Control Helmet in the process.
Inspector Javert: Agent Hughes is mostly sympathetic, and would prefer to do his job more diplomatically, but is still assigned to tracking Heroman down and he has been following orders to the letter.
Intrepid Reporter: Keisha and Leo of the AAN, who chase the truth behind the "Ghost" case and end up broadcasting the Heroman vs MR-1 battle live. And when the Skrugg invade Washington DC and Joey and Heroman ride out to stop them, guess who's right there to get that story, despite the danger
I Will Fight Some More Forever: The US Army keeps trying to fight the aliens, even when it's clear that tanks and attack helicopters can't even scratch them.
The Kid with the Remote Control: Heroman shows signs of both being a separate entity and being an extension of Joey's psyche. It remains to be seen precisely where the line falls.
Resolved in Episode 9, where Joey gets knocked out by the Skrugg leader. Heroman gets mad and unleashes a Super-Powered Evil Side, even turning red for the occasion. Which then proceeds to independently curbstomp the Skrugg leader, even ripping the wings right off his body. When Joey wakes up, he makes Heroman better, just as Heroman is trying to rip the Skrugg leader's face off
This gets hilariously subverted at the end of the episode, though, where Lina fantasizes about asking Joey out on a date aloud... just as Joey shows up to "kill" the moment by remembering to return her lost cell phone. They end up going on a date.
Mood Whiplash: In the third episode, Joey and Psy laugh about how Joey's grandmother didn't notice the alien invasion happening outside in a light-hearted fashion. This is preceded and followed by scenes of said aliens mercilessly destroying everything in sight and declaring that Earth is theirs.
Again happens when Joey is bicycling to power up the Professor's computers to come up with a plan. Wacky silliness, but then we cut to the military getting slaughtered; and cut again to Joey on the bike, and we hear their screams.
Morality Pet: Lina acts as something of one for Will. On the one hand, he bullies Joey, but on the other, he does truly care for Lina and is shown to not be such a bad person after all, especially in episode 21's flashback.
Musical Assassin: Professor Denton makes a sonic weapon for Psy out of a guitar.
And introduces it by playing it. Looks like he's channeling a little of Brook.
Seems the good professor kept the best for himself. DENTON BEAM!
If the opening is to be believed, it appears that Holly is this as well. Though of a more...straight forward variety.
My Friends... and Zoidberg: In episode 14, a news report mentions Denton and Joey being missing-which they technically are, on the lam-but don't mention Psy.
Psy: What am I, chopped liver?
The Napoleon: Minami, who definitely seems to be compensating for something with his insistence on looking down from a great height on his opponents, regardless of how silly it ends up making him look.
Nuke 'em: Surprisingly averted. After he's told nukes may be the only solution to deal with the spheres, the President first asks if his advisors think it's the best course of action, then asks how long he has to make the call, and finally spends that time struggling and coming to terms with the thought of having to use the nuclear option. We see logistics that he's reading that show that over 200,000 people would die if a bomb were dropped in the sparsest populated area in its path.
Overprotective Dad: When people start vanishing from Center City some time after the Skrugg invasion, Lina's father basically imprisons her in their Big Fancy House. However, given that she's already been the victim of one (unsuccessful and unrelated) kidnapping attempt, and that his only other child was still missing since the attack, it's slightly more understandable than most examples of this trope.
May be an exception in this case. Stan Lee (the actual "creator") didn't write the manga himself after all. It may be just as much an original anime as it is an "original" manga, plus the manga lists "Bones" under "original work" along with Lee, so it may have been concieved as an anime in the first place, with the manga just happening to be released first.
Panty Shot: Lina gets a brief one in episode 5 while running throught the subway. Considering the length of her skirt, it's no real surprise.
Paper-Thin Disguise: When the team is being hounded by the NIA, they decide to go incognito. Denton gets a cowboy hat and fake mustache, Psy changes up his clothes and hides his hair in a cap, and Joey...wears his hood up.
Parental Obliviousness: Joey's grandma is too senile to really understand the threat or Joey's participation in it.
She mistakes the alien mothership for a mushroom, and the black spheres for candy. And calls them delicious-looking.
Perpetual Frowner: Heroman is capable of facial expressions, yet he hardly shows any besides an angry frown.
Pet the Dog: Jerkass extraordinaire Holly gets two in Episode 20, first cheering up a hospitalised little girl whose father was kidnapped by the Skrugg, and then actually expressing concern for her little brother's wellbeing when he slopes off for the inevitable action sequence.
Will gets one in a flashback in 21. It's revealed that Psy's leg injury was the result of an accident during a game and that he and Will worked well as a team. After Psy loses his ability to walk properly, Will blames himself for the accident, resulting in him relinquishing his position as captain of the team.
Rival Turned Evil: As it turns out, the two assassins in episode five are Will and Nick.
Robosexual: Following the events of Episode 16, Holly develops an enormous crush on Heroman. One can only imagine what Joey's initial reaction was to discovering this.
Room Full of Crazy: Minami's cell in the Sequel Hook ending is covered with equations and drawings. Both his hands and feet were bound, so he had managed to do all of this by holding a pencil in his mouth.
Sequel Hook: So, Kogorr is defeated, and everyone is happy as the episode ends, fading to black. But, then it fades back in to show a prison island, with lights blazing and alarms shrieking. The prison's guards get decimated by Veronica, who frees Those Two Guys, and breaks down the wall to a certain cell, filled to the brim with equations and formulas, as well as drawings. A pencil is spit to the floor as the cell's inmate turns around: Dr. Minami. Cue To Be Continued. We even see a question mark afterwards.
Servile Snarker: Dr. Minami's female assistant seems to be very fond of poking holes in her boss's massive ego.
