First Look: Tiger & Bunny 2

Anime original by Bandai Namco Pictures
Streaming on Netflix

Premise

Kotetsu T. Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks Jr. are back at it as the dynamic superhero duo Tiger and Bunny, fighting crime on the hit reality TV series, “HERO TV,” where corporate sponsored superheroes compete to earn points by apprehending criminals and saving lives. It’s been a few years since the events of the first season, and now the two must contend with a new generation of heroes, eager to to prove their mettle.

Gee’s verdict: Back in Action

Anime’s favorite bickering couple is back, and it feels like no time has passed at all. I mean this as a compliment, despite nearly a third of my life passing since Tiger & Bunny took over anime fandom, it feels unbelievably comfortable to slip back into wild world of Sternbild’s super powered antics. Episode 1 starts off strong with a reintroduction of our heroes, the setting, and the character dynamics that made us fall in love with them in the first place. Kotetsu and Barnaby’s hilariously petty spat eventually culminating in a fantastic bit of nonverbal teamwork to take down a bad guy is the best possible encapsulation you can get of their relationship. They’re usually fighting over some dumb bullshit, but when push comes to shove, the two are the best in the biz.

The introduction of the buddy system in T&B2 already feels like a ripe premise for the hilarious workplace comedy that often came up in the original. Comically sincere Sky High getting paired with flamboyant Fire Emblem is only rivaled by boisterous Rock Bison and blatant weeb Origami Cyclone’s equally comically awkward pairing. T&B’s greatest trait was always the likeable character dynamics and snappy writing, so putting characters together seems like a really smart way to get more of those kind of moments.

 

The plot element that seems like it could be potentially the most interesting but also the most generic is the introduction of a new generation of heroes, equally eager and hotheaded to make their mark as Barnaby was in season 1. Barnaby’s youthful arrogance struck a good contrast with Kotetsu’s world weary earnestness. Now that Barnaby is the old hand, it could be really interesting to see how he reacts to being seen as an experienced elder in his field. That said, that hinges on how well handled the new cast ends up being, and at least so far, I can’t say I’m super impressed with them yet. Mr Black and the hilariously named He Is Thomas initially come off as a less interesting version of the season 1 Tiger and Bunny dynamic. Meanwhile, the idol themed Magical Cat just seems like she was introduced to pair up with Dragon Kid, who often already suffered from being The Girl Who Isn’t Blue Rose. Still, it’s more Tiger & Bunny, and that’s hard to complain about. It feels like seeing a friend you haven’t run into in years, and finding out you can fall right back into the old motions. It just makes you wish it had happened even sooner.

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