Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 9, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” on Blu-ray is awesome! Not only do you get an awesome film but you get the 2+ hour Japanese world premiere event plus many other special features include with the Blu-ray release! If you were a fan of the anime TV series or the manga, then I highly recommend “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”!
Image courtesy of © SUNRISE/T&B Movie Partners. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning
DURATION: 92 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0, English Subtitles
COMPANY: Viz Media
RATED: TV 14
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani
Series Composition by Masafumi Nishida
Music by Yoshihiro Ike
Original Creator: Hajime Yatate
Original Character Design by Masakazu Katsura
Hero Design: Masakazu Katsura
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
In the metropolis of Stern Bild, there are heroes who wear the logos of sponsors and protect the city from danger. Their exploits are broadcast on the popular HERO TV. Wild Tiger (Kotetsu T. Kaburagi) is a veteran superhero past his peak who is ordered by his company to team up with the rookie hero Barnaby Brooks Jr. Can these two mismatched superheroes overcome their differences to protect the city?
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. The series aired in Japan on April 2011 and also was seen in the U.S. via Hulu, the Anime News Network “Neon Alley”.
But in 2012, due to the popularity of the series, a film titled “Gekijo-ban Tiger & Bunny – The Beginning-” was released in theaters in September 2012 and also a simulcast screening in the USA.
And now “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Viz Media.
What is “Tiger & Bunny” about?
“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.
What is “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” about?
The film establishes the beginning of Kotetsu and Barnaby’s partnership. Why they became partners but most importantly how Kotetsu lost his first costume, his original sponsorship but most importantly filling in certain details that were not in the TV series.
While animated films are not typically canon, for “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”, the film goes into those small details that fans can truly appreciate and it takes place during the time after the second episode in the TV series.
The movie is set not long after “Sky High” has won the title of “King of Heroes”. But also the importance of being a hero is for Kotetsu, who made a promise to his deceased wife that he will always stay being a hero. So, despite being away from his daughter, who is unaware that her father is the superhero “Wild Tiger”, she thinks that her father chooses work over being with her, when in truth, Kotetsu is trying to be a protector of the people.
And during the new season of the reality show Hero TV, after a pursuit of a suspect, sometimes being a hero, makes Kotetsu make the decisions without planning them and it often gets him in trouble, especially since his max power limit is only five minutes long. While nearly falling to his death, he is rescued by Barnaby and immediately, we learn that Kotetsu’s old sponsor could no longer continue and that the new sponsor for Wild Tiger is the same sponsor for Barnaby.
While Kotetsu and Barnaby don’t get along at first, it’s even difficult to get the others to warm up to Barnaby as they consider him a rival on Hero TV.
And as Kotetsu tries to get used to his new partnership, all heroes must work together to stop a thief named Robin Baxter, who has stolen a statue that represents the importance of heroes. But what makes it difficult to stop Robin is his NEXT power to instantly switch and trade places with anyone he sees.
Can these heroes work together?
“Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). “Tiger & Bunny” looks absolutely vibrant on Blu-ray. 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 the Movie: The Beginning”.
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 the Movie: The Beginning” looks magnificent in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” is presented in lossless English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 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. But this time, you can hear the music and certain sound effects being utilized on the surround channels. But the lossless soundtrack is fantastic and it’s great to see the film receive the 5.1 treatment.
“Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” comes with the following special features:
- World Premiere Event – (2:15:24) The live concert performance featuring the voice talent and performers in a concert/stage-like presentation for the world premiere of “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”.
- US Premiere Event – (3:59) Interviews with those who attended the screening of “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” at New People in San Francisco and those who took part in the cosplay competition.
- Anime Expo 2012 Highlight Reel – (1:10) “Tiger & Bunny” presence at AX 2013.
- Ustream Special Digest – (38:59) Featuring interviews with the Japanese voice talent, crew and also the US crew when it came to the simulcast and the world premiere event and more.
- Production Art – View the production art of “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”.
- Special Pilot Trailer– (2:10) The special pilot trailer in Japanese.
- Pilot Trailer – (:38) The original Japanese trailer for the pilot.
- Preview – (2:30) Original Japanese preview for “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”.
- Promotional Video – (3:42) Original Japanese promotional video.
- Commercial Collection – (1:51) Original Japanese commercials for “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”.
- Theater commercials – (1:32) A hilarious commercial in Japan featuring real people wearing the suits for Wild Tiger, Barnaby and Sky High, discussing how to prepare for their viewing experience at a theater.
- Weekly Hero Countdown – (12:35) A weekly hero countdown of who is on top in “Hero TV” (Japanese).
- Clean Opening and Clean Ending
I have raved about “Tiger & Bunny” since watching the original TV anime series and while the series is completed, I’m not surprised that people want to see more of the characters.
I tend to look at how America has the Avengers or the Justice League of America, but when it comes to superheroes, aside from sentai, this is probably the superhero team of Japan, of course with the corporate sponsorship and reality TV show twist.
But one thing the animated series and also the manga series have in common is that the story focused strongly on Kotetsu and Barnaby and the progression of these two unlikely partners and friends, growing to be like brothers and watching each other’s back.
Of course, there is only so much story that can be focused on the relationship between these partners and so this is where the film comes in. Showing more emotional details that the TV series never zeroed in on.
From Kotetsu’s promise to his dead wife, to the losing of his uniform and his original sponsorship and more details of getting his new uniform. And we get to see more of Blue Rose especially, singing to an audience and no doubt the product placement from Pepsi as the name is brought up several times when she shows up on screen.
But if anything, I think for fans of the series, especially for Tiger and Bunny, the additional details are quite important. But whether or not the film is canon with the TV series, who knows. But I feel it should be! The film really does a great job of establishing the partnership between these unlikely individuals but most importantly, for those who have no time to watch the series, now they can enjoy the film and maybe be converted to becoming “Tiger & Bunny” fans!
While the TV series of course, goes into the characters flaws, the film does show a little of Kotetsu not being there for his daughter, but how his daughter became a big Barnaby fan. For Barnaby, it doesn’t go into too much detail about his parents death but shows how he is driven to find out who killed them.
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 the Movie: The Beginning” features wonderful character and mechanical designs and a great balance between animation and CG. The film looks colorful and vibrant on Blu-ray and the better lossless soundtrack at 5.1 makes a big difference!
But that’s not it. Viz Media has also included something that surprised even me and that’s the Japanese “World Premiere Event” which is over 2 hours long. The event features performances and a lot of cool extras for fans to enjoy. You really don’t see this anymore on US releases but when they are included, not only are anime fans getting what they pay for but you’re getting a whole lot more with the Blu-ray release of “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”. Plus there are video from the Ustream event and the New People screening in San Francisco. So, it’s a pretty jam packed Blu-ray release!
Overall, “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning” on Blu-ray is awesome! Not only do you get an awesome film but you get the 2+ hour Japanese world premiere event plus many other special features include with the Blu-ray release! If you were a fan of the anime TV series or the manga, then I highly recommend “Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning”!
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