Tiger & Bunny 06 Did Real Robot Anime Better Than Most in a Short Sequence

[YOUSMELL] Tiger & Bunny - 06.mkv_snapshot_14.58_[2011.05.09_05.19.55]

We’re fond of our categories, genres, and divisions as arbitrary as they sometimes get (perhaps because it is so that we like them so much). Thus we make distinctions between super robot shows and real robot shows, which leads me to distinguish between “super samurai shows” and “real samurai shows” to divide the swordfight anime I also love. Tiger and Bunny tempts me to make a distinction between “Super superhero shows” and “real superhero shows.”

Why? It’s because Tiger and Bunny after 6 episodes seem to respect physical rules and limitations (it’s more say, Kick Ass than it is Scott Pilgrim, though in spirit it’s more Iron Man or Thor than it is The Dark Knight). Powers have time limits, some powers are weaker than technology-based weapons, heroes aren’t blessed with overwhelming do-it-all powers, etc. If I were to make a robot anime analogy, Tiger and Bunny is more like Universal Century Gundam, than it is Alternative Universe Gundam. Take for example,

[AHQ] Gundam Seed - 47 - The Nightmare Reborn.mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2011.05.09_05.30.31][AHQ] Gundam Seed - 47 - The Nightmare Reborn.mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2011.05.09_05.30.46][AHQ] Gundam Seed - 47 - The Nightmare Reborn.mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2011.05.09_05.30.50][AHQ] Gundam Seed - 47 - The Nightmare Reborn.mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2011.05.09_05.30.56][AHQ] Gundam Seed - 47 - The Nightmare Reborn.mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2011.05.09_05.31.01]

the style in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, wherein the “hero” robots will stylishly pose before, during, and after they fire a weapon (which almost always hit). Often these are punctuated by dialogue: moral lectures from the heroes, taunts from villains. In Tiger and Bunny dialogue during action is used for comic effect, showing for the most part how ineffective the current attacks are. Blue Rose’s pre/post-move spiel often gets cut off by enemy responsiveness. Wild Tiger, as a running joke, never gets to even finish one.

[YOUSMELL] Tiger & Bunny - 06.mkv_snapshot_19.50_[2011.05.09_05.24.29][YOUSMELL] Tiger & Bunny - 06.mkv_snapshot_19.54_[2011.05.09_05.24.39]

But this is minor. In episode 06 Tiger and Bunny actually put out a piloted mecha that’d totally be at home in Armored Trooper VOTOMS, and Code Geass (or interestingly enough, Battletech). However, it cleaved to the real robot sensibilities of the former. What’s even more impressive is how it looked so good for TV anime, relative to the two recent shows Case Irvine, and VOTOMS Finder.

It used weapons, moved as fast and as agile as one could imagine for such a machine. When it was damaged, it stayed damaged. The verisimilitude was such that I found it satisfying how piloted mecha would work with and/or against Appleseed-type powered armor. Aside from Macross’ Variable Fighters whose size can’t shrink due to the aircraft they’re based on (and the Zentraedi they’re built to fight against), it’s increasingly even more difficult to justify 18 meter tall units in the real-robot setting. Even Gundam’s Universal Century started shrinking their mobile suits from F91 onwards (post-Gundam Unicorn).

[YOUSMELL] Tiger & Bunny - 06.mkv_snapshot_13.47_[2011.05.09_05.18.03][YOUSMELL] Tiger & Bunny - 06.mkv_snapshot_19.28_[2011.05.09_05.23.39]

I think powered armor units do give problems by being smaller targets, while the larger, tank-like mecha become easier targets for the powered armor units. If both units carry the same tank-busting weapons, then the piloted mecha are in a distinct disadvantage. I don’t see this as a discussion of obsolescence, but rather I see the sense in depicting more combined arms combat. We see little of this in robot anime, as the conceits involve having the robots make the non-robot units obsolete or just significantly less relevant.

Then again, however… the robot shows that could use it most are at times more superhero-like than Tiger and Bunny.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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37 Responses to Tiger & Bunny 06 Did Real Robot Anime Better Than Most in a Short Sequence

  1. Sebz Dima says:

    YES DUDE TIGER AND BUNNY, suitable for all ages!

