Tiger Mask W – Preview
Tiger Mask W:
Original Air Dates: October 1st, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Naoto Azum and Takuma Fujii were two up and coming wrestlers training at a small wrestling organization, Zipangu Pro Wrestling. But that came to an end when their master was defeated by Yellow Devil of Tiger’s Den. Years later Naoto has trained at the base of Mt. Fuji and becomes the New Tiger Mask, accepting the legacy of a legendary wrestling persona, while Takuma deliberately becomes a part of Tiger’s Den and dawns the title of Tiger The Dark. What will happen when these two must face each other in the ring!?
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Tiger Mask W is a sequel to a 70s/80s anime franchise: Tiger Mask and Tiger Mask Nisei. It’s obvious effort has gone into maintaining the retro look of that period, as characters are drawn with broad strokes, thick lines, masses of muscle, etc. Despite the effort and retro aesthetic they’ve tried to recapture, Tiger Mask W doesn’t always look great. A few characters look more like dolls than people and there’s a lack of detail in longer shots that’s come to be expected from Toei Animation, who are great at churning out series at a rapid pace, but not always with quality.
Linny: Tiger Mask W is brimming over with testosterone as we start the episode with an ultra brutal match that involves the ‘evil’ wrestler, Yellow Devil ripping his opponent’s chest, then proceeding to try and kill him while nobody tries to end the match besides the poor victim’s son and disciple. The match immediately tells you the kind of world and logic you’re in for, as Naoto and Takuma swear revenge. We then cut to training montages that involve being tied upside down and taking on a bear, and climbing mountains in the snow while only dressed in wrestler’s briefs. It’s an over the top extravaganza that’s either going to have you feeling nostalgic or shaking your head and chuckling at the silliness of it all.
Tom: Tiger Mask W is unmistakably over the top, taking wrestling to absurd levels. The story is simple, and easy to understand, yet feels not nearly as engaging as it perhaps should be. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Either it’s due to my innate disinterest in wrestling, I’ve never been a fan of the sport, or it’s this nagging feeling that Tiger Mask W contains callbacks and nods to the originals that I’m unable to appreciate without that knowledge.
Linny: In case all the big muscly men weren’t over the top and 80’s enough for you, Tiger Mask W makes sure to have a busty and sexualized female character and in true retro style, because she’s ‘evil’, she is clad in a bust revealing outfit as opposed to the good girls who are all dressed with modesty and never a cleavage in sight.
Tom: Broad strokes and gender roles define the characters here, harking back to a time when a man was a man based on his muscles, defined by his adherence to righteous justice against villains with few redeeming qualities. For fans of older, dated, entertainment Tiger Mask W is sure to strike a cord as entertainment like this is seldom found in the anime landscape of today.
Linny: Thanks to these broad strokes and character generalization, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find out that the two young men who seek revenge for their wronged father/mentor end up crossing paths as enemies as they both choose very different paths for revenge. While one goes on the straight and narrow by training hard, the other chooses to join the very organization that brought about his father’s ruin and bring it down from the inside. And of course, in classic older fiction style, neither knows the other’s true identity or plans so they can’t even work together. Everyone and everything is a cliche, even the supporting cast, but if you’ve missed the good old classics, you’re going to be in for a treat as you get to relive your youth/childhood.
Tom: Tiger Mask W has a retro feel not everyone is going to appreciate, in fact I’d wager it’s mostly aimed at an audience that misses the more testosterone driven, macho masculine anime of yesteryear. Normally that’s right up my alley as I can’t resist their over the top, completely absurd, impossible to take seriously, nature. But here I found myself bored, disengaged and unable to drum up enthusiasm. But I suspect that’s just me.
Linny: As someone who never got into the more male heavy, cliche laden animated shows of yore, this re-awakening of an older series that stays faithful to its root was a dud for me. Maybe if you are a young anime viewer who is curious about the past, or an older fan who wants some nostalgia or even someone who wants to watch some extremely over the top and corny wrestling revenge story, then maybe Tiger Mask W is the show for you. Unfortunately since we never watched the original series, we cannot tell you how faithful or appropriate of a continuation W is. But between all the muscly men, the ridiculous and retro style displays of macho-ness and evil, it’s clear that Tiger Mask W will have limited appeal today.
Tiger Mask W is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com