To the uninitiated, the anime Tiger & Bunny follows the veteran super hero Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (aka Wild Tiger) as he is forced to team up with the young, inexperienced and cocky Barnaby Brooks Jr. The show takes place in the fictional pseudo-futuristic metropolis Sternbild City, which shares just a passing resemblance to New York. Just under fifty years ago, individuals began to be born with mutations and displaying super powered abilities. These people were dubbed 'NEXT' and many started to use their powers for good becoming daring crime fighters.
Over time their endeavors became commercialized (what doesn't?), with each hero having a specific sponsor whose logos adorn their costume. To amusing effect the animators use the logos of actual companies such a Bandai, Amazon.co.jp and Pepsi! Who says that life doesn't imitate art? The heroic feats of these corporate masked crusaders are filmed live and broadcast on the reality TV network Hero TV. To make things more interesting, each peoples champion is given points depending on what they actually achieve be it stopping robbers, aiding the police or saving citizens among many others. On a yearly basis all scores are tallied and a 'King Of Heroes' is crowned.
The Japanese animation takes this tried and tested genre and attempts to turn it on its head. Like Alan Moore's Watchmen and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which both subverted how we saw the American super hero, Tiger & Bunny tries to play with existing perceptions. Using modern themes such as corporate funding and non-scripted television, the series endeavors to take our preconceptions about what we deem 'heroic' and twist them until we barely recognize them. The show looks amazing with a brilliant sense of style, intelligent writing and fantastic voice acting. Tiger & Bunny is one of the coolest animes out in recent years and to those who see it, it's not hard to see why!
(From contributing writer Chris Spence.)