Narutaki & Hisui VS. 2011

We are here on the red carpet in scenic Brooklyn for the 5th annual Reverse Thieves Anime and Manga Awards. All the stars are here and decked out in their finest. There has already been a bit of drama outside before the awards tonight. We saw Hayao Miyazaki punch out Gendo Ikari over a seating dispute. Then one of the K-ON! girls was seen with a male escort which raised a few eyebrows and possibly caused several suicides. There were also some red faces when Sheryl Nome and Ciel Phantomhive showed up in the same dress. But all that aside we are gathered here today to look back and praise the best and the brightest while scorning the foul beasts that waste our precious time. The viewing audience at home is also encouraged to send in their own votes to see how they stack up to the votes of the academy.

Continue reading

Tiger & Bunny: Single Dad Saves Superheroes

Superheroes have been in mainstream news a lot recently. Between Marvel’s new Ultimate Spider-Man, who debuted this month, and DC’s reboot of 52 comics including all of their most classic characters, which also started this month, everyone has been hearing hero talk lately. Both cases have brought up conversations about the dwindling readers of superhero comics and what can be done to interest new and fallen fans. Tiger and Bunny might have some suggestions.

Japan is not known for liking superhero comics. If Robert Downey Jr. is playing Iron Man on the big screen then, like most of the world, they will go see it in theaters. But they will not rush home to order some Iron Man comics. They all see these movies as American summer blockbusters but with no greater interest in the source material. Really the only people who read superhero comics in Japan as a small subsection of Otaku. Otaku are already a fringe group in Japan so superhero fans are a minority within a minority. Even attempts like the Marvel and Madhouse co-productions have done little to change this sentiment. Then along comes Tiger and Bunny.

Continue reading

Spring 2011 Anime Guide Part 2: Fast and the Furious

Watch:

Tiger and Bunny

The title Tiger and Bunny doesn’t exactly bring to mind power-armored superheroes, but that is just one of the delightful oddities about this series. The reality TV show aspect adds all kinds of entertaining variables including collectible cards, behind the scenes drama, hamming it up actors, and washed-up heroes. And that washed-up hero angle found in Kotetsu is what was both funny and endearing in the first episode. Even though he gets a second chance, it is obviously a rather suspicious deal that plays on the real-life seedy reputation much of the Hollywood machine (or the Japanese equivalent) has. Tiger and Bunny has tounge-in-cheek humor, cool action, a colorful cast, and even a bit of social commentary.

Tiger and Bunny right off the bat remind me of Astro Fighter Sunred in the fact that Tiger and Bunny does for superheros what Sunred does for Tokusatsu shows. It has a dry wit where it both acts as satire and homage to the genre it is looking at. But where as Sunred is mostly slice of life with no real plot and lots of gags Tiger and Bunny has a good deal of action and an overall plot plus its humor is also a bit more subtle and in the background. The humor naturally springs from the fact that there are corporate sponsored super heroes who fight crime with powers and super suits while earning points on reality TV. We clearly have a buddy cop formula with the old-timer who is being left behind is teamed up with the cocky young know it all. It is a fun show that knows how to take a ridiculous premise and ground it in something solid to produce an entertaining show. Kotetsu is sympathetic as a struggling single dad who wants be a proper hero in a world obsessed with appearances and his likable personality really sells the show. It looks like it will be a fun show to watch. I do wonder if the plot is going to get darker as we go on as even the first episode implies that this reality TV show might have a more sinister agenda.

Continue reading