Tiger&Bunny and the Short History of Sponsors and Product Placement

If you’re a new fan who watched the whole series on Netflix, moving on from S1 to the movies and S2 may feel jarring. Netflix version of S1 in the west has scrubbed the sponsor logos that were in the original, leaving just blank spots, but the movies and S2 have them intact. The original concept was that the sponsor logos could be replaced, adjusting the show to whatever region it aired in. To our knowledge that never came to be, so the only versions are the original and the logoless.

An advertisement in a newspaper in November 2010, seeking sponsors for the heroes.

Without the sponsors Tiger&Bunny may never have come to be. It is a very American style show, something that was niche in Japan, so making it was risky. Superheroes are a popular genre in tokusatsu shows but they’re different from American superheroes. The ensemble cast of heroes was also ahead of its time, which may not be apparent to new fans watching it now. We’re used to MCU’s steady release schedule of new movies and series, but when it aired in 2011, Marvel was still getting on with their first phase. Iron Man came out in 2008 and it wasn’t a guaranteed hit, and its success jump started the larger MCU. In 2011, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger were just released and The Avengers would hit the box office the following year in 2012. (DCU hadn’t even gotten started yet, but who’s counting…) The long wait for S2 may have caused Tiger&Bunny to slip under the radar, but coming back to it now it feels like it hasn’t aged at all.

Tiger&Bunny can be seen as a commentary on reality TV and the commercialization of superheroes, with the heroes being employed by in-universe corporations and sporting real world sponsor logos while capturing criminals and saving people during a live TV broadcast. This point is further enhanced by the differences in Tiger and Barnaby’s views on the job at the start of the series. Despite this, the fans love the sponsors and are eager to see the new announcements. The real world brands sponsoring the on-screen heroes have themed campaigns running, though most of them are Japan exclusive. There were far more sponsors applying for S2 than they had placements available – and this is even with the hilarious amount of logos on the Double Chaser bike. (Sadly, Tenga still hasn’t reached their dream of sponsoring Barnaby, but maybe it’s for the best because that collaboration campaign wouldn’t be PG rated.) Back in the Summer of 2011 when the second part of S1 started, Origami Cyclone had amassed the most sponsor logos, and even on S2 he’s the most sponsored hero with eight different brands on his hero suit.

Sacred Seven was the other Sunrise show airing at the same time as Tiger&Bunny,
and it was the one that was expected to succeed.

We don’t have information on how the sponsorship deals work, but we can assume that they were a key part in Tiger&Bunny even being made, because the studio at the time had no faith in its success. The popularity took off unexpectedly and it caught Sunrise and Bandai off guard. There was very little merchandise available to begin with, and the clear files and keychains that were available were sold out instantly. So the fans turned to alternate merchandise in their hunger to buy something. The show featured a lot of vague product placement and references to real world items, so for example a specific Kenzo perfume shot up in popularity.

When more merchandise was finally released, getting a figure of your favorite hero was a real struggle. The SOLD OUT is still a real thing with S2 if you dally with placing your pre-orders. Those who have been fans since 2011 will undoubtedly have their war stories of trying and failing to get a piece of merchandise. I know we do… Does this make us slaves to commercialized superheroes?

If you’re a new fan, what do you think of the sponsor logos or the lack of them? How does Tiger&Bunny compare to other media in the superhero genre? Leave a comment here or on Twitter, or join the discussion on our Discord. Links are in the sidebar!

NEXT Up: Ouroboros!

The first half of S2 has been out for a few weeks and we’ve had some time to arrange our thoughts and engage in light speculation. There’s still much we don’t know about, but nothing’s going to stop the conspiracy theories when they get going. It’s time to grab a tinfoil hat and talk about our favorite secret society…

There are spoilers for everything, so if you haven’t seen the new episodes yet maybe hop over to Netflix and come back in about 6 hours. Sound good?

Continue reading

Updated TIGER & BUNNY Timeline

An updated and revised timeline of the entire series, including movies. Needless to say, there are spoilers for everything. Click the link below:

TIGER & BUNNY TIMELINE

We’ll update the timeline again when the second part of S2 is released, or if there’s new information in supplemental materials.

If you spot an error, please drop a message on Twitter or on Discord, the links are in the sidebar!

Event Summary – Tiger & Bunny 2: Precious EVE

Well, I think I need to lie down after all the news that we’ve had today.