  2. Anya says:

    Yeah I agree, I’ve always thought of exoskeletons as more practical than huge mechas as a matter of fact exoskeletons are predicted to be the future of infantry warfare, and the US military is supposedly throwing money into the field last I heard.

    • Yeah, I saw a news story where they demonstrated a prototype that functioned through hydraulics. Of course if the hydraulics failed you were a man stuck in incredibly heavy metal brick. But it was pretty cool, they said they could already use it to lift heavy (for a person) containers with ease, it made it possible for the individual soldier to carry much more equipment, and they said it was capable of navigating stairs. Pretty damn cool… or scary.

    • There will still be a matter of transporting them, as they are pretty much still infantry. If they can’t propel themselves they’re pretty much toast while they sit inside APCs, helicopters, etc.

  3. WhatSht says:

    power armors have a advantage in speed and agility, piloted mechas have size and weapon power, but if you give power armors good weapons, they can defeat piloted mechas, that is until the enemy becomes a Ghost V-9/X-9

    • That is if they fly like Iron Man/War Machine. The ammunition payload can’t be much however, unless you introduce magic physics like in Mass Effect.

      • WhatSht says:

        Is AppleSeed the one about some virus and the cure is called AppleSeed? AppleSeed sounds familiar to me.

        About Gundam Seed gundams always posing before a shot, i wouldn’t mind if they pose for a practical reason(due to recoil, etc), GS Gundams just pose to look good most of the time, very rarely they pose for practical reasons. Speaking of poses, Domon had the same exact movement everytime he uses Erupting God Finger.

        • Feel free to check out wikipedia, MAL, or ANN for information about Appleseed. I hardly remember anything about the story but I do remember enjoying the combat.

          G Gundam is a super robot show.

        • Matt Wells says:

          Appleseed is a future post-apocalyptic utopia/dystopia, where the robots are human-machine integrated cyborgs, no taller than three meters, usually. They function to all intents and purposes like an exoskeletal suit, except for the main character, whose body is now 75% machine. Its worth checking out, but stick to the manga; the OVA is short and underdeveloped, and the two CGI movies are a mixed bag.

  4. Having gone into the episode seeing this post title, I thought that the mech at one point tossing a car through use of its torso, a wall, and one turret-arm pushed it just a bit, but I can forgive it as extreme technical skill on the part of the pilot, and recognize that otherwise it was a damn fine mech sequence.

    • Yeah, it pushed it considering there wasn’t much of a grabbing hand. But yeah, the mecha sequences are top-notch, as I discount the gattling gun missing Wild Tiger more for comedic effect than actual combat.

      • BigFire says:

        By that time, both its main machine gun and flame throwing arm have been disabled. It can still be use to kill someone. So the pilot tried.

        • LOLLERBLADES says:

          I don’t think the pilot trying is the issue here. The robot didn’t have a grabbing hand and yet it was able to pick up a car and throw it the way it did. If it did so with a broken gun, it would even be less plausible.

  5. I always thought of powered armor was an evolution of mechs. If powered armor became widely usable then mechs should be relatively obsolete. Your example of post Gundam Unicorn mobile suits is a good example. If you could encompass the firepower and defense of a large unit in a small one then it makes the large unit obsolete. Smaller target, more agile, near equivalent defense, stealthier, uses less materials to manufacture, all this seems to be an advantage.

    But to be fair, it’s rare that I see the two actually face off. If you wanna count the Major from G.I.T.S. S.A.C. as being a power armor (at least for her brain) then the fight between her and the Marine mech unit used against her and Batou in that series might be the most realistic (being a relative term) example.

    In the end, whether you wanna wear your armor (Mega Man style) or ride in it, it all looked pretty fun in this episode.

    • If you’re looking at Shirow Masamune works then you’re looking at the wrong one. You should be looking at Appleseed and not GitS. But you needn’t go far, as Iron Man/War Machine makes for the superior template of powered armor fighters (unless you want to consider Tekkaman Blade, SPT Layzner, etc. though Blade is more superhero like the Kamen Riders than he is mecha).

