Well, it isn’t as if the show’s been coy about this, but damn, Cecil really is beset on all sides by foes! Thanks to the progress made between them in these last couple episodes, Natsuna isn’t one of them. She even offers to help out with research on Cecil’s mom’s case, albeit in a tsundere kind of way. And Cecil’s wise-seeming father looks past the surface tension to perceive Natsuna as a valuable friend and ally. And it looks like Cecil is going to need as many of those as she can get.
What looked ostensibly like a “girl’s road trip”-turned-“coming home” story turned out to be much more, as the other members of the Butterfly delegation are led into a trap by their Boston counterpart, Diana who turns out to be very evil. At the same time, Cecil and Natsuna’s lovely little log cabin/maple/syrup/boat retreat is crashed by the hitchhiker Kaede, whom Cecil’s familiar Nanajiinyi felt a faint murderous intent from earlier. In addition to the correct tarot readings by both Sasori and Cecil’s dad, it’s clear that on this show, you take people’s intuitions seriously!
Kaede challenges Cecil to a metamoloid duel, and when Cecil’s childhood home is destroyed in an instant, it’s enough to force her to summon metal from distant cities to build her own, overpowering and defeating Kaede in the process. But both Kaede and Diana’s Sudden But Inevitable Betrayals are soon cut short by a combination of Cecil and the other Barristers fighting back (respectively) and by their sudden and quite horrific deaths by unknown magical powers. Back in Tokyo, Shizumu reports to his dad that they bowed out of their “missions.” Things are definitely afoot.
Even more intriguing is the fact that a couple weeks after saving Cecil’s life, Tento appears in Canada—and not by plane—apparently annoyed that Diana and Kaese “jumped the gun.” Obviously Tento is more than just a flirty, ketchup and whipped cream-loving paralegal, and she’s far more powerful than anyone around her is aware. We’re not even sure she’s actually on Cecil’s (or anyone’s) side. All we know is, we fully agree with Cecil that it’s time to get back to researching the incident with her mom…and this time she’s got Natsuna to help out!
After Bunny defeats one H-1, Rotwang unleashes an entire squad of them at the heroes. Saito manages to put them into safety mode using a code Bunny’s parents devised. After killing Rotwang, Maverick attempts escape, but his big mouth gets him in trouble when its revealed he’s being filmed by the Hero TV crew. He takes Kaede hostage, but Kotetsu wakes up and knocks him out. He wipes out his own memory and is arrested, and everyone is out of harm’s way. Lunatic intercepts the paddy wagon and kills Maverick for his crimes. Tiger & Bunny both retire, but get back into the superhero game a year later.
Tiger & Bunny wraps up with a solid, satisfying finale, with its fair share of action, slapstick, and a lot of heart. This series always seemed to care a great deal about its cast, and whenever it focused on one or another, it really made the characters shine. Those character pieces always worked better when the series took more introspective views of the characters, rather than bundle them all up with little to do, like the last few episodes where they had to deal with Maverick. But Kotetsu really took center stage – apparently “sacrificing” himself last week, only to make a hero’s comeback at the most opportune time – to look cool in the eyes of his daughter.
This is another one of those “life goes on pretty much as it has” endings, where Tiger returns to the Hero biz, not out of selfishness, but because Kaede told him to. The fact that his powers are only good for a minute don’t faze him; one cannot hold back the tide, as the late Legend proved. He’ll just do what he can to help out and protect his family. As for Barnaby, he wasn’t interested in being a hero without Tiger by his side, so when Tiger returned, so did he. A testament to how far their friendship has come.
Tiger & Bunny have to dodge the H-01’s attacks until their powers return, and even when they do, it has little effect on the ultra-powerful android. Rotwang tortures the other heroes by making them decide whether they should save only themselves or risk everyone dying. Kaede manages to escape her captors and take Rotwang out, but by then Bunny has already used the H-01’s weapon to destroy him while Tiger holds him down. The blast mortally injures Tiger in the process, or so it seems.
