Posts Tagged ‘tiger and bunny’
Tiger and Bunny Eps 1-13
In Sternbild City, people with extraordinary powers are referred to as NEXT and a select group of these people are protectors of the people keeping criminals in check. Heroes, however, are not made of money and so they have corporate sponsors and compete on a reality TV show for points and the prestigious MVP award given out at the end of every season.
In the latest season, a veteran hero named Wild Tiger has lost his sponsorship and is left with a choice. He can either walk away entirely or he can team up with a brand new hero named Barnaby who shares his exact same power and none of his same ideals. As the two pair up as the very first super hero team, the two must learn how to coexist and work together for the good of the city.
Good and the Bad
I initially went into this series pretty certain that I was going to hate it. The concept sounded silly and I really didn’t see how anyone was going to manage to pull it off and make it live up to this ‘best of the season’ wrap that it was getting early on. Well, I’m here to just put it to rest now: this isn’t the best of the season but it’s a damn good impression of one.
Imagine that all of your favorite super heroes have been turned into Japanese counter parts and you have a good example of this series. This is a series that deals deeply with super hero tropes and the obvious plot holes that they leave behind and does it well. The series opens with an introduction of all the heroes interrupting a crime already in progress. One by one, the heroes make their entrances in appropriately flashy ways. The crime also goes appropriately over the top with one criminal stealing three vehicles of increasing magnitude (all the way up to an airship!) and even features a near death or two as characters are shot at and dropped from very large heights. What we realize about this right away however is that these heroes aren’t just rushing out to save the day, they’re all competing for points on the city’s reality TV show which features their exploits live to a cheering audience.
However all of these heroes also have real lives that they must handle as well. Some are students trying to get through their studies and make it to their real goals while also being a hero while others are all about saving the day and having to hide it from their families. I loved watching these characters lives come into sharper focus as their hardships came to light one by one.
The real story here is all about Kotetsu/Wild Tiger and his new partner Barnaby Brooks Jr. As the veteran hero, Wild Tiger is past his prime and now without a sponsor. With his contract picked up by another company, he must either partner with a newer, younger version of himself (who shares his exact same power) or retire and walk away entirely. This leaves the two very opposite personalities trying to figure out how to trust each other and work together.
What has always kept the series such a work however is that it never takes itself too seriously. The stories that it tells are dark and sinister (Barnaby fills the Batman role by having parents who were tragically murdered in front of him) but the light hearted banter between the heroes and over the top personalities keep Tiger and Bunny grounded along the way.
I’ve been particularly impressed by the music throughout this series as while the animation rarely goes particularly dark, the music isn’t afraid to deliver on the sullen such as when Barnaby is alone going over the records of his parents death. In other moments however it’s lighthearted and captures the hardships that these heroes face in their real lives.
Another strong series that caught me completely unaware, I’m unsure about where the series is going to go for the rest of the season. I like this feeling and am giving this one a pass with flying colors. From action to comedy, the buddy cop interaction between Barnaby and Kotetsu makes this series a strong winner of the spring season. Looking forward to seeing more!
Tiger and Bunny
Premiere Date: 4/2
Genre: Super Heroes
Available via Viz Anime
First Impression: Maybe not the next big thing but certainly a good first step!
In the city of Sternbild, the people have the police for small crimes but when things become epic they count on a band of real super heroes. All sponsored by a different corporation (all of which are real in Japan, one of many fun smaller details), the heroes compete against each other for the citizens entertainment on a popular reality program called Hero TV. Their mission is to be the best and most popular in order to keep bringing in those sweet sponsorship dollars with life or death stakes on the line.
One veteran hero, Wild Tiger, is the only one to still work for a small company. With the changing of the seasons however, that changes as the man with a daughter to raise is sold to a larger corporation. Now Kotetsu Kaburagi, not Wild Tiger, has to decide to go along with the offer to team up with a younger hero who shares his same power or walk away entirely.
Good and the Bad
On its very first day, critics were hailing this series as the next big thing. I remained unconvinced of this as I started the episode. In the first half, Tiger and Bunny establishes exactly what type of action you can expect. Introducing all of the heroes breaking up a crime in progress, the action in the first half reaches epic proportions. Escapes, multiple foiled heroes and hijacked vehicles (which get progressively larger from a taxi all the way up to an airship). Buildings are destroyed, special powers are used and some come very close to checking out of the competition permanently. And I was left rolling my eyes, still completely unconvinced that this could possibly be the next big thing. The eye candy in this series is a welcome treat but the powers and explosions were just not pulling me in as questions started to rise. Why would a criminal even bother working this city? Why aren’t these heroes at each others throats trying to get the arrest points?
But then the second half started. The heroes who were a few moments earlier acting strong and brave are mingling at a cocktail party. The heroes who were a few moments earlier all about the people are standing around timidly doing everything in their power to curry more favor with the presidents of companies.
Once the cameras are off, these heroes are nothing more than marketing gimmicks for their companies. They are there to boost the profits and keep ratings high, they all know it and they all play their roles in order to keep their jobs. And that’s the brilliance of this series. This is an amazing satirical look at the inner workings of every major entertainment field put into the context of super heroes.
