Tiger & Bunny

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Hesse's avatar By Hesse on Oct 8, 2011

Story

My first impressions of Tiger & Bunny were skeptical at best; a show about mascot superheroes plastered with corporate logos brings to mind some dubious product placement anime. Or even worse, the cutesy title could've foreshadowed some hybrid ecchi fest involving bestiality. Luckily, T&B isn't as shallow as it might suggest; instead, it's an unabashed parody that celebrates its superhero roots as well as deconstructs them.

In the corporatized world of Sternbild City, commercialism is king; heroes not only fight crime, but they also play up for TV ratings, their CEO's expectations, and "profit-points". With the companies calling the shots, these superheroes seem more like walking ads for Pepsi, Amazon, and Bandai rather than selfless Samaritans. Only 30-some-year-old Kotetsu Kaburagi, aka "Wild Tiger", remains the old-school hero who puts peace above profits. As a man "past his prime" (and with a daughter back home), Kotetsu must adapt to the changing times where heroism has become a commodity; all the while, a younger, savvier crime fighter named Barnaby steals the limelight.

Despite the cynical twist in its premise, T&B is an action-comedy first and foremost; the show playfully pokes fun at itself at every turn. The first arc of T&B is your typical buddy-cop show starring the eponymous duo, Kotetsu ("Tiger") and Barnaby ("Bunny"). As expected, the old lion veteran get paired up with the naïve, reckless rookie. There's a clash between ideologies, the odd couple fights, and hilarity ensues. The situational comedic timing in T&B is brilliant, and several scenes made me genuinely "lol". Comic book fans may savor the subtle nods to X-Men, Batman, the Joker and Harley Quinn. Due to its tongue-in-cheek attitude, the anime's first half feels more like a spoof of Marvel comic duos rather than a serious critique on heroism.

Although T&B executes its comedic bits fantastically, the same isn't always true for its drama. The show gradually evolves from the buddy cop antics of the first arc into more serious plot developments and characterization. Barnaby's tragic past involving his dead parents, already an unoriginal angle, comes off angsty and cliché. Kotetsu's conflicts are rarer and more compelling; not only does he face competition from a younger breed of heroes, but he also struggles to be a decent (albeit absent) father. The tension between the two partners in crime becomes a litmus test of trust while a darker, sinister plot brews just beneath the surface.

All too often, the show lapses into contrived situations in order to get viewers emotionally invested. Barnaby just happens to fly in at the right moment to save his falling partner; a miraculous typhoon creates the perfect rescue mission and the duo (surprise!) share the exact same powers. The show is full of convenient coincidences that just deflate the drama and dispel any sort of tension. As such, even though T&B has some genuinely funny and exciting moments, it also has some eye-rolling ones.

Despite the sloppy (and at times illogical) writing, I nevertheless found the show wholly entertaining. Sunrise succeeds in executing the anime well enough to keep it fun, despite its narrative laziness. In the end, I didn't cringe from the cheesiness so much as I enjoyed the show as earnest entertainment. Due to the excellent direction and pacing, T&B manages to juggle action, drama and comedy with great ease.


Animation

Sunrise's superheroes look like they were cut straight out of a Western comic book – and that's a good thing. Character designs are refreshingly crisp and colorful; each one is distinctive and bursting with personality. There's also a nice contrast between the heroes' flashy, sponsor-splashed costumes and their unassuming day clothes.

The actual animation is somewhat of a mixed bag; occasionally, the quality drops due to some sloppily drawn stills. I'm not a fan of the CGI transformation sequences, and the clunky costumed fights don't exactly thrill. T&B is packed with these action scenes, but where it lacks in style it redeems itself in fluidity; motions and movements are quite natural throughout.


Sound

T&B's soundtrack is smartly placed; slice-of-life portions are accompanied by rustic, bluesy guitars while drama scenes are suitably orchestral. During crime busting sequences, there's a jazzy, heart-pumping theme reminiscent of James Bond or The Incredibles. Newsflash jingles act as constant reminders that we're literally watching a show within a show, and Hero TV buzzes like a proper media microcosm. Although not download-worthy, T&B's score always answers its call of duty.

