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Manga Review: ‘Tiger & Bunny’ Volume One by Mizuki Sakakibara

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Tiger & Bunny Volume One is a manga by Mizuki Sakakibara that is based on the anime series produced by Sunrise. This volume was published in North America by Viz Media in 2013. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read so far, I would agree with this rating.

45 years prior to the start of the series, superpowered individuals known as “NEXT” started appearing through a mysterious mutation. Some of them have become superheroes who protect Stern Bild, and each of the city’s famous superheroes work for a sponsor company. Their heroic activities are broadcast on the popular television show Hero TV, where they accumulate points for each heroic feat they accomplish. The best ranked hero of the season is crowned “King of Heroes.”

The main focus of the series is on Kotetsu Kaburagi, who is the real identity for the hero Wild Tiger.  He’s a veteran superhero past his prime and has a total disregard for private property when he’s trying to nab the villains. During an episode of Hero TV, he ends up being rescued by Barnaby Brooks, Jr., a new superhero in the city. Unlike Wild Tiger and the others, Barnaby doesn’t even try to hide his identity for the audience, and Barnaby considers Kotetsu to be an old man.

Kotetsu and Barnaby have to become a team after their sponsor, Apollon Media, decides it wants to create the first superhero duo the world has ever known. The remainder of the volume focuses on the interactions between this mismatched duo of heroes.

One of the standout qualities of this manga volume to me was the art. The style stays true to the original anime series, and there’s some good use of detail in some of the panels. This manga is definitely very nice to look at, especially for readers who are already familiar with the Tiger & Bunny anime series.

I have to say that I really enjoy the story in Tiger & Bunny. Let’s be honest, having superheroes in Japanese manga isn’t a very common thing, so this concept is a bit more unique for manga. Having the superheroes participating in a reality TV show also adds a modern touch to the story, and this also helps to make the story of Tiger & Bunny feel rather unique in comparison to other manga series.

The character interactions are also a strong component of Tiger & Bunny, and in this volume, this is especially true for Kotetsu and Barnaby. They’re a perfectly mismatched duo. and they serve as the perfect foil for the other. Their interactions are a major driving force of the story in this volume after they become a team.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this first volume of the Tiger & Bunny manga series, and I didn’t want to put it down as I was reading it. The way the two main characters are built up in this volume, the reader becomes engrossed in the characters and their world; I definitely want to try to read the second volume of this series at such a time as I am able to. I believe this is a series that could potentially appeal to readers who read American superhero comics but don’t read manga. It also should hold appeal to readers who enjoy manga as well.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.