Time Enforcer Anubis here with a fresh review!
Sometimes, it feels like some things can only come from Japan. Even in genres that are traditionally Western, Japan can bring in a fresh perspective by bringing that genre into the realm of anime. Such a thing has happened in the anime I have today.
Tiger & Bunny is a superhero anime produced by Sunrise. It takes place in the city of Sternbild, where individuals born with superpowers (Called NEXTs) work as superheroes (And sometimes supervillans). In the city, heroes are sponsored, and “Hero TV” provides live broadcasts of superhero activity and has a running competition, where superheroes are awarded points for capturing criminals and saving citizens.
The story focuses on Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, also known as “Wild Tiger,” a superhero who’s past his prime. He’s not the worst superhero in the city, but he certainly isn’t the best, and when his sponsor dries up, he’s directed to a new company, who teams him up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a NEXT who just happens to have the same superpower as Kotetsu.
Tiger & Bunny takes a pretty unique look at the Western superhero genre. The superheroes are quite similar to comic book superheroes, but in addition to the heroism, crime-fighting, and whatnot, Tiger & Bunny adds in the corporate dynamic, with sponsors and Hero TV, which add an entirely new dynamic to the genre (The sponsors being actual companies is a nice touch, as well). The heroes don’t just have to save people. They also have to earn points and please their sponsors. It’s a competition, and everyone’s got their own way of doing things.
The character dynamic of Kotetsu and Barnaby, the show’s titular “Tiger and Bunny,” is particularly interesting. It plays out like a “buddy cop” movie, where the two, united as a team (By order of their host corporation, not by their own choice) must deal with each other’s vastly different methodologies in order to continue doing their jobs as superheroes. While Barnaby is very analytical, prefers to study the situation before engaging, and is more points-oriented, Kotetsu is hot-blooded, headstrong, and has no concern for points, only for saving people. It’s a clash of young vs. old, commercialization vs. straight heroism, with some subtle BL elements to please the yaoi fans.
The art style is a bit generic, but works in this title. The show also uses a large amount of CG, which is noticeably different from the standard animation, but, like the art style, blends well with the style of the show. Tiger’s and Bunny’s powered armors are very well-rendered, even when their masks are up, revealing their faces, which are rendered in standard animation.
The show is silly when appropriate, but the action is quite intense, and it takes the world that it sets up very seriously. From chasing robbers and kidnappers, to NEXT-on-NEXT combat, the show’s action pulls no punches. In addition, the parts without action, where the focus is more on the characters, are just as interesting as the combat.
Interesting characters, interesting worldbuilding, and interesting combat all come together to make a very well-done action show in Tiger & Bunny. If you’re looking for an action series, especially you’re into superheroes, Tiger & Bunny might just be right up your alley.
‘Till next time!