A Background on the Tiger Mask Character Tiger Mask was originally a show that ran from 1969 to 1971 by Toei Animation. Airing over 100 episodes Tiger Mask was originally created by Asaki Takamori Pen Name: Ikki Kajiwara and the character has gone through a multitude of adaptation and changes. From manga to anime Tiger Mask is ingrained in pop culture inspiring the likes of King from Tekken and Incineroar from Pokmon. He is even a reallife wrestler being portrayed by the likes of Satoru Sayama and others. A true innovator in wrestling Tiger Mask/Satoru Sayama innovated Japans lightweight scene and paved the way for the cruiserweights of modern wrestling. 215https://i.redd.it/6yeogzbwil151.png 180https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b7/TigerMaskvol1.jpg/220pxTigerMaskvol1.jpg 180https://www.animeplanet.com/images/anime/covers/tigermask3961.jpg?t=1595960466 The first Tiger Mask Satoru SayamaThe First Tiger Mask MangaThe First Tiger Mask Anime I wanted to start with this little history lesson to point out the rich history of Tiger Mask both in television and in reallife. While not necessary to know before going into Tiger Mask W it does help to understand the draw the character has and the conception of the reboot: Tiger Mask W. What is Tiger Mask W? Tiger Mask W is 38 episode show made by Toei Animation from October 2016 to July 2017 serving as a sort of reboot and sequel to the original anime. It was produced with New Japan ProWrestling giving the show many wrestler cameos along with directly referencing NJPW with the company playing a large role in the plot of the story. This means tons cameos from NJPW like Okada The Bullet Club Tanahashi current AEW star Kenny Omega and Togi Makabe who is the only wrestler to voice his own character. I also want to mention that in the world of Tiger Mask W wrestling is 100 real. The fights arent predetermined the hits are fullcontact and wrestlers fight for their lives in the ring. Plot and Story Episode 1 spoilers: The show starts over 40 years after the original Tiger Mask anime. A global wrestling monopoly named: Global Wrestling Monopoly GWM creative name challenged the Zipangu ProWrestling team and destroys them along with their manager Daisuke Fuji who is permanently injured and nearly killed by GWMs top fighter Yellow Devil. Naoto Azuma and his friend Takuma Fuji son of Daisuke witness the brutal attack on their mentor and seek revenge on the GWM. Naoto trains under Kentaro Takaoka the original Tiger Masks former ally to become the new Tiger Mask. Takuma however trains under the Tigers Den the villainous agency partnered with GWM after being recruited by Yellow Devil under the pretense of giving him the chance for revenge. Takuma takes up the mantle Tiger the Dark. Both Naota and Takuma lose touch with each other neither aware of the mask they now wrestle under. Its a pretty standard revenge plot helped by the fact that there are two leads to the show. Naota being the straightlaced nice guy fighting as a face to take down GWM headon. Takuma while his heart is in the right place sides with the enemy often using heelish tactics training with villains and working his way up from the inside to get to Yellow Devil. Its nothing that stands out of the ordinary. The story is pretty cookie cutter with no crazy twists or turns to speak of for the most part and while I wouldnt really deduct points for being simple it definitely doesnt help it stand out from other Shounen similar to it. Animation and Genre The biggest appeal to me about sports anime is being able to see a sport you enjoy done in the flashy stylistic portrayal of anime. Whether youre a basketball baseball volleyball or tennis fan its cool seeing whatever sport you enjoy done in an anime. It often times provides the chance to create a show centered around a different form of action than others like it. The intensity of a baseball match the finesse of an ice skating performance these usually happen though fights in anime but the sports genre lets us see action in a different way. Wrestling is no different however it and other sports like boxing have the advantage and sometime disadvantage of being centered around fights a form of action that many MANY anime out there are entirely based around. On the plus side you are able to portray fights in a way that most anime doesnt with unique moves and a unique ruleset of needing to pin or submit your opponent. On the other hand you need to make your action fight anime stand out from the hundreds of others out there. This is where Tiger Mask Ws greatest strength lies: its action. Im happy to say that when it comes to inring action and animation the show really shines. It is a real treat as a prowrestling fan seeing clothlines toprope dives wrestling submissions powerbombs and slams preformed to create a truly unique style of action for anime. The unique action is helped with the inclusion of some great animation capturing the impact of wrestling moves and fluidity in their execution: 280https://66.media.tumblr.com/e3f962200b0157941073702fec493faf/tumblrojsodvlwZD1s05wxzo1400.gif 280https://64.media.tumblr.com/175c3597d3e42b01cb8b176eefa2cc93/tumblrojhgntvhlf1vmf9fpo1500.gifv This isnt to say that its perfect however. Outside of the ring animation is pretty standard looking and sometimes the action in the ring does come out a little stiff: 320https://64.media.tumblr.com/5a8fee0ec534c4f2f2ec6f53a07fb421/tumblrok5jnm1h2a1s05wxzo1400.gifv Overall though the animation is a huge plus making the inring action a real joy and exciting spectacle for the viewer. Characters and Pacing The negatives of Tiger Mask W start to rear their heads here specifically with the characters. Saying that the characters are boring would be an understatement. They are extremely forgettable with little to remember them by except by design. I will say that the designs are a big plus. When youre dealing with the attire of a prowrestler its not hard to stand out in that department. The NJPW cameos are a fun treat but amount to little more than fan service. The original characters to the show are no more than one note standins to service the plot. They get the job done but dont expect to remember them after youre done. If we are bring up designs I must mention the laughable design of Miss X whos proportions and attire are... unique. I know this is standard for anime but its too humorous not to mention: 227https://i.pin.com/originals/c7/e5/ec/c7e5ece0c11018aa20b946d807c2d88a.png 300https://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/40700000/MissXTigerMaskWsexyhotanimeandcharacters4072656912801518.jpg Another negative I had was the pacing of the show. The start and end of this show are a real blast with high action cool fights and an interesting enough story to grab the audiences attention. However Toei does what Toei does best and fills the middle with boring snoozville filler. For a few episodes we start meandering in place not really going anywhere with some subpar episodes. This is only a minority of the show but its backtoback placement in the middle really slowed things down for me. Music A quick mention of the music of this show. The opening and closing of the show are great with the opening being a modern rework of the original Tiger Mask theme. https://youtu.be/VsfGH5a1XC8 For inepisode music though the show tends to lack in variety and flash. With this lack of variety binging the show can lead to hearing the same songs over and over again which slowly can get on the nerves. Is it Worth Watching? While a score of 68 may seem really low for the show its actually one Id recommend... sometimes. If youre prowrestling fan then yes absolutely. Id be very surprised if someone who is a fan of prowrestling watched this and didnt get any enjoyment out of it. If youre a die hard action shounen fan especially if you like the sports genre I think theres something here for you to enjoy as well. All in all though the show while having a unique premise with some strong points isnt one you should be rushing to watch and you wouldnt miss much skipping it. Overall I really enjoyed Tiger Mask W. I scored it higher on my own personal list than this review though because while I personally really enjoyed it it will really only be enjoyable to a niche audience. Tiger Mask W is far from a bad anime though. While it does not deliver much thats unique from others like it its a show with some real charm carried by some great action done in a unique style that easily scratches that prowrestling itch I and many other fans may have. A show that I hope becomes well known among wrestling fans with the right person Tiger Mask W can easily be an enjoyable anime thats sure to stand out from others in your sports/shounen list.
68 /100
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