Blu Ray Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume 9

 

Tiger & Bunny

Volume Nine

Bandai Visual

 

 

 

The ninth and final volume of Tiger & Bunny closes a chapter on the adventures of the titular heroes and their compatriots in Stern Bild City.  It leaves many questions unanswered, and indeed, asks a few new ones.  Presumably, these new mysteries will be tackled in the two movies that have been announced since the TV series ended its run.

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Blu Ray Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume 8

 

Tiger & Bunny

Volume Eight

Bandai Visual

 

 

 

Kotetsu’s choice to separate his personal and business life causes unforeseen consequences in this eighth volume of Tiger & Bunny.  Breaking down the wall between the two may be his only hope for retaining both.

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Blu Ray Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume 6

 

Tiger & Bunny

Volume Six

Bandai Visual

 

 

 

It’s been ten months since the terrorist group Ouroboros held the city of Stern Bild hostage.  The heroes, who had been somewhat on the outs after their failures against the take-no-prisoners vigilante, Lunatic, have regained the hearts and minds of the people.  Tiger and Bunny in particular have sky rocketed in popularity, thanks to their hand in defeating Ouroboros’ leader, Jake Martinez.

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Blu Ray Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume 4

 

Tiger & Bunny

Volume Four

Bandai Visual

 

 

As volume four of Tiger & Bunny opens, the vigilante hero, Lunatic, has just come out to the world.  This presents a problem for the various business entities that profit from Hero TV.  The problem being that Lunatic’s brand of instant, homicidal justice turns out to be much more popular then the antiquated ‘arrest and trail’ method  employed by the mainstream heroes. Continue reading

Blu Ray Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume 3

 

Tiger & Bunny

Volume Three

Bandai Visual

 

 

Barnaby Brooks Jr. (Bunny) is the rich kid who got into heroing for the fame, even going so far as to use his real name instead of a super hero nom de plume, at least that’s what we’ve thought for the first two volumes.  But as it turns out, he has a past.  His parents were murdered, and he believes a secret organization called Ouroboros is responsible.  He became a hero because he thought that it would help him track down the killers.

The first episode in volume three of Tiger & Bunny is mostly comedy, and centers on Kotetsu (Tiger) trying to put together a surprise party for Barnaby with the help of the other heroes.  But what the episode  is really about, is the division between Barnaby and the others.  He has no interest in associating with them in any capacity.  He’s  consumed with his quest for revenge and has started to resent Tiger and all the time he wastes.  Barnaby also seems to have tired of Kotetsu’s spirited belief in justice; perhaps because he suffered such a great injustice himself.

The second episode focuses Fire Emblem.  He’s the gay superhero and his character design, as you can see, is somewhat… let’s say ‘exploitative.’  But the character himself is portrayed fairly inoffensively.  This episode is notable for bringing Barnaby’s secret mission out into the open, and introducing the series’ major antagonist, a NEXT named Lunatic.

One of the things I love about Barnaby’s truth coming out is that it isn’t dragged out or over emphasized.  It’s just him, Kotetsu, and Fire Emblem sitting in a room while Barnaby tells them everything.  It’s a nice change of pace from shows with mysteries that piece out tiny bits of truth like bread crumbs.

Lunatic is a very powerful NEXT, making him a worthy adversary.  What’s interesting about him is that in a series about superheroes, the antagonist isn’t a super-villain, but another hero.  Lunatic’s enemy isn’t heroism, it’s the justice system that he feels is coddling criminals.  Of course, Lunatic is right that the justice system is faulty, but the problem isn’t the punishments, it’s the fact that it has been turned into entertainment.  In the third episode, the heroes are ordered by the Hero TV producer to hold off storming a criminal hide out until they go live on air, a delay which ends up having disastrous results.

Lunatic can be a good foil for Barnaby, who himself is seeking to punish criminals outside of the justice system.

The added depth to Barnaby’s character, and the introduction of a larger story arc and a main nemesis make this the best volume of the series yet.

 

Blu Ray Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume 2

 

Tiger & Bunny

Volume Two

Bandai Visual

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Blu Ray Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume One

Tiger & Bunny Volume One

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.