First Look: Tiger Mask W

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Manga adaption by Toei
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Under the leadership of the mysterious Miss X, the Global Wrestling Monopoly is coming to Japan to take down its biggest stars. They’re led by a mysterious masked man known only as Tiger the Dark. Japan’s only hope is its own wrestling superstar, the legendary Tiger Mask!

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Zigg’s verdict: Let Me Tell You Something Brother

This entire first episode was about as meat-and-potatoes as animated storytelling can be in 2016, a testament to its 1960’s origins. It’s at its best when it embraces the ludicrous theatre that pro-wrestling already is. I’m completely down with secret death climbs and mysterious Illuminati wrestling societies, and as you’d expect form the director of the much loved (well, here at least) Marvel Disk Wars it’s absolutely superb at walking the fine line between a straight face and outright nodding and winking camp. The problem is that everything outside of those moments of insanity already feels like its dragging. The characters are so poorly sketched and our introduction to them so lacklustre it’s difficult to get excited about what should be Naoto’s triumphant debut as Tiger Mask, or his quest for his father/mentor/???’s attacker. Toei also maintains their reputation for laughably inadequate animation here, along with some extremely odd direction choices – seriously, your climatic episode ending fight consists of two sleeper holds? This one could swing hard either way depending on the creative direction they choose, but for now my love of puroresu means it’ll get another episode from me at least.

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Iro’s verdict: Flashback to the 80s

Seriously, watching this show is like I’m watching an old cartoon made before I was born. It’s got pro-wrestling, a villainous temptress, a friend-turned-rival… it hits all the cliches in the book, and it’s very much doing so on purpose. There’s definitely a place for this sort of thing, and you probably already know if you’re interested in a pro-wrestling themed fight show. Sorry, Toshiaki Komura; as much as I enjoyed Marvel Disk Wars, Tiger Mask W isn’t really doing it for me. If I’m going to be watching a goofy kids’ show reboot of an old franchise this season, it’s going to be Time Bokan 24 instead.

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