Tiger & Bunny Review

Tiger & Bunny is a 2011 science fiction superhero action comedy Japanese animated series directed by Keiichi Satou. It is set in a futuristic city where heroes fight crime whilst promoting real life sponsors, focusing on two superheroes, the old-fashioned Kotetsu T. “Wild Tiger” Kaburagi and the rookie hero Barnaby “Bunny” Brooks Jr., as they are forced by their employers to work together


Positives:

  • Interesting premise
  • Good amount of humor
  • Good voice performances
  • Great English dubbing
  • Good characters
  • Great animation style
  • Awesome intros
  • Good world building
  • Great music/sound effects

Negatives:

  • Too many characters
  • Plotholes
  • Unnecessary characters
  • Generic superpowers

Plot: Set in a futuristic city, superheroes have corporate sponsors and are the stars of their own reality TV show.  Two superheroes, the veteran Wild Tiger and rookie Barnaby Brooks Jr., work together as a team to save the day despite their different personalities.  The story is pretty interesting and very entertaining.  Kotetsu and Barnaby are teamed together and this allows for some pretty good humor as the two are vastly different in personality, goals, and ideals of what a superhero is.  The overarching story follows Barnaby and Kotetsu trying to discover the Ouroboros criminal organization.  The initial episodes are pretty simplistic but as the series progresses the story actually gets pretty intense. I do like the exposition of the characters’ lives and backgrounds giving a little time for story arcs. Some of the episodes feel like filler with ridiculous plots. (4 out of 5)

Characters: The series features a good roster of characters.  Kotetsu T. “Wild Tiger” Kaburagi is the main protagonist and honestly the guy is actually pretty cool, thoughtful, and relatable. Barnaby “Bunny” Brooks Jr. is actually a good character too and there is the contrast between the two characters and how they grow and develop as a team.  Yeah, they’re pretty cliche but it’s done well.  Barnaby can act like a spoiled douchebag at times and all he every talks about is getting points.  The other heroes Karina Lyle/Blue Rose, Keith Goodman/Sky High, Nathan Seymour/Fire Emblem, and Antonio Lopez/Rock Bison are pretty decent and do help the cast feel more well rounded.  Some have more prominent personalities than others but they’re all pretty interesting characters. Huang Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid and Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone seem like they’re waste.  They don’t contribute nearly as much as the others. Agnes Joubert is the producer of Hero TV and one of the most unlikable characters.  The whole time she acts selfishly and I don’t like the disrespect she gives Kotetsu.  She’s tries to play the strong female but it’s actually annoying.  The entire series I wanted her to just die. Lunatic is one of the best antagonist and most standout characters. Jake Martinez is another example of a really cool villain with a lot of personality and power. Really liked Kriem and how her past was used to shape her personality as well as her interactions with Jake. Unfortunately, the series is littered with a lot of crappy unnecessary secondary characters, particularly the antagonists, who mostly suck balls. (4 out of 5)

Animation Style:  The animation style is done extremely well.  There is a glow to the color design.  Most of the hero designs look cool, the best being Wild Tiger, Origami Cyclone, Fire-Emblem, Sky-High, and Barnaby.  The rest of the outfits look stupid as hell and there’s no reason for it. I don’t understand why Barnaby looks like a woman.  A very poor design choice.  There are some 3D elements (the vehicles and hero costumes) that feel unique enough to standout but also enough to actually mesh well with the animation.  The action sequences can be pretty intense, especially the NEXT on NEXT action. (4 out of 5)

Score:  The music/sound is done really well and Yoshihiro Ike does a great job, deserving a thumbs up. The English dubbing is done exceptionally well.  Wally Wingert and Yuri Lowenthal are great as Kotetsu and Barnaby.  Other performances include Kari Wahlgren (Karina Lyle/Blue Rose), Patrick Seitz (Keith Goodman/Sky High), John Eric Bentley (Nathan Seymour/Fire Emblem), Travis Willingham (Antonio Lopez/Rock), Laura Bailey (Huang Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid), Michael Sinterniklaas (Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone), and Tara Platt (Agnes Joubert). Unison Square Garden performs “Orion o Nazoru” as the opening and Aobozu performs “Hoshi no Sumika” as the ending theme and both are incredibly well done. Loved voice performances by Stephanie Sheh (Kriem), Steve Blum (Jake Martinez), and Liam O’Brien (Yuri Petrov/Lunatic) (4 out of 5)

Writing: The whole thing where the heroes are sponsored by corporations is an interesting aspect.  I like how the series explores what it means to be a hero while dealing with the spectacle, money, fame, and corporate interest.  I think it’s actually pretty telling considering the way people look to reality tv for entertainment.  The series does have humor and drama but there is a lot of great action. There’s this running gag where Barnaby calls Kotetsu old man but Kotetsu looks no older than Barnaby.  Also, the idea of the NEXT (mutants, metahumans, alter users, bang babies, supers, etc.) are actually pretty interesting but hardly original. The characters with the best abilities are Jake, Lunatic, and Kriem, but that’s about it.

The whole idea behind the Hero TV is pretty damn dumb and the scoring system is ridiculous.  This isn’t Ultimate Muscle nor is it One Punch Man.  Also, the hero abilities are incredibly generic except for Wild Tiger and Barnaby. It’s like watching s-CRY-ed.  Almost all of the alter users powers are dumb as hell.  The only ones that seem original are Kotetsu and Barnaby.  Things like this make it hard to take the anime serious. Shows like this and One Punch Man often remind us of the differences between Western superheroes and Japanese superheroes.  For some reason, every emergency all of the heroes show up, no matter how small or unimportant the crime is.  And also, why in the hell is there this much open crime in a city full of superpowered heroes.  I can understand them fighting superpowered villains but most of them are just common criminals. (3 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Tiger & Bunny is a decent show if not entertaining with a great premise.   One of my biggest problems is just how the show was written with the character troupes, lackluster superpowers, and some unnecessary characters.  However, the characters are awesome, casting and performances great, awesome animation style, great music/sound effects, great story, and good amount of humor and action.  Tiger & Bunny gets 4 out of 5.

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