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.
Last week devious covert über-villain Albert Maverick successfully purged any inconvenient memories from Barnaby, but turns out he wasn’t done yet; not by a long shot. Two people either still knew the truth about Barnaby’s parents, or could potentially learn the truth if they kept digging – namely Tiger and Samantha. They would be Mav’s next victims.
But the ol’ poison coffee trick doesn’t work, as Kotetsu just never puts the cup to his lips before he’s called away. No matter, Mav hatches a dastardly plan that totally turns the climate of the series upside down: having failed to alter Kotetsu’s memory, he instead alters the memories of all the other heroes, and Hero TV staff. The result of this is, no one remembers who Tiger is. Even his security clearence is revoked.
Maverick then sets Tiger up for the murder of Samantha (who he earlier imprisoned). All heroes are now his enemy, and he is a wanted man. Barnaby in particular has the same rage and thirst for justice he had when pursuing his parents’ killers; it’s not unrealistic to assume he’d kill Tiger to avenge his auntie maid. And as usual, Tiger has the worst luck imaginable…though entering Samantha’s house and getting his fingerprints everywhere wasn’t such a good idea.
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.
“Calm Before the Storm” is a fitting title for this week’s heroic adventure, though the second half is more like the storm after the calm. When he grudgingly takes some time off work, Tiger tries to ingratiate himself with his daughter by appearing in her presence for once, with a gift in hand. However, his assertion that heroes never get days off is proven correct: as the bridge he’s driving on is bombed by a terrorist. Predictably, he fails to see his daughter once more. Poor Tiger!
Meanwhile, Barnaby thinks he’s found the one who killed his parents – an odd-looking dude named Jake Martinez, and is off to prison to question him. An automotive aside; Tiger’s daily driver is a green Isuzu Bighorn, while Bunny rolls in a red Honda NSX. These are both very fitting vehicles for those characters. But like Tiger, Bunny and all the other heroes get a rude interruption to their respective respites when Ouroboros makes their big unveiling. The bridge was one of three routes out of Sternbild they bombed, making the 20 million citizens their hostages.
Two shadowy but snappily-dressed villains announce how things will go down: if their demands are not met, they’ll start blowing up the city’s support columns, eventually causing catastrophe (and proving why it’s a bad idea to stack three essentially cities directly atop of one another). Their foot soldiers – nasty mechas piloted by re-animated plushies – surround all the heroes menacingly, and jam the Hero TV feed. If public fear hadn’t quite pervaded yet, it sure as hell will now. The heroes now have two dilemmas: how to defeat Ouroboros, and how to calm, reassure, and earn back the trust of the citizens. Rating: 3.5
Finally, Dragon Kid has some lines! Or, I should say, Pao-Lin. She gets a decent introduction, as this episode is centered heavily on the idea of family, with a particular emphasis on symbols or mementos that express love in absentia. The Kill Bill-style tracksuited Dragon Kid is a hardcore tomboy, who doesn’t want to be cute, even if she actually is. She’s young, she’s gifted, she’s Chinese…and apparently, she’s great with babies.
A babysitting episode could have been dreadful, but this series made it work, by having the baby be a telekinetic NEXT, and putting Tiger in charge. He’s a father and a widower (something that bemuses and confounds Blue Rose), with a loved but rarely-seen 9-year-old daugher, after all, while the other heroes at Apollon are all seemingly single and childless. Alas, Tiger & Bunny drink all night, and when Kid and the baby kidnapped. The mayor’s baby.
As for the kidnappers: a crack team of flamboyant, cool-looking NEXT sisters with an Elgrand Motorhome and senses of smell that can detect money, lies, and danger. Those are useful skills if you’re serial kidnappers, but as villans they were underused. Unfortunately those senses can’t do much against three full-fledged heroes, and the baby is recovered. Meanwhile, Bunny continues to remember his dark past and even hallucinates about it, keeping the pressure on him even in this otherwise non-ouroboros episode. Heck, that’s probably why he was up all night drinking!. Rating: 3.5
The new NEXT with the blue flames makes his debut this week, and he ain’t exactly what you’d call an ally. Seemingly killing anyone who may be involved with the Ouroboros crime syndicate that killed Bunny’s parents at just the right time, he even ruins a Hero TV live broadcast by toying with Tiger and Bunny. I have to say, the whole group kinda dropped the ball on this; all heros were mobilized, and yet Tiger and Bunny were on their own against this lunatic, whose name is…Lunatic.
Luny is, to my mind, an indie NEXT who has his own code of justice, one that some Hero fans share: Bad guys should be killed. Tiger doesn’t believe that, valuing and protecting all life, good or bad. But Lunatic has a much faster suit and flames hotter than Fire Emblem, so it will take a lot of effort and teamwork to bring him down.
Other than Lunatic’s intro, this episode feels a little light on substance. Bunny’s brief angsting period lasts only the length of a “charity show” he ducks out of, leading Blue Rose to partner with Tiger. Until charity was mentioned, I questioned the point of putting on shows when there’s clearly enough crime in the city to keep the heroes busy. Similarly, the scene with the oxygen relaxation chambers didn’t really go anywhere, though the guy yelling at Tiger to go to sleep was pretty funny. Rating: 3
The three men who were Barnaby’s first arrests end up murdered in prison by some kind of flame, and Fire Emblem is suspected. He isn’t the deepest character in the world, nor the least stereotypical gay, but Fire Emblem is a good guy with a good heart, who we the audience know would never take a life unless absolutely necessary. It’s very odd how he and Kotetsu just happen to be at the prison in question, testing his powers, when the true culprit strikes again. What was the point of implicating Emblem if he didn’t do it? Superpower profiling?
Anywho, this who mystery runs deep within Barnaby’s memory, as there was a man with an Ouroboros tattoo who killed his parents in a fire. The big bag black guy from the bomb scare also makes a fresh appearence, this time in a Porsche-tossin’ battle mecha. How he got this mecha, who he is, and what he’s up to are all things we don’t learn here. Barnaby suspects he’s somehow in league with his parents’ killer, and lays into him a bit before he takes their producer as a hostage. Then the baddie gets toasted with the same flame that claimed the inmates – coming from a next perched atop the Empire State Building a ways away. Perhaps the first supervillain has arrived at the scene – as his fire is more powerful than Emblems, he’ll be a force to be recokned with. Rating: 3
After an episode of quickly introducing everyone, “Tiger & Bunny” settles down with a fairly standard buddy cop episode…or buddy hero, I should say. It stayed nice, light, and witty, and the comedy, while not Level E, was definitely a cut above many anime that attempt comedy (Sket Dance, for instance…) It’s pretty amusing that “Bunny” is just Tiger’s messing up of his partner’s name, Barnaby, for instance.
It’s also great that even in the line of duty, this guy tries to make the last minutes of his daughter’s skating recital. Less humorous but still informative, we learn about what inspired Tiger to get into the superhero business in the first place. Tiger was a NEXT, a kind of human who has a choice to make in how to live their lives: they can be self-loathing freaks who cause problems, or ass-kicking, day-saving freaks in awesome costumes and mecha with ads splashed on them.
Tiger chose the latter, and has to convince a punk NEXT kid (who is animating statues to help him wreak havoc) to do the same. This kid, or shonen, I should say – is named Tony, and I kept thinking as I watched him go: thank god he isn’t the protagonist. Instead, this is a show primarily about adults, particularly ones like Tiger who are in mid-life crisis mode. These adults still dress up in weird costumes and say ridiculous things (looking at you, Blue Rose), but they’re adults nonetheless. Rating: 3