|This is not the "Tiger and Bunny" we are talking about...|
Now this is what we are talking about....
Despite the unusual title, it's refreshing to see an original anime come out of Japan that wasn't based on a manga or light novel or another source.
So you're probably wondering what this is about. Well, it looks like it could be a mecha show, but it's actually a superhero show. Well, more like a parody of a superhero show. And reality shows. And corporate sponsorship. It's got heart, and some goofy stuff. But it's one to watch.
In the world of "Tiger and Bunny," 45 years prior, the NEXT started emerging -- people with various superpowers. The most popular of these NEXT, all sponsored by different corporations, are competing on a reality show for the title of "King of the Heroes." The story follows Kotetsu Kobaragi, known as "Wild Tiger," who has a super strength power that only lasts for five minutes, and seems to cause more destruction than he does saving lives. After the corporation he's sponsoring gets bought out, he not only gets a new suit but also a new partner -- the younger Barnaby Brooks, Jr., who also happens to have the same power that he does, but also has a lot of arrogance. Neither one wants a new partner, but are forced together by the corporation, so now they have to learn to deal with it.
Now, as I noted in my review on Examiner.com, the idea of superheroes being sponsored by corporations is not a new concept. If you've ever seen the film "Mystery Men," you know that they touched on the idea with Captain Amazing (the ever wonderful Greg Kinnear) under risk of losing his sponsorships because there hadn't been a major supervillain attacking the city in a long time. But in "Tiger and Bunny," they take the concept to a new level, with each superhero working for a different corporation, which is emblazoned on their costume somewhere.
The characters in "Tiger and Bunny" are fairly likeable. You kind of feel bad for Kobaragi, especially when they get more into his home life -- he has a daughter who doesn't know that he's a superhero, and he just wants to do the right thing, but just can't seem to get there after so many years as a superhero. Barnaby, or "Bunny" as Kobaragi calls him in the second episode ("Because you hop around like a bunny and you've got bunny ears!"), we have a sense he has a dark past, which I'm sure we'll get more detail on in further episodes.
The animation is very much an American style -- you probably couldn't tell the difference between this show and any action animation for kids out there now. And it works in the show's favor -- very well done CGI, and some great character designs.
If you haven't started watching this one yet, you can catch it on Hulu or Anime News Network. Episodes are posted on Saturdays.
My impression based on the first episode? It's...goofy.
Nothing wrong with goofy. But I might have to watch a few more episodes before I make a final impression on the show.
I'm only vaguely familiar with the manga it's based on -- I've seen chapters featured in "Shonen Jump" on occassion (which reminds me -- I still have two back issues I have to catch up with). For those who aren't familiar with it, Toriko is a Gourmet Hunter -- he hunts down the best of gourmet ingredients in order to create his ultimate Full Course Meal. In this first episode, he's hired to hunt down the gararagator for a gourmet party, but might have gotten in over his head.
The show is typical of a lot of shonen shows -- lots of action, and lots of jokes. The premise opens itself up to that -- the idea of a muscle bound "Gourmet Hunter" is goofy (there's that word again). And it doesn't take itself seriously in that regard.
What the first episode did was get me to want to watch more of it. Which I intend to do -- along with a lot of the other anime I have on my list....sigh. But at least I can watch at a different pace.
Episodes of "Toriko" are simulcast on Thursdays at 6pm PDT.