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Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Review)

February 17, 2013 by  



The first half of “Tiger & Bunny” has turned out to be a quite awesome.  A unique and original anime series that will entertain anime fans and one of the coolest looking group of superheroes ever featured in an anime series.  A fantastic anime series that I highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © SUNRISE/T&B Partners. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 1

YEAR: 2011

DURATION: 13 Episodes (310 Minutes))

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: February 19, 2013

Directed by Keiichi Satou

Series Composition by Masafumi Nishida

Music by Yoshihiro Ike

Original Character Design by Masakazu Katsura

Character Design by Kenji Hayama, Masaki Yamada

Art Direction by Kinichi Okubo

Mechanical Design by Kenji Andou

3D Director: Yoshikazu Kon

Anime Production: Sunrise

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroaki Hirata/Wally Wingert as Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger

Masakazu Morita/Yuri Lowenthal as Barnaby Brooks Jr.

Go Inoue/Patrick Seitz as Keith Goodman/Sky High

Hiroshi Iwasaki/Dave Wittenberg as Doc Saito

Katsuhisa Houki/Beau Billingslea as Ben Jackson

Keiji Fujiwara/Steven Blum as Jake Martinez

Kenjiro Tsuda/John Eric Bentley as Nathan Seymour/Fire Emblem

Koji Yusa/Liam O’Brien as Yuri Petrov/Lunatic

Mariya Ise/Laura Bailey as Pao-Lin Huang/Dragon Kid

Michiko Neya/Stephanie Sheh as Kriem

Minako Kotobuki/Kari Wahlgren as Karina Lyle/Blue Rose

Nobuaki Fukuda/Jamieson Price as Albert Maverick

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Michael Sinterniklaas as Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone

Rina Hidaka/Een Riegel as Kaede Kaburagi

Taiten Kusunoki/Travis Willingham as Antonio Lopez/Rock Bison

Wataru Yokojima/Daran Norris as Alexander Lloyds

Yuko Kaida/Tara Platt as Agnes Joubert

Stern Bild City is a thriving metropolis where superheroes called NEXTs protect the streets, sponsors pull the strings, and a hugely popular show called Hero TV captures all of it. Veteran hero Kotetsu Kaburagi (AKA Wild Tiger) and hotheaded new hero Barnaby Brooks, Jr. (nicknamed Bunny by his friends) are forced to team up not only to protect Stern Bild City, but to earn as many points on Hero TV as possible. Joined by a diverse cast of heroes, all with different powers and answering to their own corporate sponsors, Tiger and Bunny must find a way to work together, uncover the secret of the Ouroboros, and earn enough points to become this year’s King of Heroes.

In 2011, the anime studio Sunrise, best known for its anime series for “Mobile Suit Gundam”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Dirty Pair”, “City Hunter” to name a few, went on to work on anime series that would captivate older viewers but also something unique and different for anime fans.

And the 25- episode TV series “Tiger & Bunny” was created.

Directed by Keiichi Satou (“Saint Seiya the Movie”, “Karas”, “Asura”), a screenplay by Masafumi Nishida, music by Yoshihiro Ike (“Asura”, “Cobra: The Animation”, “Dead Leaves”), character designs by Kenji Hayama (“Baccano!”, “The Big O”, “Casshern Sins”, “Getter Robo: Armageddon”) and Masaki Yamada (“Ergo Proxy”, “Appleseed”, “Great Dangaioh”), background art by Kinichi Okubo (“Ex-Driver”, “Honey and Clover”, “Angel Beats!”), mechanical design by Kenji Andou (“Origini ~Spirits of the Past~”, “Votoms Finder”), Yoshikazu Kon (“Gurren Lagann”, “Shangri-La”, “Mobil Suit Gundam 00”).

The series aired in Japan on April 2011 and also was seen in the U.S. via Hulu and the Anime News Network.  And most recently on Viz Media’s “Neon Alley”.

In Japan, a one-shot manga by Masakazu Katsura (“Video Girl Ai”, “DNA2”, “Zetman”) was published in “Weekly Shonen Jump” and in Sept. 2012, an animated film was released and a second film currently in production and planned for a fall 2013 release.  Also, the anime series has led to a PSP video game  released in Sept. 2012 and a second game planned for a March 2013 released.

And in the U.S., the first volume featuring the first 13 episodes of “Tiger & Bunny” will be released on Blu-ray in Feb. 2013 courtesy of Viz Media.

“Tiger & Bunny” takes place in NC1978 in the city of Sternbild City.  45 years prior, humans with supernatural abilities known as “NEXT” began appearing in the planet.  And now, these people with special abilities and are superheroes sponsored by major corporations such as Pepsi, Softbank, Calbee, etc. and are featured on the popular reality TV show titled “Hero TV”.

