It’s not often we get an anime about super heroes saving the world from street crime. And it’s even less often when that anime takes inspiration from American super heroes like iron man. But Tiger and Bunny shows the west that anime can be just as entertaining as American super hero shows.
Tiger and Bunny takes place in a world where being a super hero isn’t just normal, but profitable. Heroes lend themselves to sponsors that pay for them to fight crime. This crime is shown on TV and the heroes who save the day gain points in hopes of being crowned champions. The show follows Tiger (Kotetsu) and his new partner Bunny (Barnaby Brooks Jr) as they team up with other heroes to stop crime and save the city.
The story is typical super hero stuff; having dark pasts for the heroes, enemies that later become friends, heroes who have turned bad, vigilantes who have their ‘own breed of justice’, and bad guys who are just misunderstood and are really trying to help. All of this is now the norm when it comes to super hero shows, but Tiger and Bunny tells the story as a character driven experience. This means that while some of the situations and events may be typical affair, the way the heroes deal with it and how being heroes has affected their lives shows a side to super heroes not found in shows like ‘justice league’ or ‘beware the batman’.
The show has its fair share of filler episodes, many of the shows episodes do nothing to advance the plot and are only there as comedic side stories, but once the show decides it’s going to continue with the story, it tells a tale that raises questions that ask why being a super hero is so great and questions the moral standing of humanity. It’s not anything that will make people rethink their entire lives, but it adds to the enjoyment of the show. One of the shows biggest appeals is the amount of detail there is in the world, it’s not long before NC 1978 becomes a real place that a multitude of stories could stem from.
The animation will be liked by some, and hated by others. All of the super heroes in the show wear costumes (as super heroes should), but all of these costumes are CGI and stand out from the shows fantastic backgrounds. The CGI takes a few episodes to get to grips with, and some of the animation looks awkward when a CGI hero attacks an animated character. Apart from the CGI, the show is fantastic to look at, and thanks to the animation from studio Sunrise, never dips in quality. The show looks great all the way through.
The dub for the show is great on the most part. Tiger and Bunny’s banter is great and it’s clear that the cast had a lot of fun recording the show. But some of the characters (namely Fire Emblem) come off as stereotypical and sometimes even a little offensive. Other than that, the dub holds up brilliantly.
Tiger and Bunny is a fun ride that has the courage to stand alongside other great super hero shows. And rightfully so. There are a few annoying filler episodes, and some animation choices may leave some people’s heads scratching, but if you want to watch a super hero show that tells a great story, you can’t go wrong with Tiger and Bunny.
Other anime recommendations
CG Super heroes: Gatchaman Crowds
Comedic super heroes that aren’t so super: Samurai Flamenco
Group of friends in the city: Durarara!
Tiger and Bunny is available on DVD and Blu Ray now in the UK from Kaze and Manga entertainment.