Tiger&Bunny and the Short History of Sponsors and Product Placement

If you’re a new fan who watched the whole series on Netflix, moving on from S1 to the movies and S2 may feel jarring. Netflix version of S1 in the west has scrubbed the sponsor logos that were in the original, leaving just blank spots, but the movies and S2 have them intact. The original concept was that the sponsor logos could be replaced, adjusting the show to whatever region it aired in. To our knowledge that never came to be, so the only versions are the original and the logoless.

An advertisement in a newspaper in November 2010, seeking sponsors for the heroes.

Without the sponsors Tiger&Bunny may never have come to be. It is a very American style show, something that was niche in Japan, so making it was risky. Superheroes are a popular genre in tokusatsu shows but they’re different from American superheroes. The ensemble cast of heroes was also ahead of its time, which may not be apparent to new fans watching it now. We’re used to MCU’s steady release schedule of new movies and series, but when it aired in 2011, Marvel was still getting on with their first phase. Iron Man came out in 2008 and it wasn’t a guaranteed hit, and its success jump started the larger MCU. In 2011, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger were just released and The Avengers would hit the box office the following year in 2012. (DCU hadn’t even gotten started yet, but who’s counting…) The long wait for S2 may have caused Tiger&Bunny to slip under the radar, but coming back to it now it feels like it hasn’t aged at all.

Tiger&Bunny can be seen as a commentary on reality TV and the commercialization of superheroes, with the heroes being employed by in-universe corporations and sporting real world sponsor logos while capturing criminals and saving people during a live TV broadcast. This point is further enhanced by the differences in Tiger and Barnaby’s views on the job at the start of the series. Despite this, the fans love the sponsors and are eager to see the new announcements. The real world brands sponsoring the on-screen heroes have themed campaigns running, though most of them are Japan exclusive. There were far more sponsors applying for S2 than they had placements available – and this is even with the hilarious amount of logos on the Double Chaser bike. (Sadly, Tenga still hasn’t reached their dream of sponsoring Barnaby, but maybe it’s for the best because that collaboration campaign wouldn’t be PG rated.) Back in the Summer of 2011 when the second part of S1 started, Origami Cyclone had amassed the most sponsor logos, and even on S2 he’s the most sponsored hero with eight different brands on his hero suit.

Sacred Seven was the other Sunrise show airing at the same time as Tiger&Bunny,
and it was the one that was expected to succeed.

We don’t have information on how the sponsorship deals work, but we can assume that they were a key part in Tiger&Bunny even being made, because the studio at the time had no faith in its success. The popularity took off unexpectedly and it caught Sunrise and Bandai off guard. There was very little merchandise available to begin with, and the clear files and keychains that were available were sold out instantly. So the fans turned to alternate merchandise in their hunger to buy something. The show featured a lot of vague product placement and references to real world items, so for example a specific Kenzo perfume shot up in popularity.

When more merchandise was finally released, getting a figure of your favorite hero was a real struggle. The SOLD OUT is still a real thing with S2 if you dally with placing your pre-orders. Those who have been fans since 2011 will undoubtedly have their war stories of trying and failing to get a piece of merchandise. I know we do… Does this make us slaves to commercialized superheroes?

If you’re a new fan, what do you think of the sponsor logos or the lack of them? How does Tiger&Bunny compare to other media in the superhero genre? Leave a comment here or on Twitter, or join the discussion on our Discord. Links are in the sidebar!

NEXT Up: Ouroboros!

The first half of S2 has been out for a few weeks and we’ve had some time to arrange our thoughts and engage in light speculation. There’s still much we don’t know about, but nothing’s going to stop the conspiracy theories when they get going. It’s time to grab a tinfoil hat and talk about our favorite secret society…

There are spoilers for everything, so if you haven’t seen the new episodes yet maybe hop over to Netflix and come back in about 6 hours. Sound good?

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TIGER & BUNNY S2 – The Social Aspect and the Netflix Treatment

It’s been a while since we’ve been blogging, and blogging again. And right now we’re not so sure about how much blogging we’ll do about season 2. It’s not just about how much our lives have changed since the first season (it’ll be 11 years when S2 airs – we’re no longer students, we have day jobs and commitments) but also the fact that it’ll be on Netflix and the first cour will be released in one go.

