Opinion: “But why is it not TaiBani?”

So… Summer season ended, and Tiger & Bunny with it. Fall season started, without new Tiger & Bunny episodes. This presents a “tiny” problem.

None of the new anime feel that exciting. Aki and I actually had that problem the previous season with the new series that started then but it wasn’t such a big deal because hey, we had Tiger & Bunny! We still ended up watching some series against our better judgement and for shits and giggles. Now there’s nothing to distract us from the fact that the new stuff is pretty damn stale. All the series we had decided to check out for this season have started and we’ve seen at least one episode of each.

So what’s wrong, really?

It’s hard not to compare the Fall anime to Tiger & Bunny when we’ve practically lived and breathed it for six months, and still are. Both of us have become a lot more critical of the anime we watch after – and during – Tiger & Bunny. I was actually thinking of blogging a series this season, but nothing really gets me interested enough to put the same kinda passion into talking about it as we feel with T&B. In fact, the usual proceeding after watching something that is not T&B is that we go back to talking about T&B within minutes.

The biggest problem this season has is that everything even remotely interesting has defaulted back to the angsty-teenager-high-school-student-protagonist with a backing cast of teenage classmates regardless of genre. Anime is just a medium as any other, but most of the anime produced today hasn’t grown up with the audience and it gives this feeling of “haven’t I seen this before?” Take Guilty Crown for example. It is a pretty obvious mix of Macross (songbird chick), Persona (social linking gone bad) and it tilts heavily into Code Geass. Did I mention it has an angsty teenage protagonist? This is just the impression from the first episode, so it’s a bit too early to judge the entire series based on it. First impression still isn’t outstanding.

Of course, clichés and stereotypes are easy to handle and safe bets. Although I’ve been watching the generic stuff for years, it only took a few months with Tiger & Bunny to kill my interest for it. The older protagonists and a diverse cast where everyone is a personality and not just a stereotype makes T&B much more interesting to watch. In fact, we can talk for hours about how complex characters Kotetsu and Barnaby are. For example, it’s easy to miss many finer points of Kotetsu’s character development if you aren’t putting a little thought into it.

Note that I’m not saying that Tiger & Bunny is how anime should be, because I can acknowledge the fact that it wasn’t flawless and there were a lot of things that could have been done better – and not just QUALITY gym time. What the creators of T&B did was that they dared to take the risk, and dared to do things differently and that is what made it stand out. Both of us want to see more of this kind of risk taking – not just anime that tries to imitate Tiger & Bunny but that takes its own risks and turns them into success.

Didn’t I just say that we end up talking about Tiger & Bunny all the time? I was supposed to be blogging about the anime this season…

What does Sunrise do?

Since Tiger & Bunny is a Sunrise product, it’s only fair to check out what they’re doing this season, right? I watched Sacred Seven in its entirety on the previous season, just to see what they expected would be the better seller. When it started I said I’d watch it until the first BD sales were out, and it was only later when I realized I’d actually have to complete the series before that. I was pig-headed enough to hold out. Needless to say I wasn’t impressed, though S7 had its moments… most of them provided not by the series itself.

We’ve checked the new series from Sunrise this season and it’s kinda like S7 all over. Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere is so bad it’s not even funny, and although Phi Brain sounded good on paper it sunk into mediocrity and couldn’t even hold interest for more than one episode. Gundam AGE is just a glorified gunpla ad, clearly aimed to capture a new generation to buy the plastic. I doubt we can sit through it for many more episodes.

What are we watching?

As much as this post may sound like whining, we do enjoy watching anime. (The lack of good anime this season has just made us watch more live action stuff for a change.) We’re both big fans of Persona games and especially Persona 4, so we’re watching Persona 4 the Animation. It’s not super awesome, but it’s still fun. Mirai Nikki (don’t spoil, we haven’t read the manga!) and Ben-To are the surprises of the season, maybe because we had no expectations for them. We’re also watching Mawaru Penguin Drum from the previous season.

Bottom line: There’s no point to this other than none of this anime is Tiger & Bunny, and it can’t be helped. At least there are penguins.

50 comments on “Opinion: “But why is it not TaiBani?”

  1. Well I certainly won’t be able to watch whatever that Sacred Seven anime was now, thanks to that video. Scary how it matched up so perfectly!

