The main arc (Lunatic) is on the back burner for another week as Tiger & Bunny focuses on its characters. last week saw a lot of Kotetsu and Karina; this week’s all about Sky High (interestingly, I don’t believe we know his real name). Since the first half a lot has changed: the Tiger & Barnaby duo are killing it both in points and popularity, while the perennial “King of Heroes” seems to have lost his mojo. Not surprising, considering how swiftly he was dispatched by Jake Martinez.
As if losing his edge on the Hero side wasn’t enough, he also seems to have terrible luck with women. He meets a wooden, monosyballic yet gorgeous woman on a bench beside a fountain in a park (which is gorgeously presented at all times of day throughout the episode). He mistakes her measured responses as human demureness. It’s pretty funny to see him take advice from Fire Emblem, Dragon Kid and Karina, who believe heartsickness is responsible for his decline.
At first I was taken off-guard by Sky’s naivete, but it turns out he has little or no time to be a playboy; as he spends his nights patrolling the skies over Sternbild. But the woman turns out not to be wooden, but metal, and not a woman at all, but an android named Cis, who escaped from her master and is malfuncitoning (read: goes berserk). She has an excellent, frenetic battle with Tiger & Bunny, during which she sheds her human skin. By the time Sky High finishes her off (ironically, with thoughts of Cis fueling his confidence), he doesn’t recognize her, so for all he knows she’s still out there somewhere. Sky High’s mojo is back.
The episode still managed to shoehorn Barnaby’s connection to Cis’s creator (who worked with his parents; Cis is the apparent culmination of their research), which calls into question what he really knows about his deceased folks. Tiger too, has a bombshell dropped in his lap: a friend warns him the erratic behavior of his powers of late may spell a decline in them; rare but not unheard of amongst the NEXT. Well, he is old. Stay tuned! Rating: 3.5
So it took about three weeks and half of the Heroes’ asses getting kicked for them to find out that – gasp – Jake Martinez has not one, but two powers: the barrier power, and telepathy. Interestingly, classically the least observant and analytical hero, Tiger, is the one who discovers this. Everyone else who fought him just kept rushing Jake until they could no longer stand. So the big bad of the season is dealt with through the use of…an ordinary stun grenade. Something that would disorient anyone. Sooo….why didn’t they use one at the beginning???
Well, the episode answers that question to my satisfaction: they needed to stall for time, and divert both Jake’s and Kriem’s attention while they set up a jamming signal for the exobots. Once they do, Fire Emblem, Blue Rose and Dragon Kid finally have something to do besides sit in a lounge and watch what we’re watching. I got the feeling that just about everyone played an important role this week, which is good. Also, the episode dispenses with excessive exhibition and starts right off the bat with Barnaby taking it to Jake. The combat animation is quick and sharp.
So yeah, I enjoyed this episode more than the previous two partially because it was better, but also because I knew this arc had to end eventually. It’s a bit of an anticlimax that Jake doesn’t even remember Bunny’s parents, but I’m glad that in the heat of the battle he didn’t say something to the effect of “Haha, I actually DO remember your parents! They begged for mercy yadda yadda yadda”; I feel like that line is overdone. He didn’t remember them, period. So, remember, if you want to hold a city hostage, have more than a team of just two people, both of whom are busy playing around while their robots are jammed and disabled. Rating: 3.5
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this latest crisis to hit Sternbild just hasn’t been doing it for me. A lot of what goes on simply doesn’t make sense. The city is being held hostage by a fleet of “exosuits” that apparently have to be taken out all at once, or else they’ll collapse the city. Ouroboros has altogether too much power. So does Jake Martinez for that matter. He’s the most boring villain of the series to date; all Crazy Evil, no depth, no time limit on his powers, and seemingly invincible. He and his lieutenant, Kriem, are also visually over-designed as characters. Too much stuff going on.
If someone exists who can swat Sky High and Rock Bison away like flies, how the hell was he contained in a prison? Some kind of anti-NEXT field? If so, why aren’t steps being taken to activate a similar field around him now? I mean, he’s busy fighting heroes, and Kriem is simply watching…go under the radar! And I guess that’s the crux of why I’m just not enjoying Tiger & Bunny like I was earlier. There are just too many stupid things going on, and I’m constantly getting the sense I could come up with a better solution than the series provides; never a good thing. Credulity has been over-strained.
In addition, the pacing is very off, with lots of momentum-killing scenes of heroes just standing around like there’s no emergency at all. With the exception of Agnes, all the non-NEXT characters come off as useless, bumbling morons. That explains why Sternbild is in this mess, but doesn’t explain why Ouroboros hasn’t just destroyed the city already. If destruction is their only goal, they themselves are just stalling needlessly. Stalling is supposed to be the good guys’ job. Enough playing around, just get on with it! Rating: 2.5 (11), 3 (12)