Tiger & Bunny

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Tiger & Bunny
Tiger & Bunny vol 1.jpg
Cover of the first Blu-ray volume featuring Kotetsu Kaburagi (left) and Barnaby Brooks (right).
GenreAdventure, comedy,[1] superhero[2]
Created bySunrise
Anime television series
Directed byKeiichi Sato
Kunihiro Mori (Chief, #14-25)
Produced byHiroo Maruyama
Chinatsu Matsui
Kazuhiko Tamura
Written byMasafumi Nishida
Music byYoshihiro Ike
StudioSunrise
Licensed by
Original networkBS11, MBS, Tokyo MX
English network
Original run April 3, 2011 September 18, 2011
Episodes25 (List of episodes)
Manga
Written bySunrise
Illustrated bySakakibara Mizuki
Published byKadokawa Shoten
English publisherViz Media
MagazineNewtype Ace
DemographicSeinen
Original runOctober 2, 2011November 2014
Volumes9
Game
Tiger & Bunny On Air Jack!
DeveloperNamco Bandai Games
PublisherNamco Bandai Games
GenreVisual novel
PlatformPlayStation Portable
ReleasedSeptember 20, 2012
Anime film
Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning
Directed byYoshitomo Yonetani
Written byMasafumi Nishida
Music byYoshihiro Ike
StudioSunrise
Licensed by
Siren Visual
Viz Media
ReleasedSeptember 22, 2012
Runtime90 minutes
Game
Tiger & Bunny Heroes Day
DeveloperD3 Publisher
PublisherD3 Publisher
GenreVisual novel
PlatformPlayStation Portable
ReleasedMarch 20, 2013
Anime film
Tiger & Bunny: The Rising
Directed byYoshitomo Yonetani
Written byMasafumi Nishida
Music byYoshihiro Ike
StudioSunrise
Licensed by
Siren Visual
Viz Media
Anime Limited
ReleasedFebruary 8, 2014
Runtime90 minutes
Anime television series
Tiger & Bunny 2
Directed byMitsuko Kase
StudioBandai Namco Pictures
Original run 2022 scheduled
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Tiger & Bunny (stylized as TIGER & BUNNY) is a 2011 Japanese anime television series produced by Sunrise under the direction of Keiichi Satou. The screenplay was written by Masafumi Nishida, with original character design by Masakazu Katsura. The series began its broadcast run in Japan on April 3, 2011 on Tokyo MX, followed by rebroadcasts on BS11 and MBS, and ended on September 17, 2011.[3] Viz Media simulcast the series on Hulu and Anime News Network.[4] It is set in a futuristic city where heroes fight crime whilst promoting real life sponsors, focusing on two superheroes, the old-fashioned Kotetsu T. "Wild Tiger" Kaburagi and the rookie hero Barnaby "Bunny" Brooks Jr., as they are forced by their employers to work together.

A one-shot manga drawn by Masakazu Katsura was published in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump magazine on August 4, 2011[5] and the production of two films based on the series were announced during a special event on November, 2011. The first film, entitled Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning was released on September 22, 2012. The second film, Tiger & Bunny: The Rising, was released on February 8, 2014.[6]

A second season was announced in March 2020. It is scheduled for a release sometime in 2022.

Plot[edit]

The series takes place in "NC 1978" in a fictional, re-imagined version of New York City called Stern Bild City, where 45 years before, superpowered individuals known as "NEXT" (an acronym standing for Noted Entities with eXtraordinary Talents) started appearing and some of them became superheroes. Each of the city's most famous superheroes work for a sponsor company and their uniforms also contain advertising for real-life companies. Their heroic activity is broadcast on the popular television show "Hero TV", where they accumulate points for each heroic feat accomplished (arresting criminals or saving civilians, for example) and the best ranked hero of the season is crowned "King of Heroes".

The story mainly focuses on veteran hero Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, a.k.a. Wild Tiger, who is assigned a new partner: a young man named Barnaby Brooks, Jr. who has the same power as Kotetsu. However, Barnaby and Kotetsu have trouble working together, as they have conflicting opinions on how a superhero should act, while at the same time they are trying to crack the mystery of the murder of Barnaby's parents. In addition, the appearance of a homicidal vigilante NEXT named "Lunatic" stirs up the public and makes them question the place of heroes in the city.

Media[edit]

Anime[edit]

The anime by Sunrise aired in Japan between April 3, 2011 and September 17, 2011. It was also simulcast with English subtitles on various streaming sites such as Hulu, Viz Media and Anime News Network. The anime has been licensed by Viz Media in North America and Kazé distributed through Manga Entertainment in the United Kingdom. For the first thirteen episodes, the opening theme is "Orion wo Nazoru" (オリオンをなぞる, "Trace of Orion") by Unison Square Garden while the ending theme is "Hoshi no Sumika" (星のすみか, "A Star's Dwelling") by Aobouzu. For episodes fourteen onwards, the opening theme is "Missing Link" by Novels while the ending theme is "Mind Game" by Tamaki.

