First Tiger&Bunny Movie To Open In September (Updated)

Just as Ozaki promised – more information on the movies! The first Tiger & Bunny movie “TIGER & BUNNY – The Beginning” will hit theaters in September, as it was announced today. There isn’t much information about the movie itself yet, but a few things came to my mind when I glanced at the site.

  1. There’s no actual staff listed yet. I doubt Satou is directing this time, his Ashura movie is opening in August and he was just announced to be directing the new Saint Seiya CG movie. He must have several projects going on at the same time on this rate, but that he would also work on Tiger & Bunny movies seems improbable. Ozaki did spoil on Twitter earlier that producer Tamura Kazuhiko is working on the movies and that the same studio is animating them as the anime itself. Only cast listed so far are Hirata and Morita, which is pretty much given.
  2. The title is subject to change as it says on the movie site (that’s what “(仮)” means after the title). I hope they will change it because right now it has too much of a recap movie vibe. It could just be signifying it’s the first movie, though.

As much as I’d like the movie to be all new material, I’m about 99% certain that a portion of it will be recap. Why? From Ozaki’s recent tweets, it’s pretty clear he wants more people to get into Tiger & Bunny and to enjoy it. It would be counter-productive to make a movie that is hard for new audiences to approach. These guys seem very good at marketing their creation, and that’s just pure marketing logic.

I’m fine with some recap though, if it brings more success to Tiger & Bunny.

Update: Seems I was right in my recap thoughts, this article at Anime! Anime! calls the movie a “hybrid episode” with material they weren’t able to use in the series (timeskip stuff, maybe?). It also mentions that the second movie is planned for 2013.

Update 2: Some spoilers from Newtype seem to indicate that the second movie won’t be a direct continuation to the first one – they’ll be stand-alone stories. New character(s) will also be introduced in the movies.

Update 3: I’m seeing lots of comments that maybe the movie will be a prequel. That sounds far fetched to me. Why? Because they’re called Tiger & Bunny movies. They met in the first episode of the series, and before that there was no “Tiger & Bunny”. A prequel would most likely be about Tiger’s early heroing days. I think it’d be fun to watch but it’d just be a Tiger movie, not a Tiger & Bunny movie (I’d totally watch an OVA about Wild Tiger’s early days). Barnaby’s early search for Ouroboros wouldn’t make a very interesting movie, and I doubt his academy days would either, since he seems to have mostly kept to himself and not bonded with anyone.

By The Way, Our Previous Opinion Still Stands

Winter anime season started a couple of weeks ago, and I could just as well copy what we posted when Autumn season began. Although this isn’t directly about Tiger & Bunny, it can’t be helped that we still compare everything we watch to reactions Tiger & Bunny got –  and still gets – from us. (Aki thinks this will go on forever, and I gotta agree. It’s not easy to beat the experience Tiger & Bunny gave us.)

For example, one thing we really got pampered with in Tiger & Bunny is the fact that Nishida held the reins on scripting the whole time. Of course he wasn’t the only writer but he was involved in every episode even when other writers worked on them. The importance of the writer didn’t really register with us before, we rarely paid attention to who’s writing the episodes until we started watching Persona 4 the Animation after Tiger & Bunny had already ended. The episodes were so uneven that it didn’t take many weeks for us to figure out that out of the three writers working on the scripts, only one actually seemed to have played the game and cared about characterization. This sucks because many of the parts that we loved about the game have been given a really poor treatment in the anime so far – the camping trip episode is a very good example, with bad pacing. Most of the things that made the camping trip so funny in the game were lost somewhere.

Anyways, back to the current Winter season. We ambitiously checked out quite a few of new series, but most of them have already been dropped due to being a) boring b) stupid c) bad d) all of the above. Some of the new stuff we’ve decided to keep watching falls into both b) and c) but because they’re so bad they end up being unintentionally funny. (That means you, Brave 10 and Aquarion EVOL.) Go figure, Aquarion EVOL gives even better laughs than the actual comedies – Daily Lives of High School Boys and Thermae Romae – that we are watching. Another is the most interesting one so far. We both love horror, and good horror anime is pretty rare. The sound design and scene planning in Another gives us chills, we just hope it’ll carry all the way through.

It was watching the latest episode of Another last night that made me realize what really is the difference between watching Tiger & Bunny and watching any other series. Allow me to demonstrate:

And we played a game until it was bedtime. Feels a bit sadman if I compare it to Superhero Saturdays and talking about Tiger & Bunny until we had to go to bed.

