What They Say:
Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, a.k.a. Wild Tiger, and Barnaby Brooks Jr.’s partnership comes to a sudden end when Apollon Media’s new owner Mark Schneider fires Kotetsu and moves Barnaby back into the First League, pairing him up with Golden Ryan, a new hero with awesome powers and a huge ego to match. When the heroes are sent to investigate a string of strange incidents tied closely to the city’s Goddess Legend, they discover three super-powered NEXTs plotting to bring terror and destruction to Stern Bild.
The audio presentation for this release goes above and beyond with what it does as it has the original Japanese language track and the English language track done in both stereo and 5.1 mixes. We sampled the English mix for the 5.1 but primarily listened to the Japanese 5.1 mix and really enjoyed it overall. There’s a pretty regular movement of action throughout it so it’s active in general along the forward soundstage with plenty of material thrown to the rears during key segments and some moments of dialogue and other incidentals as well. The 5.1 mix definitely has a strong, rich feeling to it throughout as it doesn’t hold back and feels like a fully engaged theatrical level mix as opposed to something faked out. Dialogue has a good sense of placement and depth and those with full face covering masks have a little extra to them that displaces them nicely. Everything here is solid and very well done.
Originally in theaters in February 2014, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Animated by Sunrise, it takes the already strong visual design of the TV series, which often felt better than most TV series, and raises it all up well while still feeling true to the overall design aesthetic. The big changes here is that there’s less idle time and more movement throughout that keeps it hopping. That works out well with a generally solid to above average bit rate that brings all the rich colors and CG material out in a great way where it pops off the screen and definitely has a lot of appeal. There’s a great range to the colors and without anything noticeable for banding or blocking, it has a richness that definitely puts it above most other shows. The film has a great visual quality to it and the transfer captures it perfectly.
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case with both discs held against the interior walls for each format. The first pressing for this comes with an O-card slipcover that has different artwork than the case. That has Kotetsu and Barnaby in their outfits standing back to back as the light bursts out between them, all of which is done with a light foil aspect to it that lets it really stand out on the shelf compared to the standard cover underneath. The back cover works with a lot of pop with all its colors where we get the premise covered well, a few shots from the show and a clear breakdown of how the discs are designed, albeit not through a technical grid. The discs features are clearly listed in this area as well while the bottom breaks down the various logos and other legalese. The case artwork itself is a pretty good image that puts the two leads together again with their faces visible while Golden Ryan joins them as well, all of which is set against a late night backdrop of the city which has a really neat feeling to it. The back cover here is the same as the O-card while the reverse side has a great full color image of most of the other heroes in their street clothes together.
The menu design for this release is pretty nice overall with what it does as we get an array of images from the show moving through it that highlights most of the main cast and looks good. Working with images like this means it changes up well and largely sets the tone in the right way with the pop and color of it. The logo is kept to the lower right which adds its own good bit of pop while the navigation is a little surprising as it uses different shades of gray along the bottom for the selections with a white highlight to it. Submenus load quickly and easily and it’s a fully functional piece that works well.
The extras for this release are pretty expansive with what it has, though there’s a lot of smaller pieces here. Those come in the form of the various promos and trailers, as well as the commercials, and we get the clean opening and ending sequence as well which is always welcome though not always available with feature films. The cute Theater Manners piece has some live action material that runs about a minute reminding people how to act. There’s also a four minute theater piece from the San Francisco showing that interviews some attendees and talks about the film itself. For those that didn’t see the TV series, we get a nice digest version of what happened there to brig people up to speed and there’s some really fun Weekly Hero Countdown material that gives us the super deformed side of the cast talking about the film prior to its theatrical run. Add in an art gallery and a pretty decent ten minute interview with the films’ producer and there’s plenty of material to dig into for fans.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the successful 2011 TV series from Sunrise, the push to move Tiger & Bunny to the big screen was great to see since it was a show that just felt fresh in its own way, especially with the way it creatively worked its advertising angle. While the films were put into production, it went into the expected route where the first film was a compilation/digest piece that provided those new to the property and understanding of how it all works and came to be. That landed in 2012, which meant fans had a long wait for the second film, an original work that moves beyond the TV series, to arrive. And that’s what we get with The Rising, as we get the characters focusing on events that take place about a year after the end of the series. With plenty of room to move and grow within it since this is largely superheroes done anime style, the film does what it can to shake things up but still achieve a certain status quo.