The series began broadcasting in the United States and Canada on Viz Media's online network, Neon Alley, on October 2, 2012. On October 15, 2017, the series began running on Netflix.[7]

A second anime series was announced on January 4, 2018.[8] It is titled Double Decker! Doug & Kirill, and it premiered on September 30, 2018.[9]

On March 30, 2019, Nikkan Sports announced that a sequel to the original Tiger & Bunny series is currently in production.[10][11] On April 2, 2020, the sequel was announced as Tiger & Bunny 2.[12] Voice actors Hiroaki Hirata and Masakazu Morita are returning to voice their respective characters. The anime is being produced by studio Bandai Namco Pictures, with director Mitsuko Kase replacing director Keiichi Satou. The character designs will be created by manga artist Masakazu Katsura.

Films[edit]

The production of two films based on the series was announced during a special event on November 13, 2011. The first film, titled Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning was released in Japan on September 22, 2012, also receiving screenings in the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries, and was released on Blu-ray-Disc and DVD on February 22, 2013.[13][14][15] The first half of the film recaps the first few episodes whilst also introducing a new story. A second film, Tiger & Bunny: The Rising, is an entirely new work which was released on February 8, 2014.[16] The second movie also takes place about a year after the anime finale, so sometime around the epilogue, with Kotetsu's identity now public, and Tiger & Bunny return to their team dynamic.

Manga[edit]

A one-shot manga drawn by Masakazu Katsura was released in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump magazine on August 4, 2011,[5] followed by a serialized manga series drawn by Hiroshi Ueda which began serialization in Miracle Jump magazine in October 2011.[17] The manga, along with a 4-Panel Comic Anthology by various artists, has been licensed in North America by Viz Media and was released in 2013.[18]

Video games[edit]

A video game titled Tiger & Bunny On Air Jack! (TIGER&BUNNY オンエアジャック!, Taigā Ando Banī On Ea Jyakku!) was developed by Namco Bandai Games for the PlayStation Portable for release on September 20, 2012. The game was announced by Sunrise producer Masayuki Ozaki on July 31, 2011.[19][20] A second game, Tiger & Bunny Heroes Day (TIGER&BUNNY~ヒーローズ デイ~, Taigā Ando Banī ~Hīrōzu Dei~), was released by D3 Publisher for the PlayStation Portable on March 20, 2013.[21]

Stage play[edit]

A stage play titled Tiger & Bunny the Live ran at Tokyo's Zepp Diver City theater from August 24 to September 1, 2012 featuring the voice actors for main characters Kotetsu T. Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks Jr. reprising their roles. It also featured two new characters, Brian Vai and Babel.[22]

Live-action film[edit]

On October 9, 2015, Sunrise announced at their New York Comic Con panel that a live-action Hollywood film adaptation of Tiger & Bunny is in the works.[23] The film will be produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer through their production company Imagine Entertainment and Global Road Entertainment, along with series producer Masayuki Ozaki from Bandai Namco Pictures and Sanford Climan and Annmarie Bailey through All Nippon Entertainment Works. Imagine's Erica Huggins will oversee the project.

Marketing[edit]

In-show advertising[edit]

Each of the heroes in the series is sponsored by fictional and non-fictional companies. These include large brands such as Pepsi and Bandai, others are Amazon.com.jp, SoftBank, UStream, Gyu-Kaku, and Domino's Pizza.[24] The company logos are not visible in the manga adaptation nor the episodes on Netflix.

Toys[edit]

In September 2011, Bandai's Tamashii Nations division released a series of figures under their S.H. Figuarts line. The first of these was a Wild Tiger action figure.[25] The figure was a success, with most Japanese retailers/dealers being caught off guard and the figure selling out quickly.[citation needed] The next to be released was a Barnaby Brooks Jr. (a.k.a. Bunny) action figure, followed by figures of Rock Bison and Sky High. All of the figures feature diecast metal parts and sponsor logos printed on the armor, such as Softbank & Amazon.jp.[26]

Sales[edit]

