- Titles: Tiger and Bunny, Taibani
- Genre: Super hero, action, drama, parenthood, comedy
- Episodes: 25
- Studio: Sunrise
There’s no business like show business. One moment you’re on top of the world, the next, no one remembers your name! Well, they remember it but they just don’t care anymore. And that stings. Especially when you’re out there risking your life for those same people. But, you know, fame and gratitude aren’t why heroes do what they do. Take Wild Tiger for instance. He’s been at the game for a long time. Saving people and collecting points all while worrying for his daughter. He discovered his superpower as a kid and has been trying to help people with it ever since. Yet he can barely scrape by now that the public has moved on to the next guy. But with fresh new hero Barnaby Brooks Jr. entering the fray, Wild Tiger may have a second chance at the spotlight by becoming half of the most exciting new crime-fighting team in NC 1978! That is if they don’t kill each other first!
You know, when I sat down to write a Summary for Tiger & Bunny, I realized that there is a whole lot going on in this show. Not just in action, although there’s a lot of that too, but in themes and complete plot threads. Tiger and Bunny packs a real punch in 25 episodes. It’s not something you can easily capture in one paragraph.
I looked it up, Tiger & Bunny came out in 2011. It looks real good. not sure why I looked it up because it’s a great-looking show even if it came out today. Solid production across the board. It helps that I really liked the art style, it has a new retro look to it that I happen to appreciate. Did that sound like nonsense? It sounded like nonsense to me. How can I put this, the character designs and something about the angles and linework reminded me of a past era? Maybe something from the 70s. Starsky and Hutch came to mind a lot while watching the show, both for the content and the look of it. But it also clearly looks like a modern anime that could be currently airing and has all this future technology.
The animation is smooth and frequent. I enjoyed the CG in the show. It’s not completely seamless, since I did notice it after all, but it fits very well with the rest of the visuals and is used wisely throughout the show. Tiger & Bunny is also a very colourful series that always gets extra points with me!
Finally, I have to talk a bit about voice acting. At the core of it, Tiger & Bunny is more or less a buddy cop show. The dynamic and relationship between the two leads are what holds everything together. And without chemistry, it all falls apart a bit. I’m happy to report that the actors pulled that chemistry off beautifully. It made the slow evolution of their friendship grounded and believable.
Story & Characters
Like I just said, at its core, Tiger & Bunny is about, well Tiger & Bunny. It’s about an old-fashioned and slightly out of fasion superhero with a blindly optimistic and somewhat naive drive to do good, with plenty of experience and little else to back up his idealistic actions suddenly finding himself partnered with a much sterner and pragmatic but talented newbie. How they influence each other and grow to not only understand but also appreciate one another is what the series is about.
It weaves in a lot of themes about responsibility. What it means to be a super-powered human in a world of mostly ordinary people. Or how we treat and regard the people who give their lives to serve society. Or it’s about our general relationship with celebrity and the inherent problems therein. Tiger & Bunny is set in what is clearly a reimagined version of New York and some politics do come into it. Finally, there is the constant presence of sponsors and networks. Hero work in the universe of Tiger & Bunny is highly subsidized and as such, heroes are very much products for public consumption. And although the series doesn’t frame that as a net positive, it doesn’t entirely condemn it either. In that way, the Tiger & Bunny universe is very much what a grown-up and slightly more pessimistic My Hero Academia would be.
As I have spoken about these exact themes and elements before on this blog, you may already know that I quite like them. The hero for hire dynamic and what it means is our perception of “justice” and the moral high ground has always been interesting to me. And there is a lot to unpack there. Maybe I could do a post about it someday.
This said, just as important as this core story are Tiger and Barnaby’s individual character arcs and backstories. Through Tiger, we explore expectations put on heroes and social responsibility. Tiger’s arc is about him taking care of his family, more specifically his daughter. Tiger lost his wife to illness before the beginning of the series and as a hero, he couldn’t raise his kid alone so his daughter lives with her grandmother, Tiger’s mom. There this ongoing commentary about whether you owe more to society at large or your own family in particular and how much do you sacrifice one for the other. It’s echoed in a lot of other characters but Tiger is really the one to personify this theme.
Bunny on the other hand literally has no family left. He has this Batman-type origin story and it haunts him throughout the show. But Bunny never really addresses the line between justice and vengeance. His story is more about actually overcoming trauma rather than punishing a crime and just injecting some kickass action into the show. The last episodes are all about creating some closure to Bunny’s backstory and it kicked some serious behind. I found it actually riveting in a good old fashion action movie way. Something I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
I have time and again shown my preference for themes of familial love. Especially father-daughter relationships. And Tiger and Bunny is a fantastic example. Kotetsu is a loving and supportive father but he isn’t a very good parent. He is unavailable both emotionally as he hides the greater part of his life from his daughter and just physically since he simply isn’t with her most of the time. He’s immature and a little selfish in ways that hurt his family. But he also means well and genuinely considers them the most important thing in his life. These contradictions create a character that you can root for not only because of who he is but also because of who he can become.
It’s very humanizing and allows the audience to see both flaws and qualities from different angles, making them almost interchangeable depending on your personal perception. Other characters also benefit from this type of duality, in my opinion, best done in Karina and Nathan. So even though Tiger and Bunny is fairly plot-driven, the cast is an undeniable strength of the series.
I personally really enjoyed Tiger & Bunny. It’s a slightly more grown-up superhero experience that has a lot of commentaries if you’re looking for it but can be enjoyed as a simple action-packed romp if you prefer!
You might like this anime if:
You like My Hero Academia and wonder how it would be in an adult setting. You like buddy cop shows!
My favourite character:
Kotetsu T. Kaburagi. Is it lame to like the main character? I don’t care, Kotetsu is awesome. He is written to be extremely likeable so I just sort of did exactly what the writers wanted me to but I don’t care. I would have collected Wild Tiger cards!
- Every time the sponsors interfere – groan
- Every time Tiger powers up – yay!
- Every time someone threatens to fire Tiger – boo!
- Every time Bunny is cautious – take a sip
- Every time anyone calls Wild Tiger lame – disagree
- Every time Agnes calls – take a sip
- Every time Bunny wants points – take a sip
- Every time someone mentions “Ouroborous” – take a sip
- Every time Tiger gives a great speech – raise your glass
- Every time we see Kaede – take a sip
- Every time Sky High says “Sky High” – cheers
- Every time we see casual Barnaby not wearing his glasses – take a sip
- Every time anyone mentions “Legend” – pour some out
- Every time Karina is being tsun – take a sip
- Every time someone makes fried rice – get a snack
- Every time good luck mode is activated – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.