While we in the west have done pretty well getting translated Mega Man manga these past few years, it still doesn’t scratch the surface of all that’s been made in Japan. One of the earliest and yet most prolific original Rockman series was by Shigeto Ikehara. Starting in 1992, he wrote episodic manga covering Rockman 4 through Rockman 7, as well as the first three Rockman World titles, all appearing in the monthly Comic BonBon manga magazine.
I’m not super knowledgeable of Ikehara’s series, but I have to imagine doing the same old stories of Mega Man beating reprogrammed robots and stopping Dr. Wily got a little stale, so he started making things a bit interesting. In the story for Rockman 6, it seems that all of the Robot Masters have their own interests as well as serving Mr. X. Wind Man, in fact, is helping Mega Man out to toughen him up for the inevitable final battle. But the biggest twist of all wasn’t when Mr. X turned out to be Dr. Wily, but when Centaur Man turned out to be a woman.
Not only a woman, but Knight Man’s lover as well. In the story, Centaur… eh, Man, falls in love with Knight Man for his strength and chivalry. She fears for Knight Man in his fated battle with Mega Man, but at the same time respects his honor and lets him fight. However, when Knight Man is vanquished by Mega Man, Centaur Man doesn’t take it too well and angrily seeks our vengeance.
Up to this point, Mega Man has no idea that Centaur Man is a woman, despite her feminine tone (he is a little slow, you know). The light bulb doesn’t click until Mega Man breaks her helmet in battle, and her long, blond hair sweeps out. She curses Mega Man for destroying her dreams, and vehemently attacks him. But in the end, despite reluctance, Mega Man finishes her off… using her lover’s own weapon.
Even though the series has yet to be officially translated, some western fans have known about Centaur Man’s gender bend for a while. The really funny thing is, not having access to a lot of the resources we do today, many fans tried to argue that Centaur Man’s womanhood was actual game canon. I recall it being a matter of hot debate, and at times I wasn’t even sure myself. But sounder logic prevailed; namely Centaur Man’s clearly male voice in the Power Fighters.
At any rate, I am left to wonder what other interesting plot points lie within Ikehara’s old manga series. Perhaps some day, a certain noodle-loving comic company will show us. Let’s hope!
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