Be on the look out for a lot more of these types of posts, ladies and gents, with the new Spring anime season staring up in April. I’ve already got a lot of simulcasts lined up and will be doing mini-reviews/first impressions of all of them. It will both keep me on here reading/typing up posts as well as getting into a good flow of watching anime consistently again.
With that being said….
If you can’t smell what type of post I’m cookin’, I’ve only got two words for ya:
Bad wrestling puns aside, wrestling is the only form of entertainment that I enjoy just as much as anime and sports. Whether it was watching Goldberg mow through opponents or The Rock trash talking, I’ve been captivated with the medium for as far back as I can remember. So, it only make sense that I’d be down to watch any anime that was about wrestling, even if it’s a comedy one like Ultimate Muscle. And while I could do like 3 posts about the aforementioned show, today’s topic is Tiger Mask W, a continuation of the legendary Tiger Mask anime. Is it as good as the original? Let’s find out!!
From the very start of the series you can tell that it has an old school vibe to it. Immediately I found myself thinking back to 8-year-old NEETaku sitting down with a bowl of Coco Puffs in my lap staring mindlessly at the TV on a Saturday morning as I watched the first 3 episodes of this anime. From the artwork, animation and music, Tiger Mask W feels like a shout out to those who’ve been watching anime since it became big outside of Japan.
Speaking of the animation, the show wastes little time in letting viewers that action is the name of the game. The very first episode alone boasts two wrestling matches, with the first setting up the premise of the entire series. And geez…the first match was violent!!
Not only is blood shed in this match, but the non masked wrestler also gets dropped on his friggin’ head from the top rope!! HOLY SMOKES!! This show ain’t messing around, folks! It’s definitely not your Daddy’s wrestling, that’s for sure.
Another cool aspect of the show is that it’s partnered with New Japan Pro Wrestling. And when I say that I don’t mean the company’s label is just plastered all about the show. No, they literally put actual NJPW wrestlers in the show and they actually play a part in the show’s plot. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday!
As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t really said much about the title character Tiger Mask. That’s because…
While Tiger Mask, aka Naoto Azuma, looks awe-inspiring when clothed in his wrestling gear, he’s actually quite the Gary Stu. It’s like all of his charisma/personality is found within that mask and wrestling tights. While it’s not show killing, it does sort of lead to me fiddling my fingers a lot waiting for the moment when he finally puts them on and gets to fighting. The same can be said for his main rival Takuma Fuji, aka Tiger Dark. While his motivation for fighting and his attire are interesting, he himself is as dull as dirt.
On top of the bland characters, there is an element of predictability in the story, at least thus far. It’s only been 3 out of 39 episodes but I can’t help but feel like I know what’s going to go down before actually getting to it. Which, as anyone can tell you, ain’t a good thing.
And speaking of things that aren’t good…
While action looks great, the matches are actually rather short. Like…Vegeta short. Just when you think things are starting to heat up, the fight is over. The 3rd episode was the biggest offender as even though they built up the big bad to be the this “killer”, he ended up being beaten without much effort. There is not bigger flaw an action/sports anime can have than having its main attraction be lackluster and sucky.
It also begs mentioning again that the anime, at least so far, is rather predictable. Even though Tiger Dark is on the bad side right now, we all know he and Tiger Mask are going to team up eventually. Likewise, Tiger Mask is shaping up to have almost Kirito levels of plot armor. He’s taken quite a few big blows so far but none of it seemed to affect him all that much. I mean yeah, they guy trained by fighting bears but he ain’t Zangief! No one can top that mountain of Russian muscle!
So, would I recommend watching Tiger Mask W?
There’s a reason I made a post talking about not liking Majestic Prince as much as I should a few days ago. It’s basically how I feel about Tiger Mask W. While initially has everything I normally find enjoyable in this type of show, it just hasn’t pulled me in as much as others have. The Gary Stu characters and the short wrestling matches stop me from liking it all that much. Does it mean I’ve stopped watching it altogether? On the contrary, I’m actually going to continue viewing it in hopes that things pick up, which is the sort of mindset I’d advise for those interested in it. Hopefully things do make a Hulk Hogan style comeback, cause I’d hate to see this series Rest…In…PEACE!!
Man…even I thought that last pun was horrible….
I’m NEETaku and that was Just…My 2 Cents!!