Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: TIGER AND BUNNY: The Beginning Side A


CARTOONIST: Tsutomu Oono
ORIGINAL SCRIPT: Masafumi Nishida
TRANSLATION/ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Labaamen and John Werry, HC Language Solutions
LETTERS: Stephen Dutro
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6075-5; paperback (October 2013); Rated “T” for “Teen”
160pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K.

Gekijō-ban Tiger & Bunny – The Beginning is a 2012 film based on Tiger & Bunny, the science fiction and superhero anime television series.  Produced by Japanese animation studio, Sunrise, Tiger & Bunny ran for 25 episodes in 2011.

A year after the end of the TV series, Sunrise released the film, Gekijō-ban Tiger & Bunny – The Beginning, or simply Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning.  Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning apparently recaps the first few episodes of the series and then begins a new story.  Artist Tsutomu Oono produced a manga adaptation of Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning, which VIZ Media is publishing in two volumes as Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning Side A and Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning Side B.

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

Early in Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning Side A, the Justice Bureau approves Barnaby Brooks, Jr. as a new superhero.  Meanwhile, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, who is the veteran superhero, Wild Tiger, begins his day.  Kotetsu makes a promise to his daughter, Kaede, but will he be able to keep it when a menace attacks the city.

That attack will change Kotetsu’s life, because it leads him to a new employer.  The new employer, Apollon Media, is about to introduce Kotetsu to Barnaby Brooks, Jr. whether he wants to meet him or not.

I am a fan of the Tiger & Bunny manga, and I became one after reading only one volume.  I have yet to see the movie, Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning.  Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning Side A is simply a retelling of the original series with a new angle or two.  I also find it easier to read than the Tiger & Bunny manga, which is also an easy read.

Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning Side A is to the Tiger & Bunny manga what the comic books, X-Men: First Class and Wolverine: First Class, were to the main X-Men and Wolverine comic book series:  less complicated retellings of familiar stories.  Like the “First Class” line, Side A eschews many subplots in favor of one storyline at a time, for the most part.  Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning Side A is not inferior to the original; it is a simpler way to enjoy the excellent concept that Tiger & Bunny is.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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