      • JoeQ says:

        For more serious video game examples, see also Terra Nova, the Tribes-series, Metroid Primes and maybe Section 8 (haven’t played them yet) if you want something newer. The superiority of power armor over mecha is actually a plot point in the Starsiege/Tribes backstory, since the imperial detachment sent to supress the colonies found their Herculans outmatched by the much more agile and easily maintained power armors developed by the tribes.

        • JoeQ says:

          Heavy Gear might also count, though it mostly features small mecha like those of Votoms that inspired it. There’s some power armor in the second game though, which are said to be more technologically advanced and present a serious threat to old type Gears.

        • Interesting.

          What I do want to see, rather than a dichotomy, is more combined arms combat. And no, I don’t mean Macross Frontier/Gundam 00 style every variation of VF/Gundam gets a highlight in the reel. I want a carefully constructed (or foiled) set of plays that leverage the ordnance and their versatility or lack thereof. Think MS Igloo 2 episode 3, but with less emphasis on the Guntank Variable MS.

      • chalk that up to my limited experience w/ Masamune’s work outside of G.I.T.S. I’ve seen two of the later Appleseed movies and Vexille (wait, I don’t think that counts).

        Is that Appleseed series ever gonna get off the ground?

        • I can’t even remember much about the Appleseed stuff I’ve watched. I remember enjoying the battles and stuff, but otherwise I didn’t care much for them.

        • Matt Wells says:

          I think a third film was in the development stages, but they ran into some production issues, and the planned remake triolgy may not get finished at all.

  6. Kaioshin Sama says:

    You forgot to mention that Gundam Seed is particularly fond of using the same poses over and over. That one you screen-capped seemed to be the most popular among that staff.

    Also good lord I forgot how ugly some of the Seed designs were. Playing SRWZ reminded me somewhat, but seeing caps from the actual show again and browsing MAHQ just now really served to remind me why I don’t really like Kunio Ookawara anymore. 😦

    Oh and what exactly is wrong with the robot action in Irvine and Finder? I thought it was perfectly fine for an OVA if not above average.

    • Kaioshin Sama says:

      Or did you mean that it lives up to what was seen in Irvine and Finder by looking more like an OVA?

    • I suppose it’s at par with both VOTOMS offerings, albeit the behavior of the piloted mecha in this episode is more faithful I think to the ideal of the Scopedog than any of the ATs in the new VOTOMS shows.

      If I were to think about it, the ATs in both Irvine and Finder would be closer to how Barnaby in his powersuit fights than they are with the piloted mecha. This is in consideration of the high maneuverability, acrobatics, and martial arts that can be seen in both OVAs. They’re quite “superheroic,” for real robot anime.

      • So you’re not talking about the action and animation so much as how well it fits into the “hard real” category of robot depictions?

        For myself I’m honestly at the point where I really don’t care how real or super a robot is depicted anymore as long as it’s portrayed with some degree of competency and I get the impression that they gave a damn about the choreography that should go into depicting mecha combat. I’ve already gone through a phase of discussing and worrying about that sort of thing to death and come out of it with whatever I’m probably ever going to learn by paying extra special attention to that sort of thing.

        Maybe it’s a post-Seed Destiny thing (as in Seed Destiny’s horrendous mecha combat depiction showed me that there’s a whole other awful direction that mecha combat can go besides a straight super or real style of depiction), but I just see it as a sort of hang-up to my overall enjoyment of a mecha work.

        For mecha vs. human though I definitely agree that hard real is the only way to go to make a fight work properly. Can’t really imagine what Tiger and Bunny fighting an equivalent of Voltes V would look like, but it would probably put the fight more into the realm of straight up parody, which definitely wouldn’t work in setting the tone at all for an episode that doubles as a potential arch-villain introduction.

        • I care about both, and I care about the traditions and the works that further them.

          The action and animation are integral aspects of these things. I make the disclaimers in my comment because Barnaby did stop the mecha using super powers. But it is interesting to consider that this show, by having Barnaby as a powered-armor superhero exceed Code Geass in verisimilitude: Bunny did double spin kicks against the piloted mecha, which is something very super-hero like for a Lancelot to do (as piloted by Kururugi).

