More Information on the Tiger & Bunny 2 Anime

The previously announced Tiger & Bunny 2 anime, which is scheduled to be released in 2022, will tell a new story set after the events of the Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising- anime film.

Returning cast members for the series include:

  • Hiroaki Hirata is Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger
  • Masakazu Morita is Barnaby Brooks Jr.
  • Minako Kotobuki is Karina Lyle/Blue Rose
  • Taiten Kusunoki is Antonio Lopez/Rock Bison
  • Mariya Ise is Pao-Lin Huang/Dragon Kid
  • Kenjiro Tsuda is Nathan Seymour/Fire Emblem
  • Go Inoue is Keith Goodman/Sky High
  • Nobuhiko Okamoto is Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone

Mitsuko Kase is directing the new anime at Bandai Namco Pictures. Masafumi Nishida is returning to handle series composition, and Masakazu Katsura is returning to design the characters.

Source: ANN

My Favorite Anime Opening Themes From the 2000’s to the Present

Recently, I posted a list of my favorite anime opening themes that came out between the 1970’s and 1990’s. This is a follow-up to that post, and it is a list of my five favorite anime opening themes that came out between 2000 and the present.

Instead of publishing this as a top 5 list, I will be sharing my favorites by organizing them in alphabetical order. I will be using the titles to alphabetize the list.

For whatever reason, WordPress is not allowing me to embed YouTube videos into my post. Instead, I have made the title of each song a link to a YouTube video.

V6 – “Change The World” (Inuyasha)

Fans of Inuyasha will recognize this as the first opening theme song for the series, which was released in 2000(!). It’s hard to believe that the Inuyasha anime premiered 20 years ago.

“Change The World” is a catchy song musically, and the vocalist for V6 delivers the lyrics so earnestly and so enthusiastically. This is a perfect blend to make this a memorable song and stand out as an exceptional opening theme for an anime series.

Joe Inoue – “Closer” (Naruto Shippuden)

This song was used as the fourth opening theme song for the Naruto Shippuden anime series. Of the theme songs for Naruto Shippuden, this one has always stood out to me. It’s catchy as heck, and I love the feel of this song musically. Whenever I hear it, I can easily see the visuals from the opening credits in my head.

When the final theme song soundtrack was released for Naruto Shippuden, there weren’t enough tracks to fill the disc, so they had fans vote for their favorite themes. Not surprisingly, Joe Inoue’s “Closer” was among the fan-chosen songs that appeared on that soundtrack. And according to Wikipedia, if it’s accurate, “Closer” was only the second single of Joe Inoue’s career. Wow!

Dean Fujioka – “History Maker” (Yuri!!! On Ice)

From the first note of this opening theme, you can hear there’s something special about it. It doesn’t sound like a typical anime opening theme song, which catches your attention immediately. Also, it’s one of those rare anime opening themes that’s sung entirely in English.

I love the upbeat and positive vibe of the song, as well as what the song is saying with its lyrics. And Dean Fujioka’s vocal performance just blows me away every time. You can hear his conviction as he sings the lyrics, and combining his vocal delivery with this musical arrangement sends chills down my spine.

Yuki – “Melody of the Slope” (Kids on the Slope)

This theme song was written by anime composer Yoko Kanno for Kids on the Slope, an anime about music. Even though the music featured in the series is jazz, this pop song includes jazz references in its lyrics, which helps to tie it in with the anime that the song was composed for.

I love the dynamics of this song, and how it goes from being soft to packing a punch and becoming catchy. The song does this at least a couple of times, and it sounds natural rather than jarring. Yoko Kanno composed another winner with this one.

ROOKIEZ is PUNK’D – “Reclimb” (Yowamushi Pedal)

When I went to watch the first episode of Yowamushi Pedal, I wasn’t entirely sure about what I was walking into. Yes, I read the description about it being about a high school bicycle racing club, but that was all I knew. I had never considered myself a fan of sports anime prior to this, so I didn’t think I’d enjoy the show. Well, the show grabbed me within its first couple of episodes, and I think this catchy opening theme song also helped.

It’s an upbeat song that you would expect to accompany a sports anime, and you can’t help but move along with it when you hear it. The vocalists on this song help to accentuate the exuberance of the music with their enthusiastic vocal delivery.

Unison Square Garden – “Tracing Orion” (Tiger & Bunny)

This opening theme is a fun and upbeat number, and not one you would initially expect for an anime about superheroes. However, as you watch the series and experience the tone of the writing, the sound of this opening theme makes a lot more sense.

