Tiger & Bunny strayed dangerously close to overused cliche territory this week, but it gets some small measure of pardon for at least acknowledging it. Bomb about to blow up, which wire to cut? Surely it doesn’t get any more cliched than that.
This show is walking a fine line. On the one hand, clearly it’s both an homage and a parody of the comic-book superhero genre (and going at it with far more intelligence than most of it’s recent company, such as Heroman). As such, it needs to stick pretty close to the tropes of the genre for the inferences and satire to work. OTOH, it has to maintain a level of cleverness and an edge or else it risks becoming nothing beyond predictable, and an example of the very thing it’s attempting to parody.
Working in the series’ favor is that it has a very likeable, believable central character in Wild Tiger. He’s got the mix of snark and sincerity down perfectly, and if you’ve bought into the series enough to still be watching it’s likely you can’t help but root for him – at least that’s the case with me. As for Barnaby, we didn’t get the massive dose of backstory this week that I expected – just one little flashback that showed he was the child of a billionaire who was assassinated along with Barnaby’s mother. The relationship between he and Tiger definitely straddles that line between parody and cliche – one is young, the other mature. One relies on intellect, the other instinct. Old vs. New school, pretty-boy vs. grizzled veteran. We get it – and my hope is that the relationship will progress beyond those tropes in a more meaningful way than simply, “They grew to understand and appreciate each other, and most importantly – to trust.”
So on the whole, while generally entertaining this was not as interesting as the first two eps. The TV producers is being set up as a running villain, and a new character was introduced there at the end – the piano playing blonde who appears to be a hero as well. Perhaps a love interest for Wild Tiger? That’s an interesting topic – it’s well-known that this series has become a favorite for Fujoshi, whether this was intended by Sunrise or not. It seems clear that either way, they’re definitely playing up to it now – all the hair-tossing and underwear shots of Bunny, not to mention the tortured “top or bottom?” musings in the elevator. I suspect it’s just Sunrise having fun and won’t lead to anything concrete, but it certainly ties in to the winking tone the show seems to be taking towards the audience in general. It’s like one big in-joke, this one – I just hope they don’t dumb it down too much to make sure we get it…