Shounen fans may recognize Barnaby's seiyuu (Masakazu Morita) as Bleach's Ichigo and Kotetsu's (Hiroaki Hirata) as Sanji from One Piece. In T&B, these two perform flawlessly, playing off each other with hilarious repartee. Even tense, dramatic scenes are well-acted and naturally convincing. Rounded out with a solid cast ensemble, voice acting in this series is stellar.


Characters

As expected, Tiger & Bunny's main duo drive the machinery of the plot. The dynamic between the heroes creates the perfect double act; Kotetsu endears himself as the dorky "funny man", whereas Barnaby is the naturally stoic "straight man". Their banter translates into comedic gold, but the show elegantly breaks down this stereotype as the two grow to trust one another. Kotetsu, in particular, is an extremely likable character; he's a washed-up ojisan whom everyone mocks, but his confidence and selflessness make him genuinely sympathetic and easy to root for.

The colorful side cast of superheroes adds an extra layer of perspective; minor characters are given spotlight episodes revealing the person behind the persona. How he/she became a hero and what motivates him/her are explored, forming a group of charismatic, lovable personalities. From the oblivious "King of Heroes", Sky High, to the "Dragon Kid" Pao-lin, T&B sports a lively, affectionate cast of characters. My only gripe is that Rock Bison and Fire Emblem didn't get enough attention while the Blue Rose episodes were by far the weakest; the skimpily clad superheroine seems more like fanservice fodder rather than a fleshed out character.

Alas, T&B's villains are mere caricatures in comparison to their heroic counterparts. The plot begins with a rogue-of-the-week format that fails to develop the bad guys beyond your average thug. The morally warped Lunatic is a disappointing vigilante whose twisted sense of justice feels like a cheap imitation of Light Yagami. Although Jake Martinez is a crafty opponent, his character is stereotypically evil and frankly unmemorable. Not until the final act of the series does a worthy villain emerge.

7/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
Vinniesama's avatar By Vinniesama on Dec 4, 2011

I loved this show. It did have its flaws, yes. Some episodes had some very awkwardly-drawn models and weren't animated very fluidly, I'll give you that, and some episodes did drag a little bit, but you know what I loved about this series? The characters. Every single one of them. Wild Tiger, Barnaby, Blue Rose, Dragon Kid, Fire Emblem, Sky High, Origami Cyclone, Rock Bison and Lunatic are all damn awesome. Most of them got developed (except for Rock Bison, whose character development episode got shafted onto an official drama CD), and I loved that. These people felt like really good friends by the series ending. The writing was great for a superhero series, and the greatest thing about it was that it never once became boring. The odd dull episode, yes, but I was always up for watching the cast of Heroes fight the ne'er-do-wells of Stern Bild, be they triplet sisters with strange powers working as kidnappers, or some rich criminal kid who could turn his skin into diamond


A great, fun show for superhero fans and potentially a really good gateway drug for people who aren't really into anime.

9/10.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
9/10 overall
ReaperNeku's avatar By ReaperNeku on Sep 9, 2011

I can say this is a wonderful anime, right from the very first episode. With original designs of costumes, and wonderful voice acting, one can call this anime a smashing hit of the year! I agree, with the storyline also on par with the designs, it's no wonder this anime get sponsers, even big-shots, such as S.H. Figurarts, Amazon.jp, Pepsi, and all those good stuff. To really bump it up more is the writers' ability to leave a cliffhanger EVERY EPISODE, that'll make people go "WHAT!? Where's the new episode!? Why do I have to wait to see the exciting part!?" Well, that's the fun in watching anime, instead of knowing what'll happen, this anime leaves you thinking for long days and nights. As this review is being typed, episode 24 is in the midst of being released. I feel much more excited when I'm waiting for this anime's climactic ending! So yes, this anime is a great hit of the year, nothing I've seen so far, I can't even compare it to much anything since it's Mecha, but the mecha part is just the suits the main heroes wear, I definitely recommend this anime.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
animeandwwefanDXXD's avatar By animeandwwefanDXXD on Sep 18, 2011