I know I say this a lot, but this is a catchy song. But I think that being catchy is one of the ingredients to having a successful anime opening theme song. Sometimes originality helps, but I think that how catchy and memorable a song is helps to determine how classic and loved an anime opening theme song is in the long run.

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Tiger & Bunny Anime to Get a Second Season in 2022

The official Twitter account the Tiger & Bunny anime has announced that the anime is getting a second season that will premiere in 2022. The new season is titled Tiger & Bunny 2, and it will tell a new story set after the events of the Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising- anime film.

Mitsuko Kase is directing the anime at Bandai Namco Pictures. Masafumi Nishida is returning to handle series composition, and Masakazu Katsura is returning to design the characters.

Hiroaki Hirata is reprising his role as Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger, and Masakazu Morita is returning to voice Barnaby Brooks Jr.

Source: ANN

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.

Anime Soundtrack Review: Tiger & Bunny Original Soundtrack

Tiger & Bunny Original Soundtrack is primarily a soundtrack of background score music from the anime series.

Tiger & Bunny Original Soundtrack
Publisher: Lantis Record. Co., Ltd.
Release Date: October 19, 2011

There are 44 tracks over this two CD set. The first disc has 26 tracks, and they are all background score pieces. The second disc contains 18 tracks, and the final track is the song that Blue Rose, Wild Tiger, and Barnaby perform under the name B.T.B.

If you’re familiar with the Tiger & Bunny anime, you will instantly recognize quite a few of the score pieces that are on the soundtrack. The opening track, “HEROES N.C.1978” is the music that appears in the very first scene of the series. It also serves as the main musical theme for the series, as you hear elements from this piece sprinkled throughout some of the other pieces on the soundtrack. You can think of this as the “main theme” for Tiger & Bunny. We hear part of “HEROES N.C.1978” on such pieces as “The Ice Princess” (Blue Rose’s theme), “Roar Like a Tiger!” (Wild Tiger’s theme), and “NEXT=Power.”

The second track, “The Hero of Heroes,” is one that’s associated with announcing the winner of Hero TV, as well as other times that the heroes of the series are recognized for their achievements.

I also have a fondness for “Kotetsu” (Kotetsu’s theme song), because there’s just something about it that grabs me. “Power for the Future” is another one of the pieces that I recognize upon hearing it, because it really jumps out and makes the listener take notice. “Barnaby” (Barnaby’s theme song) is focused more on the piano and the operatic vocals in comparison to the more rock-oriented sound of the other songs in the score, which really makes this stand out. And this works well with Barnaby’s character. The musical theme of “Barnaby” also appears in “False Memory,” the final song on the first disc.

The tracks on the second disc tend to sound a little “darker” when compared to most of the score pieces on the first disc. But considering where in the series these tracks would have shown up, this makes a lot of sense.  A couple of exceptions are “The Hero Buff” and “Office Hours,” because these pieces focus primarily on acoustic guitar and piano, and they both have a more upbeat and happier sound to them.

In some respects, after having such a “darker” sound on most of disc two, it’s a little jarring at first to include the upbeat B.T.B. vocal track here. However, it’s a nice change of pace and a more uplifting way of ending the soundtrack. I’m glad to see that this track was included.

If you’re a fan of the Tiger & Bunny anime, I would recommend adding Tiger & Bunny Original Soundtrack to your anime music library. The best way to acquire this soundtrack is to look around at sites that sell Japanese import CDs and trying to find the best deal.

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Anime Film Review: Tiger & Bunny The Movie: The Rising

Tiger & Bunny The Movie: The Rising is the second film released for the Tiger & Bunny anime franchise.

Tiger & Bunny The Movie: The Rising
Directed by: Yoshitomo Yonetani
Written by: Masafumi Nishida
Starring: Hiroaki Hirata, Masakazu Morita, Yuichi Nakamura, Hochu Otsuka, Minako Kotobuki, Kenjiro Tsuda, Taiten Kusunoki, Go Inoue, Mariya Ise, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Yuko Kaida, Daisuke Hirakawa, Koji Yusa, Rikiya Koyama, Nana Mizuki
Run Time: 90 minutes
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Home Media Release Date: February 24, 2015

Tiger & Bunny The Movie: The Rising is set after the end of the Tiger & Bunny anime series, and the writers of the film assume that the viewer has seen the anime series before watching this. A brief scene lets the audience know what happened with Barnaby at the end of the anime series, but that’s about it in the way of any recap.

The film introduces a new character named Golden Ryan, who becomes Barnaby’s new partner. Ryan is so egotistical and full of himself that he’s rather off-putting as a character. To be honest, he was a character that I never warmed up to during the film, because he goes through so little progression as a character. Compared to the other heroes, he comes across as a shallow and undeveloped character.