By the end of last week we were left with the questions: with the heroes’ bonds of friendship outlast their own desire for survival? Will Tiger & Bunny defeat the big bad android? Will Kaede be made safe? The answer to all three is yes. Duh. The execution of these objectives wasn’t the most elegant or innovative process it the world, but it got the job done. Rotwang’s typical villain-gloating and watching everyone’s reactions in the cells got awfully repetetive though.
So did what should have been epic climactic battle with the H-01, which consisted mostly of the two heroes releasing battle cry after battle cry, then bouncing off of him. But the one thing I didn’t expect was for Tiger to be killed in this last episode. Or was he? He certainly lost consciousness. It’s a big city; get him to a hospital already. If he is dead, it wasn’t the most necessary death in the world. It didn’t even make that much sense. Why is Tiger suddenly strong enough to hold the android? Why didn’t it simply contort its way out of his hold? We’ll never know.
Kotetsu duels with Barnaby until calling him Bunny restores his memory. Saito and Ben arrive to aid them in opposing Maverick, but he’s already captured all the other heroes and Kaede is a hostage. Maverick has also recruited Rotwang to develop androids that will replace the heroes. Kotetsu and Barnaby have to defeat the fake RoboTiger in order to save everyone, while the others have the option to save themselves by killing everyone else, a test of their bonds.
So, all it took was a little punching, a bitch slap, and some sobbing to snap Bunny out of it. The series wisely avoided what I had dreaded – Barnaby staying bad – and instead everyone is now united against Maverick. Of course, he has everyone where he wants them, and it all comes down to Tiger & Bunny being able to get the job done. By making a nice connection to the episode with the android woman who Sky High fell in love with, the point is driven home: this is not going to be easy or painless.
I realize Maverick is a rich and powerful guy who wants more riches and power, but as he is forced to take stronger and more dastardly measures, it’s pretty obvious his own greed and arrogance will be his undoing. Was it really necessary to make mortal enemies of such powerful people as the heroes under his employ? Does he truly believe androids will make better heroes than human NEXTs? Why exactly is he going so far? I’m not sure the series cares whether we understand him or not, only that he’s the bad guy and he has to go down.
Tiger faces the Heroes with no plan, Kaede drops in and restores their memories, but Barnaby is absent, so he remains convinced Kotetsu murdered his Auntie Sam. Tiger goes all “come at me bro” and the two former allies chase each other all over Sternbild. Meanwhile, the other heroes face Fake Tiger, and unmask him to reveal…well, they don’t actually show his face…
Well now, how could I have forgotten that Kaede was touched on the head by Maverick? Well I did…Oops! So she isn’t really a deus ex machina, because the logic of her character and the plot allowed her to have those powers.Still, her arrival in the knick of time was awfully convenient. As for the heroes, they’re extremely susceptable to mediocre stalling tactics.
The second half was all Tiger & Bunny going at it. Tiger decides for some reason that it’s better for him to lead Bunny away from the other heroes and make him give chase on a crowded expressway and through city intersections, putting thousands of Sterbilders at mortal risk. Considering Tiger’s commitment to protecting the public, this was either a lapse of judgement on his part – or the writers.
Ah, the “framed for murder and suddenly nobody knows who you are” episode. I knew Kotetsu would run into trouble if he came back to Sternbild, but I didn’t think he’d get in this deep. Why again didn’t he just submit his resignation over the phone? Was the junk in his apartment really worth another trip away from his family? (For the record, Kaede and his mother and brother don’t believe he actually killed anyone.)
Anyway, hindsight is 20/20, and instead we get what is mostly a chase episode, with everyone recognizing Kotetsu (thanks to Maverick’s control of P.R.), but not as a hero, but as a murder suspect. One by one, the other heroes corner him, and while they acknowledge that he believes he’s guilty, they have to do their jobs – which means capturing him. Which brings us to Wrongfully Accused Tip #1: Don’t run; you’ll just look more guilty. Kotetsu, naturally, runs.