    • Most of the fun from S7 came from the memes (fuck the police, living the dream, etc.) and fansubbers (gg) switching the main character’s name. S7 is just not that much fun because it takes itself too seriously while trying to be everything. (Butlers, check. Maids, check. Mechas, check. School festival episode, check. Beach episode, check ad infinitum.)

      • I was laughing my ass off the entire time because of the cliches, but deep inside I wanted to cry. I was already too far in to drop it.
        Now I use it as an example when ranking anime, “Is it above or below the Sacred Seven line of bad?”. Surprisingly useful.

        • We use the “No.shit” (aka. No.6) scale. Although usually it goes “well at least this is better than No.6” and “yeah, but that’s not hard to achieve”. So it’s not a very useful scale… ┐( ¯3¯)┌

  2. i have to agree that T&B raised the bar and set everything else to a higher standard because it was just so different from anything else out there. we’ve seen all the tropes played ad infinitum and, to be honest, all of that is ad nauseum now. what invariably happened is that everything will be judged before or after T&B: that’s just how it is. if there was more anime to appeal to an older demographic which was character driven, i’d enjoy it. it’s kind of the reason why i’ve stuck w/ Usagi Drop all the way to the end, because to a degree Daikichi and Kotetsu are the same person (again: another series run through the TB lens!).

    i’ll still see if the Gonzo favorite, Last Exile, now on Series 2, will be just as enjoyable – but time will tell.

    in the meantime, i hope Sunrise realizes how much taking a risk and going against the grain (when done well) can really pay off.

    • I saw the first episode of Last Exile 2, but it just didn’t really catch me… There’s some seiyuu favourites (oh hi Okamoto) and the animation looks really good, but it feels like something’s missing. I ended up listening to the bagpipes OP song from the original series afterwards, lol.

      • yeah, ‘Cloud Age Symphony’ is an amazing opening song. ranks up there for me w/ the Paranoia Agent OP/ED pieces. i’m going to give LE2 a chance; i think too many fans are trying to compare it to the first one and i think this should be judged on it’s on. also – Dio.

        so what else did you recommend to view? Fate/ZERO? Darker than Black? anything else? i need to catch up on good stuff again (tried Mawaru – would’ve been good but the sort of loli-save-the-universe spin put me off).

        • Fate/Zero doesn’t really interest me, and Aki was pretty bored with the first episode so I haven’t seen it (me and Aki tend to agree on the stuff we like, lol). Darker than BLACK is one of my biggest favourites so I’ll definitely recommend it. The second season was nowhere near as good as the first one, though.

          I also really liked Shiki, though the character design weirded me out at first. It’s a pretty intense watching experience. Mononoke is also a big favourite. I recommended Mushishi to another person down in the comments, and I’ll recommend it again.

          Mawaru Penguin Drum is a pretty darn complex story, I still don’t know exactly what’s going on and if you just saw a few episodes I’d suggest to watch a few more.

  3. If you wanna check out some of the anime airing this season that doesn’t feature angsty teenager protags, how about Fate/Zero? So far, only one of the characters (+ a daughter) is in their teen years and it looks decent so far. I’m going in blind about Fate/Stay Night and no prior knowledge of the past series is needed to enjoy it.

    Or you could probably review some series from the past and the beauty of watching finished series is that you can watch at your own pace to finish them.

    I hear you about the characters, I could probably write a whole damn thesis on Barnaby and his mental/social issues.

    • I’ve seen Fate/Stay Night and it just wasn’t interesting enough for me, so I haven’t even checked out Fate/Zero. Iirc Aki saw the first episode of F/0 and wasn’t impressed so it isn’t high priority for me to try.

      • Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night do not have the same writer. I’m probably biaised because Gen Urobuchi is my favorite writer, but I think Fate/Zero is worth watching.

        That being said, there were some elements in Tiger & Bunny that reminded me of Urobuchi’s early work with Nitroplus, lol.

        • Urobuchi’s an interesting guy but I’m not really that keen on his stuff. I’ve seen Madoka of course (was good but I think it’s generally an overrated series). Blassreiter went pretty weird in the end, and I just couldn’t get past episode 2 with Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom.