The characters with the best arcs in this film are Kotetsu and Fire Emblem. With the acquisition of Apollon Media by a new entity and the introduction of Golden Ryan, Kotetsu finds himself removed as a hero because the new owner of Apollon Media decides to dissolve the Second League (which is where Kotetsu and Barnaby were placed at the end of the series). Barnaby is promoted back to the First League when he’s paired with Ryan. This story sees Kotetsu trying to live life as a non-hero, and how his daughter Kaede helps him find himself again. I loved seeing how much of a role Kaede had in this film.

When a mysterious new enemy starts recreating a legend that’s known in Stern Bild, Fire Emblem finds himself being put under a sleeping spell by one of the members of the new enemy. As he’s trapped in his dreams, the audience gets to see some backstory for Fire Emblem. With this story arc, we see Fire Emblem struggling with his identity. I thought this anime film handled the LGBT issue presented here in a strong manner. Considering how most anime, with the Tiger & Bunny anime series included, tend to treat being gay as more of a joke than anything else, it impressed me that this film tackled Fire Emblem’s identity issue in a serious manner.

Overall, Tiger & Bunny The Movie: The Rising was an enjoyable film, and should be watched by viewers who are fans of the Tiger & Bunny franchise. However, viewers should make sure to watch the entire anime series first before delving into this film. If they don’t, they’re going to be lost as to what’s happening, since there isn’t a true recap to remind viewers what happened before this film starts.

I watched the film on the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack that VIZ Media released. The Blu-ray has 1080p 16×9 video, and English and Japanese 5.1 and 2.0 audio options. The DVD has 16×9 video, and English and Japanese 5.1 and 2.0 audio.

The content of the Blu-ray is duplicated on the DVD, which includes the film and the bonus features. The bonus features include an art gallery, an interview with producer Kazuhiko Tamura, as well as various trailers and promotional videos for the film. There’s also a “Theater Manners” piece that features Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks Jr., reminding theater-goers how to behave properly in a movie theater. The “TV Series Special Digest” has two pieces back-to-back, with one summarizing the Tiger & Bunny anime series, and one summarizing the first Tiger & Bunny anime film; unfortunately, having these two pieces playing back-to-back emphasized just how repetitive they were. “Weekly Movies” runs for 12 minutes, and it’s several shorts highlighting the new hero Golden Ryan, with Sky High showing him around and teaching him some of the basics about the history and world of the Tiger & Bunny franchise. There’s a short feature of the film’s U.S. premiere at the New People Cinema, with Charlene Ingram interviewing attendees afterward about their reactions to the movie. There’s a clean opening and ending, as well as trailers for other releases from VIZ Media. While the bonus features here are nowhere near as extensive as they were for the first Tiger & Bunny anime film, there’s still enough here to make the bonus features worth something.

If you’re a fan of the Tiger & Bunny franchise, I would recommend this film and buying this release in order to add it to your anime home video library.

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New Tiger & Bunny Anime Project Revealed

Sunrise has revealed that the previously announced new anime project in the Tiger & Bunny franchise is titled Double Decker! Doug & Kirill. The anime will premiere in 2018.

The anime will star Satoshi Mikami as Doug Billingam, and Kōhei Amasaki as Kirill Vlueberry.

Joji Furuta is directing the series at Sunrise. Ryo Ando is in charge of series production, and Tomohiro Suzuki is returning to oversee the series scripts. Manga creator Masakazu Katsura is returning to design the main characters, and Norihiro Itagaki is returning from the Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising- and Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning films to handle the animation character design. Yuki Hayashi is composing the music.

Source: ANN

Manga Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume Eight

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Tiger & Bunny Volume 8 shows what happens to Wild Tiger and the other heroes as they try to stop Jake Martinez from taking over Stern Bild.

Tiger & Bunny Volume 8
Written by: Mizuki Sakakibara
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 10, 2015

Volume 8 has a strong emphasis on Wild Tiger and Barnaby as they try to extract information about Jake out of a NEXT that has sided with him but is now reconsidering his decision. But this leads to a confrontation with Jake, with Barnaby wanting revenge for the death of his parents. The fight between Jake and the two heroes shows a different side to Barnaby, and it gives Wild Tiger something to think about. During this section of the story, the reader also learns what happened to Rock Bison, since that had been left hanging at the end of Volume 7.

Meanwhile, Doc Saito figures out how to stop Kriem’s bears and exosuits, and the heroes who are available are sent out to plant jamming devices around Stern Bild. This part of the story leads to Blue Rose, Fire Emblem, and Dragon Kid being sent out to go after an armored vehicle which is believed to have a fleeing Jake Martinez in it. This pursuit of the armored vehicle, along with Wild Tiger and Barnaby’s fight with Jake, are the main times that action and superhero powers appear in this volume.

