Truth be told, I wasn’t too intrigued about TIGER & BUNNY when I first saw some promos for it. I’m never keen on the integration of 3D characters into 2D animation, and the cel-shaded armor models were getting paraded around in the aforementioned previews like there was nothing else in the show. Some of you lunatics suggested I check it out because of my background in American superheroes, and that was actually a funny request. I’ve been up in the respective universes of Marvel and DC so solidly for so long that I have a reflexive disinterest in any superheroes not produced by either company. It’s about as fast-acting as my aversion to the classic monsters. I’ve just that I've seen every angle, so many times already, and I roll my eyes any time somebody comes along with the bright idea that self-parodying superheroes is an idea that hundreds of haven’t already come up with.
Of course, I get proven wrong every so often by flicks like THE INCREDIBLES, and I’ll readily add TIGER & BUNNY to that echelon as well. Oddly enough, it’s not actually that interesting as an “outside looking in” take on the American idiom of the superhero (which really shouldn’t be novel anymore since Japan's been doing its takes on Spider-Man and Batman, et al, since the 60s, at least.) Aside from the very JRPG-like points system, I can break down where a lot of the ideas have been done before - - superhero celebrities in YOUNGBLOOD, reality show coverage of their antics in X-STATIX, corporate sponsorship in MYSTERY MEN - - but the execution’s sharp as a fang and claw.
Actually, this was one of the finest pilots I’ve watched throughout the course of this column. It takes care to actually set its cast up and make them clearly identifiable. It throws its hook in quickly and reels it while its plot is moving. It sets up a larger story while having an arc contained in this one episode. It actually even seems to be aware of the spoiler-y expectations you might have from the intro (and, hell, the title itself) and plays with those in the cliffhanger. This was made by people who know what they're doing.
More importantly, it’s a show that’s already good, not one that needs six more episodes to get good. Count me in for more.
Watch this episode "All’s Well That Ends Well" below, decide for yourself.