Review: Hero Gossips & Roman Album

The latest official books were released last week, and both finally arrived. These books cover the entire series, in addition to them there are the second volumes of the previous guide books coming later in October. I’ve only had time for a quick glance through both of them, but since they seem to be selling quite fast I figured it’d be best I do a quick review before they’re sold out, incase someone’s still pondering which one to get.

Tiger & Bunny Official Guide Book HERO GOSSIPS [contents]
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
ISBN: 9784048547123
Size: A4 / 112 full color pages
Price: 1050 JPY
Available at: [CDJapan] [Hobby Search] [Amazon.jp] [AmiAmi] [YesAsia]

Tiger & Bunny Roman Album [contents]
Publisher: Tokuma Shoten
ISBN: 9784197203390
Size: A4 / 120 pages
Price: 1200 JPY
Available at: [CDJapan] [Hobby Search] [Amazon.jp] [AmiAmi]

The books may or may not be in stock in the places listed above, but they’re the most reliable ones I know.

First Impressions

Hero Gossips turned out to be thicker and heavier than I expected when I looked at the size and page count. The jacket is thick and glossy, and the book is printed on sturdy, thick paper – bit surprising considering the price. (I have official books for other series from Kadokawa Shoten and they have been smaller and more expensive.) Roman Album is printed on good paper, too, just not as thick. The print quality is excellent in both books. I found the overall layout and design of Roman Album to be more pleasing to the eye, if only by a bit. As a nice detail, Hero Gossips has an Ouroboros symbol on the back cover, hiding under the jacket.

Character Pages

Both books have character files on all heroes, and introductions for other characters.

In Hero Gossips, each hero gets 4 pages, which also include presentations on affiliated characters and companies. In addition Kotetsu & Barnaby get a list of their selected scenes through the series, but they don’t get the relationship listings with other heroes that the rest of them do. There’s also a two page feature on Lunatic.

Character pages from Hero Gossips:

Roman Album gives 4 pages to Kotetsu and Barnaby and two pages to the rest of the heroes. Lunatic is not featured separately but in the other character files section.

Character pages from Roman Album:

Story guides

The story guides are pretty similar in both books. Roman Album includes Nishida Masafumi’s comments for each episode. Hero Gossips gives half a page for each episode of 1st cour, full page for 2nd cour episodes. Roman Album has a full page for each episode. There’s also a separate small Sternbild guide in Roman Album. In Hero Gossips this section is integrated in the story guide and important places are introduced in the relevant episodes.

Story guides: Hero Gossips to the left, Roman Album to the right

Interviews

Hero Gossips has staff interviews with director Satou Keiichi, executive producer Ozaki Masayuki, producers Tamura Kazuhiko and Matsui Chinatsu, and screenwriter Nishida Masafumi. These are pretty much just plain text, but the cast interviews also have pictures of the seiyuu. There’s an interview with Hirata Hiroaki (Wild Tiger) and Morita Masakazu (Barnaby), and a group talk interview with Kotobuki Minako (Blue Rose), Kusunoki Taiten (Rock Bison), Inoue Gou (Sky High), Ise Mariya (Dragon Kid), Okamoto Nobuhiko (Origami Cyclone), and Tsuda Kenjirou (Fire Emblem).

Roman Album has staff interviews with director Satou Keiichi, producer Tamura Kazuhiko, producer Matsui Chinatsu, and ADK. The cast interviews are partially previously published content. The interview with Hirata Hiroaki (Wild Tiger) and Morita Masakazu (Barnaby) was previously published in Animage September issue as an abridged version. There are new interviews with Kotobuki Minako (Blue Rose), and Inoue Gou (Sky High). The cast questionnaire section also features some seiyuu that haven’t appeared in cast interviews before, like Fukuda Nobuaki (Maverick) and Iwasaki Hiroshi (Doc Saito).

Other Features

Both books have posters. Hero Gossips has a two-sided poster with Kotetsu & Barnaby on one side (same picture as on the book’s cover) and all heroes on the other side. Roman Album has two two-sided posters, one of Kotetsu and one of Barnaby.

