I have recently been watching a lot of anime, and reading a lot of manga. There are lots of anime that I like and have enjoyed watching. However, there are very few anime that I just adore and want to watch over and over again. Tiger and Bunny is one of the anime that I adore. It has some great relatable characters, some interesting story lines, and lots of fun and action. I really enjoy the “problems” that the characters have to work through, and the themes presented in the anime. They are the same problems that we all have to deal with on a daily basis. The one bad thing about this anime is that I couldn’t find it to rent, but it was absolutely worth purchasing. The review covers the first “season” including Episodes 1-13 or Tiger and Bunny Set 1.
Plot: The set up is a little like X-men with a different flavor. In this world, some humans have acquired special powers through a genetic mutation in the population. They are called NEXTs. Their powers can range from shape shifting to flame throwing to being able to boost their physical powers by 100x. And some NEXTs have mundane powers like being able to stretch their skin or face. The NEXTs with powers that are suitable for law enforcement become Heroes. They are sponsored by large corporations and controlled by the ministry of justice. They are called to help stop a crime whenever the police cannot handle it. There is also a reality TV show that follows the Heroes on their adventures called Hero TV. This show gives points to the heroes for their good deeds like arresting a criminal or saving an innocent person. At the end of a season, the heroes get ranked by their point amounts, and a king of heroes is announced (that would be the one with the most points).
The focus of the show is on a veteran hero called Wild Tiger (his real name is Kotetsu Kaburagi). His special power is to up his physical abilities by 100x but it only lasts for 5 minutes. He had been around a while, and is a less popular hero than some of the others. He is starting to feel his age, and is wondering how much longer he will be useful as a hero. Being a hero has been his only focus since the death of his wife. The series begins at the end of a Hero TV season where in the last episode Wild Tiger has to be rescued by a new hero, Barnaby Jr. Barnaby has the same power as Wild Tiger but he is younger. He becomes a very popular hero overnight. He is very good looking and has a lot of charisma. Their sponsors decide to pair them together as the first hero team, and of course they promptly get on each other’s nerves.
Wild Tiger thinks Barnaby is a rookie and should listen to him more since he has experience. He also annoys Barnaby by calling him Bunny instead of Barnaby. Barnaby thinks Wild Tiger is annoyingly spontaneous and over-the-hill. Shouldn’t he retire already? Throughout the first episodes they fight and bicker trying to get the team thing to work out when neither of them really wants it too. As the series progresses, we find out that Barnaby is not as egotistical as we thought in the beginning. He is a troubled young man due to the fact that he lost his parents early. They were murdered by an organization called Ourobouros. Barnaby has been trying to find out more about the organization, and why his parents were killed. It is all he does in his free time. As for Wild Tiger, we find out isn’t as washed up or hopeless as he appears-it wouldn’t do to underestimate him. He believes a hero saves people no matter what (which is why he probably destroys so much property and racks up so many fines). We find our heroes starting to trust each other especially when Ourobouros shows up and holds the city hostage. Wild Tiger and Barnaby must work together as a team if they hope to save the city of Stern Bild.
While there is plenty of action with battles featuring some very interesting and weird villains, what keeps me watching is the comedy and character development. I laughed out loud while watching this series. I love Kotetsu. He has a great personality. He cares for his friends and family and is willing to sacrifice for them and for what he believes in. I also love that he is an older character, in his thirties as opposed to a teenager. At my age, I can’t really relate to a teenager anymore but I can definitely relate to a 30 year old trying to decide what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Kotetsu does remind me a bit of Dee from Fake. They kind of have the same dress code with the shoes, and tie routine and they are both dark headed and easy going. They both share a certain confidence. While the type of confidence is different, Dee thinks is a great lover while Kotetsu thinks is a great hero it comes off the same. Both Dee and Kotetsu are portrayed as spontaneous and not so smart, you cannot underestimate either one of them for they are sure to surprise you.
Now Barnaby is no timid Ryu that Kotetsu has to protect. But like Ryu, Barnaby is uptight, smart and the planning half of the partnership. Throughout the show we find out why Barnaby is uptight and sometimes cruel. We also see him begin to thaw out and unwind a bit. His character goes through a lot of changes throughout the show.
The other heroes are not bad characters either. They also have some depth. We have a couple of young heroes like Blue Rose and Dragon Kid. We watch Blue Rose deal with being sexualize at a young age, and trying to deal with work, school, friends and family all at the same time. We watch Dragon Kid struggle with the fact that she is not a girly girl and therefore doesn’t fit the accepted stereotype. Origami Cyclone is also a younger hero and he must deal with the fact that his powers (turning into the likeness of anyone) don’t really lend themselves to catching criminals. He also deals with an incident in his past that makes him feel less capable of being a hero. The other characters are not just side characters taking up space. They also show some character growth. All the characters deal with real life issues that normal people face. That makes this anime relatable.
I really enjoyed this anime. Tiger and Bunny has a good plot that doesn’t seem too far-fetched. The animation is done nicely. All the characters are drawn well. The character designer Masakazu Katsura spent a long time designing the characters and it shows. It took them two years to put this concept together and the time and effort they spent really shows. The characters are well developed and there is plenty of action to keep you interested. It also develops an interesting plot arc towards the end of the first DVD set. It was worth buying. This anime is a very nice addition to my collection.