It’s probably best he runs though, because that allows an opportunity for him to see the cherry on top of Maverick’s sweep-Kotetsu-under-the-rug scheme: another Wild Tiger. This one doesn’t talk (like Stig), and sports an evil black-and-red color scheme. Interestingly, Lunatic, the wild card, saves the real Kotetsu from his own friends, and buys Kotetsu time to find his old buddy Ben, whose cab arrives perhaps too perfectly on-the-dot. However, Ben is in fact on his side, and has his old Wild Tiger costume. I’m not sure how this will convince the heroes he is who he says he is, but we’ll find out next week.
Kotetsu should really retire. His daughter Kaede needs him in this crucial time when her power(s) are coalescing, and his own powers dwindling. It just makes sense. Unfortunately, not only did he make zero progress last week communicating his wishes to Barnaby and the others, but thanks to Kriem, Barnaby has totally gone bye-bye. I’ll give Tiger this: he sure knows how to get himself into some friggin’ spots (or stripes. He’s a Tiger.)
This week’s title is, fittingly, “There’s no way out,” as Kotetsu has to try to help Bunny out of his funk. After retracing Bunny’s steps of the day his parents were murdered, Bunny passes out. When he comes to he finds Tiger on the phone with Kaede, hears everything, and, of course, gets the wrong idea. They fall out, and Bunny hangs with Mr. Maverick, who has all the answers for him.
The big secret Mav reveals is that he murdered Bunny’s folks. He’s a bad, bad man. They provided hero suits for his show, but when he started selling them to the criminals of Ouroboros to make the crimes more exciting – and hence the ratings higher – they objected. He killed them to keep the secret, and used his NEXT ability – memory implantation – to cover his tracks. Only Jake’s lack of a tattoo on his hand broke the illusion.
Needless to say, this is a lot to take in. Parts of me suspected Maverick may have been up to something, but not to this extent. It’s a little goofily diabolical, this plan of his, but it fits within this silly futuristic world of brash personalities.The things you do for love…in his case, the love of money.
Yeah, I knew Tiger wasn’t going to quit being a hero this week and return home to take care of Kaede. But part of me still wished he did. But then it wouldn’t be Tiger & Bunny, now would it? What I didn’t expect was the tragic life story of Kriem, and how Jake Martinez saved her, as told on her deathbed.
Kaede’s powers are starting to run amok back home. It turns out she doesn’t just have Tiger’s Hundred Power. She can copy powers. Yegods, that’s an awesome power! If she can master it, what’s stopping her from moving to Sternbild to help fight crime, or at the very least, be closer to her father. I mean hell, Karina is still in high school, and she’s a hero. Dragon Kid’s just…a kid, amarite? I’m just looking for the most mutually beneficial solution here.
To be fair to Kotetsu, he never really has a good time to announce his retirement: the rest of the gang is so happy to see him back (especially the previously mentioned Karina). And before she dies, Kriem drops a bomb on Barnaby: Jake didn’t murder his parents. It’s proven when the hand tattoo in Bunny’s memory is missing from Jake’s hand in footage. This causes Barnaby to question his fitness to be a hero, at exactly the wrong time for Kotetsu. Nothing comes easy for ‘ol Tiger.
To quote the Zissou, that was a goddamn tearjerker. It was also perhaps the best episode of Tiger & Bunny to date. This is pure character work; no silly villains or schemes. With his powers continuing to dwindle, Kotetsu returns to his hometown for some time off and soul-searching. It’s the first time in three years he’s been there. He goes not knowing what comes next. Right from the get-go, I knew what he should do, which is retire from superherodom and move back.
He’s in the twilight of his career anyway, so there’s little pressure in that area; he doesn’t have any of the character flaws that led to Mr. Legend’s downfall; and most importantly, he can get back to being a father to his estranged daughter Kaede. I didn’t think Kotetsu would consider retiring, since he promised his wife on her deathbed he’d never stop being a hero. But I don’t think she meant abandon Kaede to do so. He can be a hero to her. And as his awesome older brother said, the end of his powers doesn’t mean the end of his life.
And he is this week, as a freak storm traps her in a crumbling temple and he has to save her, which definitely helps his standing with her. Most Fortuitous! But the kicker has to be the revelation that Kaede is herself becoming a NEXT. While I’m doubtful his days as Wild Tiger are yet full, I wouldn’t complain one bit if they were. Kaede needs him now more than ever.