Each season, these heroes try to achieve points by capturing/defeating criminals and the best ranked superhero will be crowned as “King of Heroes”.  While each are competing with each other, often they work as a superhero team.

The primary characters are of “Tiger & Bunny” are:

  • Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger – One of the main protagonist, he is one of the oldest superheros and unlike others, tends not to listen to orders as he is the “Crusher of Justice” and could care less about the ratings.  Because he causes too much damage and likes to do things alone, he was forced to take on a new partner, Barnaby Brooks Jr.  Kotetsu is also a single father who never gets to see his daughter because of his superhero obligations, so she lives with his mother.  His daughter is unaware that he is a superhero.  Tiger’s power is the ability to increase his physical abilities for five minutes using his “Hundred Power”.    His sponsors are Bandai and Softbank.
  • Barnaby Brooks Jr./Bunny – A rookie that is called “Bunny” by Kotetsu.  He is more about strategy and is not as rash as Kotetsu.  He has a reason why he became a superhero and that is to find the one who killed his parents.  His sponsors are Amazon Japan and Bandai.  He also has similar powers to Kotetsu and becoming “King of Heroes” is important to him.
  • Karina Lyle/Blue Rose – A popular girl in high school who wants to be a singer.  She has freezing power abilities and is sponsored by Pepsi Nex and Suntory.  She represents Titan Industry.
  • Keith Goodman/Sky High – A popular hero and is the current “King of Heroes”.  He is upbeat and has the power to control air current.  He is sponsored by Tamashii Nations and Ustream and represents Poseidon Line.
  • Nathan Seymour/Fire Emblem – An effeminate hero with flame abilities, Nathan wants to be part of the girls.  He is sponsored by FMV and Animate and represents Helios Energy.
  • Huang Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid – A tomboy Chinese girl who has the power to generate electrical discharge.  She lived in China with her parents but they wanted her to go to Sternbild City to become a hero.  She is sonosred by Calbee and DMM.com and is represented by Odysseys Communication.
  • Antonio Lopez/Rock Bison  – Kotetsu’s best friend since high school, his power is invulnerability.  He is in last place of the Hero’s standings and is sponsored by Gyu-Kaku and represents Kronos Foods.
  • Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone – A young hero who is typically seen standing behind-the-scenes and not fighting, Ivan has the power to shapeshift and copy  the appearance and voice of another.  His sponsors are .ANIME and he represents Helperidese Finance.

As the heroes fight and take on various criminals, they must also deal with a vigilante NEXT named Lunatic and doesn’t believe in incarceration but killing criminals.  Meanwhile, as the team try to work together and continue to build their hero’s points and ranking, The Ouroboros criminal organization is planning to have the sadistic Jake Martinez released from prison.  Jake is responsible for killing Barnaby’s parents and has been sentenced to 250 years in prison.  But one of the reasons why he is a criminal that the govt. wants to keep behind bars is because of his mysterious power.

 

Here is a brief synopsis of “Tiger and Bunny: Blu-ray set 1”:

  • EPISODE 1 –  Introduction to the NEXT who are competing in this season’s “Hero TV” network and a new hero named Barnaby joins in the action!
  • EPISODE 2 – A giant stone statue is trying to cause mayhem in the city, meanwhile Tiger and Barnaby try to be partners.
  • EPISODE 3 – Hero TV is doing a documentary on Barnaby and Kotetsu is a bit jealous.
  • EPISODE 4 – Blue Rose struggles with being a hero or pursuing her dream of becoming a singer.
  • EPISODE 5 – Barnaby is upset with Tiger (Kotetsu) for causing so much collateral damage, meanwhile Kotetsu misreads Bunny’s frustrations and tries to organize a surprise birthday party for him.
  • EPISODE 6 – Someone with the power of the blue flame is killing criminals.
  • EPISODE 7 – Barnaby tells Kotetsu and Nathan about the Ouroboros syndicate and how he wants revenge for the death of his parents.
  • EPISODE 8 – Tiger, Barnaby and Origami Cyclone take part in a PR campaign, but unaware that the vigilante named Lunatic is nearby.
  • EPISODE 9 – The heroes must take care of the Mayor’s baby but they leave the baby with Dragon Kid, who gets kidnapped along with the baby.  Now the NEXT heroes must find them.
  • EPISODE 10 – Kotetsu is put on paid vacation and plans to visit his daughter but the Ouroboros Syndicate plan their attempt to have Jake Martinez released from prison.  Meanwhile, Barnaby finds out that Jake Martinez is responsible for his parent’s death.
  • EPISODE 11 – The NEXT hero’s takes on Jake Martinez.
  • EPISODE 12 – Tiger vs. Jake Martinez
  • EPISODE 13 – With many of the NEXT heroes injured in battle, Barnaby takes on Jake Martinez.

