The greatest Heroes from all around the world are assembled at the metropolitan city ofStern Bildto compete in the greatest reality show about superheroes in the planet, Hero TV!! These mighty Heroes, who are also in the group of extraordinary humans with special powers known as NEXT, will test their physical, mental and their ultimate super power to fight off criminals and protecting Stern Bild from vicious crime and evil and compete for reputation points and popularity to become Most Valuable Hero of Hero TV, thus making their name marked in the history books. LET THE BATTLE BEGINS!!
Well, sounds quite intriguing, isn’t it!?
If you’re still hiding in the cave or something, that is actually the main premise for this unique and ASTRONOMICALLY POPULAR anime that is taking the world by storm! From the studio which does the infamous Gundam franchise, I present to you one of the revolutionary animes of 2011. (Other than Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, of course.) Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you, a popular anime with the weirdest title name I ever seen in an anime, TIGER AND BUNNY!
Tiger and Bunny is, in my opinion, a bold move by Sunrise to fuse American superhero cartoons with Japanese cultures like Tokusatsu (mostly Kamen Rider) to interpret this anime into one hell of an experience to view the Heroes’ life to protect Stern Bild from villain syndicates and massive crimes and at the same time, focusing on how humans with supernatural powers adapt to being a normal citizen in a real life situation, which makes this kind of anime feels like a mix of tokusatsu, action anime and real life all into one neat package. In my mind, I just felt like I’m watching good old Batman or Superman cartoons from the 90’s which has interesting characterization and some significance in the story. Heck, even I felt that I was watching a Kamen Rider anime that makes more sense! (THIS ANIME IS 1000 TIMES BETTER THAN THAT AWFUL SD KAMEN RIDER ANIME WHICH I WILL NEVER EVER GOING TO WATCH EVEN FOR 1 SECOND… I’M SERIOUS HERE…) that is one of the many WOW factors that makes Tiger and Bunny stand out from most of the animes from 2011. This is also THE CORE REASON that Tiger and Bunny becomes a hot cake sensation in the anime world! I mean, rights now, many daring cosplayers suit up as their favorite Heroes like a swarm of Heroes emerging out of nowhere! (Especially Wild Tiger and Barnaby. They’re everywhere. In anime expos, in public photo shoots, it’s THAT popular! I even had me with a cosplayer dressed up as Barnaby as profile pictures on my Twitter and Facebook accounts! That photo is the best thing I ever had in my entire life! BUUUUUNNNYYYY!!) Making it one step further, they even have their own action figures, towel, plushies, even model kits too! Heck, even real-life companies sponsored their Hero suits as their product placement on their suits!! (Never ever seen in an anime before! PERIOD!) THAT’S RIGHT, THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!! That is how Tiger and Bunny become UNEXPECTEDLY POPULAR, it all thanks to the strategic minds of the Sunrise anime staffs, implementing the popular American superhero genre into this one amazing anime! Kudos for Sunrise for strategically impressed the hearts and minds of all otakus into this one huge phenomenon that is Tiger and Bunny!
This series mainly focused on the main character, Kotetsu T.Kaburagi, who endures a ‘wild’ journey (No pun intended.) as the most justified Hero of all, Wild Tiger, in facing the real life of protecting civilians of Stern Bild while do some funny antics to brighten up his character. And then we have Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie Hero that took Stern Bild and Hero TV by storm with his savvy handsomeness and his amazing fighting skills in fighting criminals. Together, Tiger and Bunny (Barnaby) worked together as an amazing crime fighting duo to protect Stern Bild citizens and at the same time, becoming the town’s favorite MVP Hero in Hero TV.The director of this anime, Keiichi Satou, has planned the setup of the story really well with how he managed the back story of the entire character roster. For instance, I love how he fleshed out Kotetsu’s character by explaining about his philosophy of fighting as a Hero not to gain respect and popularity of citizens all because of looks and physique, but to save lives of the citizens of Stern Bild and protecting the city from evil like the Ouroboros (the main villain group of the show) in the name of true patriotism. Not to mention, his backstory with Kaede (his daughter) being involved really marks some thinking to the viewers well. Speaking of Ouroboros, I absolutely love how the director manages Barnaby’s dark past well. Furthermore, love how the rest of the NEXT Heroes fleshed out their back story well. Love Karina Lyle’s (Blue Rose) interaction with Kotetsu, especially when Karina confessed her intimacy towards Kotetsu a lot. Could we probably see KarinaXKotetsu blossoming to love in future movie and potential Season 2? I’m sure cannot wait for this. Also, love the other Heroes’ back story like how Ivan Karelin (Origami Cyclone) being the Master of Appearance in Hero TV, Pao Lin Huang (Dragon Kid) and her cuteness and not to forget the EVER HOT AND SPICY Nathan Seymour (Fire Emblem)! Yeah... However, I do find some questions still left in the dark and should be reconsidered for the second season. All in all, I thought that the script writers have done some decent job with the balance of focus of all of the NEXT Heroes, even though I do find the ending of the anime quite a bit rushed.
