Anime Review Roundup

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Last week I took a look at Orange. In an industry where light novels with exceedingly long titles tend to be adapted to anime, this show is shocking enough with the vague brevity of its title. It’s also the kind of show that will be hard to find in the UK market, a romantic drama with a touch of sci-fi to it. I had to import Orange from the US. A girl gets a letter from her future self, filled with regrets, and warning that one of her friends will come to a tragic end if she doesn’t change the future. It’s a friend that she has no knowledge of, but then a new student transfers into her class. Orange is a really well put together show, with a compelling story giving focus to a cast of strong characters. It’s hamstrung a bit by its sci-fi leanings, but that’s no reason not to give the show a try.

This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning. This is the superhero anime franchise that should have prevailed. It’s smart, innovative and really does honour the Western comic book clichés and tropes that we have all come to expect from the superhero genre. In Tiger and Bunny, the superheroes have to deal with corporate sponsorship, as well as doing their heroing in a reality TV show format. But in every other respect, the character archetypes are familiar, given an anime twist. Instead, the franchise that won out was My Hero Academia, which instead settles for the familiar shonen tropes, levelling up through superior willpower and all that. Not that MHA isn’t a great show; it just feels safe in comparison. Having said that, the first Tiger and Bunny movie spin-off might not seem a great example at first glance; what looks like a recap movie of the series episodes. But it does something different again. The first half of the film recaps the first few episodes of the series, essentially the origin which sets the stage, introduces the characters and their world, and gives you an idea of what the story is all about. It also offers some new animation, and is edited to provide a stronger focus on the main characters. But the second half of the film is an all original story, which pits all of the heroes against a new supervillain original to the film, but done in a way that reflects where the characters are at this point of the story.

Tiger and Bunny didn’t have the best ride in the UK market, with the TV series coming from Kazé Entertainment via Manga, with their usual, limited release runs. You’ll be hard pressed to find those in UK shops (virtual or otherwise) now, but All the Anime picked up the two feature films for release, and those are still available to buy. Here’s my review of the first movie. They are well worth seeking out. And it seems that audiences are certainly ready for more Tiger and Bunny now, as ten years since the release of the original TV series, Netflix has commissioned a new, full length Tiger and Bunny run to continue the story, and that will see a release next month on the streaming service. Hopefully, when that gets a home video release, the original series can be revisited as well.

Funimation released Orange on BD/DVD combo in 2017, and the Blu-ray only Essentials budget release came out in 2018.

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