Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning

Posted by DiGiKerot in One shots at September 23, 2012 on 10:05 pm

It’s a little difficult to figure out where to start talking about Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning. It’s not exactly a rehash movie, which is typical for Sunrise productions – the straight rehash movies are coming to DVD and Blu-Ray directly before the end of the year in Japan – rather it’s something of a retelling of the first two episodes of the TV show with a great whacking new bit, set between the end of the shows second episode and the beginning of it’s third, stapled onto it’s end.

For what it’s worth, it’s a pretty decent retelling of those first two episodes – they compress the two episodes into about forty, maybe forty-five minutes, which may not sound to compressed until you realise that they added around six or seven minutes of additional footage (not including the all new OP sequence, added to make sure you notice where they’ve added new or changed the sponsors on our heroes costumes). I’m a little divided on some of the new material they added (more on that after I’ve given some spoiler-free impressions), but the stuff they removed was mostly sensible.

By which I mean they removed most of the stuff that annoyed me in the TV show – Tiger trying to foist his trading cards onto unsuspecting kids in a gratingly obnoxious fashion? Gone. Isaac the annoying douchebag skater with the abrupt change of heart? Blink and you’ll miss him, assuming you skip the ending credits which has most the cut footage playing underneath it (and it’s probably unwise to skip them, too – the trailer for Tiger & Bunny: The Rising, the second movie featuring an all-new story, follows immediately afterwards).

Following on from that, it’s pretty much all brand new content for the next forty-five minutes, fitting fairly comfortably between episodes two and three without coming across as being a huge retcon. That does mean that the situation can’t be something that they can escalate to any ludicrously dramatic degree – it can’t really be anything beyond “business as relatively usual” as to not cast enough of a shadow over the rest of the TV show to follow that it’d be odd for them not to mention it. They did add some pretty neat character moments with the supporting cast – Rock Bison in particular probably gets more lines than he does in the rest of the series combined (though that’s more a reflection of how painfully under-utilised he was than him getting a ton of focus here) – but most of it is essentially an extended chase sequence through an amusement park as our heroes try to catch a roller-skating master-theif with a power which leads to some amusing gags between Kotetsu and Barnaby.

It’s amusing stuff – it’s a nice refresher on just how good, and how different, those first two episodes of Tiger & Bunny were, and whilst it may lack tension, the new stuff is up there quality-wise with anything the TV show had to offer outside of perhaps the Sky High character episode. It’s not a movie that’s going to set the world ablaze, but it’s certainly extremely entertaining, and probably above-par as far as superhero movies go (and I do like a good superhero movie).

To get more specific about some of the changes they made in the recap part of the movie (and this is where I get spoilery for anyone who literally doesn’t want to know anything) for a moment, the thing I’m really not that keen on is the way they change how they introduce Kotetsu. As it aired on TV, our first glance of Kotetsu (outside of the OP) is when he appeared on the monorail track – it gave you at least a few moments in which Tiger, potentially, could be seen as a competent, if rather overly earnest, hero, before it hits you with a comedic beat that shows he is actually, infact, kind of a prat. The movie rather uncuts that by interweaving scenes of Kotetsu travelling to the scene and getting ready in typically dopey fashion into the as-on-TV footage of the other heroes chasing the bank robbers. It’s amusing if you’re an existing fan, but it seems rather unfair if you’re new to the franchise. Of course, I’m the former, so it got a good laugh out of me, but as a stand-alone movie, I think it’s maybe to the introductions detriment.

Aside from a particularly amusing Blue Rose gag playing on the blatant advertisement rampant in the movie, none of the other additional content upfront particularly adds or detracts much – it’s really just there to ensure that you fully understand Tigers motivation without having to sit through the TV show, as will no doubt be important for trying to get newcomers to see the next movie (or at least for their understanding of it). There is some extremely gratuitous Blue Rose content throughout the entire movie, though – it’s not on the level of nudity or anything, but it almost feels like they’re overcompensating for the yaoi-bait by never missing the chance to squeeze in an almost full-screen shot of her arse. I might just be imagining it, but Dragon Kid kind of seems like she may have been drawn cuter than in the TV show, too.

The trailer for The Rising, the next movie (due next Autumn, as the British me was pleased they used instead of Fall), looked somewhat dramatic – it doesn’t actually show much, but it suggests a new villain powerful enough to level not only all the heroes, but also most of the city (indeed, “The End of Sternbild” was promised in the captions), as well as implying that Tiger and Bunny are going to beat the crap out of each-other. Neat-o, I guess!

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