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.
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
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)