Tiger & Bunny – 17

In many ways, this was the episode that the series had been building towards from the very beginning. And with a couple of quibbles, it mostly delivered when the chips were down.

Tiger & Bunny has been avoiding the subject of Kotetsu and Kaede’s relationship for 16 episodes – and I suppose you could say Kotetsu has been avoiding it for 16 episodes. There have been teases and false starts, but both the series and the man have been putting off the hard choices about what kind of father he wants to be. Thankfully, this was no false alarm – the entire episode was dedicated to that answer, with the promise of more to come.

It’s surprising, given what a great surrogate father he is to his younger cohorts, but Kotetsu is an awkward parent (I guess it’s always easier when it’s someone else’s kid). He talks down to Kaede, talks at Kaede, and has a hard time understanding her feelings. While she sleeps in his old room, he’s a remote presence in her life, which revolves around Kotetsu’s mother. Having lost her own mother at four, Grandma is the lifeline Kaede clings to for security and Kotetsu just can’t grasp that fact. This, and the fact that he treats her like the toddler she was when he seemingly last spent any real time with her, provokes a resentment that not even a signed picture book of her hero Barnaby can overcome.

This ep did a lot to paint a picture of who Kotestsu is by filling in the blanks in the background of the portrait. The devoted, widowed mother, the stern older brother, the small-town environment he fled for the big city. Most importantly, the wife and mother who died, Tomoe (seiyuu legend Sakamoto Maaya) who died in her hospital bed when Kotetsu left for heroing duties – left with the promise that he’d always be a hero.

The one element of the episode that didn’t thrill me was the deux ex machina of the convenient typhoon coming along and creating the crisis that brought Kotetsu and Kaede together. I would have rather than had come in a more realistic fashion, rather than having her be trapped in a shrine building probably hundreds of years old about to be destroyed in a collapse of trees and a mudslide. That said, it did serve the larger purpose of getting Kotetsu to the realization he’s needed to find for the entire series – his responsibility to his daughter exceeds his responsibility to Bunny, Sternbild or anyone else.

Old-school Tiger!

A lot of folks are bemoaning the fact that Kotetsu may leave the Hero game, but not me. Selfishly, the ending I hope for is the one suggested here – that Kotetsu leaves his Hero gig to become a full-time Dad. And the fact that Kaede is developing NEXT powers makes his presence in her life even more crucial. Rather than sad, I think that’s uplifting – especially as a contrast to Mr. Legend. He’s behaved with honor and in addition to saving lives, he’s been a mentor to many younger Heroes. There’s no shame in turning that responsibility over to the next generation and becoming a hero and mentor to his own daughter. Hasn’t his mother done enough?

Of course, we have eight episodes left and lots of unanswered questions looming, so there’s no way things can be that simple. Will it simply be a case of Tiger staying in the game to see things through to a good end – help Bunny unravel Ouroboros, and deal with Yuri/Lunatic – before going home? Or will things go in a completely different direction? For my money, the cards have been played with this episode – if Kotetsu doesn’t follow through on the insight he gained here that being a full-time Dad is his noble destiny, that would feel like a betrayal to me. I don’t mind waiting for it, but I sure hope that’s where things end up.

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7 comments

  1. T

    Was it just me, or did this episode seem to resolve Kotetsu's family issues a bit too easily?

    Nevertheless, it was still a very emotional episode. I never expected Kotetsu's family situation to have been so dysfunctional. At least he's taking the initiative in trying to solve the problems.

    Now I wonder how Barnaby and Blue rose will react to the news, lol.

  2. I don't know if they're quite resolved… But I agree – that's what I meant about the typhoon being a deux ex machina. Other than that, though, I thought it did a pretty decent job.

  3. S

    The typhoon deux ex machina does feel a bit out of place. It has always bothered me how little time Kotetsu spends with Kaede, even though he clearly loves her. I'm glad this issue has been somewhat resolved and I quite like seeing Kotetsu as the awkward dad interacting with his rebellious daughter.
    Has the show ever mentioned that Kriem was in a coma? I thought she was incarcerated but just refused to talk. I'm glad Bunny is still working towards bringing down Ouroboros. I like him better when he's all emo and being a Tsun-dude :3

  4. I like Bunny better that way too… If there's been any mention of Kriem's coma, I haven't heard it.

  5. A

    (Elianthos here again XD)
    They've done a good job wìth the characters, to the point that even when the script goes the convenient plot twist way you're still entertained, because you *care* for them.
    Kotetsu rabid fangirl goggles aside, I was sort of tearing up when he was tearing up. I must have a soft spot for akward single dads…
    Both Natsume and T&B managed to tug at my heartstring more than AnoHana could ever dream to achieve. Oh, the irony.

  6. If you have a soft spot for single dads, you really should be watching Usagi Drop…

    Kotetsu is one of my favorite anime chars for a long time. When he did that hideous version of "The Robot" just to make Blue Rose laugh, that said so much about him as a person.

  7. A

    I'm already watching Usagi Drop ;).

    And yes, that was a golden moment for him as a character XD.

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