Tiger & Bunny 2 Review

It’s time for the return of Tiger & Bunny. This sequel gets us some new heroes to change the dynamic a bit and we get fights which are always good but ultimately don’t make a ton of progress in the grand scheme of things. At this point it may be fair to say that the series doesn’t intend on actually taking the villain organization down for the count and instead they are planned to be here for the long haul as a constant obstacle for the heroes. Season 2 still doesn’t match the full potential that it could have had as a very slow start holds up its progress but the climax was very solid. Ultimately I would still lean on season 1 being the better season even though this one had the better visuals.

The series starts off with mainly exploring each of the new team dynamics. See, the government in charge of the heroes, in all of their wisdom has decided that heroes shouldn’t be solo anymore. They should all be a part of the buddy system and so everyone is divided up into pairs. Of course Tiger & Bunny are already a team so there is no change for them. In a way it’s a bit embarrassing that they aren’t leading the ranks which causes some disputes but at this point it’s nothing too serious. Tiger & Bunny get along way better than they did in season 1 and I like that their development really stuck. Now when they fight it’s all in good fun and nobody takes anything too personally.

So the first half of the reason really has each team get an episode as they try to work with each other. Unfortunately most of those episodes are on the weaker side and do little to make the characters more likable. One of my main issues with the series has always been that the cast isn’t quite as likable as you would expect. A lot of them are okay and so you can get through the show easily enough but you don’t have many standout characters. Some are better than they used to be like Fire Emblem while others have sharply fallen like Origami Cyclone so it doesn’t feel like a whole lot has changed. There are two new characters, He Is Thomas (I’m just going to be calling him Thomas for the rest of the review) and Mr. Black. Both are characters that are very interesting and had a lot of potential but I didn’t feel like they ever lived up to that.

I’ll break down each of the team up episodes a bit while going over the characters. The first one is about Tiger & Bunny so there’s not too much that needs to be said there. Their characters have already been explored a lot. As always I tend to prefer Bunny as he’s more impulsive and ready to just jump into action. Tiger has the stronger moral compass as he’s been a hero for much longer and wants to do the right thing no matter what. They make for a good team even if Bunny has to hold Tiger up a bit more now that Tiger’s powers are running out sooner. With all that said…it’s still crazy that normal bank robbers can actually give the entire hero cast a run for their money though.

At this point it’s a bit of a running gag but it still just feels a little crazy. These heroes may not all have the strongest of abilities but it should be a simple matter to take these crooks down. It always feels like the show is stalling for time to introduce the heroes but there have to be better ways of doing this than by nerfing them. It’s just not going to be worth it to hurt the hero reputations like this. I suppose it does make things even more believable when Fugan and Mugan are taking heroes down left and right though. Usually each episode ends with them beating up a bunch of other heroes in the background as they get closer to the main series. I do think that this is a compelling plot point as you are waiting for them to appear the whole time. The flash forward at the beginning was also a really good way to set things up even if it takes forever to get back there.

We start to learn more about Mr. Black in the next episode. Basically he’s a guy from a small town who really wants to be a really big hero and is determined to do this as fast as possible. The whole being in a team thing is a huge issue for him because now he has to share the spotlight and he has to team up with Thomas, the most anti social member of the group. Black’s power is also more on the defensive side as he can create barriers but that’s about it. Later on he starts to learn how to weaponize them which is good since you should always be able to convert barriers.

Black gets a lot of screen time but you always feel like his development doesn’t get to the end you were expecting. He does become more of a team player gradually but it takes a whole long while to get there and you don’t feel like he will end up being one of the top heroes anytime soon. He almost starts to come to terms with being more of a support type fighter. He’s not always quick on the uptake and he can try too hard. I just thought Black’s potential was greater than the actual execution but at the same time he is still one of my favorite heroes by default so there’s that.

As for Thomas, he ended up being a little more interesting and rising to the top. Basically he prefers to be a lone hero because he feels like he really can’t trust anyone. We get an origin story which gives us some added context into why that is. He definitely has good reasons for not wanting to team up with anyone and then in the present he is given even more reasons to support this. His telekinetic powers are also very handy even if they have a very hard limit compared to most. He basically can’t lift more than what he can lift normally which does limit just how much he can use these powers. Still, he knows how to fight in hand to hand and has a lot of determination. The show is going for a nice parallel with how Bunny used to be and that works really well.

