Grass Pants Reviews – Tiger and Bunny (Part One)

I always hate saying ‘X is coming on this or that day’ and then not delivering. Despite the craziness lately (see my Twitter feed on the sidebar), I promised you people opinions so damn it, you’re getting opinions.

Now, I don’t normally do this, but Tiger and Bunny’s first half ended on a nice note. Really, the show could have stopped right here and I would be okay with that. Well, not okay, but satisfied. Also, because I will never get this thing watched before tomorrow. As always, expect spoilers for the first thirteen episodes of Tiger and Bunny.

Tiger and Bunny’s art is great, as you’d expect from the studio who brought us stuff like Cowboy Bebop. Everything is nice and bold, perfectly fitting the superheroics involved. Even one of my biggest problems, CGI, is handled… fairly well. Fire Emblem’s suit looks awkward and strange considering it’s fancy latex and not mini-gundam. Particular note goes Kotetsu “Wild Tiger” Kaburagi’s design. His lines seem heavier, like he was pulled from a completely different art team. It keeps your eyes on the main character, so it’s a neat little trick. The more ‘Western’ style, lacking the big eyes and bright colors of a lot of anime, really brings up the appeal, too.

Music isn’t anything to write home about. The OP is pretty good, the ending is pretty good… but nothing’s really memorable. The voices, on the other hand, are phenomenal. I did some research (miraculous, isn’t it?) before writing this, and Kotetsu is voiced by none other than Hiroaki Hirata. I’m not normally ‘big’ into Japanese voice actors (sorry guys), but… Something about Kotetsu stood out. He seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I looked him up. Then it he me: He was Gojyo! And the old man from Another, but that’s less important.

Anyway, yeah. The voice actor is superb and probably the best I’ve heard since… I’m gonna say Baccano. Everyone fits the character. Barnaby has that particular snobbishness about him, Nathan (Fire Emblem) is just the right amount of flamboyant. Huge, huge props to the voice actors for their work on this. The English voice actors are gonna have to pull out all the stops to top the originals.

Now let’s touch on the story, because that’s the fun part. Despite all the hype, or perhaps because of it, I wasn’t expecting the plot to live up to expectations. At first, it was exactly what I was expecting: Introduce a new villain, keep them around for a little bit, arrest or kill them off. Or redeem them, in Tony’s case. Repeat during the next episode. Then Lunatic showed up.

Looking over my screenshots for this, his first scene makes him look completely different. Maybe it’s all the blue/green fire and death…

Lunatic seriously kicked the show into the first part of overdrive. It helps that he’s the most realistic villain (maybe him and Jake…) we’ve seen. Listen, we’ve all been pissed off whenever someone does something horrible and gets off scot-free or with a sentence we deem too light. Unfortunately, or fortunately if you see where I’m going with this, we don’t have superpowers. We’re not NEXT or X-Men or … whatever Superman is. We can’t do anything, but we wish we could. We want that guy dead or locked away for life. We’re human. We let our emotions go crazy. But we can’t do anything. Imagine if we could. Sure, some of us would be Kotetsu/Batman. No killing. Ever. Others? They’d be Lunatic. They’d be Ozymandias. They’d be Light. Lunatic is so interesting because he’s the logical conclusion of someone who loves justice getting the power (entirely too much power, really) to enforce it. There’s a reason that ‘Power corrupts.’ is a fairly common trope and saying.

But yeah, enough of me gushing about Lunatic. I’m just excited to see where his story goes. Let’s turn the focus to the ‘real’ villains of the first half: Ouroboros, particularly Jake Martinez. Jake was… probably my biggest disappointment so far. Sure he’s crazy and badass and looks vaguely like Charles Manson while in his cell (Don’t you tell me he doesn’t), but… He wasn’t very threatening. Sure, Ouroboros’s arrival really kicked the series into high gear, but Jake himself felt kinda flat.

It was really just an excuse for Barnaby to go crazy and nearly cross the threshold between a ‘real’ hero and someone like Lunatic. Jake’s purpose in the story was just to act as a test of character. I will say, despite my gripes, that every fight scene with Jake – especially Kotetsu’s accidental kick – was great. You really got a sense of him just screwing around with people because he knows what they’re going to do. Everything was a game to him because he thought he was invincible. And then he was crushed to death under his own helicopter, all because he wouldn’t keep his mouth shut about having two powers… I don’t know, he just lost a lot of the creepy not-Charles-Manson guy we saw in his cell after he got out.

Oh, as a final note, I’m really impressed by how everyone (except Rock Bison and Sky High) got a real chance to shine. Hell, entire episodes were dedicated to Karina (Blue Rose), Ivan (Origami Cyclone A.K.A. The least superpower-indicative superhero name ever), and Pao Lin (Kid Dragon). Considering that a lot of shows would just let, say, Pao Lin be the token apparently-Chinese girl, it’s a nice touch. Also, Nathan got to be badass. I’m also a huge fan of how ‘real’ Kotetsu feels. He’s not some young punkass teenager or something. He’s a man who has to balance his job and his daughter. And it ain’t easy. You feel for the guy when Kaede gets upset that Dad won’t make it home tonight, especially because there’s no way in hell he could tell her why.

… Well that was a pretty long final note. Anyway, if you’re looking for something different (or just like superheroes), definitely give Tiger and Bunny a look. If subbed anime isn’t your thing, we’ve got an English release coming… uh… sometime, withLiam O’Brien and Steve Blum coming in as Lunatic and Jake respectively. I hope Liam uses his ‘War’ voice for this role. Anyhoo, I’m gonna go check out the rest of the show! As always, thanks for reading and have a good’un.

Also, since I can’t find anywhere appropriate, please enjoy this screenshot of Mr. Saito enjoying some icecream.

Try having this on your monitor in a room people normally pass through. You get the weirdest looks.

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