Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 2 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Review)
June 2, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Tiger & Bunny” was an awesome anime series when it first began and for its second half, it managed to become better and better with each episode! I absolutely love this series and for anyone wanting a divergence from the banal anime series that they come across, and want something with a superhero angle but with humor, action and drama. “Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 2” is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © SUNRISE/T&B Partners. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 2
DURATION: Episodes 14-25 (280 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
Hailed as the heroes who saved Stern Bild, Kotetsu and Barnaby face a volley of media attention that includes their learning how to dance! Then, Kotetsu deals with his conflicted feelings about continuing as Wild Tiger and visits his hometown to spend time with his family. He tries to discuss his feelings with Barnaby, but when a possible new lead comes up, Kotetsu gives his full attention to helping Barnaby find the murderer of his parents.
In the first half of “Tiger & Bunny”, Kotetsu and Barnaby were able to overcome the power Jake Martinez, the person that is responsible for the murder of Barnaby’s parents.
And now that both partners have been in sync, they have climbed on top of the ratings. But suddenly, Kotetsu notices that his power has increased, but the minutes of having power has shortened.
He finds out from a good friend and a former boss, that Captain Legend, the hero that Kotetsu has idolized, also had that same problem and lost his power completely. And this may be a sign that Kotetsu’s power may disappear within weeks.
With his powers in decline, Kotetsu heads home and realizes how his daughter has had a tough life being left alone with her grandmother since her mother died. And not knowing that her father is a hero, she thinks her father just doesn’t want to be around her.
So, Kotetsu is contemplating spending more time and a family and retiring as a hero. But just as he is about to tell Barnaby his plans, Barnaby finds out from one of Jake Martinez’ followers that Jake was not responsible for the murder of Barnaby’s parents.
This leads to Barnaby starting to have another mental breakdown and as for Kotetsu and his declining powers, can he quit now that his partner really needs him?
Find out in the second half of the popular anime series “Tiger & Bunny”!
What is “Tiger & Bunny”?
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 released in March 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 series focuses on the partnership between two total opposites, the older hero Kotetsu (Wild Tiger) and the young star, Barnaby. While both are popular on Hero TV, Kotetsu is a single father who feels it is his obligation to be a hero and protect the public, while his partner Barnaby is tormented by his parent’s murder and wanting justice.
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.
“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.
“Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 2” comes with the following special features:
- Tamura & Katsura Exclusive Interview – (13:44) Interview with Kazuhiko Tamura (Sunrise) and original character designer, Masakazu Katsura and how he came up with the design for each hero.
- Production Art – Using your remote (or keyboard), you can look at the production art of “Tiger & Bunny”.
- Illustration Gallery – Using your remote (or keyboard), you can look at the illustration gallery of “Tiger & Bunny”.
- Japanese Trailers – (3:57) The Japanese trailers for “Tiger & Bunny”.
- Clean Opening and Clean Ending
Fantastic! It’s the one word that I can describe the “Tiger & Bunny” series!
Earlier this year, a friend who attended Tokyo Anime Fair and Anime Contents Expo 2013, gave me a chance to see all the Tiger & Bunny cosplayers and some going so far to make the actual suits for Tiger and Bunny. Even today, it’s hard for me to imagine that Masakazu Katsura, a mangaka and designer who I followed since “Video Girl Ai” and “DNA 2”, was behind the character designs of these heroes.
An anime series that manages to capture humor, action, drama with wonderful character designs, mechanical designs and art backgrounds, one can say that “Tiger & Bunny” is an animated series that is a total package.
From the first half of the anime series which goes into introducing us to each characters, the second half focuses on Kotetsu and Barnaby as partners but the trouble both face when Kotetsu begins to lose his powers (permanently) and Barnaby finds out that the person they battled and defeated, was not the person who killed his parents.
Suffice to say, both men are at their highest point as heroes but their lowest point as individuals. For Kotetsu, quitting his job as a hero and focusing on spending more time with his daughter is important, but also his honor as a hero to protect and also be their for his partner is equally important.
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 with this second half, the story becomes much more captivating, much better than the first half and I am definitely impressed with this series overall!
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, “Tiger & Bunny” was an awesome anime series when it first began and for its second half, it managed to become better and better with each episode! I absolutely love this series and for anyone wanting a divergence from the banal anime series that they come across, and want something with a superhero angle but with humor, action and drama.
“Tiger & Bunny: Blu-ray Set 2” is highly recommended!
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