This was a sort of “Two Men and a Girl and a Baby” episode for T & B. While the baby story wasn’t especially interesting – the whole bit with the kidnappers was as mundane and predictable as you can get – it did offer a nice opportunity for some character development.
First off, any doubt that Blue Rose has a thing for Tiger can officially be set aside – her reaction to the news that he’s a widower and has a daughter settles that. Now, I would have guessed Kaede much older than nine – but it’s irrelevant as far as Rose is concerned. Will this impact her crush – and is there any possibility whatsoever that Kotestsu sees her as anything more than a surrogate daughter? I doubt it.
How very like Kotetsu not to want to burden the young people with his painful past. His character continues to drive this series, and it’s one of the best male leads we’ve seen in many a season. While he didn’t end up being the baby’s favorite, it was still telling that the Mayor wanted Tiger to watch the child. He pretty much assumes the role of surrogate parent – or at least Nii-san – to everyone he interacts with. There’s an essential virtue to Koteetsu than anchors everything that happens here – even his sense of justice is more pure than the others around him. It’s remarkable to see a character project world-weary cynicism and idealism at the same time, but he does. Even tsundere Barnaby is starting to be wilt – worn down by the fact that Kotestu always seems to be there with a grin, no matter how much abuse he heaps on him.
One of the last outstanding heroes without a major introduction got one this week in Dragon Kid. Another teenaged girl, the whole plot device of using the baby to shed a light on her relationship with her parents was pretty trite, but the character itself was pretty likeable. Like all the other wayward lambs, she seems to respond to Tiger’s paternal concern and, as you knew she would, ends up coming around and appreciating how much her parents love her. But poor Kotetsu’s own daughter doesn’t even wear the hairpin he gave her…
Parental relationships are awfully important to this series as a whole, in fact – most obviously through Barnaby and his obsession with his murdered parents. The cliffhanger ending was pretty interesting this week – the image of Tiger holding the stun gun prompting a painful flashback for Bunny to the murder of his parents. The man Barnaby finally remembered looked a bit like Kotetsu – especially when we got a closer look at him as a present-day freaky nude guy finger-painting the air. Is that resemblance a coincidence? I rather doubt it – but who can say for sure. At this point it’s still anybody’s guess whether there’s a direct link between Kotetsu and the incident, but we’ve learned nothing about Kotetsu’s childhood to speak of – so it seems very possible at the least.