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.
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
Click here to read more reviews of Tiger & Bunny, including the first thirteen episodes.
Tiger & Bunny serves up a fine start to its second half, fully validating my decision to continue blogging it despite a drawn-out arc with a silly villain. Not only are Tiger & Bunny enjoying more popularity than ever, they are also quite chummy with one another, with Barnaby discovering finally that while it may seem at times like something’s wrong with him, Kotetsu is a generous and selfless guy; exactly the hero he always strived to be.
Blue Rose/Karina has also been picking up on this, because she has a serious (and hilarious) crush on him. She spends much of the episode agonizing over whether it’s true, and if so, how on earth that could be possible. Tiger himself is surprised she’s single; he treats her like a daughter more than a potential love interest, and expected her to have more than one young boyfriend. But she doesn’t; she’s utterly obsessed with him. His obliviousness to this is forgivable, since to his credit she’s just acting strange, not necesarily affectionate; and Tiger would never believe a high schooler is in love with him.
This week’s story, in which T&B team up with Blue Rose to do a pop concert, is full of physical comedy, notably their practice sessions. The introduction of the ‘B-team Heroes” should also provide future comedy, and the return of the fake Barnaby as a backstage thief was also a nice touch, as was his accidental act of generosity towards Bison. But mostly, this episode served as a vehicle for three main developments: Tiger & Bunny’s growing friendship, Karina’s burgeoning feelings for Tiger; and finally, Tiger’s unexplained and sudden burst in power and speed. Alll will be developed as this summer half continues. Rating: 3.5
This week wasn’t Tiger & Bunny’s finest, but some nice characterization helped to cut through an otherwise unexceptional outing, event-wise. The thief with the diamond body was just ridiculous. But Kotetsu and Barnaby continue to have good chemistry despite their many differences of opinion, and the colorful group of heroes is always interesting.
Barnaby himself is an odd guy. He has an enormous room with nothing in it but a chair and an enormous tv, kinda like those a supervillain would use. So who does he call on the big video phone to craft some devious scheme while all the lights are out? Well, no one, actually; his longtime family maid calls him, asking if he recieved his annual birthday cake from her. Barnaby’s character design screams bad guy, but he isn’t one.
Kotetsu, meanwhile, is his usual charming, bumbling, well-meaning oaf-like guy with a heart of gold who does everything with the best of intentions but often causes a lot of collateral damage. The whole birthday surprise plot was pretty silly though, it made the whole group of heros look more than a little hokey. Seriously, aren’t there people they can pay to make an awesome birthday for Barnaby? Like, planners or something? Rating: 3
This week focuses on Blue Rose, or Karina, who as it turns out is a teenager who lives with her doting mom and taciturn dad. It’s also about why heroes honestly fight. Tiger is nonhesitant with his response: he does it because he loves saving people, and that’s all. But blue rose loves to sing and wants everyone to hear her. She’s become a reluctant hero; distracted by her true dream: to sing.
Karina won’t listen to Kotetsu’s lecturing at first; constantly bringing up his lack of points as evidence of his lameness. But Tiger isn’t all talk. He truly isn’t interested in acknowledgement. We’ve seen this so far this series as he’s saved the day and gotten either criticized or ignored. He doesn’t care; he got to save lives, and that’s enough. Rose, Barnaby, they’re after reward. They love acknowlegement. Perhaps they need it. But they may never be as satisfied and at peace as Kotetsu.
Incidently, I really enjoy the camaraderie and banter between heroes while on duty, as well as their casual, friendly interaction while off duty at their training facility. It’s good to show everyone as ordinary people now and then, and particularly Blue Rose, who is so done up in her get-up, she looks like a different person. There’s also a nice scene where Karina realizes that singing in bars won’t get her acknowledged any more than lifesaving. She can decide what to do, but she doesn’t get to decide how the people love her…or indeed whether they acknowledge her at all. Rating: 3.5