It’s not often that I watch anime as it airs. I could never really do the weekly episode thing, as I usually end up forgetting to watch a show and letting the episodes pile up. That’s not really any different here either, as until a few days ago I had only seen the first four episodes of Tiger & Bunny, somehow managing to fall nine weeks behind. I also don’t review currently airing series very often, partially because of the aforementioned not watching them, and partially because I just prefer to wait for DVD/BD releases. But since I really like Tiger & Bunny, and it’s being simulcast (even though I can’t watch the simulcast because I don’t live in the US, United Kingdom, or Australia. (Seriously. God damn Australia gets a simulcast and Canada doesn’t)) I figure I might as well review it now that it’s about halfway finished.
Sternbild City and its citizens are protected from danger by a group of NEXT, individuals who have developed super powers, who play the role of heroes on a reality TV show. They get points for saving people and arresting criminals, and each hero has sponsors whose logos appear on their costumes. Wild Tiger is an older member of this group of heroes who has a habit of destroying property in the process of saving people. Things change for him when his sponsor company is bought out, and he’s forced to work with a partner that he has trouble getting along with.
Right off the bat Tiger & Bunny gets points for having an interesting concept. In a time where people are often complaining about anime lacking originality (hardly surprising for a medium made up mostly of adaptations of existing properties) it’s pretty great when a series actually tries to do something new. So a series about superheroes who compete with each other on a reality TV show, like crime fighting is some kind of game, really manages to separate itself from the rest of the herd. Though the reality TV show aspect isn’t as prevalent the further you get into the series, and the idea is never quite utilized to its full extent. That’s a little disappointing since there’s probably some interesting things you could do with a setting where characters view super heroes the same way we do, as characters who exist to entertain them, even if they’re also saving their lives.