Manga Review: Tiger & Bunny Volume 6
45 years prior to the start of the series, superpowered individuals known as “NEXT” started appearing through a mysterious mutation. Some of them have become superheroes who protect Stern Bild, and each of the city’s famous superheroes work for a sponsor company. Their heroic activities are broadcast on the popular television show Hero TV, where they accumulate points for each heroic feat they accomplish. The best ranked hero of the season is crowned “King of Heroes.”
Tiger & Bunny Volume 6
Written by: Mizuki Sakakibara
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 10, 2015
The series focuses on Kotetsu Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks, Jr., who have become the first hero duo after Apollon Media buys out Kotetsu’s sponsor. Kotetsu (aka Wild Tiger) and Baranby may have the same superhero power, but they seem to be a mismatched hero duo.
Volume Six sees an escaped convict NEXT named Jake Martinez out of prison and working with a group of NEXT known as Ouroboros. We see that Ivan/Origami Cyclone’s friend, Edward, has escaped from prison with Jake and goes after Ivan for revenge. Edward blames Ivan for his ending up in prison instead of becoming a hero, because Ivan hesitated instead of backing him up when the two worked together as heroes. Ivan’s anguish is evident as he realizes that he has to fight against his former friend. Fortunately, he’s able to overcome that anguish and manages to get the upper hand. As he tries to talk to Edward, they’re interrupted by the arrival of an exosuit being piloted by a plush toy that’s controlled by Kriem, one of the members of Ouroboros. Ivan and Edward have to work together to take down the exosuit.
When Ivan and Edward’s fight takes place in the anime series, it’s depicted quite differently in this manga adaptation. In the anime, Edward escaped on his own and had no affiliation with Jake Martinez or Ouroboros. While this is a drastic change, I believe it works for the story that the manga is trying to tell. Since Edward now has a connection with Jake in this telling, it makes more sense for him to be appearing at this point in the story. Another difference is that in the anime, Edward is attacked by Lunatic, a NEXT who targets murderers. Here, they are attacked by one of Martinez’s exosuits because it was believed that Edward was turning against Ouroboros. Since Lunatic hasn’t played as major of a role in the manga, it made sense for the manga to make this change as well.
This volume also sees Jake Martinez storming into Justice Tower and holding everyone hostage. He also takes over the airwaves and encourages all the NEXT to gather at Justice Tower so they can establish a nation of NEXT. Kotetsu, Barnaby, and Antonio/Rock Bison decide they need to disguise themselves as NEXT who are sympathetic to Jake’s cause in order to get inside Justice Tower to try to capture Jake or at least get footage of what’s going on inside. When they get there, they find three NEXT who have the power to sniff out danger, smell lies, and smell special powers. The heroes find they have to try to convince these NEXT that they aren’t heroes.
This section of the story is portrayed very differently here compared to the anime source material. But I have to say that the way the manga handled this adds more tension and action compared to the anime’s version of the story. Also, the three female NEXT who can sense danger, lies and special powers were the three villains who kidnapped the mayor’s child in the kidnapping story in the anime; in the manga telling, three men kidnapped the baby instead. Now that I see that these three female villains appear in this section instead, I have to admit that using their abilities here actually works better and helped to add tension to the story.
While I had noticed some differences between the anime and manga in Volume Five, this volume’s differences are much more drastic than in the previous volume. The changes in Volume Six aren’t necessarily bad, though… they’re just different. Where the changes in Volume Five weakened some of the character development and made me disappointed in that particular volume, I thought the changes in Volume Six helped to tighten up and strengthen the storytelling.
At this point, I look at the Tiger & Bunny manga as an “alternate timeline” version of the story, since the anime series served as the original source material. Now that I’ve seen these various changes, I’m very interested in reading future volumes in order to discover how much more the story will end up changing from the anime. I’m also curious to see how I will react to other changes that will inevitably have to be made due to the changes in the story that happened in this volume.
Reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media.