I heard a new Tiger and Bunny movie is coming out and that you got the chance to see it. I like Tiger and Bunny, but not enough to watch a rushed retelling of the TV series. Is there any reason for me to watch this new movie?
Imaginary correspondent created to provide a opening segment to a review.
Hi there! Thanks for writing in. You’re right, I did get a chance to see the new Tiger and Bunny movie and I too sorta liked the Tiger and Bunny TV series but not enough to eagerly devour the exact same material all over again. This movie is indeed a re-skinning of the first few episodes of the TV series. That all said, yes it is most definitely worth your time.
Something that’s worth remembering about Tiger and Bunny is Sunrise were flying by the seat of their pants when it came to writing that story. For example, early episodes had a big focus on Blue Rose, but once it became clear that a huge part of their audience were yaoi fangirls, they swapped the focus away from her and had more swimwear photo shoots with Bunny. They created this villain in Lunatic who acted on his own morals, but then sort of forgot about him in the second half. Looking back, the writing really seemed all over the place. What’s clear about this movie is there’s a much steadier hand on the reigns this time. With their fiction fully established, they can now pace things properly and set clearer objectives within the timeframe. The story is entirely about Tiger and Bunny getting to know each other and eventually work together, and this time it’s paced much better. Bunny comes off as less of a total asshole and the culpability of the relationship not working stretches to both parties. The entire story just flows better.
In general, the main thing I came out of this movie thinking was how much the production staff learned from their mistakes on the TV series. Some of the heroes that were boring originally are massively improved in the movie. For example, did you guys ever know what Rock Bison’s superhero ability even was? I didn’t, and that’s absurd when you consider he was one of the main 8 heroes in the series. In the movie, they reveal it in this rather great sequence where he shows off his shirtless rock body to Dragon Kid. They still riff on the idea that he’s not the coolest of heroes. His new weapon is this giant catapult you might see Gundams launched from, except they literally launch Rock Bison from it. Except every time he uses it, he misses his target by a couple of feet and flies straight into a skyscraper instead. Dumb as hell, but really funny.
Speaking of Dragon Kid, she’s another character who gets way more chance to shine. She actually feels like a human being with personality this time, rather than some girl in the background that they never really knew what to do with. She’s like the rookie in the group who is more personable and interested in events. Origami Cyclone also gets a big improvement in his character. They take his ninja stuff to ridiculous levels, as it kinda always was with his character, and really milk it for humour. Even better is his brooding, sulky side, in which he sits behind everyone and makes emo comments about how popular Bunny is with the girls. The heroes talking to each other have always been my favourite part of Tiger and Bunny, and this movie only improves on that.
However, because they really try to play up and exaggerate the elements of each of the heroes personalities, it does result in some of the heroes from the TV series who were well-handled originally being diminished. Sky High is still great, there’s no worry there, but Blue Rose really isn’t. Because Blue Rose got so much screentime in the TV series, her character had a lot of depth. Not so much here, where she mainly comes off as kind of a bitch. Fire Emblem is probably the worse though. He was always a flaming gay stereotype, but he had cool parts to his character. He was a tough dude who, because of his seniority, felt like a
father mother figure to the others. In the movie, those elements seem to disappear and he comes off as even more prancy gay stereotype, except with even less likeable qualities.
What’s disappointing is they had the opportunity to show off Fire Emblem’s cool side too. One of the most interesting parts of his character is something you never learn in the TV series, instead only learning through drama CDs. They tell the story of how, when he was starting off as a hero, nobody would sponsor him because he was gay. So he said “fuck you guys, I’ll set up my own company and sponsor myself”, founded Helios Energy and became a hugely successful businessman on top of being a superhero. In a way, that almost justifies his total campness because it’s a point of pride for him. That he stuck by his flaming gay ways even in the face of adversity and succeeded. It’s a cool story, which the movie does try to cover but makes a total balls of it by not telling it properly. It says that he owns Helios Energy, but don’t say that he’s sponsored by it. The only way you’d make that connection was that if you remembered it was on his suit, and good luck remembering that one piece of info with all the corporate logos flying around.
Those minor gripes aside, this is Tiger and Bunny with a tighter focus and comes off much the better for it. I’d say roughly 30% of the movie is the same material from the TV series (+ or – 20% depending on my total inability to remember stuff correctly), but it’s cut in a way that makes it feel fresh and more vibrant than it was before. Absolutely well worth your time if you even remotely liked Tiger and Bunny. I’d even say this is a better starting point for people who have never watched the TV series. To make that judgement, I would have to see what their other movies pan out like first. That said, all they need to do is cut Jake from the story entirely, and it will automatically win.