  4. I KNOW THIS FEELING! ;A;
    I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with any anime this season, even Mawaru Penguindrum. I am still living and breathing T&B somehow. :’D

  5. I started to watch at all the fall anime and except for Kimi to boku and Chihayafuru ( but nothing of great however) they are really boring and repetitive .. I had high expectations form Guilty Crown and Un-Go! but I was disappointed.
    Nothing compares to Tiger & Bunny. And every scene I see, I can not help but compares it to “our”Taibani.
    That expectation, those speculations, the thousand question marks remain outstanding, the relationship between the protagonists, the many facets of this relationship … and its deep pureness.
    Yes, because Taibani is a pure and “clean” anime, where you never find vulgarity, and every matters even if those more hard, are faced with delicacy and sensitivity, as does not happen in the Penguin Drum that I find exaggerate if not obscene and violent.
    I do not think I’ll be able to get interested in an anime in the same way has happened with this great gift that Sunrise has packed us.
    I’ll have to sigh waiting the Next Return.

  6. HOW DO YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW I FEEL ABOUT EVERYTHING? I’ve even been watching all those shows you mentioned (except for ben-to, I’ve never heard of that :S)
    Plus, I’m really hoping other anime companies will see how successful T&B was so they’ll try to use the angsty high school model less. Not to say that high school anime are always bad, it’s just that it’s so over used, and i think they should mix it up. It’s really been a constant dream of mine to see more middle aged main characters in anime.
    Also Gintama is the greatest, just stayin’.

    • I don’t know, maybe I’m psychic? lol

      Ben-To is fun to watch, although the premise sounds totally stupid at first. The lunch box battles remind me of the feel of trying to get a Figuarts on preorder day… Every anime I watch has some way of reminding of TaiBani now.

      Gintama is definitely one of the best out there, I’ve been watching it since it started!

      • MAYBE YOU ARE PSYCHIC. >:I
        Man, just wait until the other figures come out, the pre-order wars will just get more and more intense.
        Oh yeah, I never shut up about T&B. Like….ever. I almost feel bad talking about it ALL THE TIME to some of my friends who haven’t even finished it yet.
        I haven’t caught up to Gintama yet, since it’s so long, but I’m working on it and it’s great. 😀

        • Or maybe I’m a NEXT like that?

          Gintama is at its best with the totally round the bend episodes that just go crazier and crazier.

          I know that feeling about talking only about T&B. It’s actually hard to not gush about it to my real-life friends who don’t watch anime, but I’m trying not to embarrass myself totally.

  7. T&B is the first anime I really enjoyed since 2008, as I’m more of a manga person. I watched a few anime that were great (Kuragehime and PMMM come to mind), but none that stole my heart like T&B.

    As for this season, I’m only watching P4. I’ve never played the game before since I don’t have a PS2, but I was always interested in it.

    I still really need to catch up on Mawaru Penguindrum…

    • I do enjoy reading manga but I’m really bad at keeping up with serializations weekly. I tend to read by tankobon or read complete series. PMMM was good but I think it’s kinda overrated. I loved Kuragehime, btw the character designer for Kuragehime adapted also T&B characters from Katsura’s original sketches for animation.

      I keep wondering how people who haven’t played the game feel about the P4 anime. It has skipped a lot of the beginning of the game so far and it feels extremely fast paced, considering it should be a 2 cour show.

      • I usually read older manga, so weekly serialization is not an issue for me. The only ongoing manga that’s being published in Japan I’m following right now is Jojolion, which is serialized monthly anyway.

        I did not like how they handled Yosuke’s conflict in the anime, tbh. Even though I’ve never played the game I could tell they were trying to go at a quick pace.

        • The first episode of P4 anime basically crammed almost 2 hours of gametime into 24 minutes and skipped some parts of the story entirely (like the dream scene where the protagonist gets Izanagi). The Yosuke scene in episode 2 was not nearly as rushed, and I was actually pretty impressed how they handled the boss fight.

          • I’m kind of wondering how they’ll do the rest of the boss fights though, seeing as everyone else will be there. I’m also wondering if they’ll have episodes of dungeon crawling, because some of the dungeons were really elaborate.
            I’m also hoping for an english dub because P4 just isn’t the same in Japanese xD.

          • Agreed on the English dub. Me and Aki are fans of Yuri Lowenthal so Yosuke sounds totally wrong in Japanese.

            I can sorta imagine how they’d do the other boss fights, but I wonder how they’ll deal with the 4 man team aspect… It’ll be pretty crowded toward the end with everyone there.

