It’s an eventful week for Tiger & Bunny. New OP, new OD, 10 month time skip, and some new attitudes among the major characters.
This ep showed why it’s so interesting to have a hero like Kotetsu that’s so different from the normal anime leading man. Romance is more or less expected in any series, irrespective of genre. Yet Tiger is a guy pushing middle age, with a tween daughter, and that adds a whole different element to the possibility of any romance between he and any of the female cast (Blue Rose obviously being the most likely candidate). Kotestu is the greatest strength of this show for me. He’s kind, awkward, self-effacing yet undeniably courageous and a pretty good hero. It’s no wonder Blue Rose fell for him, but I really think his feelings for her are more paternal.
As we rejoin our heroes, Barnaby has won the hero competition for the previous season, with Tiger 4th (and Rock Bison dead last). They’re the talk of the town – celebrated for their great teamwork after vanquishing Jake Martinez. Bunny has turned all deredere for Tiger. He calls him “Kotetsu”, smiles all doe-eyed at him (I can hear the thud of the fainting fujoshi hitting the ground) and defends him to Blue Rose. For her part she’s now thoroughly tsundere. She’s aware that she’s fallen for Kotetsu and it bothers her, yet she can’t deny her feelings. We haven’t seen the last of this plotline.
As a way to cash in on their growing popularity T & B are teamed up with Blue Rose for a new single, to be debuted live before an adoring crowd. This offers Kotetsu a chance to worm his way further into her heart during the dance lessons she gives them, unwittingly winning her with his goofy humor (he does the worst “robot” like, ever) and his awkward generosity.
Meanwhile, the central pillar hasn’t been totally forgotten either. There’s a little side-story about the new “second team” heroes and their pursuit of a backstage theif who targets idols. but the meat of the matter is the strange way Tiger’s powers react when he chases the thief down. It wasn’t your imagination – Tiger was indeed glowing at the end of the last episode, and he does it again this week. Not only that, but his powers go all super-seiyan – he’s able to run faster and jump higher than ever – and then run out 30 seconds early.
I’ve seen it speculated that Jake Martinez’ “other” power is possession, and that he somehow managed to transfer his soul to Kotetsu’s body before the helicopter made tonkatsu out of his mortal coil. I was skeptical, but it does sort of fit. Something weird is definitely happening to Tiger, and it started right after Jake “died”. Another NEXT in his body would explain power surges, and it would also be a neat way to get Jake back into the mix of the story. With Barnaby’s parental issues unresolved it did seem off for him to be killed off just like that.
Between that mystery and Kotetsu’s love life, there’s certainly a lot to keep us busy for a while. Blue Rose is adorable, but I think Kotetsu is just too decent and honorable to go there. I just hope he finds a way to let her down easy.