Title: Tiger & Bunny
Summary: Schternbilt City is home to people called “Next,” who use their special abilities to protect the people as superheroes. These heroes solve cases and save lives so they can wear sponsor logos or acquire “hero points.” Their activities are documented on the popular program “Hero TV,” which picks the “King of Heroes” in a yearly ranking. The veteran hero Wild Tiger has always preferred to work alone, but now he’s been assigned the rookie Barnaby Brooks Jr., who has a different perspective on being a superhero.
Review: A superhero anime that didn’t make me want to vomit from all the cliché goodness? One that wasn’t filled with annoying moral messages each episode, or useless civilian friends that absolutely need saving? I’m all on board. I will admit that I was skeptical at first. I wasn’t sure what they were planning to do with the series, whether it was going to have an overall plot line or boring shorts of different villains. I’m pleased to say that they did the story right. They kept it interesting while having a lot of good character development. With flashy suits and typical superpowers of super strength, speed, ice, and fire, Tiger and Bunny managed to keep me coming back week after week to see what these NEXT powered heroes were up to.
The art style for Tiger and Bunny was one of my favorites this season because it did a great job mixing drawing with CG. The CG was obvious at times, but it still worked nicely and didn’t stand out like many other anime. The bold colors and different lining were nice as well. I’m not too sure how many series I’ve watched that were produced by Sunrise, but this one gave me a good opinion about them. If I recall correctly they also do Gintama, so that says a lot on its own. The amount focus they had on the art was a definite bonus. The amount of details they put into the backgrounds and character costumes was astonishing. I was very happy with the alternate world of Tiger and Bunny tying into our world with big brands like Pepsi and SoftBank. There were a lot of other brand references that stood out as well. Many might say this was just cross advertising, but a part of me feels this style of cross world meshing was for better rather than worse. The Pepsi Next ads between the first and second half might have been a little of both though ;). Whether they meant to or not, the characters representing the various companies did their part and made the companies look good.
The character design for Tiger and Bunny was definitely one of the better this season. I was happy with every hero from the beginning. There wasn’t heavy character development amongst many of the heroes such as Fire Emblem, Sky High, and Lighting Kid. However, with twenty five episodes they managed to pack in a lot of back stories for most of them. And just because there wasn’t heavy character development doesn’t mean there was none. For a series like this I find that a small amount of character development isn’t a bad thing. It gets you a little closer to the side characters without losing focus of the main plot or protagonist. The introduction of Tiger’s daughter was a great idea. It shows that heroes are still people, and they can only do so much. Under all the fame, glory, and NEXT powers is your average Joe. I’m glad that they didn’t try to make a hero that you absolutely hated either. None of them were stuck up and had all the fame go to their heads. The heroes basically saw this as a job not the highway to fandom. The storyline kicks off rather well by introducing the new dynamic duo Tiger and Bunny. Barnaby Brooks, the new hero, didn’t hide his identity and made a change in the hero world. With the same power as Tiger he soon became the “fresh new star” that everyone loved. However, he also suffered a lot to get to where he was. With a captivating back story of finding his parent’s killers (although cliché) the series had my attention from day one. I was surprised that they kept the pacing for the plot relatively well. Even ones where you learn more about the other heroes had hints toward the main plot. They did a great job giving you hints as the ending without revealing anything too dire. There were also a lot of great scenes in Tiger and Bunny. The twenty fifth episode was done brilliantly and left you with a great cliff hanger. The only complaint I have about the series is how “pretty” it was. You liked the good guys, you hated the bad guys, but you always knew what the outcome was going to be. There wasn’t any big surprises or sudden changes. With only the occasional shock factor I would say the series doesn’t have much in re-watchability value. The action scenes were fun to watch, but that’s about all there is to it. I only liked the characters, I didn’t love them. Despite the anime’s predictability it did have some pretty powerful moments that kept it afloat. Without doing anything necessarily wrong, Tiger and Bunny didn’t do anything right either.
The soundtrack for the series was well done. I enjoyed both openings and ending. However, my favorite was the English between the transformation scenes. I couldn’t get enough of when they said “Good Luck Mode” in that robotic voice. It made the scene all the better and gets you pumped for the next move. There were a lot of other small audio details with the suit that made the series slightly better.
Final statements: I still enjoyed the series quite a bit when I was watching it, and some episodes had me excited for the next. I really like Kotetsu as the protagonist because he was a down to earth guy. He wasn’t over eccentric like some of the other characters and he genuinely cared about the people he saved. There was a lot of great scenes and good action. There was a very small hint to a second season (Ouroboros still being around) but I strongly hope they don’t act upon it. Check it out of you have the time – preferred watch.