Grim_Noir Previews “TIGER & BUNNY:” The Scariest Champions of Justice Since “The Comfy Chair”!

Tiger and Bunny logo
(Note: As only three episodes of Tiger and Bunny have been simulcast, this is more of a preview, than a review, per se)

Even in a season marked by the promise of G4-TV debuting both Madhouse Studios’ Iron Man and their Wolverine anime this July, Sunrise’s gloriously animated Tiger and Bunny is a singular cause for celebration.

Like Willie Wonka’s promised three-course dinner in a gumball, Tiger and Bunny (the most unlikely-named superhero series since Quantum and Woody) manages to hit all of the flavor profiles on this freaky geek’s palate in a single 24-minute nugget:

Imagine mixing together the prophetic view of reality game shows as reflected in The Running Man with the mismatched buddy comedy of The Odd Couple meets Lethal Weapon. Then, add a pinch of Dan Jurgens’ knowing asides to corporate sponsorship from Booster Gold and spice with the silly motivations and sniping machinations of the vigilantes in Kick-Ass.

Director Keiichi Satou (Karas director and The Big O character/mechanical designer) opens in media res with a big, splashy freeway chase scene between bank robbers and cops that quickly escalates into a cinematic showcase for all of the main superheroes (and their conspicuous product placement) in Sternbild City: The flamboyant Fire Emblem, the trying-too-hard Rock Bison, the hyper-kinetic, yet still girlish Dragon Kid, the mysterious Origami Cyclone, the high-flying Sky High, and the not-so-icy Blue Rose, as well as the titular characters Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks, Jr..

Wild Tiger (a.k.a. Kotetsu T. Kaburagi) is the proverbial “loose cannon” of the superhero set, trying to juggle being a widowed dad with his obsession for championing the downtrodden. However, his soon-to-be partner, Barnaby, has a distinctly different take on the job…

We quickly learn that these defenders of justice are simultaneously competing for “Capture” and “Rescue” points from a COPS-type television show, Hero TV. Hero TV tallies points live on the air, as the action happens, and awards an MVP (“King of Heroes”) at the end of their season. If all of this sounds vaguely videogame-like, that is clearly intentional.

While the action pieces are amazing to see, it is the sharp, sly writing of Masafumi Nishida that gives the series its bite. Already in the first episode, subtle actions begin to reflect the true depth of these characters: A simple one minute scene involving the alter egos of “Tiger” & “Bunny” and a child’s lost balloon proves to be much more telling than any of their on-air antics. In fact, the over-the-top daring-do itself is often deflated by the confused comments of a fellow “Next” (as these superheroes are called) or the director of the Hero TV show, whose off-camera instructions can be heard through their costumes’ earpieces a la Network. While their superheroic actions can make them buffoons and fuel the comedic moments of this show, Masafumi never forgets that there is a living, breathing, fragile soul under all that spandex and armor.

Perhaps after 24 episodes of this concoction, I will end up like Violet Beauregarde; bloated and blue, but for now, I am content to chomp away on every sweet byte of this Japanese serial…

Hero TV logo

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3 Comments to “Grim_Noir Previews “TIGER & BUNNY:” The Scariest Champions of Justice Since “The Comfy Chair”!”

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  1. B says:

    this looks incredible, where can i find it to watch?

  2. grim_Noir says:

    HULU is playing it. New episodes are uploaded every Sunday. Enjoy!

  3. jaydee says:

    well, hell! nice review!
    I’m gonna go check it out now..
    ps. thanks for referencing Quantum & Woody!
    That was a great comic..wish it was out in trades

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