OP Sequence

OP: 「オリオンをなぞる」 (Orion wo Nazoru) by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN
Watch the OP!: Download, Streaming ▼

「All’s well that ends well. 終わりよければすべてよし」 (Owari Yokereba Subete Yoshi)

All the letdowns I had from the promotional video for Sunrise’s company superhero anime were quickly washed away after seeing it in action. With a story centering around Kaburagi T. Kotetsu (Hirata Hiroaki), a veteran hero who’s deemed past his prime, the series doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously and works well because of it. The premise with evolved humans known as NEXT working as full-time superheroes for large corporations is outlandish enough, so putting a comedic spin on is often one of the best ways to make it all work. Most of the humor actually comes from Kotetsu when he takes up his superhero alter-ego Wild Tiger, who embodies the sense of justice one would expect from a superhero but without the tactful grace of one. The premiere provided a good glimpse into his complete disregard for personal property, as well as the other superheros of Sternbild that the Hero TV program provides live coverage of and awards seasonal ranking points to.

Much like how SHAFT attempted to redefine the magical girl genre with Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Sunrise seems to be trying to do the same with the superhero one. Rather than having a reason to fight against crime in a flashy outfit, this is nothing more than a job to most of the characters. A quick look at the hero lineup speaks for itself, as we have the seemingly gay Nathan Seymour/Fire Emblem (Tsuda Kenjirou), the lazy and indifferent samurai-like Ivan Karelin/Origami Cyclone (Okamoto Nobuhiko), the young martial artist Pao-Lin Huang/Dragon Kid (Ise Mariya), the big yet considerate Antonio Lopez/Rock Bison (Kusunoki Taiten), the popular and always appreciative Keith Goodman/Sky High (Inoue Gou), and the pop idol Karina Lyle/Blue Rose (Kotobuki Minako). Kotetsu is one of the rare exceptions being the veteran he is, but soon finds himself working with a new generation hero, Barnaby Brooks Jr. (Masakazu Morita), after his company Top Mag is bought out by Apollon Media. From their first encounter, it was pretty easy to see that their clashing senses of justice will lead to interesting scenarios now that they’ve been paired up, starting with Barnaby’s view that secret identities are so old school. Unlike those before him, he’s the only hero who goes by his real name, and is the least bit interested in helping kids who may look up to him.

On paper it seems like we just have a bunch of off individuals with special abilities who probably have no business being a superhero; however, it’s how they all come to together that has me very curious about the direction that Sunrise plans to take this original anime. Story-wise, I love how we follow the supposedly washed up and past his prime Wild Tiger, who has to do whatever he can to stay in a line of business that the younger generation is taking over. From this episode alone, I could already get a good sense of the dynamic between characters that goes well beyond the terrible mismatch of “Tiger & Bunny” (as suggested by the ear-like extensions on Barnaby’s power suit). What really won me over were the visuals though, where the CG animation was integrated much more seamlessly than the low quality promo video indicated. The end result is more in line with what I’ve come to expect from Sunrise, which combined with the seemingly unorthodox plot, has me pretty set on following this potential surprise hit all the way through. Insert songs by Kotobuki Minako are always a plus too.

* It’s worth noting that the characters have sponsor logos of real companies, including SoftBank, Bandai, Pepsi, USTREAM, and Calbee, because Sunrise put a real spin on the premise and sold them as advertisement space.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「星のすみか」 (Hoshi no Sumika) by 藍坊主 (Aobouzu)
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Preview

59 Comments

  1. I wtf-ed throughout the entire episode but probably in the most positive way possible. The animation especially was awesome; after watching the promotional vids, I was a bit on the fence but that was cast aside pretty quickly.

    Senakuuri
  2. ahahaha. here i though this anime was like other old cliche superheros story but to think they would add something to it made it really good.
    and wow they got tones of sponsors.
    if divine didn’t say it was interesting i wouldn’t have watch.

    Croosboy
    1. Okay. (lol) You got me. The show was just like you said: “pleasantly surprising”. I liked it because it reminded me of Level E and Basquash. Also, the reason I’m hooked officially is because of Dragon Kid. She reminds me of a certain Soul Calibur II character I loved. Thanks for the extra push. I just wish it were in 720p. 😀

      ps. I went to Hulu (bad idea) to watch this and was reminded why I hate streaming. Ads. There were ads that interrupted the show! I downloaded it from Nyaa and there were still ads. Dx

    2. But that’s because you watched it RAW. I’m limited to subs so I had to suffer. Either way, I was satisfied. I noticed Dragon Kid stuffing her face at the party. Is that somehow related to her advertising Calbee? I didn’t see the Pepsi girl drinking Pepsi.. (*laughing*)

  3. “Much like how SHAFT attempted to redefine the magical girl genre with Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Sunrise seems to be trying to do the same with the superhero one.”

    Marvel did it years ago. Damage Control miniseries, Civil War stuff that still goes on today, etc.

    karry
    1. I mentioned it in the X-Men and DOG DAYS comments. At the moment, I’m just helping out with first episodes of new anime that the other writers either 1.) don’t have any interest in or 2.) are busy covering something else on the same day. There are still a bunch of other shows I intend to help out with, and hopefully in a quicker manner without having to rely on subs (like RC has been typically known for).

  4. This was a riot to watch, even if it did stink of product-placement.

    It’s actually way more believable than most superhero stories, seeing as how current society behaves with regards to ‘trends’ like American Idol, Facebook, etc.