The evening showing for the Precious EVE event has just finished and my goodness we have a lot of TIGER & BUNNY 2 related news to unpack. To anyone unfamiliar, Precious EVE is a celebratory public event for the fans to come together and celebrate the upcoming release of TIGER & BUNNY 2, out on 8th April 2022 exclusively over on Netflix. This was hosted by the seiyuu cast, behind the scenes staff and held at Makuhari Messe Event Hall in Japan, as well as being live streamed into Japanese homes and theatres around the country. The event was split into a day and an evening showings, revealing all exclusive news including new heroes, new sponsorships, collaborations, the opening theme song, merchandise and much more! And we’re here to give you the highlights of both showings.

The event began with a reintroduction of our familiar and loved cast, Hiroaki Hirata (Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger) and Masakazu Morita (Barnaby Brooks Jr.) taking centre stage, being backed up by their live action Hero suit actors and the rest of the wonderful returning cast, Gou Inoue (Sky High), Minako Kotobuki (Blue Rose), Mariya Ise (Dragon Kid), Taiten Kusunoki (Rock Bison) and Shinichirou Oota (Mario). Unfortunately Nobuhiko Okamoto (Origami Cyclone) and Kenjiro Tsuda (Fire Emblem) could not participate due to other work commitments, but recorded special messages, expressing how glad they are that the show has returned. The main cast were full of never-ending high spirits throughout both showings, with playful bickering and bantering exchanged between them all, making it hard to believe that so much time has passed since the show’s initial debut all the way back in April 2011, just because of how enthusiastic and wholesome they were.

We were then introduced to 3 new Heroes that will be starring in TIGER & BUNNY 2. From the left:

Hero Name: He Is Thomas (yes this is really his Hero name!)
Civilian name: Thomas Taurus
V.A.: Nobunaga Shimazaki
Powers: Psychokinesis

Hero Name: Mr. Black
Civilian Name: Subaru Sengoku
V.A.: Shoya Chiba
Powers: Creating barriers

Hero Name: Magical Cat
Civilian Name: Lara Tchaikoskaya
V.A.: Tomori Kusunoki
Powers: Manipulating water

(Disclaimer: to our knowledge there are no official romanizations for Thomas and Lara’s names and these are our best guesses based on the katakana.) Update: Character profiles have been added to the official site and spelling has been corrected to match!

We’ve currently got a poll running over on our This is Sternbild twitter, where you can decide which new hero is your favourite, so get involved before it’s too late! Although if you have not already fallen in love with the Hero “He is Thomas” just by his name alone, then I’m sorry you may need to reexamine your choices.

The new cast expressed how they were slightly nervous being apart of T&B just because of how loved this 10-year-old franchise is, but felt very welcomed by the existing cast, quickly becoming a part of the “Tiger & Bunny family”.

The initial introductions were then followed by a Seiyuu Talk section, as the cast answered questions about their experiences when recording for TIGER & BUNNY 2. Due to the pandemic, the cast weren’t able to record all together this time for safety precautions. Minako Kotobuki (Blue Rose) also recorded for her role whilst being aboard during her 1-year study in the United Kingdom, so they were all very glad to be back together again.

There was a special Q&A section dedicated to the series’ behind the scenes staff, featuring Mitsuko Kase, Director for TIGER & BUNNY 2, and series’ returning Main Script Writer/Series Composition, Masafumi Nishida, along with Character/Hero Suits Designer, Masakazu Katsura. They were being very tight lipped about the new plot, joking that Katsura may be the most likely person to accidently spoil it, resulting in him getting scolded by Netflix. Kase was already a fan of the series and was initially overwhelmed to have been chosen as director for TIGER & BUNNY 2, but was grateful to have been given the position. Nishida also confirmed that he wrote the plot for TIGER & BUNNY 2 back in 2015, stopped, brought it back 3 years later to then rewrite the plot from scratch. The 2015 version of the plot was primarily set outside Stern Bild and still featured the main cast.

Another video interview with the behind the scenes staff will be made available to ticket holders, releasing on the 26th March 2022.

The next segment focused on the new chosen sponsors for all the Hero suits! Around 300 applications were submitted by companies wanting to become a potential sponsor and was rounded down to 54 in the end. Some returning sponsors are back like Bandai, LAWSON, S.H. Figuarts, Tanita, Tamashii Nations. We say goodbye to the memorable Pepsi NEX, but welcome a whole band wagon of new sponsors like Coolish, PAC-MAN, Line, BUFFALO, Don Quijote, Passlogy, Yostar, Zoff, Sunshine City, Kleenex, JP Post, even Bandai Namco Pictures themselves, just to name a very small selection! Even the Double Chaser has sponsors of its own now!

