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
Size: A4 / 112 full color pages
Price: 1050 JPY
Available at: [CDJapan] [Hobby Search] [Amazon.jp] [AmiAmi] [YesAsia]
The books may or may not be in stock in the places listed above, but they’re the most reliable ones I know.
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.
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:
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
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).
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).
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 shopper 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.)