What makes this series fun to watch however are the larger wrinkles and smaller details that keep the second half just a much more entertaining watch. When he’s not saving lives, Wild Tiger lives as Kotetsu Kaburagi. While Wild Tiger is dashing and brave, Kotetsu is a man who has a daughter to raise and gets to watch his own trading cards literally given away by children. Now he’s working for a corporation or end his career. To put that into perspective, imagine having a successful indie band suddenly being given to a larger corporation. Now there are many more demands, none of which are flexible. Do you give up what you’ve worked so hard for or do you sell out and play ball with your new president?
Getting into the finer details, what keeps Tiger and Bunny looking fresh are the great characters designs from Kenji Hayama and Masaki Yamada. Really selling the big city aspect to the series, the cast of characters are all so different from the standard mold that you’ve grown used to. There are characters of different races scattered throughout the series and no one is used as a comedic stereotype. Everyone feels like they could be a genuine person, even the heroes who are just trying to keep the cash coming in.
Playing into the entertainment TV vibe, all of the music in this episode is fairly generic. During the first half, the music was a high tension full orchestra piece complete with horns to mark the rising tension moments. Later though, these themes started to shift into much softer pieces as we started to get to know Kotetsu Kaburagi. Now, as much as I’d like to bag on this series for using such generic music I can’t think of a better time than now to use exactly that. When you’re specifically aiming for the cheesy reality entertainment genre, that’s the music you go with.
I was impressed with this. It took me awhile to get to that point but impressed is the right word to describe how I feel. There were a lot of questions that I want to have answered regarded these heroes but the human element is what pulled me in. Is there an easy answer for the hero who barely gets to see his daughter as it is? I can’t call this the next big thing yet but this is going to be a stand out this season.
So if you’ve been sticking with the blog for awhile you may remember me putting up weekly catch up posts to cover stories that I couldn’t get to. Then I got bored with that idea and let it kind of fade away. But now I’m finding myself in need of something regular to post again and thus have resurrected my weekly game of catch up. It’s been slightly rebuilt but is all the stronger for it. Getting into the real reason why you’re reading this, six new anime were announced this week including 2 movies and a Type-Moon adaptation that has already has me ready to give up a few hours of my life to see.
Take Moon: Out of all the releases announced this week, this is the one that made me sit up and take notice. In the latest issue of Comic Rex magazine was an announcement an anime adaptation of Take-Moon. Created by Eri Takenashi (creator of Kannagi), the manga series creates humorous side stories featuring characters from various Type-Moon games including Fate/Stay Night, Melty Blood and others. Seiji Kishi (Angel Beats!) has already been chosen as director. – Seriously, just reading the initial announcement was enough to make me look forward to seeing this.
Prince of Tennis Movie: Jump Square magazine announced via their January issue that a new Prince of Tennis movie is in production. The movie will follow the manga which ran from July 1999 to March 2008 though which parts of it are going to be animated is yet to be seen. – Never got into this one but I’m sure there are tons of fans out there who are excited to hear this.
Ao no Exorcist: Speaking of the January issue of Jump Square, it’s also been announced that manga series Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist) will be getting a TV anime adaptation. The story follows a boy raised by a famous exorcist who discovers that he is actually the son of Satan. Refusing to follow that path, he enters an academy to learn how to fight demons until a dark power is unleashed from inside of him. – Interesting story idea, might have to check this one out when its released.
Tiger and Bunny: I wish that I could make this kind of thing up but Sunrise beat me to the joke by making it real. Now set to premiere in April of next year is a new mech series from Sunrise called Tiger & Bunny. No word on the story but the crew already has Keiichi Sato (creator of Karas and The Big O, director – Wolf’s Rain) as director, Nishida Masafumi handling script and composition and Katsura Masakazu (DNA2, Video Girl Ai, I”s) doing character designs. Also mentioned in the initial report is a new form of advertising which will allow companies to place their logo on the characters (I presume during broadcasts). If I’m understanding properly that means this could literally turn into a weekly series of 20 minute long commercials. – I think it’s going to be awhile before I feel like I’m ready to stop making fun of this one.
Fuse the Movie: Getting back into movie adaptations, the second one to be announced this week is for the mystery novel Fuse: Gansaku Satomi Hakkenden from Kazuki Sakuraba (who also created Gosick which will be getting a TV anime adaptation in January). The novel follows a female hunter who is after human/dog hybrids called Fuse which have been attacking people in Edo until she hears more about their fates from one of Fuse she’s after. – Sakuraba seems to be on fire right now, keep your eye on this name over the next year.
Kyo Koi o Hajimemasu OVA: wrapping things up, a new OVA has been announced based on the manga series of the same name. The series follows a high school girl who loves to give people cute hairstyles even though she’s indifferent to fashion herself. On the first day of school, she meets a boy who keeps teasing her so she cuts off his long hair as payback beginning their relationship troubles. This is actually the third animated release based on this series after two OADs produced by JC Staff were bundled with the 9th and 10th manga earlier this year. The new release will hit shelves on February 25th. – This has two OADs? Wow, how did this one manage to sneak past my radar? Will have to correct this oversight in the very near future.