Tiger & Bunny – 24

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Gee, I know this is Sunrise and all, but I refuse to believe a supremely GAR character like Kotetsu’s last words could possibly be “Hey – you have pretty long eyelashes.”

I have a hard time coming up with anything negative to say about this penultimate episode of Tiger & Bunny.  It had just about everything I wanted – great action, drama, heartbreak, suspense, Lunatic, and it didn’t ignore the issue of Tiger losing his powers.  Sure, the “push the button?” monologues among the heroes lacked a certain drama knowing none of them would do it, and in a perfect world I would have liked the series to approach the climax with a somewhat less conventional treatment.  But if you’re going to go the conventional route, you may as well do a great job of it.

It looks like the Ben issue from last week may have been a false alarm, as there was no further indication that he might be working for the enemy.  Still, he and Saito performed no useful function at all and I’m still left to wonder why he’s been on screen so often these last two weeks.  Meanwhile, we see that Lunatic got winged by Robo-Tiger in their last encounter, and he pledged to unmask Maverick – who he was staring daggers at during the council meeting.  I suspect that will be part of the story in the finale, with the other heroes consumed with the Kotetsu drama as Yuri/Lunatic takes the fight to Maverick now that Rotwang and his pit bull have been incapacitated.

But of course, most of the focus this time was on the roof on Justice Tower.  As the heroes debated whether to press the button as Rotwang mocked them, Tiger & Bunny were doing battle with Robo-Tiger.  Kaede took care of the first – Blue Rose having been the last NEXT to touch her, she uses her powers to free herself and to freeze Rotwang (even giving us a classic hero pose in the process).   But the battle wasn’t going so well, and Kotetsu and Barnaby had to resort to using Robo-Tiger’s own weapon – in a fashion that Kotetsu surely knew would take him down as collateral damage.  It was a classic self-sacrifice, even as Kotetsu tried to convince Barnaby he’d be fine.  The best part of all that was the aftermath, as Kotetsu lay – apparently (I’ve been using that word a lot this weekend) – dying.  Sure, it was fujoshi-bait of the highest order, but it was well done.  It was fitting that it was his powers running out that caused Kotetsu to fall, and only at the end was he forced to admit the problem to Barnaby.  I’d been worried, frankly, that the entire issue would be glossed over.

So this is the time for the “are they really dead?” debate in anime – first Shouma (guessing no) then Ayaka (50-50%) and finally and most heart-wrenchingly Kotetsu.  Of course this is going to consume the discussion for the next week, and full points to Sunrise for not spoiling the answer in the preview.  Sunrise being legendary for killing off major characters, this was always a possibility.  And there’s supplemental evidence that Kotetsu could really be dead.  His arc could be argued to have run its course – he saved the city, he made peace with his daughter, his time as a hero was coming to an end anyway.  But another part of me refuses to believe that even Sunrise would kill off a character this well-loved, especially with a second season a near-certainty.  I feel as if part of the message of this story is that there’s more to life than being a hero, that other things are more important – and that doesn’t jibe well with Kotetsu dying at this point.  His life is really just starting, and he has a daughter with whom he has a lifetime (for her) of missed time to make up.

So I guess it really boils down to which impulse wins out, Sunrise’s normal nature vs. poetic justice vs. crass commercialism.  If there is to be a second season, I suppose the case could be made that Kotetsu dying would make sense as it would end this chapter with an exclamation point and clear the stage for a new drama.  It could also be argued that with his powers fading he has no easily reconcilable role to play in the second season, though I personally disagree with that view.  On the other hand, do you really want to start off a second season without the singular character of the franchise, easily the most beloved character in the story?  You certainly couldn’t call it “Tiger & Bunny” without Tiger, and I refuse to accept anyone else – even  Kaede – being blithely inserted into the role.  At this point I’m going to say 60-40% in favor of Kotetsu being alive, and it would have been 75-25% with a different studio.  Sure, maybe that’s my heart talking – but I don’t mind admitting it, I love Kotetsu.  When the time comes for “Male Character of the Year” it’s going to be difficult to vote for anyone else (even Okabe) based on what I’ve seen so far.  Kotetsu is just a flat-out fantastic character and utterly loveable, and I hate the idea that he might actually be dead.  It’s gonna be a long week…

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  1. M

    It’s gonna be a long week…

    My thoughts exactly.

