The second Tiger & Bunny movie, "The Rising", is definitely for the fans. Being a big Tiger & Bunny fan myself, I was very excited to see this movie. While it is not a perfect movie, it did a good job of being true to its source.
Story: The movie's plot is very straightforward: we rejoin the heroes some time after the end of the TV series. Kotetsu and Barnaby are part of the Second League, but that quickly changes when a new owner buys Apollon Media. What follows is a predictable, but still entertaining story.
While the TV series can be seen as "Barnaby's story", the
new movie is more focused on Kotetsu. Watching him come to terms with his new lifestyle is very heartfelt. The heroes' struggles against the new villains doesn't have as much emotional investment as the series, but is still action-packed.
While the overarching story of The Rising is mediocre, the sub-plot involving Fire Emblem is amazing. It may be that the producers/studio realized that having a hero who is transgendered, but a successful business owner and his own sponsor was an amazing positive message. Even if that is not the case, the movie goes into a touching back-story revolving around Fire Emblem's past insecurities, and the harassment he was forced to endure. It is a moving and very touching story, and adds more depth to his character.
Art: The 2D animation is great, very fluid and sharp. It seems like the 3D hero suits have been given an upgrade as well. The 3D suits are not as jarring and out-of-place as the TV show (they weren't even that bad in the show, in my opinion). The 2D and 3D are almost seamless. The new suit design for Golden Ryan is also good, incorporating lion themes to contrast Wild Tiger.
Sound: A lot of themes from the show are remixed and reworked for the movie. It was great to hear familiar tunes, but it is always nice to hear new things as well. The voice acting was fine, on par with the TV show.
Character: The new hero, Ryan Goldsmith, is an interesting character. Equal parts conceited and confident, and a level-headed point-oriented hero, you don't know if you want to hate him or love him. Ryan points out to Barnaby that he "sounds like his old partner", and even says similar things that Barnaby said as a rookie hero. Ryan even knows that Barnaby needs Kotetsu as his partner. While he doesn't have any development, he serves a purpose in the movie, and he does his job well; Ryan reassures both the audience and Kotetsu and Barnaby themselves that there is no one else who could possibly replace a member of this team.
The rest of the heroes get a great amount of screen time. It is fun to see what the heroes have been doing since the end of the show, and how they have changed. Small humorous bits with Rock Bison, the Second League Heroes and Kaede keep the movie from being too dramatic. While Lunatic does make an appearance, he did not get any further development, and that was a bit disappointing.
Overall: If you love Tiger & Bunny, you will enjoy this movie. It is a fun, fanservice-y movie that has a good balance of old and new. If you are not a fan of the show, you might not enjoy this movie as much; many characters are not given much of an introduction, and the interactions between characters are what really drives this movie.
TL;DR 5 words/phrases to describe Tiger & Bunny: The Rising
fanservice, mediocre main story, great character back-story, visually pleasing, funny
You know, I should really be more wary of how much a theatrical experience can add to a movie, especially in regards to products that get by on their intensity. Because when a big-ass screen with big-ass speakers pleasing your ears with big-ass surround sound is replaced by your outdated Cathode Ray Tube, chances are the intensity will be gone and you’ll no longer have anything to distract you from the fact that Peter Jackson might have used a wee bit too much obvious CGI in the final climax. That was definitely the case with the second Tiger and Bunny film, a movie I pegged
as one of the best of 2014 when I initially saw it in theaters because I loved watching Sky High get his ass kicked whilst Dragon Kid tries hard to get us to take her seriously against a gimmicky villain who couldn’t have been more hax without being given black hole powers. Unfortunately, my rewatch in 2015 not only lowered my opinion drastically to the point it was off my top ten, I think I might prefer Big Hero 6 over it – although I refuse to rewatch that film to find out.
