Tiger & Bunny Vol. 4 by Mizuki Sakakibara (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
March 16, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Tiger & Bunny” volume 4 is a character building volume as it delves into the lives of Origami Cyclone, Blue Rose and Dragon Kid but also we learn the true identity of the vigilante known as Lunatic. An exciting, action-packed volume, “Tiger & Bunny” vol. 4 is recommended!
© Mizuki Sakakibara 2012. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Tiger & Bunny Vol. 4
STORY AND ART BY: Mizuki Sakakibara
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kadokawa Shoten
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC
RATED: T for Older Teen
RELEASE DATE: February 11, 2014
The heroes face down the deranged NEXT killer, Lunatic. Lunatic’s vigilantism has the city on edge, and the heroes find themselves having to convince everyone that NEXT are working for the good of Stern Bild City. Lunatic is in the wrong, but there is much more to the madman than anyone knows…
Tiger and Bunny come in contact with a vigilante named Lunatic. Who is he and does he have any connection with Ouroboros?
Meanwhile, what happens when Blue Rose and Dragon Kid are put into a mission to babysit the mayor’s son? Also, will Origami Cyclone find his way?
Find out in volume 4 of “Tiger & Bunny”, a manga that is based on the anime TV series!
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?
In volume 4 of “Tiger & Bunny”, both Tiger & Bunny must take on a super vigilante known as Lunatic. His way of justice is killing those who have committed a major crime.
Meanwhile, the mayor has received death threats and both Blue Rose and Dragon Kid are given a mission to babysit the child and keep it safe. Meanwhile, we learn more about Origami Cyclone’s past and how his past has affected his performance as a superhero.
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 volume 3 of “Tiger & Bunny”, the manga series by Mizuki Sakakibara primarily focuses on Kotetsu and Barnaby. Two people who are like oil and water but overtime, they start to realize that both need each other as superhero partners but most of all, as new friends.
The third volume makes a major revelation that those responsible for his parents murder as identified by a tattoo is related to Ouroboros, an organization that a police investigator tells him to lay off and not pursue.
And as Barnaby starts to do his investigations all alone, he is not prepared for the fact that another masked individual intends to kill those who are criminals, including those who may know who killed Barnaby’s parents.
Meanwhile, when Barnaby gets into a bit of trouble, will he put trust into his teammate to back him up?
For volume 4 of the manga series, Tiger & Barnaby must take on the masked vigilante known as Lunatic, who’s way of justice is not the justice system but by killing those who have committed major crimes.
Meanwhile, the volume focuses on character building as we learn more about Origami Cyclone and his past and how his past affected his performance as a super hero and why he has been in last place. Also, we get to see how lives are for both teenagers, Blue Rose and Dragon Kid who have issues with their parents. Blue Rose’s father is not so supportive of her being a superhero or a singer. While Dragon Kid is trying to discover herself and her feminine side.
As always, the illustrations by Mizuki Sakakibara are good and the artwork manages to capture the action quite nicely. Once again, if you watched the anime series first, then you will see how much they are both the same with nothing new offered in the manga series (considering the manga came after the anime series), but yet the manga manages to capture each individual/superheroes quite well and the action is also well featured throughout the manga series.
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. This volume is a character building series as it delves into the lives of Origami Cyclone, Blue Rose and Dragon Kid but also we learn the true identity of the vigilante known as Lunatic.
An exciting, action-packed volume, “Tiger & Bunny” vol. 4 is recommended!
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