Anime Spotlight: Tiger & Bunny

Tiger & Bunny is an anime series produced by Bandai Visual, Sunrise, and MBS. The series was directed by Keiichi Sato. The 25 episodes of the series aired on Japanese television between April 3-September 18, 2011. There were also two films released for the franchise: Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning and Tiger & Bunny: The Rising. As of this writing, VIZ Media holds the North American distribution rights for Tiger & Bunny.

Tiger & Bunny is set in the year NC 1978 and takes place in Sternbild City (which is a fictional re-imagined version of New York City). 45 years prior to the start of the series, superpowered individuals known as “NEXT” started appearing through a mysterious mutation. Some of them became superheroes, and each of the city’s famous superheroes works for a sponsor company; their uniforms contain advertising for their 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 focus of the series is on Kotetsu Kaburagi, who is the real identity for the hero Wild Tiger. He’s a veteran superhero past his prime and has a total disregard for private property when he’s trying to nab the villains. His daughter, Kaede, lives with his mother and is unaware of her father’s secret identity.

During the first episode, his sponsor company is taken over, thanks in large part to the high cost of the damage that Wild Tiger creates. His new sponsor, Apollon Media, makes him partner with a new and younger hero.

Barnaby Brooks Jr. becomes Kotetsu’s new partner, and Kotetsu gives him the nickname “Bunny.” Barnaby is given this nickname because of his armor’s earpieces and his use of long jumps and kicks. Even though Barnaby has the same powers as Wild Tiger, Barnaby relies more on strategy than brute force. When Barnaby becomes a part of Hero TV, he makes no attempts to conceal his appearance or identity. Barnaby is trying to discover who murdered his parents, and this is one of the plot points that runs through the series.

The other superheroes who participate in Hero TV are Blue Rose, Sky High, Fire Emblem, Dragon Kid, Rock Bison, and Origami Cyclone. Together, they try keep the peace in Sternbild City.

After watching the first episode of Tiger & Bunny, I was instantly hooked on the series. The concept of superheroes is unique for anime, and the producers of the series added some twists to the superhero genre that makes the series even more unique. I especially like the idea of the superhero that’s past his prime who’s trying to balance his family life with his career. I honestly believe this series could appeal to viewers who enjoy superhero stories who may not already watch anime. And as I continued the series, I found myself continuing to be hooked on the story and the characters.

The animation in Tiger & Bunny is also top notch. Not only are the characters well-designed, but the CG utilized in this series is some of the best melding of CG and cel animation that I have personally seen.

And the background music works so well for the characters and the world that they inhabit. In some respects, the music is almost a character in and of itself. There are several memorable pieces in the score. If you’re an anime fan who also enjoys superhero stories, then Tiger & Bunny should be right up your alley. This could also potentially be a “gateway anime” for fans of superhero comics and superhero films as a way to introduce them to anime.

Additional posts about Tiger & Bunny:

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