Masakazu Katsura is a true genius when it comes to how the color palette works in the anime. The most noticeable one is how he designed the Hero suits, especially Tiger and Barnaby. Both Tiger and Bunny has that Kamen Rider-esque feel in their armor suits with CGI effects adding some magic to their fighting actions which some critics might feel doubtful with how Sunrise handles the CGI effects but in my opinion, Katsura and his Sunrise crew have done it pretty well. Plus, when Tiger and Bunny activates their Hundred Power, that’s when the magic of CGI really shines with their armors light up SO EPICLY! (SO SHINY!!) Not only that, other NEXT Heroes also have their uniqueness and awesome X-Factor to their suits like the Idol Heroine of Stern Bild, Blue Rose with her icy sexy idol diva heroine suit that will make everyone’s hearts shivering cold like ice! (NO BAD PUNS INTENDED...) Furthermore, Sky High might not have the epic Unicorn Gundam light shine, but his armor suit looks pretty patriotic and reflects the awesomeness that is SKY HIGH!! Origami Cyclone looks like a pretty epic Japanese ninja hiding in the shadows which I also love! Other Heroes also have pretty decent design of their suits so I have to give props to Sunrise for this achievement. Even the ‘OH-SO-PEAUGH’ Fire Emblem has some flare to his (her?) Hero suit. LOVE IT! As for the background, it feels like I’m in a futuristic New York City, with some Asian spice to the scene! It feels like I’m in a world crossing between Tokusatsu and American superhero comics, which blends really well! The animation quality is what to be expect for today’s anime standard but the CGI effects is executed pretty well although sometimes, the CGI effects can deter a bit on how the normal 2D animation looks.
The music during the fights really amped up the experience that you are watching a superhero movie, only that it’s anime. The composer has arranged the sounds with balance from fighting and action packed music to more subtle and calm mood, all packaged into one nice soundtrack collection. From the more convenient music during the Heroes’ everyday life situation to some suspenseful and dramatic soundtrack when the Heroes are fighting the villains and the Heroes facing tough situation, the music stamps the mark for Tiger and Bunny as an American superhero-esque anime with nice blend of music. The first opening by Unison Square Garden is full of excitement with the great drum beats and the pace of the song that anticipated the viewers even more as if this song is PERFECT for superhero animes. The second one by NOVELS though was quite generic and nothing spectacular there. Also, I like the first ending by AOBOZU than the other one from TAMAKI for the same reason as the opening, though Missing Link by TAMAKI is quite a weird song, if I may comment. Overall, good combination of songs to make the vibe of Tiger and Bunny as an American superhero anime more visible.
The Tiger & Bunny philosophy when it comes to character is delve into the daily lives of the Heroes who protect Stern Bild from evil and at the same, become popular idols in Hero TV. And I should say the director did manage to interpret the entire Heroes’ characters pretty decently. Tiger and Bunny’s character chemistry shines quite well when they are the dynamic duo. Sure Tiger and Bunny always in the crossroads at first but once they knew their own selves; they actually make a really great characterization when they fight crime or when they socialize to each other outside of Hero work. And then, there’s Blue Rose (Karina Lyle), the Hero Idol, who always freeze crime and she’s one HOT HEROINE!! However, at the same time, Blue Rose’s secret love affection with Tiger quite mesmerized me but I wish that we can see more of Karina X Kotetsu chemistry because who loves Karina and Kotetsu team up as lovers? I AM. Keith Goodman (A.K.A Sky High) is a good man (NO BAD PUNS INTENDED...) who with his handsome looks and his flair with his fighting style makes him the TRUE MVP HERO of Stern Bild, no doubt about it. Dragon Kid (Pao Lin Huang) is one true kung-fu master with the pulsating lightning techniques but also one HELL OF A CUTE Hero as well. Fire Emblem (Nathan Lyle), well, he’s quite a scary looking tranny to start with but hey, at least he’s one entertaining and funny Hero with his own flare he had shown with the Heroes. Origami Cyclone (Ivan Karelin), always hiding in the shadows behind the Heroes on camera. (HE’S A CAMEO MASTER, OF COURSE... SNEAKY.) And Rock Bison (Antonio Lopez), Kotetsu’s friend and one strong Hero, being like a desperado of some sort. I mean, these main 7 Heroes have their unique character traits and each of them has shown their personalities well blended. Even the villains and side characters have their own story to tell with how they expressed in this anime like the Kotetsu family being one of the main character spots for Kotetsu. Even the mysterious vigilante known as Lunatic (Yuri Petrov) has his own tragic memories that shapes up his character pretty decently into who he is in the anime.
In retrospective, Tiger & Bunny has delivered really excitement action; intriguing suspense, interesting characters and decent music that shapes up into a Japanese take on the American superhero genre that have been adoring anime fans for the past few years. I think that Tiger &Bunny is quite unique and abnormal from most of the animes nowadays, full of Ecchi and fanservice. (YEAH...) And I think this anime definitely adores a lot of anime otakus worldwide as proven by the popularity alone. However, I felt that there are some mysteries and plot holes that should had been resolved, like the Ouroboros and the history of Stern Bild in detail. Sure, we have to wait for the 2<sup>nd</sup> Tiger & Bunny movie in 2013 if there’s any chance of resolution but I think the Tiger & Bunny anime workers there at Sunrise quite delivered a pretty good anime. Overall, if you wanting to escape from the boredom of the same fanservice time to time again, then Tiger & Bunny should break the barrier and delivers something different but really full of excitement for every Anime fans to enjoy.
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