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.
This was definitely one of the darker weeks of Tiger & Bunny, despite a hilarious banquet scene where the heroes are all dolled up (see above). The occasion is Barnaby breaking a record previously held by Mr. Legend, the original Hero. He’s the guy who inspired Kotetsu to become a hero himself. He still gets teary-eyed watching old TV footage of the guy…and I’m sure deep down Tiger kinda resents Bunny breaking his childhood hero’s record, though he’d never say it.
They could have just let Legend be an infallible legend and called it a week, but no! While Ao no Exorcist uses the heroic memory of Shiro, this series chooses to tear the legend of Legend down. Tiger’s friend Ben uncovers something huge: Legend also experienced a dip in powers late in his career; so much so that his criminal captures had to be staged to keep up appearances. This lead to a drinking habit, and then it led to the habit of beating his loving wife out of frustration. Legend was killed by his own son, to save her.
And his son’s name? Yuri…AKA Lunatic. Dunno about you, but I wasn’t expecting that! This was a bold move, but it works; it explains Lunatic’s vast wealth and resources, and because of what happened between him and his father, he developed his twisted sense of justice. Meanwhile, Tiger’s powers are dwindling so rapidly, he can’t even stop an ordinary human, and ends up in a dumpster, his ideals crushed, his dream of his daughter calling him cool in serious jeopardy, and his days as a hero seemingly numbered.
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
“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
With Lunatic running wild murdering murderers, public opinion around Sternbild is starting to sway in his favor. I mean, it’s not like he’s killing innocent people, amirite? Next to him, the heroes look a bit impotent. So Apollon Media decides to send out their heroes for some good ol’ PR. You know, rather than looking for Lunatic. They end up a Barnaby’s former school, which bears a slight resemblance to Professor Charles Xavier’s.
This series has gradually been delving deeper into various characters, obviously starting with Tiger, then Blue Rose and Bunny, and this week it’s Ivan/Origami Cyclone’s turn. I have to admit I initially found his sudden and intense self-doubt a bit strange, and I was definitely perplexed when Tiger exhibited surprise at his special power of mimicry. Haven’t these two fought together before? Mimicry is most definitely a useful superpower. It’s baffling that he hasn’t figured that out at this point in his career.
While mopey Origami wasn’t all that interesting, I like how they weaved Lunatic into the story, just when you thought he was on a break this week. Lunatic also seemed a lot less invincible than last week, as Tiger was able to soar into the sky and smash his mask. We even see him sans mask…what a girly man! Another plus: not all NEXTs have powers that are well-suited for heroism. Some are seemingly just circus freaks. Then again, Fantastic Four and X-Men made it work…Rating: 3
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