Tiger & Bunny is one of the sudden big hits in 2011. Under the production of Sunrise and directed by Keiichi Sato, this Spring anime initially didn’t receive much attention during its promotion. But until its official airing, everything changed..
The story is very simple. It focuses on superheroes who catch criminals live on television and do corporate sponsoring. By the first episode itself, it’s like show is mocking what reality shows do these days, including the product placement. But the main focus is the superhero duo, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Wild Tiger) and Barnaby Brooks Jr. (Bunny) and the development of their partnership.
The show pays a lot of homage of American superhero comics books and hints some references from the director’s past works. The story usually deploys a lot of tropes but in a good way, in which it is entertaining. Because of these tropes, you can easily predict what’s going to happen Next (no pun intended). But sometimes, there are events which end up anticlimactic and which really surprised you by chance.
The first half of the show starts on how the Tiger and Bunny partnership developed along with the build-up of the rest of the characters and the introduction of the main antagonists. It’s very light and calm most especially that it’s interesting to watch the antics between Kotetsu and Barnaby.
The second half heads towards a darker tone where our heroes experienced problems which they need to work out before they save the city. Honestly, this is where a lot of plot twists occur and it really made you expect for the next episode.
The finale is great but there are few things which made me disappointed. But the possibility of a sequel is really high, meaning that the subplots that remained hanging after the 1st season would likely be developed more in the future.
The animation is not the best. Some of the animation designs were a bit off which were later corrected in the DVD/BD releases. The CGI used here has its problems but it did give a fresh feel. I can’t blame the production team for that due to the initial funds given. I mean, they weren’t expecting the show to be a big hit.
But the design of Sternbild City looks nice, which is really inspired by New York City. The character designs were good and some of them were based from American celebrities. Yes, I find Kotetsu good-looking. Luckily, you won’t be seeing any of the anime art clichés like the vein-popping, big sweat dropping and the big moe eyes. Unless you consider Kotetsu’s eyes moe XD
The main characters and the supporting cast were well-received by viewers. Kotetsu is indeed a fan favorite simply because of his down-to-earth and funny personality. Barnaby is initially disliked by some viewers due to his attitude but later on, he also became a fan favorite. The dynamics of Kotetsu and Barnaby were indeed fun to watch to the point that most fujoshis would like to tease and ship. The other heroes like Sky High, Origami Cyclone etc. were well liked too. But the villains like Jake Martinez and a certain character who initially portrayed as a good guy (sorry, I’ll not spoil who that person is) have a lot of hatedom. No surprise also to the vigilante, Lunatic, who also has a big fanbase.
Kotetsu’s and Barnaby’s character development is interesting here since, obviously, the show’s about them. Other characters like Blue Rose, Origami Cyclone and Lunatic also got developed which made the characters more interesting. But sadly, some characters remained undeveloped like Fire Emblem and Rock Bison. Most especially Rock Bison.
The OST is great. courtesy of Yoshihiro Ike, and they were indeed memorable like when Barnaby remembers his parents’ murder, the OST is usually an opera lady singing in creepy way. This sometimes remind me of Diva’s singing in Blood+.
I didn’t like the first OP when I first watch this show. However, I did get use to it. The first ED is ok and somewhat a bit depressing. But the 2nd OP and ED are great and they both show the darker side of the second half. Even though most of us don’t understand Japanese, the lyrics of these songs actually reflect the characters themselves.
I really like the voice casting. Hiroaki Hirata and Masakazu Morita both did a fine job in portraying the duo and their attempts to speak Engrish in the episode previews. At least, Hirata got another good role asides from playing the role of Sanji in One Piece. And also, the supporting cast also did great too. Thankfully, these voice actors, who some are not really well-known, got some roles which are not minor.
Initially, I didn’t bother much on this show since the title “Tiger & Bunny” sounds a bit stupid to me. And the character designs didn’t interest me much. But thanks to the initial impressions of anime bloggers and ANN reviewers, I watched the first episode and I like it. It really reminds me of those Saturday morning cartoons that I’d watched before. In fact, I never get bored in watching Tiger & Bunny and every Sunday (according to the timezone where I’m in), I’m always eager to watch the next episode.
Comic book fans can definitely enjoy this as it pays a lot of homages to the Marvel/DC comics. Fujoshis can too enjoy since two guys are the main duo and a lot of BL hints were out in the open. But I think anyone who used to enjoy Saturday morning cartoons before and loves superheroes can enjoy it.
Despite a few problems in the story and animation, Tiger & Bunny is still entertaining. It’s a great show but not really a masterpiece. Anyway, Sunrise is indeed thankful for the sudden popularity of the show and it’s great to have them back again for this year asides from doing the Gundam Unicorn OVAs. It’s great to have Keiichi Satou again since Karas and Big O. I haven’t seen Karas yet but Big O is awesome if you’re a big fan of noir elements.
I never felt so excited since Code Geass where I’m glad that I watched this show. Because of that, Tiger & Bunny became one of my favorite animes. Definitely, comic book and superhero fans and fujoshis can enjoy this. Whatever, everyone can enjoy it if you have nothing else to watch.
Highs: Enjoyable story, characters, memorable music and OP & ED themes, great voice acting.
Lows: Clichés, inconsistency with the animation, some anticlimactic moments, some characters remained undeveloped