    Litho
  5. Reality TV lol is the first thing that came to my mind, and the way it is managed from above brought me to think of Death Race. The silliness in the characters blew from surprise every moment, management controls catchphrase (poor Blue Rose 🙂 and costumes (tiger lol)… And Mr. Brooks too serious (wonder if that lasts or is it to counter with tiger’s silliness XD) Still, seems unique and wouldn’t be surprised if it takes over my ☆! slot 😀

    Ine
  6. What I like is that Kotetsu is a rarity as a main character in anime today, being apparently over 25, married and having a daughter. It’s a breath of fresh air seeing that among all the teenage/pre-teen main characters during the past season and this season too.

    Ruu27
  7. I dunno, I still think the CG didn’t mesh. It just seemed cheap to me, and really detracted from the show.

    The concept is cool and the first episode was fun but I really am not a fan of CG in anime and it doesn’t seem to be used right here.

    yanipheonu
      1. I’m not saying I hate CG. When done right, like in say Macross Frontier, it’s really impressive, or it makes sense when used to do menial things like crowds and so on. But in this case, the CG seems to rendered in way that it’s all choppy and it really takes away from the action.

        yanipheonu
  8. I was laughing from the OP, with the blatant product placements on the superhero suits. Sort of an in-your-face, no-nonsense attempt at product placement. I hope Sunrise gets a lot of sponsor money from this, because I know anime studios need all the money they can get to keep themselves afloat these days. It sure adds a humorous touch.

    I was on the fence about watching this, but I’m glad I did. Funny stuff. Looking forward to more of it.

    (I hope someone blogs the first episode of the train wreck that is Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa…, just so I can have an explanation of WTF just happened, and how I can get my 24 minutes back.)

    sarcastic_weasel
      1. Well, good on Takaii for sitting through Ore-tachi no whatchamacallit and reviewing it. I’m one of those people who will usually watch the first few episodes of just about anything, and even I had trouble finishing that one. o_O

        But Tiger and Bunny looks like FUN.

        sarcastic_weasel
      2. I watched it as well. I didn’t find it that jarring since I had already looked into the plot a fair bit for the season preview. You have to keep in mind that it’s based on an eroge, hence the eccentric personalities of a lot of the support characters (e.g. the female waitresses at Alexander).

  9. I instantly fell in love.

    Felt like I was watching an anime version of The Incredibles.Lol@ Bison getting sexually harassed by Fire Emblem.

    It’s messed up how that kid gave Kotetsu his Wild Tiger Card, talk about low blow lmao.

    I would’ve said Barnaby was being a douche for not getting that baloon, but it’s not like the kid was doing much to get his attention.Like what kind of kid just stands there and makes a face that looks like that famous painting with the screaming guy?

    Lol@Cutie escape, can’t stand getting shot at, why not just freeze the bullets.

    And lastly, lol it’s Origami Cyclone, standing in the background again, 0 POINTS!

    anishuma
  10. So what happens if one of the heroes becomes an evil sadistic murderer? A reall sponsor would oppose that i guess. So nothing bad will happen to our animated friends?

    outcast
  11. I agree with ruu27. Seeing a main character in an anime who’s not only over 30 but has a kid? I love it. It’s such a simple detail but after having to deal with a deluge of teenie characters seeing an old fogie doing his thing and keeping up with the young uns is so refreshing.

    I hope bunny doesn’t over take him in prominence, I wanna keep seeing more of grampa tiger.

    synkronized
  12. Am I the only K2R fan who noticed that he’s responsible for the original charadesigns?
    Until then I wasn’t really that interested in the show, but now I’ll have to check it out.
    It’s weird though that there’s not even an OVA episode for his ZETMAN manga.

    boingman
  13. I loved the first episode. An interesting and fun premise/setting with a likable lead coupled with super-hero antics, soon to become a buddy-cop show (presumably). Really looking forward to where this is going.

    Discoman
  14. Whoever at Sunrise made the decision to place real advertising in the show was a genius. The participating companies deserve some credit too, for being good sports about it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything before that was actually improved by adding advertising to it.

    m
  15. This is Sunrise’s attempt to make a BOOSTER GOLD series. I am happy. Bromance involved, Superhero teams that seems dysfunctional is unorthodox yet it intrigues me. The cast is no Avengers or JLA in terms of iconic superhero teams but these guys will probably be more awesome.

    Frito
  16. I was surprised that there wasnt more Blue Rose fan service, since its supposed to be some of those reality shows that would stop at nothing to get more money AND its japan afterall, they are already purposely showing panty shots and even nipples in gameshows and stuff like that IRL.

    babawaba
    1. This anime is fairly American, just look at the atmosphere and fact that they really want to endorse ads. This is like the Superbowl of Anime, lots and lots of ads. That said it will be quite interesting on how these ads either become a major distraction or a very well thought out joke in the long run.

      Frito
  17. Following your (indirect) advice on Rainbow Charming and Sengoku Otome (both of which are now entries on my ‘Watching’ list) I tried this one out as well. It does sport somewhat nice visuals and a dose of originality…but this was just not my cup of tea.

  18. Any info on how heavily sponsored this anime is? The creators put the sponsorship to good use by using it as part of the story. With this many sponsors it’s no wonder how good the animation quality is.

    conyo985
  19. I agree with the reception so far. It does have the potential to be a hit series and it does have a look and feel of an american animated series. In my opinion it’s easy to follow and there take on the superhero story is very interesting so far.

    rainstrife
  20. I must be the only person that didn’t like it. I thought I was watching a kiddie sat. morning cartoon show. I prefer more edgy cool shows like Freezing, or Madoka, or Kimi Ni Todoke for my anime. I always give each series at least a 1 episode try and lucklily there is alot to watch this season so I will leave the little kiddie shows to others.

    Karmafan
  21. Surprisingly good anime. The storyline looks like its going to be character based and doesn’t take itself 100% seriously. It looks to be a better prospect than x-men

    Zaku Fan

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