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First Impressions: Tiger Mask W

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The spirit is born again!

A number of months ago, it was announced during a New Japan Pro Wrestling show that the company was working with animators to bring a new Tiger Mask series to the airwaves of Japan. The day has finally come with the debut of Tiger Mask W.

If you've been keeping up with Strong Style, then me watching this show was natural. It is a reboot of a series that aired from 1969 to 1971 and is the basis of a series of real-life wrestlers who have donned the mask and name over the years. Unlike the original, this doesn't follow any manga series but does continue a legacy of sorts from the original anime.

The story starts off, to no surprise in a wrestling match. Wrestler Daisuke Fujii is getting his clock cleaned by a masked wrestler named Yellow Devil. As poor Daisuke is bleeding and in pain, outside the ring we are introduced to his two young boys, Daisuke's son  Takuma and his friend Naoto Azuma. They are cheering on Daisuke when another wrestler, Odin, comes over and smacks Takuma right in the face. Daisuke gets cut and is bleeding as Yellow Devil slams him down right on the back of his neck and cripples him. Putting him in the hospital and destroying his wrestling gym in the process.

This episode does a great job of introducing some of the key players and concepts. We are shown both Takuma and Naoto's methods of training for the last 3 years, and also introduced to the concept. The man who crippled Daisuke and destroyed his gym worked for the Global Wrestling Monopoly, or GWN, and are out for revenge. We are shown the shows first real villain, Miss X, and the wrestlers working for her (including Takuma as Tiger Dark), and the grand entrance of Naoto as Tiger Mask.

The animation is a bit of a mixed bag. It features both 2D and 3D animation, but the 2D is a bit uneven at times as it can look like a Flash animation show from the CW or Cartoon Network more than an anime show at times. It tries very hard to match the style of the original show and for the most part, it works, but every so often it slips and misses the mark a bit.

As I mentioned before, the story is laid out in a simple way. Nothing to over think here. It comes across as a bit cliché with things like Naoto's coach having a pesky niece who follows him around and Miss X seems to be ... gifted... enough to raise the Titanic, but I think that is the charm of the series. This isn't trying to cash in on the latest fads in what people think anime is supposed to be but is harkening back to a classic series without trying to be something it's not.

Of course with NJPW being involved in this show (Kazuchika Okada appears in this ep with more to be featured in future episodes) they got their product placement in as well, even if it only barely fit in the story at this point. But all that was contained in a single short scene so it doesn't linger.

Overall, I am digging the first episode. It has a pronounced old school vibe. New fans may not get it as much as us old farts as it doesn't blow you away with its story or animation, but it is just plain fun. You don't need to be an expert on the original series to get it (I have never seen the original) so it can bring in old and new fans alike.

So for some old school fun anime, I'd give this one a go!

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Soul Tsukino
Soul TsukinoContributor   gamer profile

Soul Tsukino lives in the state of Maine. When not enveloping himself in a new fiction story he also comments on happenings in the animation and Otaku fan scene. A creative writer since he was yo... more + disclosures


 


 


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