Tiger & Bunny is a new anime program current airing weekly in Japan and simulcast on Hulu and Viz Anime. Produced by Sunrise it's directed by Keiichi Satou (best known for his work on Big O). The series revolves around a couple of super heroes who fight crime while driving ad revenue and product placement for a hero themed television program.
Episode 4 of Tiger & Bunny is centered around the young Karina Lyle, best know as the hero Blue Rose. After a less than inspired performance she finds herself trapped in a quandary: pursue her dreams of being a singer or continue to protect the public as one of the cities' most popular heroes?
Most of the episode is centered around exploring Karina's character. Still in high school she's an inspiring artist who signed on as Blue Rose under the promise of it being an opportunity to springboard her singing career. Her parents, despite her father's disapproval of her revealing costume, support her decision (if reluctantly) to play a hero.
Following an 'armored' car chase Blue Rose is caught off guard when the escaping perp opens fire on her. Thankfully Bunny is able to rush to the rescue but the incident creates quite a bit of embarrassment for her sponsors. A heated exchange with her manager follows and she sinks further into her internal conflict.
While at the gym she is confronted by Tiger who criticizes her need to be appreciated as a hero. His words, though she immediately dismisses them, stick with her. They also catch Barnaby off guard who is later seen repeating the message on TV.
What can I get for one dollar?
Through further conversation with Tiger and her parents we're taken deeper into her desires and conflicting career choices. The episode reaches an explosive conclusion when our heroes set off to rescue a worker trapped on an ablaze oil platform. Blue Roze must make the hard decision of continuing on as a hero or quit and peruse a singing career on her own.
From the start of the series Blue Rose gathered a lot of attention from the anime community. Fan service will do that. It's nice to see that they spent the time developing her character early on in the season. They do a fine job as well, considering that her indecision basically boils down youthful immaturity. It would have been all too easy to take things too far (e.g. brooding teenage angst) and the writers did a good job in bringing a level of maturity to a character who otherwise might not have received it.
Though the focus is mainly on Blue Rose the episode could have just been titled "Wild Tiger Shows off his Cool." It's easily his best performance to date. His attitude toward being a hero, presented as naive in the previous episodes, is now portrayed as a positive quality. It seems to me that Tiger's attitude, in contrast with personal gains, is the main theme of this series.
OMG want to try a hot dog?!
During a brief scene with Blue Rose and her classmates they express odd excitement toward visiting a sushi bar. I can't help but wonder what Japanese viewers thought of their comments. It must be akin to hearing someone on an American sitcom get excited about having a sandwich.
On a random point, the studio's choice of voice actor for Rose's manager is quite odd. The character looks like a well kept Tony Stark while the voice would fit better against a of a smaller sized, less masculine, figure. The conflict between the voice and the figure speaking make it difficult to side either way with the manager's opinion.
Last week it was pointed out to me that all the character outlines are done in brown. Without that comment I would never have noticed. Is this a new thing or am I just that oblivious? Regardless, it works great within Tiger & Bunny, especially since most of the locations are painted in warm colors. Another thing I failed to notice until now is how detailed the backgrounds are. While watching episode 4 be on the lookout for the brief introductory shot of the damaged oil rig. Even though goes by rather quickly in comparison it's incredibly detailed and designed.
The next episode seems to focus on Barnaby a bit and may be our first exposure to NEXT 'super villains.' Looking forward to it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a sudden desire for Coke.
There sure are some creepy expressions in this series...