While Kotetsu and Barnaby have been doing well overall since they dealt with all those events, they’re still in the Second League and are each struggling with their different issues. Barnaby is doing what he can to earn money and has a real desire to get to the First League since it pays more, though his reasons why are hidden from Kotetsu. Naturally, that creates just a little bit of a rift, but we see how Barnaby is doing a lot of things for kids that are in the same kinds of bad situations that he was in himself with the loss of his parents. Kotetsu for his part is just enjoying the life, doing good and helping people out and having a career that he feels makes a positive impact, even if it is all corporate heroism when you get down to it. So when the two of them are brought into corporate as changes are afoot now that an American named Mark Schneider has bought out the whole company, it’s a mixed blessing.
Schneider fits into the simple mold of just wanting ratings to earn more for the company and he’s not invested in the players. Which is why it’s easy for him to offer Barnaby a First League position and pair him up with Golden Ryan, a new powerful and egotistical hero that’s brought into the picture. Barnaby’s not thrilled with this, and even less so when he learns that Kotetsu didn’t make the First League at all. But even worse is that Kotetsu is let go outright since he’s one of the weaker performers of the Second League and was considered one that was holding Barnaby back. So the film spends part of its time working through this issues early on, where we see Kotetsu getting a job as a taxi driver, dealing with his daughter being displeased by the way he’s given in so easily and the general loss of a friend who is now far busier being a part of the First League.
This sets the basic drama for the film, which shifts gears quickly enough as it gets going as there’s an array of mysterious villains that are fairly powerful getting mixed up in some different problems within the city. As the city is getting close to celebrating Justice Day with the events and parade there which is all about the founding of the city, they realize that a lot of the crimes being committed, which includes animals tossed into the bay, buildings falling and other odd events, are all related to tales that goes back to the Goddess. This helps to explore a little bit of the mythology of the city, which is certainly interesting in itself, and as it goes on we get to learn more of the truths of those behind it. It’s got a nice little twist along the way, but it largely works even while not knowing what’s involved because we get some pretty interesting looking opponents doing some crazy things while trying to figure out what the real goal of this group is.
In a way, the film is an extended arc that would easily fit within the framework of the TV show. What’s interesting is that there’s little in the way of real downtime here within the film as it feels like it’s constantly moving and doing, so you can imagine that it could be spread out to half a season or a whole season rather easily if it was done in TV form. But in this way, we get a lot better animation quality overall where it’s more fluid and more expansive with its action sequences and that helps to elevate it. It’s the kind of film where you definitely see the budget on the screen in a big way. But I do wish that they took a little more time to work the characters with some quiet time, maybe even a little real growth or change, though they do shift the balance of the company side a bit by the end of things.
I had a hell of a lot of fun with the TV series when it was simulcast and it’s been a long wait until something new in the form of this film hit since I skipped the compilation film. With The Rising, we get a solid continuation of the story that nudges things along a little bit here and there but mostly just regales us with a big story in Stern Bild where our heroes have to face an array of opponents and problems. It goes big, has a lot of fun with it and definitely lets the core characters shine overall. I do wish more of the supporting players had stronger character roles, but even the main characters are a bit weak on actual character. What we get though is a very fun, very big and very enjoyable project that lets the gang have another adventure. I still have hope that we might get another TV series out of it, but even another feature film would be a lot of fun.
Japanese DTS-HD MA Language, English DTS-HD MA Language, English Subtitles, Interview with Producer Kazuhiko Tamura (Blu-ray exclusive), Art Gallery (Blu-ray exclusive), Weekly Hero Countdown (Blu-ray exclusive), TV Series Special Digest, San Francisco Premiere at New People Cinema, Theatrical Trailer, Pilot Trailer, Promotional Videos, Commercial Collection (Blu-ray exclusive), Theater Manners (Blu-ray exclusive), Clean Opening and Ending
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: February 24th, 2015
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.