Blu-ray Review: Tiger & Bunny – The Beginning

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Tiger & Bunny return in their first movie outing, but what exactly can we expect from Anime Limited’s Blu-ray release of the film? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning

Synopsis:

The metropolis of Sternbild is protected by a range of superheroes, competing on live TV for the title of King of Heroes. The oldest and least cool of them is the middle-aged widower Wild Tiger, who leads his non-hero life as Kotetsu Kaburagi. During a battle with gangsters, a new hero shows up; this is the handsome Barnaby Brooks, who has the same powers as Kotetsu but far more star presence.

To Kotetsu’s dismay, his commercial sponsor is bought out and his new boss insists he becomes Barnaby’s sidekick. Burning with resentment, Kotetsu gives Barnaby the unflattering nickname of Bunny. Can this quarrelling pair work together to fight crime?

Our View:

Movie adaptations of a TV Series can always be a “hit or miss” scenario, especially when they are re-telling a story that’s already been told, and this feature length instalment of Tiger & Bunny is no exception.  Fortunately this movie adaptation of the Tiger & Bunny TV Series does things differently by introducing new scenes, a new enemy and a deeper look at the main protagonist’s backgrounds.  Put simply it’s the same old Tiger & Bunny storyline, but with a new twist.

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Introducing Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning; a feature length movie that retells the opening events of the series with a few surprises thrown in. That’s the film in a nutshell, but interestingly there is more to be seen than just comparisons. Over the next 91 minutes viewers will be re-introduced to the city of Stern Bild, the NEXT Ability and the unlikely (but comical) partnership between superhero veteran Kotetsu Kaburagi and newcomer Barnaby Brooks Jr. But that’s not all, as not only do various characters pasts get explored, but a new criminal appears on scene with a unique ability – teleportation.

Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning can easily be broken into multiple segments, but in reality there is only two.The first 50 minutes is basically the first two episodes re-edited together with new scenes to offer a more natural story progression, meanwhile the films remaining 40 minutes features a brand new storyline whereby the heroes team-up to catch a new criminal. It’s this balance of “new & old” that makes this retelling of Tiger & Bunny so unique, as while the initial content is familiar it has traces of new scenes to make it a completely new experience as opposed to a summary.

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Another trait I liked about the movie is that it seemed to cut out the filler segments, such as Kotetsu’s goffiness, and focus more on the story. For instance both Kotetsu’s and Barnaby’s reasons for becoming heroes are shown (in full) and more to the point Kotetsu’s motivation for keeping being a hero are shown, something which was not disclosed in the TV Series.  There is plenty of new surprises and discoveries to be had, while at the same it still deliveries the story to set out to do.

Extras:

While some viewers may find the movie “hit and miss” you’ll undoubtedly be amazed by the type of content included in the extras, especially if you are a fan of Tiger & Bunny. The usual suspect of various promotional trailers and text less songs are all included, but it is the inclusion of the World Premiere Event that I find the most interesting.

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The reason for this is because the World Premiere event is a 2 hour long feature which was shown before/after the films Japanese premiere and was originally broadcast online. This world premiere event contains musical performances from various artists, such as songs that were used in the film, along with conversation with the voice actors and a few comedy sketches.

For me the inclusion of the World Premiere Event is really surprising, as it’s a feature that’s very rarely included on “outside-Japan” discs, but I am glad it is included as it provides some quality entertainment and a closer look at how popular franchises are promoted in Japan. Of course if you don’t fancy sitting through 2 hours of pure entertainment, then there is a variety of other traditional content to tempt you.

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Various trailers, such as a Preview of the film, a trailer on the films plot and a collection of TV Adverts are all included but to spice-things-up (yet again) the Weekly Hero Countdown is also available for viewing. The Weekly Hero Countdown was a promotion in Japan that allowed fans to vote for their favourite hero and over the course of five weeks the top five were revealed. Each of these five announcements are all included, with each video containing snippets from the film itself.

While there is a lot of extra content included all of it is presented in Japanese with English subtitles, so if you are looking for English related content (such as English Trailers) then you’ll be disappointed as there isn’t any.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50
Region: B
Running Time: 1:31:45
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio:  DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning is a movie adaptation of the Tiger & Bunny TV Series, with it bringing new scenes, new twists and a brand new enemy. If you’ve seen Tiger & Bunny before then you’ll relive some classic moments from and make new ones, but if you’re new to the franchise then prepare for some superhero madness, as it’s the same cast of characters but with a brand new twist.

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Whether you’ve seen the film before or not it’s entertaining from start to finish and it provides a ‘near-complete’ story to tell. Majority of the film maybe a re-cap of the opening episodes of the TV Series, but it has variety and more importantly it doesn’t feel like a mash-up of several episodes, instead the story flows naturally until its conclusion.

It’s not just the film that I found highly entertaining either, as the wealth of extras means that this particular Blu-ray release can be watched time and time again as it potentially offers two different viewing experiences. The first experience is of course the movie, while the second is a look at its promotional events, both of which will bring around 4 hours of viewing. It’s not just the combination of movie & extra content that makes this a worthwhile release, but the audio presented is also impressive. Both English & Japanese audio tracks are presented in 5.1 DTS Surround but it’s the same voice actors as the TV Series, unlike other movie adaptations of TV Series (Ghost in the Shell for instant).

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With Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning what you get is what you see, an re-introduction to how Tiger & Bunny came to be, but more importantly it provides a deeper backstory to the main characters and showcases a new enemy threat that acts as a nice closure to the film as opposed to a cliff-hanger. If you’re new to Tiger & Bunny then you’ll find all of the important information here in this film, but if you are a fan of the franchise then watching the film will provide you with some more clarification on your favourite characters. Either way, Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning is a must own release from Anime Limited and you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.

Score: review-stars-5

Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning will be available as a Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack from the 17th March 2014.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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