Awesome anime!!!!!!, set in the superfuturistic world of sternbuild, with all the superheroes fighting crime on a gameshow like program called hero TV, based around Kotetsu - hero name wild tiger, he is forced to team up with barnaby who he nicknames bunny, hence the name tiger and bunny.although they initally hate each other, tiger represents old school/old beliefs, and barnaby's younger and more modern, but eventually they become friends, and much awesomeness and crime fighting follows!!!

 so id say its an awesome superhero anime!!!!!!, probably the best ive ever seen!!! just finished watching the last episode, and despite the second last episode, the last episode ended awesomely, probably also the best ending episode as well!!!

so yes...without saying any spoilers, id say by far my favourite superhero anime (not that ive seen many anyway), and its awesome all the way through, many huge plot twists, and it pretty much gives you everything you'd want to see in it, the only thing that it didn't give me and my friend-who got me into it, was that there was no Rock bison episode!!!! even though there was a Lunatic episode, and even a short kriem one!!! but that aside awesome anime, id highly reccomend it to..well anyone, but especially action anime fans!!!

edit : not really my best reaview, to make it reasonablely good i will add...

Story basically as i said before set in sternbuild, based on kotetsu/wild tiger, and the other superheroes, and then tiger is forced to pair up with barnaby, tiger and bunny!!!

Animation - the animation in this is awesome!!! i think its all or a lot of CG, and one of my friends told me it was done on a low budget!!!! if thats a low budget then whats a medium or high budget?!?!?!!!!

sound - awesome music, seriously if there was any anime theme/japanese song i was to show to someone wanting to hear it/non anime fans, i would pick any tiger and bunny theme!! although closing 1 and opening 2 were my favourites

charachters - in charachters, tiger and bunny has been congratuled for kotetsu, instead of the main role being a kid/teenager, hes a man in his late 30's (i think?) and hes awesome!!! barnaby starts out being kind of by himself, but then eventually becomes friends with tiger and vice versa, blue rose has a crush on tiger!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dragon kid is a tomboy-like charachter, rock bison- one of tigers best friends, fire emblem has been described as homosexual, not that anyone really makes a big deal out of it, or even notices! oragami cyclone, teenager samurai who can change into other people, but hardly even uses that ability,, and sky high, who has been said to represent the classic ameriacan type superhero - "the king of heroes"

and now lastly weve got Lunatic!!!!! you will be surprised when you find out who he was related to!!! basically he kills criminals, saying something like they must answer to the voice of thantos and then kills them with his fire crossbow thingey!!!

Overall- Awesome anime!!!!!!

 

 



10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
roriconfan's avatar By roriconfan on Dec 27, 2012

T&B is basically a buddy cop show with superpowers, where even superheroes need multi-national corporations as sponsors (PEPSI and BANDAI are IN-YOUR-FACE product placements), their own manager, and even need to maintain a cool image because they get their own tv channel. The introduction to the setting was close to amazing as it has never been done before in anime. But if I stretch it, I must say it reminds me of the Minutemen (the first generation of crime fighters in Watchmen) brought to the 21st century. 

It is a highly influenced by western superhero stories anime and thus it probably suits better the fans of DC or Marvel, rather than the Super Sentai fans. It is the fad of the season I guess as many anime these days beg for America to give them pointers at flavouring their tired formulas. Man, how times change; I used to laugh at western cartoons and now they become the inspiration for modern anime??? I guess the Japanese industry made a full circle and now returned back to the 60’s when Osamu Tezuka was getting inspired by Walt Disney or something. 

Anyways, the anime is basically a superhero show like the Justice League, with the difference it is making a parody out of them. In this setting, each one is basically working for a brand and becomes their mascot in a way, helping in sales and getting paid for his/her services. As always, his/her real identity must remain a secret and thus each one of them is living a double life in the usual way we see in such stories. Their company presidents and other heroes know the truth and even help to organize each others’ normal lives. As a premise, I find that extremely interesting as it opens various doors to themes such as the exploitation of marketing, commercialism, and the façade of an imaginary personality. And indeed, the show focuses on the lives of its cast and it’s not a braindead storyless action flick. Each character starts as a stereotype, an eccentrically dressed superman who stops crime and saves lives but still needs to pose handsomely at the cameras or his/her bad image will be a bigger problem than being trashed by bad guys.