            And is it just me or is the P4 anime OP totally spoilery? You can see everyone’s personas in it.

          • I thought they had it like that (as well as leaving in all the original game music that seemed a bit out of place in the show) because they didn’t think that people who hadn’t played the game would watch it. I mean, maybe they did, but it seems like a “you already had to be a fan” show.
            I already kind of miss the other voice actors (also if there were an english dub THAT WOULD MEAN THAT JOHNNY YONG BOSCH WOULD BE MAIN CHARACTER FFFF) as well as some of the other English translations, like the Junes theme, midnight channel etc.
            But mostly the Junes theme.

          • I actually think they’d recast the main character in English dub, since JYB is also Adachi. It worked in the game that way because the MC never talks. I guess it’d be possible for JYB to do both but I’m not sure how good his range for different voices is because apart from P4 I’ve only heard him in Code Geass dub.

            The game BGM is kinda nostalgic but it doesn’t really fit cinematic telling that well. I love most of the stuff Meguro has composed so I was looking forward to hearing more new music. At least there’s the P4 reincarnation album coming out soon. The P3 reincarnation was great so I hope there’ll be good stuff on the P4 one as well.

  8. Well this pretty much explains that sort of “not good enough” feeling I’ve been getting ever since T&B ended.
    I have to admit, I’m very picky with the stuff I watch and I rarely pick an ongoing series because it’s too troublesome to wait for a week, imo. That, and the lack of characters/plot to hold my attention for more than a couple of episodes.
    Before T&B, the last one to hold my interest was Natsume Yuujinchou, and I only started watching that after season 2 started.

    I’m really happy Sunrise took this risk. It’s like they’re treating the viewers like they can handle stuff with more substance and depth rather than just action scenes and fanservice.

    This season, the only series I painstakingly wait for each week is Gintama because it’s just awesome.
    The others, well… I need more convincing.

    • It wasn’t a risk Sunrise took willingly, the studio expected T&B to be a complete flop. The true risk takers and heroes are the production team who made the series. I honestly do not want to give much credit to Sunrise as a studio for T&B, considering the people within Sunrise kept telling the T&B team to give up. The Sunrise higher ups rely on cliches, which is pretty clear if you look at the new series from Sunrise this season.

      Natsume Yuujin-chou is excellent. I’m not sure if you’ve seen it, but I could also recommend Mushishi since it has quite a few similarities with Natsume.

      • Oh, so that “give up” spiel was for real and not a joke? o.O How cruel can you get? I’m sure they’re eating their words now, huh.
        A friend told me about Sacred Seven. When I heard “loli, maids, butlers,” that was enough to make me bolt. Not really fond of those.

        Oh, I was recommended Mushishi before but it slipped my mind. ^^; Since I’m out of a series to watch now, maybe I’ll go see that. 🙂

        • The “give up” thing was mentioned at the final episode event, they might be playing it up but the fact is that Tiger & Bunny almost got cancelled several times during production.

          I hope you’ll enjoy Mushishi, it’s one of my Top 3 favourite anime ever.

          • Wow, thank goodness the whole show wasn’t canceled.

            Ooh, I see. That sounds promising.
            May I ask what are your top 2 anime are?

          • Lol, that’s easy, Mushishi and Tiger & Bunny (obviously) are my two biggest favourites. I never seem to get tired of rewatching them.

            It’s kinda hard for me to name a number one favourite, because I like these two for very different reasons.

          • Ah, I said it wrong. I was gonna ask what the other 2 top anime are, aside from Mushishi. ^^;

            But yes, of course, should have seen T&B on that top 3 list. XD
            This is probably the only anime (or TV show, for that matter) that’s made me walk up to the perfume counter at the mall just to take a whiff of a perfume.

          • The third one on the list is Darker than BLACK.

            I’m intrigued, I really want to know how Kenzo smells but I’m oversensitive to scents. I can’t even walk past the cosmetics department in a store without holding my breath. I’d have to find someone who owns Kenzo to get to try it without passing out in the process, lol.

          • When I hear Darker than Black, the scene that immediately comes to mind is the one with nekkid November 11. XD

            It actually smells good. I don’t know about your preference for scents, but I like light and citrusy, and it’s both.
            Incidentally, there’s a variant called L’Eau par Kenzo WILD Pour Homme. I was told by the counter guy that it was a new variant released in summer 2011, which made me wonder if the timing was just a coincidence. XD

            (I apologize for somewhat turning this into a chat box thing. m(_ _)m)

          • For me the first thing to come to mind with Darker than BLACK is collarbones.

