Once again, Reverse Thieves secret santa project has succeeded in making me watch something I wouldn’t normally consider watching. Last year it was REC, this year it’s Tiger and Bunny.
I had a lot of problems with this show early on. For one, it was incredibly predictable and cliche. I guess that’s not surprising and really, what isn’t anymore? Still, I was witing for something to shock and surprise me. Nothing ever did though. It wasn’t even a matter of guessing what was going to happen, it was just so obvious. Secondly, Barnaby is such an asshole that I almost could not continue watching. But I persevered because I was sure he would get better. Well, the predictable nature of the show told me that eventually his heart of ice would melt and all that sappy jazz.
Luckily other heroes made up for Barnaby being a huge jerk. Sky High always made me laugh and I am not averse to Blue Rose and her sexyfine ways. Okay, actually Blue Rose’s pepsi eyecatches were my favourite part of every episode ever. I wish I could say Kotetsu also made up for Barnaby but being the underdoog who always gets their actions and good deeds kicked back into face with no real recognition mixed with Barnaby Sue doing no wrong really made Kotetsu annoying a lot of times. The second part of the story had him trying to tell Barnaby he was quitting but failing at that. Less annoying but still, I really wanted him to spit it out. Instead, Barnaby ovverhears him and continues to act like a teenage girl. That isn’t to say I didn’t like him though. Left to his own devices, he was often a pretty hilarious guy. Plus, I’m often fond of father daughter relationships in anime that are completely innocent and show how important the kid is to the dad. That is one point for the show since it seems like they always have sons in action stories rather than daughters.
Action is a big part of this show, obviously. I’m not a huge mech fan so I was happy when I learned it was still really mostly just a show about superheroes. That being said, I enjoyed the action scenes where Tiger and Barnaby weren’t in their suits. It wasn’t until Barnaby’s chase in episode seven that I was finally really excited by a scene with their suits.
I also didn’t really enjoy the first opening and endings. Usually, even when I don’t like them at first they eventually grow on me but that was not the case here. The second opening was much better, I found. The second ED was a surpring since it was so completely different than the other three songs already presented.
One episode I liked in particular was episode 12 where the main conflict of the first half of the series managed to just about reach it’s climax. It isn’t surprising for a show like this to have it’s characters tested (and having them defeated infront of everyone that believes in them a that!). It usually serves as a despair event horizon for one character and appeals to me, in particular, due to, as a child, having access to a few VHS tapes of Sailor Moon that contained two episodes each. One we replayed often was the Doom and Gloom girls fight (and also, young me thought the D&G girls were p. hot). So, episodes like 12 really appealed to me.
The second part of the series was less action packed and instead filled me with rage unlike that of Fractale or AnoHana. A rage at the actions of the characters, rather than the show. I guess that is a little bit of good storytelling if it manages to push a button like it did. I guess Maverick was a pretty good villain since every evil thing he did managed to enrage me and eagerly await his incoming asskicking.
Ultimately, the show was enjoyable even if there were only very few times I was on the edge of my seat. The show did best when it dealt with plot rather than villain of the week escapades. The main complaint, aside from unlikeable characters early on, is the aforementioned cliche and predictableness. From the character always learning a lesson in the most oppertune way, to the city being dark and dingy until the day is saved when a ray of light finally breaks through the clouds. More than that, I think what it really suffers from is bad storytelling. Sure, we all like Tiger but we also all damn well know the story would have been finished better with him actually being dead. The ending was a cop out. It could have been a good, if predictable story, but they went with the predictable end instead of making the hard choice and killing off one of the main character. I think it suffers from it. I can’t look back one day and say this is a classic because of it. Not because they didn’t kill him, but because it really proved that they took the easy road over telling a better story. However, I will give them credit for not killing him because they wanted a sequel hook.
It’s firmly established that Tiger, and likely Barnaby, won’t return to the hero business. Of course, I write that as I’m watching the epilogue and both of them come out of retirement to be heroes again. Which is cheap because the second half of the series, Barnaby crying and angsting aside, was about Tiger trying to quit. I feel a bit ripped off there. While it wasn’t an outright hook there still seemed to be things introduced there at the end like the Ouroboro’s illuminati-styled conspiracy and, as someone pointed out to me, Tiger’s aura changed to orange from blue.
There were a lot of flaws and I think I’ve made my issues with them clear already. So, the things I really did like? Equal opportunity fanservice. I would think it rare to see a show cater to both female and male fans. I am the target audience, teenage girl, when it came to the Barnaby model shot but I appreciated whenever Blue Rose was doing something in her skimpy (but not trashy) outfit. Which may have helped me realize something about myself but a side from that, was nice that it wasn’t overbearing for either gender or who ever likes whatever. Don’t like seeing Barnaby fanservice? Wait five minutes, have some Blue Rose ass. And a beer. This one is a personal favourite but Blue Rose having a crush on Tiger was great too. Especially when there was an (hilarious) episode dedicated to it and it still existed, even in the epilogue one year later. While I don’t think it could ever happen (Barnaby is too much of a clingy girlfriend already), it was really cute seeing BR/Karina get more depth to her character than I would have imagined she received before watching the show and only knowing her as “the pepsi chick with the choice ass”.
tl;dr Tiger and Bunny was entertaining when Barnaby wasn’t being a douchebag/crybaby/brainwashed/super gay. It was downright predictable and cliche to the point where it sometimes got in the way of the fun and entertainment that the action and plot seemed to bring. Most of the last episode felt like a cope out to me. Also, I watched Blue Rose’s pepsi spot every episode and actually Blue Rose was my favourite part of every episode and this whole series.