Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning – Side A (art by Tsutomu Oono) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
October 12, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning – Side A” is a manga adaptation of the animated film of the same title. Featuring the first half of the film, this manga adaptation features artwork by Tsutomo Oono. Recommended for diehard Tiger & Bunny fans and those who have not seen the movie.
© Tsutomo OONO 2012. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning – Side A
STORY AND ART BY: Tsutomo Oono
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kadokawa Shoten
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC
RATED: T for Older Teen
RELEASE DATE: October 3, 2013
In the city of Stern Bild, superpowered heroes known as NEXT fight crime while promoting their corporate sponsors for the hit TV show HERO TV. Veteran hero Wild Tiger has years of experience fighting crime, but when his ratings slip he’s forced to team up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie hero with an attitude.
Part 1 of this two-volume adaptation of the Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning animated film introduces you to the exciting world and characters of Tiger & Bunny!
With the anime series having been completed, the popularity of the “Tiger & Bunny” anime series has led to “Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning” which gives viewers a more personal look at the new partnership between Kotetsu and Barnaby and how it all began.
With the release of the film, Viz Media will be releasing a two-part manga adaptation by Tsutomu Oono. The manga’s storyline is identical to the movie but in manga format but broken up into two manga volumes.
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.
In Japan, a one-shot manga by Masakazu Katsura (“Video Girl Ai”, “DNA2″, “Zetman”) was published in “Weekly Shonen Jump”. Featuring the original planning and story by Sunrise, original script by Masfumi Nishida and original character design and hero design by Masakazu Katsura, the first volume of the “Tiger & Bunny” manga was released in April 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.
In volume 1, we were introduced to veteran hero Wild tiger has been slipping the ratings and causing unbelievable damage. Upset by his performance, Wild Tiger is forced to team up with the young Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie with an attitude but gets the job done. But with Barnaby being a young man who is more reserved and serious, the question was if he would get along with the veteran Wild Tiger/Kotetsu T. Kaburagi.
Barnaby has shown dislike to his partner calling him “Bunny” and the fact that Wild Tiger tends to make brash moves without thinking. While Wild Tiger relies on his instincts.
But we learned how Kotetsu (Wild Tiger) is a veteran who knows that the younger Barnaby is what people are interested in watching. Even his daughter (who doesn’t know he is Wild Tiger), is a huge fan of Barnaby. Meanwhile, Barnaby is bothered by his memories of his past and still wanting to find clues for whoever killed his parents.
But for now, the studios want Wild Tiger and Barnaby to be partners, despite both men not wanting to work with each other, the must do a lot of promotional activities, whether or not they want to work together.
How long can this working relationship last?
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, “Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning – Side A” features the two trying to be partners.
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 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 with “Tiger & Bunny”, instead of superheroes being chummy chummy, for the time being, the hero partners which consist of Wild Tiger and Barnaby are complete opposites and both do not enjoy working with each other. But because ratings are up, they are literally stuck together and must try to work as partners.
With the release of “Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning – Side A”, the manga is for those who are either big fans or those who have not seen the movie. The manga is literally the same storyline as the movie but “Side A” features the first half of the film.
The manga focuses more closely on the partnership of Kotetsu and Barnaby and also additional details not featured in the television series and manga series illustrated by Mizuki Sakakibara.
The illustrations for “Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning – Side A”by Tsutomu Oono are very good and the artwork manages to capture the action quite nicely.
Overall, you don’t get to read manga from Japan about superhero teams but in this case, “Tiger & Bunny” differs from the American superhero teams for the fact that these superheroes are sponsored, flawed and each are competing with each other on live television for points by catching criminals. But for fans, the manga series (and the film) go into details about Kotetsu’s life, his loss of his original uniform and sponsorship and how he eventually became a partner with Barnaby.
While I do recommend this manga for diehard fans who collect anything “Tiger & Bunny” related, “Tiger & Bunny: The Movie – The Beginning – Side A” is recommended for those who have not seen the movie.
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