She's Got Legs: Vera's second outfit in episode 18 exposes alot of leg. They're amazing shapely to add to that.
Ship Tease: Joey and Professor Denton are rather shocked when Psy actually says something rather sweet about Holly, who he normally only has bad things to say about, at the end of episode 21.
Psy: I thought she'd turn it down a notch after going through all that...
Joey: Nothing's too much for my sister.
Psy: * smiles* But, that's what's great about her.
Shock and Awe: In accordance with his origin, Heroman can manipulate electricity to heal himself and give his attacks some extra kick.
Spoiler Opening: C'mon, you know there has to be something, considering the shadows of Will and Nick, the other huge mecha, the NIA...
Better yet, practically the first scene of the opening shows Joey and Heroman looking over a massive crater in the middle of the city. Guess what happens to the alien base when they win.
Take a look at the ending of the first opening and then look at the preview for episode 25.
The newest opening, while much, much more fastpaced, you can still spot events that will be important, such as what look like slightly different Skrugg, the characters in New York, and the Statue of Liberty being covered in organic tech...
That's not even all of it. There's some stuff that seems minor, but could be bigger-for example, the giant spiked ball, the figure in the flames, Minami possibly being upgraded to a main antagonist rather than a recurring villain-since it shows him fighting with Psy and Heroman, Psy using his Musical Assassin skills in battle, Heroman getting a new ability, the government taking an offensive on the group, and the group shot at the end showing who MAY be important. Hell, we get a lot more of Stan Lee in this opening, and Joey's past as well. Of course, this could all just be Wild Mass Guessing, but it's hard to tell. Alternately, in what may be a case of Spoiler ENDING, we see Joey, Heroman and Agent Hughes walking together. It may just be for the fun of it, but with the spoiler track record here...
Spiritual Successor: An androgynous boy becoming best friends with a mecha? It has more than a few similarities to Brave Police J-Decker.
Spy Speak: When Joey is called by Denton in episode 13, Denton refers to himself as Alan Smithee, and tells Joey that "tomorrow's the date." When Joey asks, "When's the party?" he is told that "The movie opens in October," and that it's off the record. He is also told to avoid being seen by anyone, to "not bother the neighbors." "Tomorrow's the date" is their emergency evacuation code, and Denton is really saying "Get out of there now." There's a Genius Bonus in that as well-Alan Smithee being the name for film directors who want their names taken out of the picture.
Stab the Scorpion: In Episode 11, Heroman aims a devastating, electricity-charged punch at Agent Hughes... or, more accurately, at the falling chunk of masonry that was about to squash Hughes like a bug.
Stepping Stonesin The Sky: When they're trying to pull the MR-1 out of the ditch they fell in, the cable gives, but Denton guns it, so it manages this.
Stuff Blowing Up: Plenty throughout the series, especially when the Skrugg and Heroman start cutting loose.
Sucking-In Lines: Episode 16, when the dam starts running full power, we can see Heroman absorb ambient energy. It's not an attack, and hes drawing in small particles, but shit is going to go down. He's recharging. And it ends with PillarofLight.
Super Robot: Heroman, albeit on a smaller scale from usual.
Super Robot Wars: Anime adaptation Debuts in Super Robot Wars UX and amusingly Denton's call not only attracts the alien's from this series but *all* the other alien enemies in UX.
Surprisingly Good English: Most of the time, not so much, but Joey and Holly's rap sheets in episode 13 are all in perfect English, spelling, grammar and all. They also contain some rather interesting information about the two, such as physical data and confirmation that yes, their parents are dead.
Taking the Bullet: Will takes the....eyebrow lances that Nick sends after Lina. Weakened, but this doesn't kill him.
Team Mom: Professor Denton, of all people. He realizes that these are children who shouldn't be put through this; and is emotionally supportive when it's needed.
Teleportation: One of Heroman's less frequently-used features. Particularly handy for summoning the big lug without Joey having to cart around his fragile 'broken toy' form all the time.
They Would Cut You Up: Axel Hughes teases Joey about this, first saying that this would happen, and then laughing and saying no, the U.S. Government would not do that. Not when it's more beneficial to have Heroman on their side willingly.
This Is Gonna Suck: You can make a drinking game out of how many times Heroman has that expression on his face.
Those Two Bad Guys: Dr. Minami's two male lackeys, Stallion and Amanorich, could become this.
Tranquil Fury: Joey enters this state when Heroman seemingly dies.
Transformation Sequence: Not exactly one, as it only involves Heroman's remote turning into a glove. The ones that happen from episode 2 onwards certainly plays out like it, which kinda gives Joey a bit of a Magical Girl vibe.
Transformation sequences aren't just for magical girls, you know. Humongous mecha and stuff like Kamen Rider and Sentai have been doing it since forever.
Yes, but Joey's transformation sequence is rather magical girl-ish, even with the sentai-ness of it. Kinda like if you mix Suo's, Subaru's or any of the Pretty Cure transformations with a Heisei Era Kamen Rider's or Ben10.
Never mind the somewhat sentient GIANT ROBOT that obeys Joey's every command. The closest anyone has to bringing that up is Will complaining why Joey gets to control it. Of course, they have other things to worry about.
Unstoppable Rage: If you hurt Joey, Heroman gets pissed. Kogorr finds this out the hard way.
Uptown Girl: Lina is really rich; and Joey is really poor. However, their class differences have not been brought up directly. Lina's brother does beat him up because he hangs out with her, but that could be Jock/Nerd relations.
In episode 12, their class differences start to be commented on.
Victoria'sSecretCompartment: Psy does this while disguised as a girl, to pull out some apples.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Will's ultimate fate, as of the final episode, is unknown. Nick's rather ambiguous exit is never brought up again either. The former will probably be addressed if/when the second season rolls around. The latter... not so much.