After that we get to see how Blue Rose and Golden Ryan work as a team. Unfortunately their teamwork isn’t great as you would expect. They tend to disagree about the catchphrases and then Ryan is super jealous of Blue Rose meeting up with Tiger. Now she certainly could have told him why she was meeting with him one on one to avoid the misunderstandings but personally I don’t think that she needed to. Ultimately it’s her private business and you don’t have to tell your work partner everything. Ryan jumps to all the worst conclusions the whole time. At least Bunny took Tiger’s side the whole time and wasn’t doubting him. Sure he may have weakened a bit over time but at the end of the day I do believe Bunny was going to trust Tiger no matter what and it shows how they have been teammates much longer.

Ryan does get a big role in this season as his backstory actually gets expanded on here. The whole climax ends up being a lot more personal for him than you may have expected initially. He easily has one of the most powerful abilities in the series so I would like to see him take more of a center stage role. He is just rarely put in a position where he can succeed though which is unfortunate. He does bounce back from the initial episode though and ultimately looks good. He’s still one of the better heroes.

Blue Rose is also good here as she is slowly but surely starting to get over Tiger. A part of her may not move on for a while but I think she is starting to see that he’s just never going to notice her at this point. She gets a solid role in helping out throughout the series and her ice comes in handy. Her tag team battle with Ryan was definitely good as they both got to use their special talents to slow the villain down. Ultimately you always know that they’re doomed but the attempt is what counts.

Then you have Rock Bison and Origami Cyclone in one of the worst episodes to set up the team. Basically Cyclone is super sensitive about everything so if you get his name wrong then he’s going to sulk a lot. A big issue with Cyclone is that he refuses to actually directly confront Bison about this and instead moves behind his back and acts passive aggressively. Look if you’re upset about the mix-up on the name then just say so. It’s not like Rock Bison is a bully or something. He would absolutely apologize right away and not make the same mistake again. In fact Bison does try to apologize right away and Cyclone just won’t accept it. It makes him look really bad to the point where I ended up putting 100% of the blame on Cyclone. You have to be able to take a joke and keep it moving instead of just being down and out the whole time. That’s not the right way to handle any kind of situation.

As for Bison, I would say he looks a lot better here than in season 1. He mostly just felt like a joke in the first season as he was the power hitter but got absolutely clobbered in every possible fight that he was in. At least here he gets some respect and is trying to even change his image a bit. I think it’ll be some time before I can really say that he’s risen up enough to where I could call him likable, but he’s trying to be better and that’s what counts.

Then we have Sky High and Fire Emblem’s combo episode but this one makes Fire Emblem look bad for the most part. Here’s the issue…he thinks that Sky High is too perfect. He wants the guy to have some flaws so they can talk as equals and know that they have each other’s trust. My common argument to that would be that maybe he doesn’t have any real flaws. Nobody’s perfect of course but it’s not a given that you have to have a big enough flaw that it would ever show up in daily life right? Sky High basically has a perfect life going on for him and he’s very methodical about it. There’s just nothing wrong with it and of course he overhears Fire Emblem gossiping about this to the main heroes and that starts another misunderstanding.

There just didn’t need to be any issues between the two of them. They are the number 1 ranked hero team in the city and I think it would have made a whole lot of sense to have just kept it that way by explaining in the episode that they both get along really well because they just have a good system. That’s all you really need. In this season Fire Emblem is no longer attacking Rock Bison in every scene so he’s automatically better even if the episode wasn’t a great look for him. Sky High is a solid hero as always although I wish he would contribute more in the fights considering that he’s known as the #1 hero. I know it’s popularity based and not by strength but still.

Finally we’re up to the last team which is Dragon Kid and the new heroine Magical Cat. Dragon Kid is eager to leave a good impression as her first time being a mentor and so she tends to be a little overbearing in how she looks after Magical Cat. Cat doesn’t really mind but the issue is that her mother does. Cat’s mother believes that Dragon Kid is doing this on purpose to steal the spotlight and so she encourages Magical Cat to defy orders and do whatever is needed in order to rise up. This is a plot that will actually last for the rest of the series. Mainly my issue with Cat is that she lets herself be ordered around and manipulated like this.

If she would just stick up for Dragon Kid more or make a stand then things wouldn’t escalate so much. It is tough defying your parent like this but Cat knows deep down that Dragon Kid isn’t doing anything super wrong and should have just talked it out with her. For sure there are times when Dragon Kid won’t listen at all which is annoying but for the most part there is usually a chance for some dialogue. Kid ultimately gets better by the end as well so it was mainly a momentary setback and then she starts to be a quality character again. Of course it would help if Cat’s power was more offensive though. It’s totally reasonable not to want her in the front lines when her water powers are so weak and emotionally fueled. If Cat is having a bad day then her powers get even weaker.

