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] [] [AmiAmi] [YesAsia]

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

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

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Review: Official Anthologies

I’m a bit reluctant to title this post “review” because it’s pretty hard to actually review these – the variation in art and stories is so great in each book. In the case of these anthologies, the word “official” just means that the stories were approved by Sunrise. These books don’t count as canon because the stories aren’t written by Nishida, but if you want more cute superheroes doing cute stuff, then there should be something for you in them…

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Review: Tiger & Barnaby’s character song CD

TVアニメ「TIGER & BUNNY」 キャラクターソング「正義の声が聞こえるかい」
(TV anime “Tiger & Bunny” Character Song “Seigi no Koe ga Kikoerukai”)

Artists: Wild Tiger/Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Hiroaki Hirata) & Barnaby Brooks Jr. (Masakazu Morita)
Drama Script: Masafumi Nishida
Song Lyrics: Saori Kodama
Composers: Kosuke Yamamoto (duet), Takuya Watanabe (Kotetsu’s song), Miki Fujisue (Barnaby’s song)
Buy: CDJapan | Amiami | Amazon Japan

The CD contains four drama tracks and three songs, tracklist here. Lyrics in kanji and romaji are available here. Anonymous translations of the songs and drama tracks here.

This is the first character CD I’ve actually bought, I confess I’m not a big fan of character songs. There are many voice actors who aren’t that great singers, and I was actually very surprised when I went to check how Hiroaki Hirata and Masakazu Morita sound when singing. (Though I think I’d have ordered this CD anyway even if I wasn’t encouraged by browsing their song samples on YouTube.) My memory of Morita’s voice was from almost 5 years ago when he sang the first Bleach character songs and I was totally floored when I heard his newer stuff. He’s developed tremendously, and Hirata is also a very good singer – though I was told he doesn’t actually like singing very much.

The drama tracks

The short drama tracks between the songs tie the whole CD together. They’re written by the series creator and screenwriter, Masafumi Nishida, and judging by the characterization the scenes probably take place somewhere between episodes 3 and 7. Barnaby is his early first cour tsun-tsun, and Kotetsu is… well, Kotetsu. I daresay the drama tracks are a bit nostalgic considering how the story in the series is currently proceeding. In my opinion they’re best part of the CD together with the duet.

The songs aren’t as well in character in my opinion as on Blue Rose’s CD, but the drama tracks serve really well to keep the feeling of the characters. (And unlike Blue Rose’s songs, these do not make cringe.)

Seigi no Koe ga Kikoerukai (the duet)

The duet was probably the song everyone (including me) was looking forward to the most, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is quite simply put fun. It’s fun to listen to, fun to sing along to, and just puts a huge grin on my face – especially when they get to the “lalalalala” part in the end. The lyrics are just the right kind of cheesy. Hirata and Morita’s voices work well together (much better than I expected!) and I’m actually left hoping they’d record more duets. The song itself isn’t really groundbreaking in any way, but it’s full of good feeling and definitely the best of the three on this CD.

Hamidashimono Sanka (Kotetsu’s song)

I think that Hirata doesn’t really sound like Kotetsu while singing this. And the feeling from the lyrics gives an impression that the singer is way older than Kotetsu’s estimated age. This isn’t a bad song, and it suits his voice well, but it can’t compete with the duet. There’s this a kind of a mellow feeling that I get from listening to Kotetsu’s song, I can’t really describe it in another way. Of the three, this song left the weakest impression on me.

POWER OF JUSTICE (Barnaby’s song)

This song is so Barnaby it hurts. The lyrics are – again – cheesy, but more in a comical way with gratuitous Engrish thrown into the mix. Morita has a pretty interesting pronunciation that wasn’t so prominent on the duet and that also leads to unintended hilarity when some words sound different from what they should. Also, he sings fairly well in character – he’s even kept Barnaby’s slight lisp (DOUTHITE?!). I didn’t notice him lisping that badly while singing when I listened to his other songs so I can only jot it down to “being in-character”. The song has a kind of a 90’s pop feel to it, which gives me slight nostalgia. I didn’t really like this song that much at first but now it’s grown on me.

