This anime’s main protagonists, Wild Tiger and
Barnaby Brooks Jr. Bunny!
Surprisingly, you don’t have to wait for a month for this review, unlike the last one for Sacred Seven. The main reason why this happens is because the anime I’m going to write about in this post is just so awesome, I can’t help myself from watching the second half of the series in less than 24 hours. It has been quite some time since I do such a thing. Years maybe? If you somehow managed to skip the headline above, the anime I’m talking about is titled Tiger and Bunny, a 2011 title that will definitely give Highschool of the Dead OVA some serious competition for the Anime of the Year 2011 title. Will we see a new winner here? Read on to find out.
Sometimes, the best character of this anime cheated on his partner and went out fighting terrorism with a sweet young thing instead!
Some time in the future (kinda like Sacred Seven), humans that has special powers due to gene mutations (hmmm… sure smells like Sacred Seven) are common. Some of them participates in the local city’s superheroes reality TV program, where their powers are used to defend the population from criminals and terrorists, scoring points during the jobs. Being superheroes, wearing masks and armors is a must (Sacred Seven reference here guys?) complete with brand placements from major sponsors (Squall Leonhart will not deign himself to such capitalistic ways of life). Our first main title male protagonist, a 10-year veteran at the show, was forced to be paired with an up-coming starlet (the second main title protagonist) who has the same exact powers as him. While their powers is the same, their goals in life isn’t, and this clash of personalities makes up one of the many faces that this anime has.
After watching this anime until the end in only 3 days, I can confidently say that this anime is Sunrise’s answer to Gainax’s Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, a hugely popular 2007 anime. In fact, I can also confidently say that this anime is better than the latter, for reasons that will be explained later below.
Well sometimes he also play the 'Most Wanted' game too.
What makes Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (abbreviated TTGL from now on) very good (it scored a perfect score for the record) is that while it has a typical kiddy-grade storyline, almost all of the clichés and weaknesses of the associated genre has been eliminated, making TTGL watchable for people outside the genre’s usual demographics. The same polish can also be seen in this anime, but this anime has the advantage of having a considerably superior general storyline based on a more mature shounen genre aimed for middle and high school students.
As for this anime’s storyline itself, it is a cross of Tantei Gakuen Q’s prevailing main plot (with the homicides investigation cases being replaced with superheroes stuff) and some Blassreiter-esque action flick (minus the presentation problems), sprinkled with heavy doses of comedy and slice-of-life elements. The first half of the series is filled with plenty of Bleach-like fighting, while the second half is more Enemy of the State-like conspiracy thriller than anything else. While better than TTGL’s general storyline, on its own this anime’s storyline is not exactly a masterpiece. For example, the thrilling second-half of this anime is not as good as One Outs. Even that, other factors more than make up for it, which will be explained below. Just like the anime version of Tantei Gakuen Q, the prevailing plot is not over yet after the last episode ends, therefore a second season should be in order. But the transformation of one of the main title protagonists is radical, on par of his counterpart in Kuroshitsuji, therefore if a sequel comes out, the writing has to be very solid in it to accommodate the change in his characterization.
Just one of the hazards of the superheroes job.
The presentation in this anime is pretty much spot-on. The pacing is perfect, and I cannot even attempt to nit-pick on it even if I tried. Why is that Sunrise cannot do the same for Sacred Seven, I don’t know. The flow of the storyline is also the same, no scene transition problems unlike what what have happened in Sacred Seven. It also helps that the writer actively reuse story elements introduced in early parts of the anime effectively in later episodes, eliminating virtually all loose ends. This kind of foresight is what made the likes of One Piece and The World God Only Knows manga really good.
Just like in TTGL, character developments is a strong point for this anime. In fact, I personally think this anime does it even better than TTGL did. Unsurprisingly, the two main title protagonists are the most important characters in this anime, with the older character just edged ahead of the younger character in the end as the best character in this anime, mainly because of his Kuroshitsuji-esque transformation. And unlike TTGL, these two powerful characters were ably assisted by many excellent secondary characters, such as the other participants of the reality program, the producer of the said program and even the antagonists of this anime. And of course, I have to mention the Macross 7 flower lady rip-off character that seems to be everywhere in the city, that is governed by an Obama-like mayor too.
This superhero job is far easier though.
Yet again, not exactly too different compared to the last Sunrise anime title reviewed in the last post. The only thing that is different from Sacred Seven is that this anime has more variety in those character designs. For example, this anime has bishounen characters while, Sacred Seven doesn’t. Superheroes costume designs are all decent at least, none of the crap seen in Sacred Seven like the protagonist’s final form.
If you ask me, the city where this anime take place has more crime problems than Gotham City.
This section is another part where this anime has done better than TTGL, and Sacred Seven for the matter. The older main title male protagonist voice actor has the best voice acting gig in this anime, and the other main title protagonist’s voice actor also has done an above average job too. Other notable gigs in this anime includes the antagonist of the first arc, his subordinate (the female one) and the superhero that can use wind.
The OST is decent, but not as good as the one in TTGL. The 1st ED theme and 2nd OP theme is excellent though.
Their budding relationship that the writer utilized to try to steer this anime into yaoi genre is one of the highlights of this anime.
The animation quality in this anime is good, even in fast-paced scenes. This is comparable to Sacred Seven, but somewhat inferior to TTGL. One good inconsistency between the two Sunrise titles is that this anime doesn’t use the blurry animation technique that the other one has, so no mandatory point docking will be performed. 2D and CGI integration is seamless. Choreography in action scenes is just average though, both TTGL and Sacred Seven are better than this anime in this aspect. The directing is excellent just like it does in TTGL, for exactly the same reasons too, which is mainly the moderating the common clichés commonly seen in the genre the storyline is in, having strong characters in the storyline itself and perfected presentation.
10 out of 10, which means we have a new ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ title holder. While TTGL has the bad luck of being pitted against the stupendously awesome Nodame Cantabile S1 five years ago, this beach episode-free series has more luck because it has only to contend with a 15-minute beach episode OVA featuring hips that moves on its own.
English in this anime is quite decent.