The first Japanese Blu-ray volume opened as the week's fourth best selling animation Blu-ray and the fifth best selling Blu-ray overall, with 14,689 copies sold according to Oricon,[27] and remained in the sales charts for an additional two weeks, selling a total of 19,656 copies.[27][28] The DVD release of volume 1 also ranked in the charts, remaining for three weeks and selling a total of 2,521 copies.[29][30] The second Blu-ray collection came second after Puella Magi Madoka Magica, remaining in the charts for two weeks.[31][32] The third Blu-ray collection was the week's second best selling Blu-ray release, and the best selling anime release; first place overall being taken by Walt Disney Animation Studios' Tangled.[33] The fourth Blu-ray collection also was the week's second best selling release, following Madoka Magica, staying in the charts for two weeks.[34][35] The fifth Blu-ray collection also was the week's second best selling release after Madoka Magica and charted for two weeks.[36][37] The sixth Blu-ray collection topped the charts of its week's release, being the best selling animated Blu-ray release, charting for two weeks.[38][39] The seventh collection was the second best selling release after Persona 4: The Animation, also charting for two weeks.[40][41] The eighth Blu-ray collection was the fourth best selling animation of its week's release, and sixth overall, once more charting for two weeks.[42][43] The ninth and final collection topped the Blu-ray charts the week of its release, and charted for two weeks.[44][45]

By the end of 2011, the second, third, and fourth Blu-ray collections were among the top 50 best-selling animation Blu-Rays discs.[46] By its final volume, the combined total of the nine Blu-ray releases had sold 233,000 copies.[47]

Critical response[edit]

Story and genre[edit]

The show's take on the superhero genre was singled out for praise by critics. Allen Moody of THEM Anime Reviews gave the series 4/5 stars, praising its ability to use familiar aspects of the genre in "novel ways".[48] However, Moody states that the second half of the series would have benefitted from "a break or two"; especially regarding the last six episodes.[48] IGN's Dale Bashir described the series as "unique", standing out because of its blend of Japanese and American superhero staples.[49] In a retrospective review of anime from the 2010s, Lauren Orsini of Forbes described the anime as one of the best of 2011, describing it as a "love letter to the superhero genre" and enjoying its more optimistic tone compared to that of The Avengers.[50] Similarly, Sage Ashford of Comic Book Resources described Tiger & Bunny as the fourth best superhero anime of the decade, pointing out that the heroes having real-life sponsors can be viewed as a commentary on modern-day superheroes.[51] Echoing such statement, ComicsAlliance's Tom Speelman described the anime as not only being "genuinely gripping and engaging", but also a "smart exploration" of not only the superhero genre—with Kotetsu's genuine desire to help people evoking the Golden Age of Comic Books, while Barnaby's backstory the Bronze Age—but also "reality TV and celebrity culture".[52] Anime Network's Seb Reid described the shows as well-written and a "pleasure to watch", and similarly to Orsini, also reacted positively to its lighthearted tone, showing that superheroes don't need to "be dark and husky-voiced".[53] Seid took note that the series improved as it progressed and revealed more about Barnaby's backstory and the mystery regarding his parents' death.[54] The Fandom Post's Chris Beveridge also commended the series in its use of the superhero genre by putting a "Japanese take on it".[55]

Kotetsu and Barnaby[edit]

Kotetsu and Barbaby and the relationship between them was received positively. Charles Solomon of IndieWire noted that while the concept of a "mismatched duo" is not original, it is "infinitely recycable", something which Tiger & Bunny showcases through their relationship.[56] Solomon also praised the English dub's voice actors for making the characters both believable and comedic.[56] Orsini also took note of Kotetsu and Barnaby's relationship.[50] Syfy's Michelle Villanueva also commended the characters' relationship, stating that the show "excels with the Buddy Cop trope" and enjoyed the Kotetsu and Barnaby growing from reluctant teammates to best friends, as well as their banter.[57] Beveridge also praised their relationship, finding it appropriately comedic,[58] opinionating that both characters being adults enhances their relationship and the show, making it a "treat to watch".[59][60]

Regarding Kotetsu, Beveridge described hims as the "conscience" of the show.[61] Reid praised Kotetsu's Japanese voice actor—Hiroaki Hirata—for giving depth to the character,[53] and also enjoyed latter episodes showcasing Kotetsu's motivations and relationship with his family;[62] his relationship with his daughter Kaede being described as touching.[63]

Other characters[edit]

Critics reacted positively to the supporting characters in the series; Seid described it as "driven by its characters",[62] who are the "true strength" of the series.[63] Moody found all of the supporting heroes and Lunatic entertaining, though admonished the fact Rock Bison and Fire Emblem do not get any episodes focusing on them.[48] Speelman also described the characters as being one viewers "grow to love", singling out Dragon Kid.[52] Reid also described her as one of his favorite characters.[53]

Beveridge singled out Lunatic for being a menacing villain and adding a challenge to the main characters,[64] also taking note of Martinez's role during the half-way point of the series.[65]

Other[edit]

The action sequences received praise. Solomon praised them,[56] as did Moody.[48] Beveridge also commended the action sequences and described them as "great".[58]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]