Tiger & Bunny Volume 8 continues to deviate from the anime series, and the most interesting deviation here is getting to see Jake Martinez have a flashback to his childhood. The flashback gave the reader insight into Jake as a character, and it helps to explain his motivations for what he’s been doing. I thought this was a nice touch, since the anime never addressed Jake’s backstory at all. When I watched the anime, I just had to assume that Jake was simply an evil person trying to antagonize Stern Bild for fun. The backstory presented for Jake in the manga almost makes him a sympathetic character.

The manga continues taking basic elements from the Tiger & Bunny anime but presents them in a different way. At first, I wasn’t entirely happy with the changes that were made, but at this point, I find I can better appreciate what the manga author is trying to do with the story. It may not be exactly the same as what was presented in the anime, but it’s still recognizable as Tiger & Bunny to readers who are already familiar with the series.

Even though the story may have evolved and changed from the anime, I appreciate that the art in Tiger & Bunny Volume 8 continues trying to remain as faithful as it can to the anime’s character designs. In some respects, it seems like there’s not quite as much detail being used in the art now compared to earlier volumes, but the change in quality doesn’t distract the reader too much from the story that they’re reading.

Readers who have read and enjoyed the previous volumes of the series should appreciate what they see in Tiger & Bunny Volume 8, especially the backstory that is provided for Jake Martinez.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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Imagine Entertainment to Produce Live-Action Tiger & Bunny Film

Sunrise announced at its Sunrise & Bandai Namco Pictures panel at New York Comic Con on that Tiger & Bunny will get a live-action Hollywood film produced by All Nippon Entertainment Works and Ron Howard and Brian Grazer at Imagine Entertainment.

The project is still seeking a director and screenwriter.

The original television anime series centers around heroes for hire — super powered beings known as NEXT who wear sponsor logos while fighting crime on live television.

Source: ANN

Manga Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume Seven

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Tiger & Bunny Volume 7 continues the story of Jake Martinez’s attempt to take over Stern Bild and turn it into a nation of NEXT.

Tiger & Bunny Volume 7
Written by: Mizuki Sakakibara
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 14, 2015

Volume 7 seems to have a focus on the heroes having to make difficult choices. The best example of this takes place in Wild Tiger, Barnaby, and Rock Bison’s battle against Jake Martinez. Rock Bison, who is generally known for being more of an oaf in comparison to the other heroes, decides to take on Jake himself after both Wild Tiger and Barnaby’s powers have been depleted. On a tactical level, this was to give Wild Tiger and Barnaby a chance to escape. However, this was also an important choice for Rock Bison because of what it meant for character development. I was pleased to see Rock Bison do this, but at the end of the volume, I’m left wondering what exactly his fate is.

This volume also sees Origami Cyclone making the choice of believing in his old friend, Edward, who had been working under Jake Martinez. It was a big risk, but it showed that Origami Cyclone was actually willing to take a chance. Earlier in the series, he was the hero always trying not to do anything except get his face in front of the camera enough to get his sponsor some advertising. This storyline forced Origami Cyclone to act as a hero, which made for another great character development moment.

And speaking of character development, there was a great scene between Blue Rose and Dragon Kid in Volume 7 that really helped to show a dynamic between the two female members of the Hero TV heroes. This was something that really wasn’t touched on much in the original Tiger & Bunny anime series, so I give the author credit for touching on this aspect. Even Kriem, Martinez’s female assistant, was provided some brief backstory near the end of the volume as well.

While Tiger & Bunny Volume 7 seemed to focus on character development, it was woven into the action of the story in such a way where it didn’t simply come across as exposition and bog down the reader. It also helped that some of the character development, such as what was seen for Rock Bison and Origami Cyclone, aren’t blatantly stated. For those two characters, the reader realizes that this character development is there when they think back to how these characters had been portrayed in previous volumes of the series.

At this point in the series, the Tiger & Bunny manga has retained the characters and some of the situations from the anime, but it has really become its own story. But that’s not a bad thing, though. This “alternate universe” storytelling has kept the original concept and soul of the anime intact, but has found a way to tell its own story without making it come across as unrecognizable to readers who have already watched the anime series.

Readers who have read and enjoyed the previous volumes of the series should appreciate what they see in Tiger & Bunny Volume 7. And fans of American superhero comics might find something to appreciate in the superheroes and storytelling that appears in the Tiger & Bunny manga series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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