Lunatic is still around but unfortunately the show really dropped the ball with him. He used to be such a grand figure in the series but he starts off as being semi retired here and only briefly goes back into the spotlight. The show sort of glossed over the actual retiring part which was unfortunate. I would have liked more of an extended scene on why he chose to retire as opposed to picking up the context pieces ourselves. Then when he gets back out there it’s just way too brief. Lunatic as a character is just fascinating and when the heroes are constantly on the ropes you know that he’s someone else for the villains to fear.

In fact you could say that the heroes can almost start to understand him more when the city turns against the NEXT and they have to choose to continue as vigilantes like Lunatic or retire. It changes the perspective a little bit even if there’s still no way to get around the murders. Lunatic has to be brought in but I wanted more of a fight around ideals instead of the rushed subplot we got here.

After that we start to get into the main plot with Fugan and Mugan showing up to cause chaos. They work for Ouroboros and are commanded by Nicolai. They’re pretty powerful as one of them can absorb attacks and the other one can teleport. It takes a painfully long amount of time for the heroes to figure out how their powers work when at least the teleportation one should have been obvious for a while there. What works about these villains is even after you figure out how the powers work, it can be hard to stop them. Basically you have a tag team that can stop any attack easily with the absorption and then counter quicker than the eye can see due to the teleport. Taking them on individually is your best bet and I recommend taking down the teleporter first.

Unfortunately teamwork isn’t often the heroes’ best trait and Bunny was taken down earlier by a bomber so he wasn’t able to contribute much here until the end. (That bomber episode was a really good oneshot episode though. We got to see Tiger really get upset and go solo as a rogue for a little bit there. I think that could have even worked as a multi part episode) So Mugan and Fugan really start to dominate the heroes rather easily but it makes for a lot of good fights. You may feel like the heroes should do better but then you remember how much trouble they had against normal bank robbers and it all starts to make sense.

The animation for the show has never been my favorite and I would still consider it below average compared to most but they do their best for the fight scenes. The show certainly looks its best during these moments as the sharp colors stand out and you really get to see the super speed of Bunny and Tiger in motion. Sometimes it can be a bit exaggerated because if they actually moved that fast then things would play out very differently in many circumstances. So try to ignore the power level issues as best you can because this show has a lot of them.

Despite the powers I wouldn’t say that I liked either villain much though. Mugan and Fugan were just a little too needy the whole time. One of them was also super unintelligent for some reason and they’re always goofing off until it’s way too late. I can’t say that their boss Nicolai was much better either. He gives the orders and got attached by the end but that’s really about it for him.

The other boss in Sigourney was more interesting but made a whole lot of slip ups. She didn’t handle things as well as she could have. Towards the end she starts getting “Just as planned” moments but they all fall hollow when you remember she’s on plan D by this point. Her ability isn’t the most handy to have because while she can possess people, it leaves her real body completely defenseless. It’s good when hiding in the shadows but won’t help a whole lot in a straight fight.

For some more supporting characters we do have Kaede who gets to show up a bit. Her role isn’t particularly big though but she is starting to get used to her powers a bit more. The tough part about being a copy expert is that you need to have someone on hand with powers to borrow but with the new buddy system that should help a whole lot. I look forward to her appearing as a full hero one of these days. She does need to learn to be a bit more honest with Tiger though. She lies to him on several occasions here. You know that he wouldn’t be on her side with some of her decisions which is why she lies but that’s not a good excuse. She has to face Tiger, not try to deceive him.

There’s also Mattia but that guy tends to be annoying. He doesn’t realize what is going on all around him at all and tends to be oblivious every step of the way. I was actually waiting for him to turn evil the whole series because of how shady he was. I also felt like he never added a whole lot to the series so I question a bit on why he was even added. I know the lab stuff tie in later on but you could have the heroes find out about it as opposed to having this guy as the go between. Agnes also shows up for hero TV but she definitely ended up putting on a lot of weight since the last season. At first I thought it was an animation thing where the character model was off at first but then things stayed that way so it’s an intentional change. I guess that the TV business is just way too stressful after a while but it will take a while to get used to her new design for sure.

