Tiger & Bunny (2011)
Ah, superheroes who have problems beyond saving the world.
This is an ‘old’ series now, (first airing back in 2011) featuring a lot of comedy and action, typical of the genre, and both things that are definitely pluses for me. Having said that, my knowledge of superhero texts is very much limited, and to decades past, so I won’t be trying to contextualise things here.
I ended up binge-watching large chunks of the show because the story beats were spot on, and I was quickly invested in the world and the human struggles of the leads.
Kotetsu is my fav, not just because I like Hiroaki Hirata’s work or the buddy-cop arc with Barnaby, but because Kotetsu pushes back the hardest against the corporations and their vacuum of values.
And while half the time you watch the anime you’re shouting at Kotetsu to do the right thing by his daughter, he’s definitely the kind of guy who will live up to his own convictions.
If you haven’t seen Tiger & Bunny but are planning to, I think that if you’re like me, before you get invested with the characters you’ll be hooked on the world itself.
The superheroes are basically competing with each other to maintain their corporate sponsorship, and so there are constraints placed upon them beyond the scope of their powers.
Commercial pressures and obligations to their ‘owners’ weigh heavy and so you have the heroes doing product placement and side projects to generate revenue for the corporations. It’s a bit like Idol + Superhero, something I personally hadn’t seen a whole lot of before.
A few quick dot points before I wrap up the review:
- I hope Lunatic gets some more time in the new season as he is an interesting antagonist
- Transforming the word ‘Barnaby’ into ‘Bunny’ is pretty good 😀
- The slow thaw between Kotetsu and Barnaby is another high-point in the storytelling
- Great opening theme song
- The CGI hasn’t aged too much
- I really liked the sleek mech-costumes for our leads too
Tiger & Bunny isn’t flawless of course (very few things are, right?) and there are a few cheap shots at the expense of Fire Emblem’s homosexuality, even sort of painting him as a harasser, which sucked.
You’ve also got the typical anime/superhero costuming which is both a plus and a minus – thinking about Blue Rose or Barnaby here I guess, but neither are one-note characters and there is a kind of ‘equal opportunity’ approach to fan service at times, lol.
Overall, plenty to enjoy if you like the genre and I’m definitely seeking the films next.