Manga Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume Four

45 years prior to the start of the series, superpowered individuals known as “NEXT” started appearing through a mysterious mutation. Some of them have become superheroes who protect Stern Bild, and each of the city’s famous superheroes work for a sponsor company. Their heroic activities are broadcast on the popular television show Hero TV, where they accumulate points for each heroic feat they accomplish. The best ranked hero of the season is crowned “King of Heroes.”

The series focuses on Kotetsu Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks, Jr., who have become the first hero duo after Apollon Media buys out Kotetsu’s sponsor. Kotetsu (aka Wild Tiger) and Baranby may have the same superhero power, but they seem to be a mismatched hero duo.

Tiger & Bunny Volume Four
Written by: Mizuki Sakakibara
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 11, 2014

In Volume Four, the superheroes fight against a NEXT named Lunatic, who goes around killing people who are accused of crimes. Unfortunately, the heroes can’t take down Lunatic whenever they encounter him, and this causes the anti-NEXT sentiments of the people to flare back up again.

In order to save Hero TV and fight against the anti-NEXT sentiment, the heroes are sent on various photo ops and events as part of a “Believe in Heroes” campaign. When Origami Cyclone is asked to give a special lecture to the students at his alma mater, the Hero Academy, he has a lot of doubts. Wild Tiger and Barnaby go with him, and during the scenes that take place at the academy, we get some good character development for Origami Cyclone that explains why he doesn’t really get involved with capturing the criminals and focuses on showing off his sponsor’s logo instead. But thanks to some advice he receives from Wild Tiger, Origami Cyclone decides to jump in and try to arrest the criminal.

I really liked getting this backstory for Origami Cyclone. Previous to this point, he simply came across as a loser who didn’t seem to take being a hero very seriously. But from seeing this backstory, it really does make sense why Origami Cyclone acts the way he does.

The final story that appears in Volume Four sees Dragon Kid being given the task of guarding the mayor’s son, who turns out to have NEXT abilities. Blue Rose and Wild Tiger help out, and it’s here that the others learn that Kotetsu is a widower with a 9-year-old daughter. This fact really catches Blue Rose off-guard. The three of them end up watching the baby at Barnaby’s place.

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t conclude in this volume. Since I’ve seen the anime series already, I already know what’s going to happen. All I’m going to say is that the story arc with the mayor’s infant son is hilarious, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s presented in a manga format when I get the chance to read Volume Five.

While the first couple volumes of Tiger & Bunny were more on the light-hearted side, volumes Three and Four are both definitely more serious in nature. Barnaby’s backstory about why he became a hero in the first place and the search he begins to take to look for his parents’ killer, encountering Lunatic, and Origami Cyclone’s backstory are all very important to the series. At least the story with the baby in Volume Five will help provide a little bit of comic relief that’s been missing in both Volumes Three and Four. But the story with the baby isn’t just there for kicks, though. It’s also there to provide a little bit of backstory and character development for Dragon Kid as well.

Sakakibara continues to do a fantastic job of capturing the characters and storylines of the Tiger & Bunny anime series in this manga adaptation. Even though I already know the story from watching the anime series, I find myself still being drawn into the story as I read the manga.

If you’ve seen the Tiger & Bunny anime series and enjoyed it, then I would highly recommend checking out the manga adaptation of the series.

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