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Tiger and Bunny (2011) [Part 2]

The first volume of Tiger and Bunny was a treat for anime fans who have been sorely missing the kind of slick, cool show that seemed to define anime during the Cowboy Bebop era. Even better for those who also have a love for American superhero comics and movies- the show is a much more effective fusion of the two than the disappointing Marvel anime project. The initial batch of episodes largely operated as standalones, but by the end hints of a larger story arc began to creep in- with Barnaby seeking revenge for his parent's death and the introduction of rogue vigilante Lunatic. Fun as they were, the first few episodes were just a tasty starter, with volume two (episodes 8-13) we get to get our teeth into the main course.

For the uninitiated, Tiger and Bunny takes place in a world where super-powered individuals work as state-sanctioned heroes, fighting crime and protecting the weak. What really makes the series unique. is that their exploits are broadcast as a reality show Hero TV- so aside for their usual heroic duties, they must also fight for ratings and to win sponsorships. It' s this need for ratings that have lead the suits to team up veteran hero Wild Tiger, with the younger, more popular Barnaby (a.k.a. Bunny). If you've seen any buddy cop movie ever, I don't really need to tell you where this is heading.

The second volume builds on the good work done in the first volume and only improves on it. There are still a couple of strong single episode stories and these allow characters outside the titular duo to take centre stage. The protagonists are universally likeable, foibles and all, so it's enjoyable to spend time with them. However as the series heads to the halfway point, it begins instead to concentrate on a more emotionally satisfying larger storyline that spans most of the episodes on this disc. The stakes are raised and things take a definite turn for the more dramatic but the series never loses it's sense of fun. The action too continues to be outstanding. This volume also introduces some suitably dastardly villains, who add to the comic-book atmosphere. As an added bonus for dub aficionados, one of these baddies is voiced by one Steve “Spike Spiegel” Blum. Some fans will also be amused that the plotline takes a turn that is (coincidentally) very reminiscent of the last act of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.

All in all, fans of the first volume will not be disappointed. The series only seems to be improving as it goes along. The reality-TV satire is less important this time around -although it never goes away- and things get a bit darker. The series continues to look great, with the overuse of CGI being the only sticking point. The character designs look great, as do the hero suits themselves. They just don't mesh that well. This is of course down to personal preference, and it might not trouble you in the least. As with the first release, the Kaze UK Blu-ray/DVD combo is a bit of a throwback to the bad-old-days in terms of episode count, proving distinctly stingy in comparison to the 13 offered by the US release. These relatively minor quibbles aside this is an extremely enjoyable release and offers more entertainment value than some series with more than double the run time. If your wallet will let you, you will not regret picking this up.

 Tiger & Bunny Part 2   is available from KAZE UK. Tiger and Bunny Set 1 :[Episodes 1-13] is available in the US from VIZ MEDIA