Tiger & Bunny
Kotetsu is a traditional superhero. He believes it’s a noble pursuit, and maintains his secret identity. Unfortunately, superheroing is a business in Tiger & Bunny, and Kotetsu ‘Wild Tiger”s ways have gotten old and boring for the audience.
In order to keep working as a hero, Kotetsu is forced to team up with Barnaby, his complete opposite. Barnaby remains in the public eye and seeks fame through his heroing. He doesn’t even bother to have a hero name, though Kotestu dubs him ‘Bunny.’ In most superhero stories, these traits would be major negatives for a hero, but in Tiger & Bunny, where one’s ability to work as a hero is contingent on sponsorships and popularity, Barnaby is the pragmatist.
Pragmatism also describes how Barnaby works. He is strategic and a planner. He’s no more interested in working with Tiger than he is, but he knows that being on the only superhero team around is a fast and easy way to get famous.
While Tiger is driven by impulse, Bunny is stalled by analysis (not unlike Hamlet). Both approaches are shown to have their faults and benefits, in fact the second episode is based on a situation that calls for both.
In a highly unusual move for an anime series, Kotetsu is an adult with a child. His wife has died, and his daughter now lives with his mother. She doesn’t know about his work, just that he’s always gone because of it. Kotetsu’s quest to save people comes at the expense of his daughter’s feelings.
The fourth episode focuses on Karina, the Blue Rose, who has the power to control ice. She too, is out for fame; but not in a direct sense. She took the job as a hero in exchange for help with her music career. To that end, she keeps her identity secret as well, lest it interfere with her true love.
She doesn’t care for being a hero, and the costume provided by her sponsors is exploitative, so episode four is about her trying to decide if it’s worth all the trouble.
It is still very early in the series. There isn’t much of an overarching plot, and a number of the secondary characters haven’t really been introduced yet.
The series is well produced. The threats the heroes face are a nice mix of supervillians, common criminals, and everyday emergencies. It grounds the series in a kind of real-world way, and makes the drama more effective.
Tiger & Bunny is a solid series thus far. It’s entertaining, but hasn’t reached greatness.
This blu ray was imported from Japan, and includes English subtitles. The screencaps are from the streaming version, and do not represent the video quality of the BD, which is beautiful.