I’ve made it no secret that I love Tiger & Bunny. I don’t watch many anime, but this is a show I dig. It’s about a duo of superheroes named Kotetsu and Barnaby, who go by the alternate identities of “Wild Tiger” and… Well, Barnaby doesn’t really have a superhero name until halfway through the series. Eventually though, they do call him “Bunny” and he gets used to it after a while. So yeah, the show is about these two heroes who start off hating each other and are forced to work together. After a while, the series evolves into a rather weird and unique action show. The show is weird, awesome, epic, goofy, silly, sad, and dark all at the same time. The show really managed to handle most of its elements in an interesting and constructive way.
So, it’s no wonder it is why Tiger & Bunny has recently been the number 1 anime in Japan. That’s right, the NHK recently released a list of the top 100 anime voted by the Japanese. Of course, this lead to some rather odd choices and placements on the list. For example, Akira is near the bottom of the list. Dragon Ball didn’t make it into the top 100 at all, in any of its iterations. Weirder still, Cowboy Bebop is ranked at 34. This is especially odd since Cowboy Bebop did terrible in Japan upon release and isn’t as well remembered as a lot of other titles. Still, it’s popularity in the west and other parts of the world probably spilled back into Japan and made it popular there too, at least that’s what I’m guessing.
It’s hard to believe that such a short series has resonated with Japanese audiences so much. The weirdest thing about this is that Tiger & Bunny has been off the air for 5 years, with the last iteration of the series coming out in 2014. Of course, there are talks to adapt it into a live-action film. Anime-to-film adaptations are usually terrible, but Tiger & Bunny is already pretty American in its style, so it would probably make for a perfect live-action adaptation. If done properly, that is. Back to the subject at hand, why did T&B score so well?
According to a friend, it’s because the Japanese tend to hold older shows in higher regard than other shows like One Piece and Naruto. Japan doesn’t cling to “fad” styled shows, and tends to enjoy series that have more staying power and click with audiences more. For example, people still hold cartoons like Spectacular Spider-Man and Batman Beyond as cult classics and examples of high quality animation in America. Japan just loves Tiger & Bunny, which is surprising considering Japan usually doesn’t take to anime with American influences. Like I said, Cowboy Bebop flopped, and Trigun didn’t do so well either.
Tiger & Bunny is one of those rare exceptions where I feel it really appeals to all audiences, regardless of where they are from or who they are. It’s not just a superhero show, a buddy comedy, a weird bromance sitcom, a character study, it’s all of these things and more. Am I saying Tiger & Bunny is better than all these other shows that ended up on the list? Of course not! That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your attention. With all the attention T&B is getting with this list, I think it’s a good time to get into show and watch it if you haven’t.