          The only super robot in a real robot setting is Dai Guard, of which I have seen only the first episode. I reckon it is worth continuing, but I need zero time to catch up with my backlog.

          • Matt Wells says:

            As someone who recently marathoned the series, you should watch Dai-Guard in its entirity. The only time it ever really stretched my suspension of disbelief was when they altered it to change into three different vehicles that combined together; I thought that was a bit too super for the ultra realistic Dai-Guard.

            That series also proves my own personal conviction that realest Super Robot show is ten times better than a wannabe super Real Robot show. It would seem every Gundam series made after G and Turn A would agree with me OH NO I DIDN’T GO THERE. 🙂

          • JoeQ says:

            Remember that even despite it’s supposed ‘realness’ Dai-Guard is still a show in which extradimensional entities (IIRC) attack Japan on a weekly basis and the most effective means of combating them is a giant robot. Besides, you of all people should be able to appreciate a Getter homage 😉

          • Matt Wells says:

            I know that! Though seeing as only the head piece is a jet, its more of a Combattler/Voltes homage. Its just that I really liked how they had to assemble Dai-Guard by crane and winch before every fight, that was a unique and great idea for a super robot show.

            Somehow reverse engineering a giant robot into three seperate vehicles, one of which was capable of flight, seemed a bit TOO super for Dai-Guard’s setting. Though I loved that one scene where the pilot of the plane that drops Dai-Guard was worried because of their vehicle forms he’d be out of a job! Funny and poingnant at the same time.

            Dai-Guard also has a surprise cameo from Gai Daigoji for all you Nadesico fans! Akagi and Gai would be total bros, I think we can agree.

  7. Vendredi says:

    You know, the funny thing is – judging from the depiction of the joints on Duel Gundam – I think it is actually physically capable of assuming those poses.

    • Vendredi says:

      Also, I think the issue at the heart of most “real” robot shows, is that there is an inherent tension in the usage of mecha – which is inherently a very unreal conceit.

      There’s two parts to this: on the one hand, there are practical limitations that robots which always pull at the limits of disbelief. Mecha cannot fly as effectively as planes, neither would they be as tough and as hard to hit as tanks, nor would they be as versatile as actual infantry, yet we see them performing one or all these roles.

      This is aggravated by the fact that the mecha *must* be front and centre; otherwise you might as well not make a mecha show at all – despite the fact that the typical themes that “real mecha” shows focus on – war, politics, diplomacy, peace and conflict, etc. are all themes that work well (and arguably, even better) without big hulking robots tramping around. Arguably, many fans of Gundam and the like enjoy it because of the focus on these themes, not so much the mecha themselves (perhaps I am growing old and jaded, but increasingly I’m finding myself in this camp).

      • Mecha are conceits, and the shows must work hard to sell the conceit. Gundam did it with its Minovsky particles (which is a limited success in my view).

        Many fans who do enjoy Gundam for the focus on such themes are those who discover such through Gundam or other anime — as opposed to printed fiction, motion pictures, or television; or perhaps anime is the main source of their entertainment, etc. …these are the 2 reasons why these people would enjoy Gundam for the themes and not for the mecha.

  8. Pingback: Check-in Station: Tiger & Bunny eps1-6 (I come for the action; I stay for the advertisments.) « the Check-in Station

  9. Hana says:

    Could it be… the first robot show I’m watching? Well, categories and the finer points of mecha-talk aside, I think the show is really growing in strength, not least of all due to the mix of character development as well as the superheroes and action stuff. Also nice to see the CGI used in a pretty subtle way, e.g. I barely seem to notice it, only briefly during the some of the transformation sequences and architechture shots. Above all, though, I think I just like the show because it’s funny and energetic and a nice throw-back to past hero/cop/buddy shows, and I look forward to seeing and reading more about it.

    • LOL T & B isn’t going to be a robot show in any real sense, but I find that shows who aren’t in the category make a very good effort when they do robot scenes (GitS: SAC is exemplary).

      Episode 08 is brilliant. I ended up writing about it again, and trust me, it’s not your usual blog post too. Watch out for it.

  10. Pingback: Sacred SeveN: Star Driver of the Rebellion, You Have (not) Seen Anything Yet | We Remember Love

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