    It's going to be tough waiting for the finale. Kotetsu has definitely been one of the most refreshing anime characters I've seen in a while.

  2. j

    awesome episode with touching ending and somewhat a cliffhanger… I refuse to think about the possibility that Tiger will die!!! Can't wait for the finale… and I got to say, this show has been awesome. Hopefully Season 2 is on the way…

  3. L

    This is definitely my favorite show these past two seasons – Anohana came close, but it ended a bit too happy for me, and Steins;Gate spawns discussion like no other, but time travel series tend to do that. T&B has been refreshing and fun, and well… I'm glad someone's blogging it.

  4. It is a great show, Luxor. Not quite on par with AnoHana and S;G for me, but it has a chance to make my top 10 for the year.

    I really hope Kotetsu isn't dead. What a great and unique character he is.

  5. S

    Wow, gotta give T&B props for the cheese balls that they're throwing at us. If Kotetsu is indeed dead, he'll go down history as the hero with the best last line, "You have pretty long eyelashes".
    I'm so gonna miss my weekly dose of T&B after this is all over. Well done, Sunrise!

  6. j

    I was reading the 5th paragraph and I got teary-eyed. Damn you for reminding of of the final scene of the ep.

    I do love my tragic endings, but I think to tie things up with Lunatic in one episode is asking too much. (That would require another season.) Unless he plans to sacrifice himself for the Heroes' sake. Like maybe his tear drops can heal Kotetsu.

    But anyway, this might be the best action anime of the year for me. How I wish to be a Hero someday…LOL XD

  7. v

    Just finish this episode, I wasn't impressive, when I compared the ending arc to Jake arc, the raw emotional was missing, escpially when the opponent was an android. Sadly Sky High android girlfriend death had more rippling feeling to it.

    I did get some laughs off from this episode from recycle cliches and most especially from the forum responses in MAL site.

    When Tiger was dying in Bunny arms…
    poster 1: the yaoi is in danger!
    poster 2: Kill it with fire!
    poster 3: so mean!

    episode 24 + forum reaction = most memorable and funny about this series for me.

  8. d

    well considering the next episode title. Guess Kaede and Blue Rose is going to freeze him into Cyrostasis.

  9. A

    Kotetsu will have a little pep talk with his wife during all this.He is jolted to consciousness and sees Pao and Kaede's hands over his chest.

  10. Sorry, Jade – can't review this ep without talking about that scene!

  11. R

    thankfully, i'll be able to watch the finale, plus a few other finales, before flying off for vacation.

    this show is always something i look forward to each week.

    please let them not kill off Kotetsu!!

  12. W

    I really want to believe that Kotetsu doesn't die, but the last ep title is a bit ominous.

    I'd love a season 2 and I honestly wouldn't see it as a cash-grab.

    Perhaps after Maverick pops up, as per the Preview, Lunatic does as well. Something goes wrong and Maverick manages to escape. Second season can be spent trying to work out where Maverick is and for the Heroes to work out who Lunatic is?

  13. M

    am I the only one who didn't like AnoHana all that much? S;G is absolutely my no#1 and this is right after it, for the previous season. No scrap that, this YEAR.

  14. I think lots of people found AnoHana too emotionally broad, so you aren't alone. I loved it, but that's me.

    Major, instinct tells me Lunatic is going to be a major player in the finale. I suspect he would be a major player in S2 as well, though I suspect Maverick's story has run its course – he's going down in the finale.

  15. K

    Awesome series, pretty good episode… Nobody have thought that maybe they are gonna turn Kotetsu in some of sort of cyborg hence the inmortality stuff in next episode´s title?

  16. M

    D'you know what'd be double-fantastic? If it was revealed that Legend actually did the exact same thing as Kotetsu, and didn't actually beat his wife up and shit – those were all FAKE MEMORIES implanted by Maverick into Yuri, and Maverick knows that Yuri's Lunatic.

    Flash 30 years to the future and all the heroes are retired, there are new heroes protecting the city, and A GIANT STATUE OF TIGER is placed in the middle even though really, to the citizens of the city, he did absolutely nothing at all. It'd be the same whether the heroes are human and fighting crime or robots.

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