Posters in Hero Gossips:

Kotetsu Poster in Roman Album:

Barnaby poster in Roman Album:

Gossips is built around the extra character information (100 questions and heroes’ schedules and more) written by the series screenwriter&co-creator Nishida Masafumi. There’s also a loose timeline with the story guide, and a report from episode voice recording. All of these are text heavy, so those who aren’t good at Japanese will probably not get much ouf of them.

Samples from Hero Gossips:

Roman Album has a small collection of illustrations from Animage magazine (Tokuma Shoten also publishes Animage) as colour spreads, I think all of them have been as posters in it. The book cover illustration is also included. There is also a spread with tribute comics published in Animage, art by Miwa Shirow (mangaka of Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, he’s done quite a few fanarts of T&B) and Mizutama Keinojou. In addition there are “Secret Files” on Jake Martinez, Maverick, and Bonds of the Two (read: Kotetsu&Barnaby).

Samples from Roman Album:

Roman Album had a few typos in the English, but nothing that would be epic in the scale of “Blue Frames” from the first Official Hero Book. Gossips has less English overall. I spotted one print blooper in Roman Album, where same text was duplicated in two different boxes on the same page (copypasta fail, I assume).

TL;DR

Both books are well produced and have lots of content. Which one to pick depends on what you’re looking for in them.

  • If you can into Japanese and want to know as much as possible about the characters, Gossips is the way to go.
  • If your Japanese is limited and you want pictures, pick Roman Album.
  • If you’re an artist/cosplayer looking for reference material, it’s a toss-up. Roman Album has bigger character sketches, but Hero Gossips has more minute detail.
  • If you’re a hopeless buyfag like me and/or collect books, just buy both.

(I swear if I ever get money that isn’t tied to T&B merchandise, I’ll buy a better camera. Sorry for the QUALITY again.)

11 comments on “Review: Hero Gossips & Roman Album

  1. i love it – thanks for the quick review and especially the links to all the outlets we can get these from.

  2. If I want the one with informations about Lunatic, which one should I buy? And what are things about Lunatic in each book? ‘w’

    • Lunatic has a two page spread in Hero Gossips. There’s character sketches, information on him and his parents and sketches of his home. Also detail sketches of his scars.

      In Roman Album there are only character sketches, one page in the Other Character Files -section. The page also includes sketches of his parents.

  3. Thank you so much for the review! it is very informative! I know I can come back here to look for more merchandise information <33333 if you don't run out of money that is XDDDDDD.

  4. Oh, dear. I wish I could buy both, but can’t. I do hope people start posting more and more translations to even the silliest details.

  5. Thank you for the review! You are totally my purchase decision making aid. :’D
    But then I realized I’m a buyfag so whether I needed to read this or not is debatable (buying both again <– scratch that, Hero Gossips is out of stock again at CDJapan T3T;;).

    My big question is what the second Official Hero & Fan Books will cover since these look pretty comprehensive!

    • The 2nd Official Hero Book and Hero TV Fan will cover the 2nd cour, but other than that I have no idea what’ll be in them. I’ve got them on preorder anyways so yeah… I’ll review them for sure, lol.

  6. Hehehe, my interest is kinda piqued by that comic panel at the bottom of the left Roman Album sample page. (their foreheads are *awfully* close~) Lol, though from the speech bubble, it seems like they’re just getting into each other’s faces to argue, as usual. 😛 However, that ridiculous ghetto!Bunny outfit is hilarious enough that I think I need to buy the Roman Album. XD Thank you so much for the info and sample pics! You guys are truly the greatest asset to Western T&B fandom out there!!

  7. I dunno if anyone’s said this already, but I like, ehm… less than perfect picture quality. It shows what’s inside but makes us want something better, so we go and buy it instead of just look at this stuff for free.

    … I… still look at a lot of these for free, but I feel less bad if I’m not mooching off of someone’s top-quality image fresh from the scanner. xD; Samples are nice.

    Thanks for all the reviews of this stuff. :3

    • Lol, talking more about the general quality of photos this camera produces. I’ve been meaning to buy a new one for years because the flash is crap and sometimes the pictures come out weirdly shaded and no amount of photoshop seems to completely salvage them.

  8. Pingback: Review: Official Books part 2 | This is Sternbild

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