Sorry to spoil my opinion of the anime before I even get to describing it, but it’s not like it really matters. It’s more a fanservice epilogue rather than a true sequel that adds much of anything, although thankfully it’s more in vein of the fourth Rambo film rather than the Steins;Gate one. In fact, that’s probably why I’m so harsh on the thing: because it could have been Rambo and ended up taking the safe route whenever the opportunity presented itself. Obviously, I’m not expecting any of the heroes to turn their enemies into fountains of blood, but the very least you could have done was make the action less shonen-esque, let alone create some actually interesting villains – something Tiger and Bunny has always struggled to do.
The plot of the anime centers on Kotetsu and Barnaby having to deal with the consequences of choosing the second-tier hero status life they did in the conclusion of the series, and how much harder it is compared to living the life of Sky High, if you know what I mean. However, a change in management allows Barnaby to re-enter the first-tier league on the condition that he partners up with an arrogant yet surprisingly rational jerk named Golden Ryan whilst Kotetsu and the other second-tiers have to leave the hero business in order to drive cabs or something. Whilst the two deal with this new change in their lives, a new superpower threat emerges, targeting the superhero business due to reasons that are incredibly cliche to the point that I’d feel no shame in spoiling it, but I won’t out of blogger courtesy. Long story short, you can see every single plot point coming and the movie doesn’t really explore them in a way that’s that refreshing.
I suppose Tiger and Bunny: The Rising is worth watching if you want to see more of the characters and how they’re doing after all that Ouroboros business and junk, but there are several plot points that I felt really could have been done better in order to make the movie more than just simple fun. For example, about halfway through the movie’s run time, Fire Emblem is cursed with a power that forces him to relive the prejudice he suffered for being a flamboyant homosexual growing up. This had potential to be a lesser version of Wandering Son’s story, but Tiger and Bunny devotes too little time to it to really develop it beyond “well he was discriminated against and he has to accept that being a minority is just who he is in order to free himself”. Another example of an underdeveloped plot point is Golden Ryan. Whilst the expected route regarding his character would have been more predictably annoying, I’m not really sure why he’s even in the anime other than to give something for fangirls to drool over consider how little he contributes to much of anything. I suppose you could say he’s a critique against that sort of expected route, but it still comes off as kinda weak to me.
But of course, the biggest disappointment is Tiger’s story. It’s not bad, but it’s very predictable on its own and explores the consequences of his actions about as well as a Gamer Gater explores the possibilities of being a human being. And when you compare it to his arc in the series, it’s even worse off. Not to mention, considering how he should have retired before this movie even started, it’s even more disappointing to see his daughter actively encourage him to live the hero life. But not as disappointing as the fact that that’s pretty much the only reason she’s in the movie in the first place.
And then we get to the fight scenes, which come off as way way WAY too shonen for my taste. I mean the fight where Golden Ryan and Barnaby fight a lady who can clone herself is tolerable because it’s more a strategic battle than a straight-up kung-fu match, and the final one is enjoyably cheesy, if a little too busy. Unfortunately, the only thing good about the other fight scenes is that there’s no talking getting in the way of the action and that it has decent choreography. But Mr. Flawfinder, what else do you need for an action scene to be exciting? Um, a little back-and-forth maybe? Explain to me how it makes any goddamn sense that two heroes cannot lay a single scratch on one villain until a third hero arrives with a very simplistic plan that immediately causes said heroes to massacre their opponent. More importantly, explain to me how that’s exciting to watch in any way. Wong-Fei-Hung’s fight scenes in the Once Upon a Time In China series had more tension.
I think you notice by now that I’m kind of struggling to say anything really meaningful about this film. Well you’re right, because really, what else is there to say? It’s more Tiger and Bunny except with a blander script, more wasted potential, and action that looks impressive technically but it’s executed terribly. I’ll admit that the movie is fun to watch if you just want to turn your brain off and see these fun characters doing their thing, but that’s all it is at the end of the day. It’s not even “fun” on the same level as the Trigun movie. And that’s disappointing considering how much I like the series.