Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: TIGER AND BUNNY Volume 1


CARTOONIST: Mizuki Sakakibara
ORIGINAL SCRIPT: Masafumi Nishida
TRANSLATION/ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Labaamen and John Werry, HC Language Solutions
LETTERS: Stephen Dutro
ISBN: 978-1-4215-5561-4; paperback (April 2013); Rated “T” for “Teen”
172pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

Produced by Sunrise, the Japanese animation studio and production company, Tiger & Bunny is a 2011 science fiction and superhero anime series. It ran for 25 episodes in 2011 and yielded a one-shot manga during its original television run in Japan. Shortly afterwards, manga and comic book artist Mizuki Sakakibara began producing a regular manga series based on anime, also entitled Tiger & Bunny.

Tiger & Bunny takes place in a world where 45 years earlier, super-powered humans, known as NEXT, started appearing in the world. Some of them fight crime as superheroes in Sternbild City (a re-imagined version of New York City). They promote their corporate sponsors while appearing on the hit television show, Hero TV (or HERO TV). Each season, the superheroes compete to be named the “King of Heroes.”

Tiger & Bunny, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 4) introduces two of these superheroes, Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks, Jr. Kotetsu T. Kaburagi AKA Wild Tiger is a veteran superhero, but his ratings have been declining. Under orders from his new employer, Apollon Media, Wild Tiger teams up with the newest NEXT sensation, Barnaby Brooks, Jr., the “Super Rookie.” The two heroes don’t want to work together, but they will have to do just that if they are to stop a new NEXT from destroying the city.

I’ll be upfront about Tiger & Bunny. I really enjoyed reading this manga, even after one volume. I’ll be shocked (Shocked!) if I don’t really like the second volume. Why do I feel the love for Tiger & Bunny? I think it appeals to me so much because it is a manga that is a genuine superhero comic book.

I also think that Tiger & Bunny is the kind of quality, honestly kid-friendly, superhero comic book of which the North American market needs more. This manga is more about superhero action than it is about action violence. It is snarky and humorous, but does not parody or make fun of superheroes or the superhero genre. The story also digs deep into what it means to be a hero, to overcome adversity and scorn, to make amends for transgressions and such. Over the course of the series, it seems as if the dominant theme will be about comprise and partnership. Tiger & Bunny looks like it is going to offer a good time for a long time.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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