Anime Reporter rewinds Hero TV for Tiger & Bunny the Movie: The Beginning, the first film of the anime series, taking another look at the superhero duo’s early partnership.
Tiger & Bunny took the classic structure of a superhero story and came up with something very exciting. In Tiger & Bunny, superheroes are super-powered people known as NEXT, who have opted to cash in on their powers by playing heroes. These costumed crusaders are covered from head to toe in logos and brand names for whatever companies they each represent and whenever a newsworthy crime takes place the heroes compete live on Hero TV to save the day, earning points for various accomplishments and acts of heroism. Those of you who read our review of the series will know that we here at Anime Reporter absolutely loved the series for its great use of modern and stylish animation, innovative approach to action and its very charming characters.
The great news is that Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning has all of these things. In fact, the animation looks better than ever with gorgeous definition on the Bluray release, a new character, the international master thief Robin Baxter provides a highly original chase scene which is masterfully executed. The extra emphasis on Tiger’s and Bunny’s relationship, as well as several glimpses of their superhero peers, means that Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning is overflowing with nods to characters’ personality traits and, more impressively, it’s done with great care and attention to continuity so that we never see any personal growth that still hadn’t taken place early on in the series.
The less than great news is that one of the greatest parts of the series; the growing tension of Barnaby’s quest to find his parents’ murderer and the overarching plot of the entire series. The first half of the film is almost entirely composed of the first two episodes of the series, with little touches and additional scenes scattered throughout to lend more substance to these early scenes. That said, it’s entirely understandable that these early episodes had to be used, not wanting to isolate viewers who may never have seen the series, it’s a necessity. Since the film’s plot is focused on the early days of Tiger and Barnaby working together and since the two hadn’t met before the series’ first episode, a prequel was out of the question. Rather than attempt to contradict continuity, the creative team involved, including director Yoshitomo Yonetani (who worked as series director for Betterman), opted to sew the film’s plot neatly into the exiting story.
The result is remarkably entertaining, with fans and newcomers equally likely to enjoy watching the pair struggle with their newfound partnership. The second half of the film focuses on the heroes’ attempts to bring the aforementioned robbing bastard, Robin Baxter in between the events of episodes 2 and 3 of the series. The chase and conflict that takes place against Baxter is challenging enough to pose a threat to the already strained relationship of Tiger and Barnaby, while also being a small enough crime to believably slip between the cracks of the series itself.
Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning is an entirely welcome return to one of modern anime’s greatest odd couples. Now we just have to wait for Tiger & Bunny: The Rising for our next fix!
Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning is available on DVD/Bluray Combi now from Anime Limited.
85% – Crushed it!
Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning is a fresh reminder of just what made the series so enjoyable to begin with.