            “Light and citrusy” sounds nice, citrus scents are one of the few I can still somewhat tolerate. Any strong scent is a no-no and floral scents are totally no.

            Don’t worry ’bout the chattiness, the layout just isn’t very forgiving with long comment threads. orz

      • speaking of scent, you guys saw the Review posted on Amazon for the fragrance, right?

        http://www.amazon.com/Kenzo-LeauParKenzo-Pour-Homme/dp/B00021DXD8/ref=pd_sim_bt1

        /*

        5.0 out of 5 stars Animal Magnetism, September 3, 2011
        By K. T. Kaburagi – See all my reviews
        This review is from: L’EAU PAR KENZO by Kenzo for MEN: EDT SPRAY 1 OZ (Misc.)

        I’ve been a fan of Kenzo for years, my late wife first bought it for me as a gift for getting my dream job. I stopped wearing it for a while, but after receiving a bottle for father’s day last year from my daughter, I’ve been wearing it faithfully. The scent is lasting and stays well on a variety of materials- from cotton to spandex, leather and even helmets! I spray it on my favorite hat too.

        The smell is great and everyone loves it. I really do mean everyone. I’ve been stopped by random people on the street telling me I smell nice, I get hugged randomly by people. Some of my co-workers are enticed by the scent as well- one, a flamboyantly gay man, asked me to spend the night with him, one of my younger female colleagues developed an unrealistic crush on me, and my assigned partner has gotten clingy towards me-which at first I found strange, considering I thought he hated my very presence. For a while, a secretary at work would invade my personal space and proposition me, I had to file for sexual harassment on her more than once.

        I chalk it up to the cologne, because I never used to get this much attention before. I was always that “old man” to everyone even though I’m only in my mid-thirties!

        */
        All in all it is a great scent, but be warned: it gives you animal magnetism. harassment on her more than once.
        I chalk it up to the cologne, because I never used to get this much attention before. I was always that “old man” to everyone even though I’m only in my mid-thirties!
        All in all it is a great scent, but be warned: it gives you animal magnetism.

  9. Hmm, collarbones are good.

    It is. It’s not overpowering and to me,gives the impression that a guy wearing it isn’t a sloppy guy. I don’t like floral scents, too. Reminds me of creepy old ladies. o.o

    Ah, I see. Anyways, I do look forward to more updates on this site and reading stuff about T&B because I need a dose of T&B a day, somehow.
    I follow you guys on Twitter, too. Actually, the only reason I made a Twitter account in the first place was to follow the T&B account. o.o
    Seriously, this show…

    And thanks for the Mushishi rec. 🙂

    • It’s kinda “calm before the storm” feeling right now, merchandise is coming out, Hero Awards are next month… Like everyone’s just holding their breath to hear what they’ll announce at the event.

  10. I feel your pain and frustration. Tiger (read Kotetsu) was such a darned original character that it just about spun me on my ear and ruined other anime for me. I’m reknowned for my loyalty to Dragonball Z (Vegeta). Hell, I’ve been writing about that Saiyan for Over. Seven. Years. T&B pretty much slapped me in the face and now I’m spending every waking second writing about Kotetsu instead. Sure hope the series gets picked up for a second season, and that it gets picked up by an American network and dubbed. My stories are good, but there’s no North American fanbase to really enjoy them. 😦

    • Just so you know, a dub is confirmed to be in production and a second season is practically imminent by now. And there’s plenty of western fans enjoying the show, even while it remains undubbed for now. I do feel for you about reconsidering loyalties. T&B made my standards too high to enjoy some of my long standing fandoms now.

      • really, who have they cast for the dubs? it’s going to be hard bc Kotetsu isn’t really Kotestsu without Hirata Hiroaki…

        • While I know the English dub has big shoes to fill, I want to see a dub. I have hope for another good dub like Baccano or Persona 4. T&B is a westernized show that works well with a western audience.

          • agree – i want to see how they pass off Kotetsu’s inability to read the English titles in each preview. DERP factor is key.

  11. Pingback: By The Way, Our Previous Opinion Still Stands | This is Sternbild

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