A large part of the experience for first season, probably for most of the people who got into TIGER & BUNNY while it was still airing, was waiting for the next episode to come out. Waiting, discussing, theorizing, talking about the plot and the characters. The wait for the final episode was both excruciating (and filled with carbs) and a lot of fun. We literally talked about TIGER & BUNNY every day for months. This social aspect is really important and I’m not sure if the series would have gathered the following it did if it had been released in one go for streaming. It might have been fast forgotten if it hadn’t been for the fans talking about it so much throughout the entire first season as it aired.

Times change, and binging a series can be fun – we’ve probably all been there with “just one more episode”. A binged series has to be great to make it memorable, it’s just too easy to zone out mentally when you’re on a full day marathon through the season. There’s no time to digest what you just watched when the next episode is already queued. Streaming platforms dedicated to anime (Crunchyroll, Wakanim, etc.) still do weekly releases, and Disney+ has been successful releasing an episode per week for their MCU series – although some of them actually work better when binged, and they feel like they were made for binging despite the weekly releases. Netflix is the outlier here and we sort of wish S2 would be streamed somewhere else.

The first season is currently available on Netflix in my country. They have removed all sponsor logos from the hero suits (which makes the opening sequences very awkward without nothing to zoom to) and the episodes lack the C-part. Not including the C-part (the stinger after the ending and before next episode preview) is like walking out of a Marvel movie the moment the credits start rolling. Many episodes had vital plot points in the C-part. So, if any of you have watched the first season only on Netflix, we urge you to find another version and check it out. This is the biggest problem with the Netflix release, parts of the episodes missing without good reason, and it raises a worry if S2 will have these mindless edits.

Lastly, there’s the QUALITY GYM. Parts of S1 production were rushed which shows in animation quality – something that is very common in anime as new episodes are produced while the show is already airing. Having half of the season released in one go means more even and higher quality… but the QUALITY of S1 had its own charm. If you haven’t seen the TV versions of the episodes, you might not realize how big the differences were.

Check some examples below, comparison of TV version and the corrections made for blu-ray release:

Season 2 Updates!

Hello guys, it’s time that we bring you up to speed with the current Taibani shenanigans in our world of 2021 (which is also the 10th anniversary of the series), as so much has happened, it’s absolutely surreal.

First and most importantly, TIGER & BUNNY 2, the sequel series to the original show, will be airing in April 2022! This will be a 25 episodes production, exclusively distributing on Netflix worldwide, split into 2 parts. Episodes 1-13 will be available immediately, whilst the latter part will be aired at a later date!/

Season 2 key visual.

TIGER & BUNNY 2 will follow the events after The Rising and will have the returning cast that we all know and love to voice our now senior Heroes! To be produced by Bandai Namco Pictures this time around and will be helmed by new director to the series, Mitsuko Kase. There is a small description of the series over on the main TIGER & BUNNY site:

“Stern Bild City is a place where various races, ethnic groups, and people with special abilities called NEXT coexist, and where there are heroes who use their NEXT abilities to protect the peace. The heroes, carrying the logos of their sponsors, are busy solving crimes and saving lives in order to improve the image of their companies and earn hero points. Their activities are broadcast on the popular TV program “Hero TV”, where they compete in the annual ranking to become the King of Heroes. Today as well, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks Jr. continue their hero activities for the sake of peace, and to improve the image of their company, Apollon Media. The Hero System that originated in Stern Bild has now been introduced in various parts of the world, the number of heroes is on the rise, and new heroes have entered Stern Bild too. Kotetsu and Barnaby are expected to play an active role as senior heroes, but will they?!”

And if that wasn’t enough for you, there’s more! Before April’s release, a public event will be held on Saturday 12th March 2022 at the Makuhari Messe Event Hall in Japan, titled “TIGER & BUNNY 2 Precious EVE”. Hirata Hiroaki (Kotetsu) & Morita Masakazu (Barnaby) will be appearing, along with more guest appearances (to be announced) to celebrate the upcoming release.

This event will be split into 2 sessions, a day time & evening session. The daytime session will focus on T&B2 info, which includes the reveal of new characters & new company sponsors for the suits. The evening session will include a stage reading by the cast and a look back on the history of the series & the future. There will be live streaming & pay-per-view options to watch the event. Not currently confirmed if it is region blocked or not, but more details will follow!

So plenty of Taibani content to look forward to in 2022! It’s so crazy to see something that we were obsessed over on a week to week basis all the way back in 2011, is returning in such a powerful stride, 11 years later. Excitement doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling, I don’t think any words really can! But what we can confidently say is that we’ll be watching in April and we hope that you will be too.

Stay up to date on all TIGER & BUNNY related news over on our Twitter or come chat with us on Discord!

text by jazzy, editing by derpchan