Anime Reporter overlooks the Halloween weekend to bring you my coverage on something entirely unspooky. Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to covering this film ever since I heard it was coming out and I still don’t know why I waited so long. Tiger & Bunny has been high on my list since I first reviewed the series way way back before my Anime Reporter debut and the first film was a true pleasure to watch. Now, just shortly after the news that Tiger & Bunny is due for a live-action Hollywood film, how could I not think to review the second anime film of the series; Tiger & Bunny: The Rising?
There are some spoilers here for the Tiger & Bunny series, which I wholeheartedly recommend you check out. My review for that series can be found here, but the quick sell is it’s an odd-couple style superhero series with originality and humour the likes of which the genre doesn’t often get. Don’t venture too much further if you haven’t seen the series, I’d hate to spoil it for anyone.
Unlike the first film, which acts as an adaptation of the original 25 episode series, The Rising is its own story, set well after the events of the series. As the series finale showed, Tiger, somewhat depowered, is now operating in the 2nd league team of superheroes for Hero TV, but now Bunny is fighting there with him. Bunny isn’t overjoyed at the prospect of being a second rate, underpaid superhero, but Tiger’s just naturally happy to be helping people. That said, both heroes jump at the chance when a new corporate owner decides to give them the bump back up to the big time.
Unfortunately, his offer isn’t everything it’s made out to be. Bunny is given a brash new partner, while Tiger is pretty much forgotten entirely. Bunny’s new partner, Golden Ryan, has the ability to manipulate gravity and is pretty much entirely motivated by boosting his own status as a celebrity and his rank in the hero league.
When three new villains start causing bizarre disasters that seem to mimic the events of an ancient legend, the heroes are left with nothing but questions, while one of their number ends up fighting a battle inside their own head against their very worst fears and memories. While Tiger does his best to adapt to life outside of being a hero, his former A-list teammates are struggling to find themselves as individuals and comrades. Ultimately, they’ll need to overcome their personal obstacles and co-operate like never before to save the day.
As always, Tiger & Bunny delivers a rich blend of laughs, imaginative superpowers, and rich characters. In particular, it was very nice to see a more empowered role for Fire Emblem, who was given little more characterisation than being a rather negative homosexual stereotype before. Here, his character is shown dealing more with and overcoming prejudice and adversity, though, perhaps in an effort to rectify the previous mischaracterisation, this treatment of the character can actually feel a little pandering.
That said, I applaud the effort in attempting a more inclusive and open-minded piece of development for the character. The animation is lovely, using the series’ blend of more traditional art style and CGI effects. At moments, it can feel a little off from the series’ original style, particularly with regard to some of the characters, but overall it does a great job of displaying our heroes at their best. There are several nods in the film to the continuity of the series, so I really would encourage everyone to make sure they’re well up to speed before tackling this instalment.
This anime reporter is delighted with this latest instalment of Tiger & Bunny! Now I just have to wait for Ron Howard to do his best bringing it to the big screen!