Overall reception

The CD came out on Wednesday, and for a character CD it’s been doing incredibly well on the charts. It has been on 1st place on Amazon Japan’s anime music CD ranking, and also as high as the 6th place on the overall music CD ranking there. On the release day it was on 1st place on CDJapan’s daily anime CD ranking and it’s still hanging in the top 10 (and the day before its release it was 2nd on preorder list there). It’s also been on 6th and 5th places on Oricon’s daily CD single list, so it’s probably worth keeping an eye on the weekly ranking too!

Personally, I think Tiger & Barnaby’s CD was definitely worth the money. It doesn’t try too hard, and overall it’s a fun combination. Even the cover is epic in its own way, with Barnaby doing one of his “unfortunate” poses. I can only recommend. (^ω<)~☆

Review: Tiger & Bunny one-shot in Young Jump

Many people have probably already read the one-shot that was in Young Jump’s this week’s issue. Although it didn’t really bring anything new, it sure was a lot of fun with Bunny being tsun to the maximum and a lot of Heartwarming Hero Hijinks.

The story by Masafumi Nishida is pretty simple and seems to take place between episodes 7 and 8, after Lunatic’s appearance but before the whole “Let’s Believe HEROES” campaign and the heroes have to find new ways to increase their sagging popularity – or else face the wrath of Agnes if the ratings drop. Despite the simplicity, the manga is very in-character (and I wouldn’t expect anything less when it’s the series’ screenwriter scripting it). I thought the story was pretty easy to approach even for someone who doesn’t watch the anime, so it’ll probably draw some new fans in as was planned.

The art is of course excellent, drawn by the original character designer Masakazu Katsura. Personally, I don’t really like how he draws the female faces but the male characters look awesome. There’s an abundance of great expressions in the 39 pages of the manga, just see Keith above. And I think Katsura really really likes Barnaby’s pose that was on the cover of the 3rd Limited Edition BD. He uses it repeatedly from different angles, one example to the left. (Actually, and this is just my own opinion, this whole story was written just as an excuse for Katsura to draw Bunny in these poses. I’m not complaining, though!) After reading the manga I wish Kotetsu would look a bit older in the anime, too. Katsura’s version of Kotetsu looks even better than the one we’re used to seeing on TV. All the heroes got an appearance in this story, so no matter whose fan you are you’ll get something. Focus is still on Kotetsu and Barnaby, just like in the anime.

If you want some of those early series hero hijinks, definitely pick up this manga. I also saw that the description for the limited edition of Katsura’s Tiger & Bunny artbook mentioned this one-shot would be included too. I hope it’ll be also in the regular edition, since I totally missed my chance to order it.

EDIT: Since people are asking about Bunny and bread fanarts, here’s the explanation. This one-shot had a typo in Bunny’s character description, spelling his Hundred Power as 「ハンドブレッド・パワー」 “hunbread power”. Even director Satou joked about it on Twitter.

And some music news: Wild Tiger & Barnaby Brooks Jr. character song CD has a name now: “Seigi no Koe ga kikoerukai”. Wild Tiger’s character song will be played during Hoshizora Sunrise radio show on FM NACK5 on August 7th.

Tomorrow is Superhero Saturday again, if you want to join Sternbilders on waiting for the episode, hop on the IRC channel. Links to webchat and for IRC clients are in the top navigation!

Review: Official Books

The Official Hero Book and Hero TV Fan vol. 1 came out on Monday. Both books have pretty similar contents, but the presentation is different.

Tiger & Bunny Official Hero Book
Publisher: Ichijin-sha
ISBN: 978-4-7580-1233-1
Price: 980 JPY [Buy!]

Tiger & Bunny Hero TV Fan vol. 1
Publisher: Shufu-to-Seikatsu Sha
ISBN: 978-4-391-63215-6
Price: 980 JPY [Buy!]

I’ve listed the contents of each book here, and the lists are accurate. Continue reading here for more on what’s in them. (But first I have to apologize for being a really bad photographer with a really bad and outdated camera. No pretty photos but they should give you an idea of what the books look like.)

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