Episode #17: Code Of Conduct
Original Airdate - August 21st, 2009

NWX-017 “Code of Conduct”:
Logan arrives back to the X-Mansion one evening to find Rogue tied to a chair and the rest of the X-Men kidnapped. He can smell the scent of the ninjas that took his friends. Immediately he knows Harada, the Silver Samurai is behind the kidnapping. You see Logan was once in love with a beautiful girl named Mariko whose father wanted her to marry Harada because of his Japanese nobility and membership with the Yakuza crime circle. Harada challenged Logan to a samurai match for Mariko’s hand; swords only, no powers. Logan beat him but still Mariko chose Harada. He left Japan heartbroken and confused. Now Harada wants to be leader of Yakuza but to do so he must rid him past of all failures. Logan is the only person that ever beat the Silver Samurai and now he must fight Logan to the death to regain his immaculate reputation. Logan and Rogue find Mariko at the Japanese Embassy where she reveals the location of his friends only in order to stop the fighting. But as they are mid-rescue effort, Harada and his clan take Rogue and tell Logan to return tomorrow for the fight. He complies and returns the next day and the fight begins. It’s touch and go for many moments but just as Logan is about to defeat the Silver Samurai, Harada goes against the Code of the Clan and uses his mutant powers to try and take out Logan. The clan leader disqualifies Harada and promises to return the X-Men to Logan. He is relived it is over but can’t help question Mariko for her decision to marry Harada instead of him all those years ago. She says that if she did not that the Yakuza ninjas would have killed them both on the spot. Logan knows in his heart she is right and can finally come to peace with it.

Story by Greg Johnson, Craig Kyle
Written By Bob Forward
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Music by Dean Grinsfelder
Animation By Noxxon Entertainment

Steve Blum as Wolverine
Kieren van den Blink as Rogue
Keone Young as Silver Samurai

Review: Arsenal - Six of the seventeen “Wolverine and the X-Men” episodes, up to and including “Code of Conduct” have either been Wolverine solo gigs or Wolverine team-up missions, in which he pairs with one other member of the team.

That means almost one-third of “Wolverine and the X-Men” has focused on the former and not the latter. Furthermore, Wolverine-centric episodes tend to be weaker fare. The exceptions are the series premiere and “Stolen Lives.”

“Code of Conduct” qualifies as a Wolverine Team-Up with Rogue as sidekick du jour. Silver Samurai is hunting down the X-Men (though none of them do anything besides get captured, except for Rogue) because he’s upset that Logan punked him a few years ago, when they fought for the love of Mariko Yashida.

This idea has potential. One of the best Wolvie-centric episodes of X-Men: TAS paired Logan with a young protégé (this time, Jubilee,) against Silver Samurai. Moreover, Rogue and Logan need to share some screen time. The two have an interesting, but underdeveloped relationship, which is based upon the dynamic the two characters had in the movies.

But it doesn’t work and “Code” is one of the weakest episodes in the series, thus far. First, “Code” has more padding than an asylum wall. The plot only needs about 15 minutes to resolve itself. However, you can’t have a 15-minute show, so the plot has been force fed about five minutes of fluff.

We see “ghost images” of the team getting taken down one at a time by shock-troop ninjas. It is never explained why we see these ghost images, but something must fill the time. You could just have Wolverine come home to a nearly empty home, but that would be too easy.

You can’t actually show the X-Men fighting, because then you might have to pay voice actors. So you get this weird and empty compromise.

Also, this episode is too similar to “Stolen Lives,” which aired just a few weeks earlier. Both use a Wolverine team-up to explore an old Logan romance. “Code” pales in comparison because Mariko is nowhere near as interesting as Mystique.

Finally, “Code” punks out the X-Men so Wolverine can look good, an unnecessary practice. Why must the entire team get beat up by ninjas, who will later be turned into kindling by Wolverine? It’s an unnecessary plot contrivance. Silver Samurai doesn’t need collateral to trick Logan into a fight. He could just tell Logan that Mariko is in danger.

Making other characters look stupid or weak so another can look good is dangerous writing. You never want to devalue characters by jobbing them; because ultimately the audience will lose interest in them or another character will have to “job” later, so they can look good. In generals, fair-weather viewers might be better off conducting themselves elsewhere.


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