Tiger & Bunny Series Review

This is where it should’ve ended.

But, hey, no chance of that, right Sunrise?

From start to finish, Tiger & Bunny was a seriously mixed bag. On the one hand, the good guys were generally quite likable, if also generally undercharacterized. On the other hand, the larger narrative was fairly forgettable, and plagued with insipid one-shot episodes about sixteen year olds crushing on single fathers twice their age and about babies. It was for this very reason that I found myself going weeks between episodes, and then playing catch up when the fancy struck me.

Of course, probably the most massive problem with T&B were the handwaves and conveniences, those moments where everything looked bad for the Heroes, only for some miracle moment to occur. This issue was on gruesome display in the final episode, as it served to wreck any sense of suspense present, particularly when the Heroes were faced with the H-o1’s, outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded. It was the first time I felt excited about a fight in the entire show… and Sunrise quickly pulled the plug with an outside cut of the power supply. Gee, thanks, Sunrise.

And this was rampant throughout the entire final episode. Every time something looked hairy, fingers were snapped and everything was fixed and straightened away. Not that this came as a surprise – it was only an exacerbation of a previous habit of the show, after all. But that’s not an excuse for it, either.

The finale essentially rendered null and void other concerns throughout the show, as Tiger retires only to… un-retire and join the Second-rate Heroes. Bunny retires because… Tiger has retired. Oh, and Maverick is bad and made him become a Hero for his own ends. But its clear that Tiger’s decision to retire is the bigger impetus behind his own decision, since he un-retires when Tiger does in the epilogue.

While I would’ve preferred Sunrise had kept Tiger dead, I’m willing to let it slide. But the epilogue should’ve been chucked to the cutting room floor, as it takes pains to shit all over virtually everything the show did. And that’s not even getting into the fact that the epilogue gave us Blue Rose leafing through a book about wooing single fathers, continued to equate feminization with maturation in young women with Dragon Kid, and got one last homophobic kick in courtesy of Fire Emblem and Rock Bison.

(I have this alternate theory about that scene though – in this interpretation, Fire Emblem and Rock Bison have been fucking for a while, but Rock Bison is too scared to go public with the relationship. He and Fire Emblem are in the bar on a date, but he refuses to do anything “date-like”. Meanwhile, Fire Emblem has been growing increasingly frustrated with the state of affairs, and is sick of Rock Bison’s cowardice; he grabs the other man’s ass as a passive-aggressive display of his irritation. I like this interpretation better.)

Ultimately, T&B gets a big fat C from me. There were some great moments, but the dull and bad far outnumber them, and I laughed way too any times during allegedly serious scenes to warrant anything better than that. Tiger was truly the only thing consistently good about the show, that oh-so-rare 30-something anime character who isn’t merely tangential to the story, but the direct focus of it. But one lone constant bright spot hardly a show makes.

Which isn’t to say I hated it. It was just ragingly mediocre. It I hated it, I would’ve dropped the fucker months ago. It was mildly entertaining in the manner of the summer popcorn blockbuster, its flaws more evident to the stretch of time it operated across. Given a week between installments, its easier to notice all the problems than during a rapidfire ninety minute span.

On one final note, elsewhere I noted a desire to see Tomino circa 1992 and Victory Gundam do Tiger & Bunny. I stand by that statement – now THAT would be a clusterfuck of memorable proportions.

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9 Responses to Tiger & Bunny Series Review

  1. Shinmaru says:

    I liked Tiger and Bunny more than you, but I agree wholeheartedly that the spotty writing and handwaving is a MAJOR weakness in the series. It goes beyond the silly hand waves you see in superhero comics — everything here is so convenient and contrived. I liked Tiger and the silly superhero caricatures enough to not be too bothered by this most of the time, but the finale piled them on to such an extreme that I couldn’t help but be bothered by it.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      The finale sucked, full stop. Some earlier episodes sucked (the Blue Rose and the stalker episode, for example), but in ways that one could dismiss. This was basically Sunrise shitting all over anything good about the damn show.

  2. C’mon, we knew all along that they were gonna be saved by some external help vs. the androids, they’ve set up Barnaby’s entire character for this. What bothers me about the android fight is how inconsistent it was during the whole fight.


    This, I tell you is the fuck-up of the whole thing. It represents everything that’s fail about the fights — a tremendous sore point in the whole thing. The first sign was when there were a fuckton of robots with gattling guns that can’t hit a completely immobile Wild Tiger hanging on a bridge with one hand for an eternity. Unforgivable.

    We knew the cavalry is going to pull through, just as we knew Kotetsu will live. It’s the moments before that that require excellence in execution, and the excellence was wholly absent.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I suppose I was just hoping for something less hand-wavy; why, after all, bother to surround them with all those invincible robots and ratchet up tension at all? Surely they could’ve crafted something more plausible and less enraging – skip the extra robots shit and have Maverick just make a grab for Kaede, only to be stopped by the revived Kotetsu. Sure, there’s still a hand-wave there, but its less of an obnoxious one.

  3. Hogart says:

    It was a cheesy tropefest, to be sure, but a fun one nonetheless. It’s hard to entertain me with this style, but I found it much more watchable than expected, even looking forward to episodes. It did exceptionally well for relying on such a horrible formula.

    It’s a shame they screwed with it so much, though. It would have been great for them to give Tiger a good sendoff, and balance the cheese with some meaning. But nope, second season demands they run it aground like the Exxon Valdez.

  4. inushinde says:

    It was a good, fun series, but nothing that I would call excellent. I was kind of hoping that there would be something more with the whole hero sponsorship thing, and the plot in general, but I went in with absolutely no expectations and didn’t leave disappointed.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I think a lot of folks were let-down on that front.

      I didn’t really go in with any expectations, and still left feeling disappointed on several counts. To me, it was mediocre in an extreme. If Bunny had been the primary character, I would’ve never finished it.

      • inushinde says:

        Yeah, Bunny was lacking in several areas personality-wise. I agree that if it were solely his show, I would’ve dropped it in a heartbeat.

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