Flip the Switch : Teens aWake

Anime Review: Tiger & Bunny

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I was going to say Tiger & Bunny was a weird series, but I realized I couldn’t do that since I watched KHR and that series really just takes the cake when it comes to weirdness. So I’ll settle for unique. Tiger & Bunny is a ridiculously unique anime that is probably one that no one would expect me to watch. Why? Because it’s a superhero anime, and I’m really just generally not into the superhero thing.

Throughout the first arc of the series I was really not sure I would be able to continue with it, because it just wasn’t my kind of show. Thankfully, the series is actually really awesome and I really think it deserves to be watched by everyone.

By the way, to be quite honest, when I first heard about the series I legitimately thought that it would be about some weird hybrid animal like this:

whoops.

Tiger & Bunny takes place in the futuristic city of Sternbild (modeled upon New York City) where people born with superpowers, called NEXT, fight crime in the city. There is a special TV channel, Hero TV, dedicated to this, and each major superhero has their own outfit fitted with the logos of their sponsors. Protecting the city is treated like a tournament, where the heroes are awarded points for things like capturing the villain or getting civilians to safety. Their civilian identities are kept a secret from the public. The main character, Kaburagi Kotetsu or “Wild Tiger”, is the oldest superhero on the force and his power is to increase his strength 100-fold for 5 minutes. With his increasing age and his tendency to cause ridiculous collateral damage, he has a hard time getting sponsored and his agency goes bankrupt in the very first episode.

Kotestu is immediately transferred to another agency that has bought him to become the partner and foil for their new superhero, Barnaby Brooks Jr., who has the same power he does. Kotestu finds himself at odds with Barnaby, whom he calls “Bunny”, and does not agree with the younger man’s single-minded drive to  accumulate points without really caring about protecting any people. Luckily for Kotetsu, Barnaby doesn’t like him either, and their difficult partnership, as well as the strength of all the heroes, is put to the test when Barnaby’s dark past catches up to him.

A reason for my original mild dislike of the show may be its target demographic: the show is actually aimed at older men who enjoy superhero comics from America, which is reflected in the art style. I was really skeptical that I would ever be able to sympathize with a character that was so different from me: Kotetsu is a man probably almost as old as my dad, considering he has a 10-year old daughter. Immature as a little kid, but still old compared to me. However, by the end of the series, Kotetsu had completely grown on me and I still adore him and Barnaby.

The series itself starts off very lightly: Kotetsu is carefree and lively, as well as immature. He and Barnaby banter back and forth and the tone is very light-hearted for the first few episodes, following a villain-of-the-week pattern. But after a couple of those episodes, the tone changes entirely when Barnaby’s past is revealed, and that’s where I became a little more intrigued with the series. I will admit though, I did not like the Jake arc that took up the first half of the series. While there was beautiful character development and I did find myself growing much fonder of the main characters, I really hated Jake and his partner. I understand that you’re generally meant to dislike villains, but villains can be quirky or enjoyable to watch as well. Jake’s character just grated on my nerves until I wanted to skip through almost every scene that included him. The second half of the series, mercifully Jake-free, was much more enjoyable and much sadder. I wailed almost every episode near the end about “poor Kotestu” and “my poor babies”. The evolution of the plot is incredible and was completely unexpected.

This series is honestly very hard to describe, so all I can really do is tell you guys to watch it. My favorite minor characters are definitely Sky High, Origami Cyclone, and Kaede. I think if any of you have some free time, you should definitely check this series out since you can see the whole thing subbed here! I didn’t personally like either of the openings very much, but as usual I’ll leave you guys with the first (mirrored!) OP and hopes that you’ll check this show out. ❤

Tiger & Bunny is rated PG-13.

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