Aki would like to add the following:

[Aki_the_geek] one more comment
[Aki_the_geek] this is one of your shortest posts despite the fact you are talking about several anime in it


Ozaki Talks About Live-Action And Musical Adaptations

As you may know, ASCII published an interview with executive producer Ozaki Masayuki a couple of days ago. In the interview he talked about how Tiger & Bunny was born, and also about what future plans for the franchise would interest him – such as live-action and musical. It seems he may have said too much (and it’s not the first time – though who can blame him for being enthusiastic?) because he further clarified his thoughts on a live-action adaptation in length on Twitter. You can read a full translation of his tweets at Crunchyroll.

“These are my personal feelings as the producer. However, at this time nobody less than a Hollywood mainstay production studio could realize the vision I have. If we don’t secure complete agreement on staff, cast, production scale, supervisory rights, etc then I don’t intend to give permission.”
– Ozaki Masayuki

The feeling I got from his tweets is that he and the other creators are very protective of Tiger & Bunny – which is a really good thing for the future of the series. Although he has ruled out a Hollywood live-action for now, a musical seems like a possibility. The Code Geass stage musical is currently in production, and I could imagine that if it does well it would be a good sign also for a Tiger & Bunny musical. As a fun fact, director Satou mentioned in an interview around September that he’d be interested in trying a musical in the future. He didn’t specify it further and I took it just as a joke but maybe he wasn’t trolling after all…

Personally I think that Tiger & Bunny would fit a live-action movie better than musical. I’m not into musicals in general, and us foreign fans would have no chance of seeing a musical until the eventual BD release. A live-action movie – if done right – could turn out very good, but anime/manga based live-action movies have a pretty uneven success rate. The Japanese versions tend to be better than the few Hollywood versions that have been made. Tiger & Bunny has taken a lot of inspiration from the American superhero comics and movies so a live-action adaptation feels fitting – although I may be pretty alone with my opinion.

Whether or not you like the idea of a live-action Tiger & Bunny, Ozaki has no plans for that at the moment and he is currently concentrating on the already announced movie projects. That hasn’t stopped the Japanese fans from making speculations about a dream cast for a Hollywood live-action adaptation:

Opinion: Movie Musings

So, two movies. There’s no news yet on what they’ll be about, nor have I seen who’s in the staff (but I hope Satou will be directing again, and Nishida writing). I have a bit mixed feelings about that it’s going to be movies instead of S2 or OVAs, because I haven’t seen that many good movies based on TV anime.

My biggest worry is that the movies will be a recap – or even worse, recap that retcons the story. Recap movies tend to be boring since I’ve already seen the anime and I know what’ll happen, better graphics doesn’t really make it that much more interesting for me. The retcon movies on the other hand make me rage. Let’s take the Macross Frontier movies as an example; I saw the anime and I enjoyed it even though it had flaws and my favourite character got killed. The movies retconned so much of the story and characterization that I wasn’t even sure what I was watching – and I just couldn’t like them even though my favourite character survived in them. I really, really do not want to see retcon happen to Tiger & Bunny and its characters.

(To clarify: I don’t believe they’d take the recap/retcon route, especially if S2 is in the works behind the scenes; it makes more sense to do a proper lead up to it with the movies. It’s just something I wanted to note because many anime movies pick the easy way and recap the story.)

The new footage that was shown at the Hero Awards 2011 event may indicate that we’ll get a new story. The staff have stated on more than one occasion that they have a lot of material they couldn’t fit into the anime, so the possibility of all that being used for the movies is pretty high. They could do a lot of stuff with just the 10 month timeskip, but if I’d have to make bets I’d say at least one of the movies will be set after the anime ending because of what Ozaki mentioned in a recent interview. It’s also more than likely that the movies will get new sponsors since the sample pictures had the hero suits blank of advertisements. New project, new sponsors.

The other major gripe I have with anime movies is that I’m not in Japan and have no chance to go there just to see a movie. They can take up to a year to be released on BD/DVD, and the wait is going to be agonizing. The likelihood of getting spoiled for plot is pretty high, too, since I know many Japanese fans and I doubt I can avoid all the spoilers… I don’t know if I even want to avoid them because I’m dying for more Tiger & Bunny. I’ve seen some speculations about the movies making it to the USA pretty fast because the streams were so popular, which is great for the American fans. I’m European so I’ll probably get the Japanese version faster, though.

I’m pretty hopeful we’ll eventually get S2, and the movies’ job is to tide us over until then. Ozaki wanted to do a continuation fast, and a S2 wouldn’t have been ready until 2013. It’s understandable they want to make more when Tiger & Bunny is so popular. Too long wait would be bad in business sense, and Sunrise (and Bandai) are doing this for business after all. The movies are only step 2 in NEXT Project (Hero Awards was step 1) so who knows what we’ll get… I’ve heard there should be four steps in it.

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.