Embrace the Year of the Tiger with 15 Mighty Tigers in Anime/Manga/Tokusatsu
Happy New Year!
Since 2010 is the Year of the Tiger in Chinese zodiac, called Eto and widely recognised in Japan, we'd like to start the year by showing respect to the beautiful beast (which is, by the way, also an endangered species that made the top of WWF's "Ten to Watch in 2010" list).
So here's a list of fifteen great tigers seen in anime, manga and tokusatsu. It might be a good place to start if you haven't decided what to watch in the rest of your winter holidays.
Here we go!
This classic title must be the first that comes to mind for most Japanese when they think about tiger-related anime/manga. Tiger Mask was a feared heel wrestler in the US who was extremely vicious in the ring. However, upon returning to Japan he questions himself when a young boy said that he wanted to be a villain like Tiger Mask when he grew up. The boy resided in an orphanage where Tiger Mask grew up. Feeling that he did not want the boy to idolize a villain, Tiger was inspired to be a heroic wrestler.
♦Tora from Ushio and Tora
In Kazuhiro Fujita's award-winning manga and its anime adaptation, Tora is a gigantic, supernatural tiger-like monster who constantly stalks and aides protagonist Ushio whom accidentally unsealed the cave he was trapped in for 500 years. Tora states that he has every intention to eat Ushio, thus will not let him be taken away by other monsters. But he also says he will not do something as low as attempting to eat Ushio in his sleep, implying he would prefer fair combat. Tora loves hamburgers and has great curiosity over modern lifestyle and gadgets.
♦ Captain Yellow from Dragon Ball
Captain Yellow is a Red Ribbon Army official in search of the Dragon Balls, who appears in the form of a humanoid tiger. Although being short-tempered, he has a sense of humour and seems to actually care about his troops, which might be the reason he was one of the popular bad-guys in the earlier days (he appears in episode 58 of the first anime adaption) which led to his re-appearance in Super 17 saga of Dragon Ball GT despite being killed by Goku on their first encounter.
♦Tsukutsun Tsun from Dr. Slump
Another lovable character of Akira Toriyama's creation, Tsukutsun Tsun is a teenage son of a Chinese family whose spaceship crash landed in Penguin Village. He's allergic to female, turns into a tiger whenever he is touched by a girl and cannot change back unless touched by a guy. To his confusion, Arale does not trigger this transformation since she is not a real girl.
♦Byakko from YuYu Hakusho
One of the demons called Four Beasts (Saint Beasts in anime), antagonists for Yusuke's third case. Byakko is a human-like white tiger who can turn pieces of his hair into lesser beasts, absorb aura energy and fire sonic blasts from his mouth. He is the short-tempered-overly-confident-bad-guy-with-no-brain that you can't hate for some reason. He gets beaten by Kuwabara thrice and in the end gets killed by his fellow beast Seiryu for failing his mission.
♦Andrew Waltfeld from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Nicknamed "Sabaku no Tora (Desert Tiger)" for his skill at desert combat, Andrew Waltfeld is one of the popular antagonists in the series, commander of the ZAFT forces in the PLANT-pledged African Community. His character is said to be influenced by WW2 German Commander Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox. Remember, his nickname came first, the ridiculous pilot-suit second.
♦Torajiro from Shima Shima Tora no Shimajiro
Star of the popular children's programme, Shimajiro is a curious tiger boy who resides in the Challenge Island with his friends and family, always eager for adventures and discoveries. You might have seen his award-winning toilet training videos.
♦Tama the White Tiger from Hayate the Combat Butler
Tama is a white tiger from Africa (though tigers do not inhabit Africa in reality), who was rescued by Nagi Sanzenin as a cub. He can speak the human language, though he does not reveal this to Nagi because he doesn't want to shatter the girl's dreams. He will lay his life down to protect Nagi, as Nagi saved his life and raised him herself. Nagi calls him a cat.
♦Mukkuru from Utawarerumono
A baby white tiger is taken in by Aruru after his mother Mutikapa, a large and violent white tiger, has been killed. Aruru names the cub Mukkuru and raise him lovingly. Mukkuru grows up to be a powerful giant tiger, Aruru's great companion and her mount in battles.
♦Taiga Aisaka from Toradora!
The petite tigress is a typical tsundere who won the Anime Saimoe Tournament 2009. Her name Taiga sounds like Tiger in Japanese, and due to her often snapping at others in brutal ways and her short stature, she is given the nickname "Tenori Taiga (Palmtop Tiger)".
♦ Torako Kageyama from Hyakko
Main heroine of Haruaki Kato's manga series and its anime adaptations (2008 TV series and 2009 OVA). Overly energetic highschool girl Torako is a typical trouble-maker with difficult upbringing, always skipping classes and running away from home. But she is in fact a quite intelligent and strong-minded girl, loyal to her friends, a tigress definitely worthy of her namesake (Tora means Tiger in Japanese as you may have noticed by now. Her name stands for the White Tiger of Chinese constellations).
♦Kisa Sohma from Fruits Basket
In popular anime/manga series Fruits Basket, members of the Sohma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac and cursed to turn into their animal forms when they embrace someone of the opposite sex or their bodies come under a great deal of stress. Of the thirteen cursed characters, the cute but very shy and withdrawn girl Kisa is cursed by Tiger.
♦Harakiri Tora from Kämpfer
The eye-patched stuffed tiger Harakiri Tora (Disemboweled Tiger) comes to life one day and tells the male protagonist Natsuru to fight as a female psychic fighter "Kämpfer". Tiger is one of the Meesengers who take the form of stuffed animals and assist those chosen to become Kämpers. For some reason he is very fond of the Sazae-san anime.
♦TigerRanger from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger
From the 1992 tokusatsu programmme of Super Sentai franchise. Boi, Knight of the Daim Tribe who transforms into "Warrior of Hope" TigerRanger, was the youngest of the team (15-yr-old) and the most energetic, agile, gifted with stealth abilities. Likes to eat, bad at cooking, hates carrot. His Guardian Beast is SaberTiger.
♦Go Takigawa from Tetsujin Tiger Seven
From the '73 tokusatsu series. Go Takigawa gets the power to transform into Tetsujin Tiger Seven from an aritificial heart and a magic pendant. Go rides a Suzuki motorycle with rocket boosters. When he transforms into Tiger Seven the motorcycle transforms as well to become "Spike Go". Spike Go can drive itself, coming to its master's aid when Tiger Seven roars.
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