Tiger & Bunny, Vol. 1
By Mizuki Sakakibara, Original Story/Planning by Sunrise, Original Script by Masafumi Nishida
Viz, 168 pp
The first volume of Mizuki Sakakibara’s manga adaption of the hit anime series, Tiger & Bunny, arrives! Set in the city of Sternbild, Tiger & Bunny follows the reality show exploits of the city’s superheroes as they attempt to one up each other for points to become the King of Heroes! What’s usually an every man for himself affair gets a new twist as veteran superhero Kotestsu T. Kaburagi, aka Wild Tiger and newcomer, Barnaby Brooks Jr. find themselves reluctantly paired up due to the wishes of their sponsors.
If you liked the Tiger & Bunny anime, then chances are you’ll like this. Why? Because it’s exactly the same. The introductions, the action scenes, the way things play out, it’s a nearly perfect adaption of the anime series. The humor is the same, with the interplay between Barnaby and Kotetsu is brilliant and hilarious. For those coming in cold to the series, you’ll find a decent introduction into the world of Tiger & Bunny, the main characters, and the concept of the the reality TV show. The reality show concept provides the perfect vehicle for a quick and simple introduction for the large cast. Each character gets a chance to appear and strut their stuff, even if it’s only for a a few pages before the next hero appears. The unique costumes and abilities, along side the helpful introductions makes them easy to differentiate and allows a quick glimpse into their personalities. The idea and extent of the sponsorships and why the superheroes need them, isn’t fully explored in the first volume, but that was definitely something that was expanded upon as the anime series continued, so it’s safe to say that the same will happen here.
The artwork is pretty solid and very faithful to the original anime series, no doubt due in part to Mizuki Sakakibara’s involvement as one of the anime series animators. The action scenes are clear and easy to follow, the characters express their emotions clearly and don’t break out into comedic over reactions or chibified versions of themselves. Even when it comes to visual humor, the artwork never strays too far from it’s basic look, helping to preserve the visual tone of the manga, while still proving to be humorous at the same time.
I generally don’t like manga adaptions, or anime adaptions for that matter, which adhere this strictly to the source material. I’m just not one of those people who needs to experience the exact same story across multiple mediums. On top of that, I actually kind of like to see what new spins and takes on characters and situations occur during the adaption process. With that in mind, for me, the first volume of Tiger & Bunny was just ok. That said, it does hit all the right notes that the original anime hit, which means it’s incredibly charming and the character interaction is fantastic. Combine those with some solid artwork and some nice world building, and one can only hope that the manga will serve as an affordable introduction into the Tiger & Bunny franchise.
Tiger & Bunny, Vol. 1 are available now from Viz Media.