Then for the final arc we have two main villains here. The first one is Gregory who has the ability to cause your powers to run wild through physical contact. Specifically he will usually lick the opponent which is certainly a gross way to pull this off. This guy can’t fight so he’s always hiding behind the ability because if he gets out there for even an instant then he would be crushed. It’s why it’s always annoying when he isn’t just taken down right away. He lasts a long while but in part because the government looks awful here the whole time. This guy whines quite a bit as well and so he’s a very weak villain in this series. I never ended up liking him.

Fortunately we had one more villain in Aldun who was way better. Basically this guy was a big villain back in the day but after he was caught, he rotted away in jail for so long that he actually thought he was a hero. So when he’s freed Gregory just pretends that the actual heroes are the villains and quickly convinces Aldun to take them down. Aldun is unfortunately very gullible and it takes him a long while to realize that he’s on the wrong side. By then he’s wide open for a cheap shot. I do like how overwhelmingly powerful he was though. The guy is sort of like an All Might type figure who requires a whole lot of fighters to even come close to him in power. The average fighter would be completely decimated against him.

Now I should note that it was an interesting angle to think that the NEXT were just being infected by a plague instead of a villain’s super ability. I thought that it was a reach for them to think this but fine. Where things got iffier is afterwards when the heroes find out there is a villain with the exact kind of power that seems to be affecting the heroes. Suddenly nobody wants to hear it and the heroes don’t have any real support. This should have been a huge deal and with how often the heroes have saved the day it would have been nice to see the public helping out or even random government guys stepping in.

Instead Ouroboros is so infested into every network that they bury the knowledge and quickly turn the heroes into public enemy number 1. Even the cops get in on it as they start prioritizing taking down the heroes over taking down the villains. That never makes sense in any show that I watch and so of course the same was true here. It’s just annoying to see the priorities completely backwards like this and so Tiger & Bunny are stopped on multiple occasions. Even the heroes are very lackluster in their responses when they should be out there trying to find the villain and taking names. They do to an extent but it always takes a lot of convincing and debating.

It also just worked too well to split up the heroes. Look, the NEXT were still being infected after the groups were split up so if it was a virus then isolating everyone wasn’t doing much good anyway. Naturally crime went up in the main city immediately so how were they going to handle that? The police were so antagonistic and they could never stop a villain before so that won’t help. Villains with powers aren’t going to peacefully leave either so all you’ve done is make the world a more dangerous place but the public readily accepted it. It reminds me of Magneto saying how the humans and mutants would never be fully integrated. All it takes is one bad thing to happen and everyone forgets all the good. That was the case here as well.

At least it wasn’t the whole planet though. Apparently only the main city went crazy as others were still having the heroes so Cat and Thomas were close to going to other cities. It makes you feel like the heroes wouldn’t even want to stay in the city after a while since it’s like they were pretty much being betrayed there. I’d be tempted to leave for good after stopping the villain myself.

The soundtrack is mainly lifted from season 1 with a few new tunes. It’s not the most impressive soundtrack. I’d say that it sounds okay but it could have used some more fast paced action tunes. This may not be a show with an overabundance of flashy action scenes and speed moments but some really solid music like that could still go a long way into helping it become that kind of show. Good music to listen to never hurts a title after all.

Tiger & Bunny 2 shows promises of what the show could be like and if everything was like the climax then this would be an easy 7 star show. It just needs to focus on the big plots and action scenes over the day to day stuff. Some shows can do day to day adventures really well but this one cannot. The opening team up episodes really show this. The characters just aren’t interesting enough to pull it off and as a result those episodes can almost come close to being boring at times. Perhaps really top line visual effects could bump this to the next level as well but that doesn’t happen here.

For season 3 to finally take the next step I’d say that we need a big plot right from the jump and more likable villains. Maybe have a replacement for Lunatic to challenge their sense of justice a bit more. We also don’t need much more bickering from the heroes as they should all be a good unit now. So instead build stories around that like in Justice League or Avengers where they’re a good team and have to stop some kind of challenge. Just making things fast paced with a good story is really all that you need.

Overall, Tiger & Bunny 2 really starts to pick up during the climaxes of each arc but getting there is always the rough part. The villain abilities tend to be cool but not the characters themselves which is another issue. Black and Thomas should really improve the dynamics and I expect to see more of that in effect by the third season. So if everything goes as I figure it can go then I expect the next season will be the best one yet. It would be nice if we could make some legitimate progress on the Ouroboros plot though beyond just taking out a few more members. It depends on if they actually want to have a conclusion to the plot but it would make sense to me. If you like superheroes then this is still a good title to check out but I would recommend watching My Hero Academia first as the definitive superhero anime.

Overall 6/10

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