Tiger & Bunny: the art of self-parody

I do love the nickname though! Rolls off the tongue so much better than 'Barnaby'!

I do love the nickname though! Rolls off the tongue so much better than ‘Barnaby’!

Two years after it first crossed television screens, I finally sat down to watch this show, which a number of fans probably recognise to be er…aimed at the fairer sex. At the very least, I think there’s a lot of fanart online that those not of the fairer sex probably are keen to avoid – I’ve come across some in quite unexpected places myself, namely Chinese BBSs for unrelated series.

But that’s not actually why I passed on this series when it first came out. It was more that…I’d kind of grown out of superhero shows. But more importantly, I’m also a fan of The Incredibles, and frankly speaking, that’s a pretty high hurdle to overcome. So, having finally decided to give it a go, thanks to a marathon with a friend, how does Tiger & Bunny hold up?

Character-driven shows tend to work better than plot-driven ones for me...

Character-driven shows tend to work better than plot-driven ones for me…

Well, all up, it was quite interesting. Both Kotetsu (Tiger) and Bunny (sorry, Barnaby sounds too silly!) have decent stories driving their character development, even though I was a little surprised in the end at how quickly the latter came around to respecting the former. I guess it had to happen though, given that the second cour was driven by how their own concerns affected their relationship with each other. I also liked how we got some background stories for some of the other characters: even if only one episode was dedicated to each of Blue Rose, Dragon Kid, Sky High and Origami Cyclone, they weren’t just stand-alones, but were related to the overall plot developments in some way. Even if that was somewhat contrived sometimes.

The strange group of 'everyday people' that we got to know...

The strange group of ‘everyday people’ that we got to know…

However, as mentioned before, The Incredibles has really thrown a huge shadow over the superhero genre, especially if we’re talking about comedy. (In terms of serious pieces, the name to watch is, of course, Chris Nolan…) No matter how interesting the writers tried to make this group of superheroes and their personal concerns, Brad Bird’s famous family and their fellows can never be surpassed, both in terms of entertainment and the sheer ‘everyday ordinariness’ that he managed to write and direct into that film. Simply put, Tiger & Bunny probably came a bit too late for me in that respect. Ultimately, the person of most interest was probably Lunatic, and I will be looking foward to finding out more of his motivations, if the two films would kindly go into them!

Blatantly funny this time!

Blatantly funny this time!

That said, there is one thing about Tiger & Bunny that I could not help being entertained by. The show was produced by Sunrise, and, like several other production companies before them, they made a conscious decision to get some laughs out of themselves. I’m speaking, of course, of Sunrise’s propensity for hiding advertising in plain sight in their shows, Code Geass and Pizza Hut being one of the main examples that everyone loves rolling their eyes at. This time, however, they blatantly plastered them everywhere, justified by the theme of the series of course. Taking the idea of reality TV and running with it was just the icing on the cake. Though it couldn’t quite be sustained for the length of the series, that was entertaining for most of the first cour.

And who could resist a shot at reality TV? TB02
And who could resist a shot at reality TV?

In the end, I’m not too fussed about Tiger & Bunny. It’s a decent series, and I now have a reason to watch the films to hear another favourite voice of mine. I’m sincerely looking forward to what kind of character he has to create. But until that’s out, that’s all I’ve got to say about this group of superheroes.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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