Happy new year everyone, we are back from our holiday break! And what better way to start this year than by talking about our favorite feline, Tiger Mask!
Tiger Mask W is a show that impressed me through its fight choreographies which really bring out the spectacular side of wrestling.
I knew I was in for a treat as I watched the fight against Red Death Mask in episode 4, which ends with an intense sequence featuring a blood-soaked Tiger Mask and some beautiful stills and poses.
Another great feature of the show was how it handled its legacy, following the steps of the two legendary TV series Tiger Mask and Tiger Mask Nisei, be it narratively by making use of already established characters, thematically by including real-world wrestlers into the show like its predecessors or even visually by paying homage to the original show’s iconic looks.
For example, the show digitally replicated the original show’s thick pencil lines, symbolic of Keiichiro Kitmura’s designs.
From the fight serving as the show’s climax, this scene, animated by Dragon Ball era veteran animator Naotoshi Shida goes some steps further to pay homage to the previous show’s vintage looks.
The execution of the first blows is reminiscent of some of his first scenes on Dragon Ball, but the elongated poses remind very much of the first Tiger Mask show.
Then there are also these Kanada light flares, reminiscent of early 80s anime and Tiger Mask Nisei. I don’t think there was any intent beyond something in the likes of “it looks cool and vintage,” but it is interesting to note that Yoshinori Kanada did contribute some Genga to the Nisei series.
Even the few black and white impact frames convey an impression of classic pre-2000 Toei action.
What I like most about this scene and how it plays with these aesthetic choices is that they leave a faint impression of a vintage style, but they do not feel old and incorporate themselves ideally alongside the modern visuals. As such, in an age where franchises are milked dry to the bone, I think Tiger Mask W showed a respectful way to continue on the path laid by its predecessors.