Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning
Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning 2012
This was originally a successful anime series in 2011, and then after its series run, they decided to take the first couple episodes, add some filler and a new third act and bill it as a movie. Now, I haven’t seen the series just yet, but based on this movie, I really want to. The basic premise is that 45 years ago people with special abilities started to appear that were called NEXT, many of those people started working with the government as a hero force. Now, it has turned into this psuedo-reality competition complete with corporate sponsors, a TV station that is dedicated to filming their exploits, and they even turned it into a reality competition complete with points for their heroic deeds. Overall, it felt like a pretty fresh take on the superhero genre and I thought it was quite enjoyable. And I did watch this movie in the original Japanese with English subtitles.
The main character of the movie is the “aging” hero Kotetsu who goes by the name Wild Tiger. He’s a bit of a typical down-on-his-luck/comical anime character. His wife is dead and his daughter is staying with his mother due to his unpredictable schedule. There’s the very cliched moment where he is running late to his daughter’s skating recital, or whatever it was due to the fact that his original sponsor has backed out and his new sponsor is creating the very first superhero team with newcomer Barnaby, who Tiger nicknames Bunny. Barnaby is a very aloof hero who is more concerned with playing the game to get the most amount of points and TV ratings than actually saving people or even socializing with the other heroes. He’s the hardest character to really empathize with because he spends most of the movie being a fairly unlikable character, even though he does have some redeeming traits and a tragic-yet-mysterious backstory. They both end up having the same power called the hundred power, which multiplies their strength and speed by a hundred times, but only lasts for five minutes.
The other heroes are a bit more of a mixed bag. The one that I liked the least is the hero called Fire Emblem. He is a horrifyingly gay stereotype who is more concerned with grabbing the other male heroes’ butts than with fighting crime, and is always making weird kissy faces. One other minor character that I really did like was Origami Cyclone who never really does any fighting, but is more concerned with being in the background while others are doing their heroics so that his sponsors get precious screentime. There’s also Blue Rose whose sponsor is Pepsi Nex and she has ice powers. She is also just as concerned with doing commercials for her sponsor as she is with heroing. There are a couple others including the top hero Sky High and the slightly oafish strongman Rock Bison. I also liked the fact that all the brands are actual brands like Pepsi, Bandai, and UStream.
I think the strongest aspect of this movie that I enjoyed was the fact that it reminded me a little of the Tick, in that it spent just as much time with the heroes’ lives outside of just the fighting crime elements. The most interesting parts of the movie are the struggles with the sponsors, or the TV show producer who equally gives them tips and information on what the criminals are doing, but is also just as concerned with things like postponing a capture so they can squeeze in a commercial break to increase the tension. There’s also a fun scene that reminded me a little bit of the Incredibles where Kotetsu is being shown his new suit created by a technician who talks so quietly there actually isn’t any voice actor for him, only subtitles, and he shows how much more durable Kotetsu’s new mech-styled suit is compared to his older spandex-type suit.
The villains of the movie are a bit more of a mixed bag. It starts off with a trio of generic robbers, then there’s a kid who’s just grown into his own NEXT powers to control any inanimate object he touches. Of course, the kid part of the equation doesn’t show up right away as he initially controls a giant iron statue. The final villain is the most interesting, at least as far as his powers go. He has the ability to switch places with any person that he can see. It’s a very unique ability and it works great in this context, especially regarding the way that the heroes eventually capture him. Really the only problem I had with this movie is the fact that it is subtitled, but there’s so much information flying around at parts with the reality show graphics which are mostly in English that it was hard to keep track of everything. But aside from that, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit and want to look up the series. It’s really worth a look if you’re a fan of anime. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.