Sunrise’s new original anime Tiger & Bunny sure is impressive so far. I liked the quirky flavor of the premise; it was like an obvious and playful jab at the advertisers who are part of the pieces fueling the production of an anime. As such, the many instances of product placement abound in the show are made to blend seamlessly with the whole anime, not as blatant or even shameless plugs than in other times. It’s certainly a unique series in that it revolves around such an external and unheard-of concept, and I wonder how its production came about. While the way advertising is treated in Tiger & Bunny is quite refreshing, it’s not going to matter much if the actual show itself wasn’t entertaining, which I’m glad to note otherwise. The two episodes of T & B so far were definitely entertaining, posing a good balance between its hook and its cast of characters. They’re all diverse and likable in their own right; their appeal stemming from their individual quirks.
Madhouse’s X-Men also continues to impress. They’ve brought in a surprisingly talented set of staff for episodes 1 and 2, and as a result episode 1 had considerably good production values. Admittedly, the show isn’t as heavy and full in terms of actual content, but I don’t think they were aiming for that anyway. It’s more a cheesy, campy nostalgia trip to the superhero shows way back when. It’s a good time-waster on dry weekends, and it’s not really a bad thing to watch the show just for that. I hear there’s more good people going aboard the show in future episodes, so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve seen Souichiro Matsuda credited on episode 1, but since there were a lot of good cuts there, especially in the beginning, I can’t pin him down. Other people involved in the show are Sushio, Chikashi Kubota (OP), and I think also Keisuke Watabe (OP, ep 1 animation).
It seems Dynamic Pro is busy promoting their properties these days. Just two years ago they secured another Mazinger anime, Shin Mazinger, and fast forward to today there’s a new Mazinkaiser anime, and now this. Another remake of a Go Nagai property, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera handled by Brains Base proved to be yet another series which started on the right foot. I was pumped for Mazinkaiser when it came out, but I have to admit the OVA series has been wildly uneven. From the wild, hot-blooded energy found in episode 1 to the incredibly flat feeling exposed in episode 2, it’s not as consistent as I imagined. Well, it’s only 3 episodes anyway, so it’s almost a sure thing that the whole anime would end on a massively explosive note.
What’s nice about this updating of the original 1973 TV anime is that, like Shin Mazinger, they didn’t appear to merely improve things on the audiovisual front by way of new animation and music, but they also added new ideas and embellishments to add to the new HD Dororon experience. It’s only the first episode, sure, but that’s the feeling the anime gave me. There really is quite a lot of interesting stuff going on moment after moment, but just enough to carry the episode through to its end. I also liked how these ideas aren’t saturated on a single scene, instead they’re divided quite evenly, making the episode consistently funny throughout. I especially liked how they used their gags, Harumi’s self-gags a prime example. Episode 1 was very precise and streamlined in its presentation, adeptly mixing together the irreverent humor that’s a Nagai signature with the equally wacky storyline.
Go Nagai isn’t appreciated by everybody because of the content of his properties, but there really is something very entertaining about his lowbrow and insane stories. They’re not simply there to offend, but in a sense there’s even something deeper hidden beneath his madness. It’s not all toilet humor and sex jokes, which I think is proven by the way his works have remained relevant and iconic even today. The man is hailed as one of the most influential figures in manga for a reason. Anyway, I like the way the director, Yoshitomo Yonetani (GaoGaiGar), still added his own touches to the ep, thereby giving it his own individual personality, all the while continuing to preserve the retro allure of the original product. I think that’s why they got a director who was involved in something as high-powered as a Braves series, much like how the hotblood master Yasuhiro Imagawa got tapped to direct Shin Mazinger.
I don’t know if I’m really going to actively blog a new spring series, even with all the impressive first few episodes that have aired. Maybe I’m going to have to wait until spring noitaminA finally airs until I make a choice, if I do decide to pick one at all. Kenji Nakamura’s [C] still looks very promising to me even with its lackluster second PV because I’m a Nakamura fan and that he has basically the same set of people from his Toei shows working with him here, so all that remains now is to actually get a taste of episode 1 before I can lay my doubts to rest.