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Home > T・P Bon (2024): A Review

T・P Bon (2024): A Review

T・P Bon (2024): A Review

Deus Ex Machina Bonanza!

The idea of time travel has long maintained an interest in the human mind. After all, who wouldn’t like to travel back in time to change things for the better? Perhaps say something different in a heated argument or going with the roast beef sandwich instead of the turkey club for yesterday’s lunch? This concept has especially flourished in pop culture and media as a whole. Doctor Who, Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) and Back to the Future (1985) are just a few examples. Over the last couple of years, however, this particular sub-genre has grown stale with a lack of entries. Netflix aims to change that with its newest anime addition, T・P Bon (2024). The series follows a middle school boy, Bon Namihira, who gets entangled with a time patrol agent. As an apprentice, Bon travels through various time periods along with his mentor, Ream Stream, rescuing insignificant figures across history. The entire series is animated by Bones and based on legendary mangaka Fujiko Fujio’s work of the same name. The anime is currently streaming on Netflix and was released May 2, 2024.

Edgy Fujio

The show feels like an after school cartoon, with each episode being loosely connected to previous episodes. Each episode starts off in modern day Japan, where Bon resides. This portion of the episode always sets up the adventure that Bon will end up going on. For example, in one episode Bon and his friends can’t decide on what to do for a class play. Ideas range from a musical to a skit based on Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. This is more or less how each episode begins, which actually works surprisingly well. In this way, however, it can also feel formulaic at times. There’s also a lack of agency, as the duo always seem to save whoever the intended target is. 

At this point, it’s important to reiterate that this anime is based on Fujiko Fujio’s manga of the same name, which also had a previous anime adaptation in 1989. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it belongs to the same person behind Doraemon. A true certified anime classic, fans of that particular anime should be warned prior to starting this series. This warning is doubled for anyone looking to watch this with their family due to Doraemon being so family friendly. T・P Bon is violent and gory, which will certainly be shocking to viewers only familiar with Fujio through Doraemon. While never distasteful, there are several scenes in the show which will certainly disturb a more sensitive audience. These scenes include torture and dismemberment, which will be hard to fathom given the show’s cutesy art style. If that’s not enough of a warning, the show itself even has a TV-MA rating, so viewers have been warned.

Retro Future

Bones Animation studio did a fantastic job with animating. Each scene feels fluid, with characters moving beautifully. As with all modern anime, there is some 3DCG used throughout. Most of the time, it’s not too bad, as it’s used in certain battle scenes with massive amounts of bodies on screen. The only time it feels egregious is when motion  gets involved. Whenever this happens, it’s better to just look away for a couple of seconds. The opening credits are a little trippy and colorful with a theme song that is infectious. Just search up BON BON BON performed by Ryan Brahms.

Despite being set in modern day Japan, the anime still has a retro vibe to it. Both Bon and Ream wear cool retro-looking suits which are meant to protect them from whatever environment they’re in. They also wear helmets that make them look like Lance Armstrong post doping scandal. While this description might sound weird, it actually fits well considering they ride on time bikes. The design of these things are up there with the Tardis from Doctor Who and the DeLorean from Back to the Future. They look and function like hover bikes but come with added features (besides time travel). In keeping with the retro futuristic vibes, these things are also convenient, as they allow items to be sent through time and space from their headquarters. They also come with a special feature called “compressed learning,” which allows their users to throw in a bunch of books and instantly obtain the knowledge contained within them.

(Il)Logical Characters

The two main characters have some…chemistry. Don’t worry, there’s not much romance in this sci-fi anime, so wipe that sweat off. As partners, however, don’t expect Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan levels of chemistry. Ream is supposed to be Bon’s mentor but occasionally comes off as just as inexperienced. They’re also around the same age, so it’s difficult to identify them as mentor and student. Another problem with their chemistry stems from how they first meet. Without delving too deep into spoilers, Bon and Ream’s initial relationship is more antagonistic. Considering this, it feels odd to see them get friendly so quickly.

Aside from the two main characters, one of the best parts of the show is meeting different figures throughout history. While Bon and Ream are the main characters of the show, their intended rescue targets always seem to steal the show. Viewers will meet a variety of characters throughout history, ranging from Egyptian pharaohs to Greek warriors. Unlike something similar like Mr. Peabody and Sherman or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which focus on actual historical figures from history like Napoleon Bonaparte, this show focuses on the unknown figures of history. Despite not being written down in history books, these characters often have their own stories which are thrilling to watch play out. At least, that’s how it feels for most of the show. At some points, it interjects Bon and Ream as active participants in history, which goes against the logic of the show. The show sets up a bunch of rules that are meant to maintain safety and consistency for the space time continuum, but Bon and Ream are already breaking those rules halfway through the show. 

Better Than The Tardis

T・P Bon is in no way a game changer in the anime world. It won’t be regarded in the same light as Yu Yu Hakoshu or One Piece or even amongst Fujiko Fujio’s greatest works. Despite that, however, there is an undeniable charm to this show that many classic and even retro anime have which make it hard to put down. It deserves to be added on to your “watchlist” but maybe not the top of it. Good news for those who end up liking the show, season two is set to air July 17, 2024.

T・P Bon (2024) Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.

Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.