VIDEO:

“Tiger & Bunny” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio).  “Tiger & Bunny” is probably one of the best, recent anime TV series that I have seen in awhile. From the detail of the futuristic structures, the costume design for the characters in superhero form, the mechanical design of vehicles and costumes and just the many location shots utilized for this anime series alone, these days, you don’t see too many anime studios going all out for a TV series, but in this case, Sunrise went all out with “Tiger & Bunny”.

Awesome character designs, background art is fantastic but just the character and mechanical designs featuring animation and CG is well-done.  The character designs catches your attention with the colors and shading but the mechanical design and the superhero character designs look awesome.  Even the art backgrounds as the futuristic city is well-painted, full of detail and adds to the overall look of the series.

“Tiger & Bunny” looks magnificent in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Tiger & Bunny” is presented in lossless English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Both are similar when it comes to special effects.  Dialogue is crisp and clear but voice acting is well-done on both the Japanese and English soundtrack.  While it would have been nice to have a 5.1 lossless track, especially since this series has plenty of action, the series does sound crisp and clear through the front channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 1” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Tiger & Bunny– (24:01) The challenges from the Japanese crew at Sunrise in creating a new anime series that would appeal to manga fans, longtime anime fans and trying to come up with a series that is fresh and new.  In Japanese with English subtitles.
  • Production Art – Using your remote (or keyboard), you can look at the production art of “Tiger & Bunny”.
  • Special Logo Art – Using your remote (or keyboard), you can look at the special logo art of “Tiger & Bunny”.
  • Japanese Trailers – (4:12) The Japanese trailers for “Tiger & Bunny”.
  • Clean Opening and Clean Ending

As a person who enjoys anime, we have seen the team dynamic in many forms.

From the sentai teams of yesteryear, may it be “Gatchaman”, “Voltron” to super teams such as the Z-Warriors of “Dragon Ball Z”, the ninjas of “Naruto” or the high school friends as seen on “Bleach” and “Yu Yu Hakusho”.

But one thing that we often see in America through comic books, animated series and live action films are the superhero teams. May it be Marvel’s X-Men, The Avengers or Fantastic Four or DC’s Justice League of America, The Teen Titans or Legion of Super-Heroes and it has always been in the back of my mind, what if there was a caped superhero for an anime series?

We have seen a singular costumed heroes from anime series such as “Moldiver” and shows like the Kamen Rider or even Ranger series but what Sunrise was able to create with “Tiger & Bunny” is exciting, unique and different from anything ever featured in Japan.

Humans with special abilities known as NEXT who take on the bad guys, but in a twist, are featured on television and challenge other heroes of who can catch the most criminals and get the most points to increase their ranking, as each compete for the title “King of Heroes”.

The characters are nothing like American superheroes in the fact that these are individuals that are flawed.

The main protagonist Kotetsu is an older superhero who knows he is not a great father.  He speaks to her on intercom but is never there to see her face-to-face and his daughter pretty much gave up on seeing him.  He knows he causes trouble for the station because he causes quite a bit of damage and now, to help put him on the right path, he is given a partner with Barnaby.

And while Barnaby has a cool demeanor, a strategist who thinks first before attacking, he also has a tragic past that drives him to become a superhero and that is to find the killer responsible for killing his parents.

The two are joined by heroes that are interesting.   Blue Rose is popular because of her sexy outfit and cute demeanor when fighting criminals but deep inside, she is torn between pursuing her dream to become a singer or being a hero.  Dragon Kid is a tomboy and doesn’t like to wear cute things, but as she gets older, she is starting to discover her feminine side.  Meanwhile, Fire Emblem is an effeminate hero who wants to be accepted by the girls, but yet is considered as a guy.   Rock Bison is more interested in partying with Kotetsu and getting drunk than capturing criminals and now he is in danger of losing his job because he is in last place.  And Origami Cyclone, a shy guy who has the power to shapeshift but feels it’s a worthless power and is more of a cheerleader than a person who does the fighting to capture the criminals.

Suffice to say, each of these characters are unlikely heroes but yet as a team, they are starting to work well with each other.  But it takes time, and also, as much as they are a team when facing difficult criminals, they are also rivals trying to get the most points and representing their sponsors with pride.

“Tiger & Bunny” really is an anime series that is unlike anything I have seen before in my decades of watching anime.

And as for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is vibrant and colorful.  Sunrise is known for creating magnificent looking anime series but “Tiger & Bunny” features wonderful character and mechanical designs and a great balance between animation and CG.  I was really impressed with how cool this series looks.  And you get both Japanese and English soundtracks in lossless 2.0 and a few special features are included.

Overall, the first half of “Tiger & Bunny” has turned out to be a quite awesome.  A unique and original anime series that will entertain anime fans and one of the coolest looking group of superheroes ever featured in an anime series.  A fantastic anime series that I highly recommended!






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