Super Manga! Tiger & Bunny

Are you a lifelong fan of DC and Marvel superhero comics, curious about manga but put off by the sheer volume of titles to explore? Chris Maka has your back! Super Manga! will explore a variety of manga titles that feature superheroes or very close analogs that you may have find to your liking.    

I'm going to start with Tiger & Bunny, one of the most overtly superhero genre manga/anime titles out there. Tiger & Bunny tells the story of a bunch of superheroes in Stern Bild City, an alternate reality version of New York City (delivering the creatively anachronistic feel that I love in so many manga/anime titles). Super-powered individuals are called "NEXT" (Noted Entities with eXtraordinary Talents), and each hero works for a corporate sponsor and wears advertising for their main sponsor and additional sponsors on their uniform. The sponsors do it for advertising and promotional purposes (and help cover the costs of post super-battle repairs and cleanup) and the heroes are given quasi-official law enforcement status. Tiger & Bunny is, overall, fairly light in its approach, so these aspects aren't generally drilled down to a point where they become dark or overly serious.
The fun and creative set of superheroes featured in Tiger & Bunny.

In addition, the heroes all participate on a popular television program called "Hero TV", where they compete for points each "season" to become the "King of Heroes". Point are awarded for being "First on Scene" or "Apprehend[ing] a Criminal". Pressure is put on the heroes to perform at a high level to compete for the King of Heroes title or at least finish close to the top in the points rankings.

The series' main focus is Wild Tiger (secret ID, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi), a somewhat bumbling but good-hearted hero who is more concerned with doing good and helping people than publicity and points. Like a professional athlete, he's also perceived to be "past his prime" as he's in, I believe, his early 30's. Because of the amount of property damage he does, his main sponsor drops him, and he's picked up by another that will only keep him active if he partners with Barnaby Brooks Jr.
Tiger's original costume is so much better than that green armor they stick him in for most of the series!

Tiger teasingly dubs Barnaby "Bunny" because Barnaby goes by his real name and refuses to adopt a superheroic nom de guerre and takes everything very seriously (and, Tiger maintains, the helmet wings on Barnaby's costume look like rabbit ears).
Yeah, I don't really see it either, but whatever.

As you might expect, Tiger and Barnaby are a classic odd couple who are at each other's throats initially as much as they work together. Needless to say, they learn to respect each other over time, and each has a positive influence on the other. As the two characters grow, they also impact the other superheroes in the series, driving them to be more genuinely superheroic, working together as a team, and less concerned with points and attention.

Tiger & Bunny started out as an anime in 2011, and is one of the few titles where I will recommend the anime over the manga. It has been adapted into a manga, but I honestly believe that it would be confusing and not as enjoyable to someone who has never watched the anime. The anime is only 25 episodes long (blissfully compact for most anime titles) and is available in dubbed and subtitled versions on Hulu and Netflix. I know many anime purists only watch subbed episodes, but the writing and voice acting in the dubbed version are both excellent. 

If you're a fan of superhero comics or animation and want to dip your toes into the crazy fun storytelling of manga/anime, Tiger & Bunny should be a fun and familiar first foray for you. Give it a watch and let me know what you think!

Chris Maka is a veteran video game and mobile app developer who also happens to be an illustrator himself (he has an online portfolio and additional artwork up on his DeviantArt page). He also tweets and instagrams occasionally. Chris started the Creative Encouragement Facebook group, dedicated to encouraging and motivating folks to not worry about how good they are and just have fun creating -- everyone is welcome, so please come join the fun! Chris is one of the Fifth World's founders and editors, and if you want to communicate at him directly, you can email him at

Super Manga! Tiger & Bunny Super Manga! Tiger & Bunny Reviewed by Chris Maka on Tuesday, December 05, 2017 Rating: 5
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