You can see all the new sponsors over on the TIGER & BUNNY website! We can’t wait to see what merchandise and collaborations come out these partnerships.

Speaking of merchandise and collaborations, we had a huge number of announcements throughout the show, from Golfing collabs, to a PAC-MAN collab, to mobile gaming collabs, to new S.H. Figuarts, it was never ending! Most importantly, it has been confirmed that we will be seeing two new manga serializations, starting in April, that are being drawn and written by familiar names to the series. Mizuki Sakakibara will be returning to adapt TIGER & BUNNY 2 into manga with Comic Newtype, which will be readable online. Whilst series’ scripter writer, Erika Yoshida and illustrator, Hiroshi Ueda, team up once again to start TIGER & BUNNY 2 The Comic, from April 15th 2022.

The next section debuted several newly written and performed mini drama shorts which were acted out by the seiyuu cast, featuring fun stories such; as Wild Tiger and Barnaby becoming a video game! Cooking with Blue Rose and a very last minute substitute in the form of Rock Bison; Tongue Twisters with Sky High and Dragon Kid and finding out who was awarded the King or Queen of Heroes after The Rising.


Finally the show slowly winded down with a musical section by the returning band, UNISON SQUARE GARDEN, who performed all the theme songs that they have written for the series and movies, along with performing the song “I wanna Believe” and the new opening theme for TIGER & BUNNY 2 “kaleido proud fiesta”.

It was also confirmed that singer, Ano, will be making her debut with their new ending theme song for the series, titled “Aida”.

The show ended with a humble thanks from all the cast and staff, who expressed their appreciation of the never ending love from the fans of the show, even after all these years and leaving us with a brand new trailer that can be seen here:

So what did you think of the trailer and the new heroes? You can join the conversation also on our Twitter and Discord, links are in the sidebar!

We can’t even begin to express how excited we are for Tiger & Bunny 2 and how heart warming it was to see the ongoing support from the fans and staff alike during the Precious EVE event, proving how eternal the series really is.

text by jazzy, editing by derpchan

TIGER & BUNNY S2 – The Social Aspect and the Netflix Treatment

It’s been a while since we’ve been blogging, and blogging again. And right now we’re not so sure about how much blogging we’ll do about season 2. It’s not just about how much our lives have changed since the first season (it’ll be 11 years when S2 airs – we’re no longer students, we have day jobs and commitments) but also the fact that it’ll be on Netflix and the first cour will be released in one go.

A large part of the experience for first season, probably for most of the people who got into TIGER & BUNNY while it was still airing, was waiting for the next episode to come out. Waiting, discussing, theorizing, talking about the plot and the characters. The wait for the final episode was both excruciating (and filled with carbs) and a lot of fun. We literally talked about TIGER & BUNNY every day for months. This social aspect is really important and I’m not sure if the series would have gathered the following it did if it had been released in one go for streaming. It might have been fast forgotten if it hadn’t been for the fans talking about it so much throughout the entire first season as it aired.

Times change, and binging a series can be fun – we’ve probably all been there with “just one more episode”. A binged series has to be great to make it memorable, it’s just too easy to zone out mentally when you’re on a full day marathon through the season. There’s no time to digest what you just watched when the next episode is already queued. Streaming platforms dedicated to anime (Crunchyroll, Wakanim, etc.) still do weekly releases, and Disney+ has been successful releasing an episode per week for their MCU series – although some of them actually work better when binged, and they feel like they were made for binging despite the weekly releases. Netflix is the outlier here and we sort of wish S2 would be streamed somewhere else.

The first season is currently available on Netflix in my country. They have removed all sponsor logos from the hero suits (which makes the opening sequences very awkward without nothing to zoom to) and the episodes lack the C-part. Not including the C-part (the stinger after the ending and before next episode preview) is like walking out of a Marvel movie the moment the credits start rolling. Many episodes had vital plot points in the C-part. So, if any of you have watched the first season only on Netflix, we urge you to find another version and check it out. This is the biggest problem with the Netflix release, parts of the episodes missing without good reason, and it raises a worry if S2 will have these mindless edits.

Lastly, there’s the QUALITY GYM. Parts of S1 production were rushed which shows in animation quality – something that is very common in anime as new episodes are produced while the show is already airing. Having half of the season released in one go means more even and higher quality… but the QUALITY of S1 had its own charm. If you haven’t seen the TV versions of the episodes, you might not realize how big the differences were.

Check some examples below, comparison of TV version and the corrections made for blu-ray release: