What’s it about ?
In the future, there are super-powered people called “NEXT”. The most prominent ones are garish, megacorp-sponsored superheroes who fight crime in a Reality-TV show.
Kotetsu “Wild Tiger” Kaburagi, our protagonist. He’s a veteran superhero who is definitely past his prime (he rates barely above the joke who never does anything, and no self-respecting kid buys his trading cards). He’s in it because he believes in making good (and he needs the money for his wife and kid), but he’s kinda bitter with the whole thing, obviously. It doesn’t help that his sponsor just got bought out, and the new guys want a format change. Which includes teaming up with…
Barnaby Brooks Jr, who somehow has the same powers as Wild Tiger (flying brick for 5 minutes). The dude shows out of nowhere in the “season finale” to hog the spotlight, and makes it clear he’s a “new breed” of superhero, unafraid of showing his true identity to the world. Incidentally, he does less collateral damage than Wild Tiger, which probably endears him to the higher-ups even more.
There are six other super-heroes competing in the show : Blue Rose, the current superstar with impressive ice powers but who’s a bit of a coward ; Rock Bison, the only one Kotetsu could call a friend ; Origami Cyclone, who never does anything but stay in the background for product placement ; Fire Emblem, flaming gay stereotype ; and two others who don’t matter at this stage.
The supporting cast is rounded off by Agnes Joubert, the TV show’s producer, who only cares about ratings, and certainly not civilian lives. (“Nice cliffhanger entrance, Wild Tiger ! Can you just do nothing for 30 seconds while we run some commercials ?”)
Oh, and there’s our threats for the week : a group of bankrobbers who are ridiculously underpowered to face superheroes, but manage to run around for most of the episodes thanks to the latter’s incompetence.
Superbly fluid animation for the action sequences (which comprise half of the episode) : this show’s got budget and ain’t afraid to show it. It’s also very good at spoofing Reality-TV shows, including the utterly obnoxious product placement on the superheroes’ character designs.
Wow, this is AWESOME ! I grinned like a madman from start to end while watching this : it’s very, very funny indeed. Combining superheroes with Reality-TV works beautifully, and there’s a nice balance between enough cynicism to keep things grounded and still some idealism to keep it from being too depressing. It’s a very stupid series, but it’s got enough energy to pull it off.
The preview I’d seen didn’t look very promising, so this is a very nice surprise.