At the same time, this is not a show that takes itself seriously and it’s too light for its own good. The premise of the show is not really developed in any way past its initial impression. The whole merchandising of superheroes is underplayed as nothing more than an excuse to give money to the heroes instead of resulting to “magic” money, and filming everything so the public will always see the villain gloating while revealing his masterplan. Although half the duration is about getting to know the person behind the mask, the other half is nothing but poorly orchestrated action scenes, full of cool but eventually superficial battles that make the whole premise to look way too silly to really care about. The CGI is rather crude for its age, and the battles are random poses, lacking choreography and proper scene duration to be exciting. I almost see them as dead time. The storyboard is also completely chaotic, poorly written subplots, improper pacing, abrupt scene change, and so on. Simply said, you don’t get to feel the passion of the plot because it has a completely erratic pace that makes it amateurish. 

Also, although the heroes are given immersion, it is not enough to escape their stereotype. It’s more like we get a few glimpses of their family life before some random villain appears and they have to go save the day with their character development meaning nothing afterwards. We see how each one of them is mostly pretending to be brave or fearless, yet underneath he or she are a lot frailer (which is good). This is mostly used as flavour as whatever we learn about them has no effect on the story, especially when the focus changes randomly and episodically from one hero to another, without any relation with the rest. 

Speaking of the major ones, the show is mostly about Tiger, the old fashioned hero disliked by his daughter, and Barnaby, the guy looking for his parents’ killer. Both cases seemed interesting at first, as they gave them enough drama to keep watching but eventually the resolution to both of them was actually too easy and even forced through superpowers, rather character development, strategy, or personal charisma in public relations. Basically it was all random nonsense done on the run, and they feel very distasteful if they are poking you for 20 episodes before ending so superficially. It is even more distasteful to see all the rest of the heroes besides these two being there just for flavour, with their own stories not binding with the core scenario, or even with one another. 

Even without all that, the final arc ends up being about brainwashing, which practically negated all character development and comrade bonding brought up to that point. It was all like “So what if we went through a lot together; the scriptwriter says they should all be rendered irrelevant and now we are enemies because of brainwashing”. Oh how nice, I guess all their interaction for all those episodes means nothing after all. But it’s ok since there is a huge plot armour to fix everything as forced as it began. As it usually happens in superhero stories, there are super duper comebacks in the most improbable ways, the villains are idiots who play games with the heroes instead of killing them, they reveal their plans on television so everybody can facepalm with their fail, and for no logical reason a super beam can destroy a super android but not a human being standing right next to it. No matter how much dramatic or mysterious they try to make the situation, it is resolved with piss poor easiness, so there is never actual tension or lasting drama. 

It is not much of a rewarding treatment, as it is mostly fooling around with puns and silly action sequences mixed in a completely erratic sequence of fleshing out scenes and random criminal chasing, before everything comes down to some evil masterminds that are defeated easily through Deus Ex Machina. It can still work as superficial entertainment but the viewer is torn between seeing this as funny or retarded and thus the enjoyment factor becomes like a stock market graph. There is no actual suspense or sympathy for the cast since they are just colourful caricatures, and the stories are stupid villains appearing and being defeated fast and easy, while resolutions to all the problems are done through unworldly powers instead of wits, charisma, or intellect in general. Not bad but definitely not great either.

And now for some excused scorings.

ART SECTION: 8/10 
General Artwork 2/2 (looks nice)
Character Figures 2/2 (eccentric)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (lots of fancy lights but rather crude CGI) 

SOUND SECTION: 7/10 
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series) 
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

STORY SECTION: 4/10 
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)

CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 
Presence 2/2 (cool/sexy)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (practically zero)
Catharsis 0/2 (practically none)

VALUE SECTION: 3/10 
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 2/4 (has some fancy visuals and good ideas but it is otherwise not doing much with what it has)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10 
Art 1/1 (looks nice) 
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but loose presentation)
Characters 2/4 (they are nice caricatures but nothing more)

VERDICT: 5/10

4/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
5/10 overall