Honneamise / Bandai Visual
Tiger & Bunny has more insight into the human condition than most superhero shows, because super heroes, no matter how noble, have to make a living.
In the near future, a small number of people start developing super powers. These people are referred to as NEXT. Some of them use their powers for good, becoming superheroes. Of course, that’s expensive, what with the costumes and gadgets required; so they get sponsors, much like race car drivers, and cover their costumes with company logos (in a refreshing twist, they use real companies, like Pepsi).
Like any capitalist society, when someone makes money, others want in on the good fortune too, so a TV series is produced. Called, ‘Hero TV,’ the show broadcasts live as the heroes of the city fight crime or save people from peril, awarding them points along the way that determine the MVP at season’s end.
This is volume one of the Japanese release of the show, which contains English subtitles and menus. It only includes the first episode, so I can’t go too far in reviewing the series.
The first half of the episode is in the form of an episode of Hero TV, which introduces us to all the heroes of the city, their powers, and a little of the interplay between them. The second half focuses on the civilian life of one of the Heroes, Kotetsu (the Tiger of the title), as we see him deal with is waning popularity.
The execution of the series reminds me a bit of Cowboy Bebop. It’s high budget, and seems focused on western sensibilities. All the text in the show is in English, and the character designs, by Masakazu Katsura (I”s, Video Girl Ai) tend towards the realistic, American comic style. But that’s not a bad thing. It differentiates it from the rest of the anime pack, while still retaining some of its flavor.
The only real criticism I can give at this point is that it’s a little sloppy with hiding its exposition (especially the president of Hero TV’s Network explaining what NEXT are at the MVP ceremony, as if the people there didn’t know).
But leaving that aside, it’s a well made show, and a promising start.
The Japanese Blu Rays are very English friendly, if you want to brave importing them.