The Spring 2022 Preview Guide
Tiger & Bunny 2
How would you rate episode 1 of
Tiger & Bunny 2 ?
Community score: 4.2
What is this?
Sternbild City is home to people called "Next," who use their special abilities to protect the people as superheroes. These heroes solve cases and save lives so they can wear sponsor logos or acquire "hero points." Their activities are documented on the popular program "Hero TV," which picks the "King of Heroes" in a yearly ranking. The veteran hero Wild Tiger has always preferred to work alone, but now he's been assigned the rookie Barnaby Brooks Jr., who has a different perspective on being a superhero.
How was the first episode?
Put on your ponchos everyone, because I am here to gush like a broken water main. Tiger & Bunny has always had two core audiences: adult men and fujoshi. Now that my colleague Richard has so kindly provided the perspective of the former, I am here to provide the latter, because nothing makes me devolve into a pile of heart-eyed mush like Kotetsu, Barnaby, and the absolutely canonical love they share. I've joked about my obsession with anime dads before – how do you think that started? It sure as hell wasn't Gendo Ikari.
Yes, my love for Tiger & Bunny runs deep and true, and I've been on tenterhooks waiting for the new season since they announced it. Would justice be served, or would they do my boys dirty? By the end of the second movie, I was starting to get exhausted by Kotetsu's seemingly endless cycle of retiring and/or getting fired and then getting back to work, and wanted to see him move on. Until the trailer came out I was half-convinced it would be fully 3DCG. Luckily, none of my dooming and glooming turned out to be correct, and the boys truly are back in town.
At this point I could say, “It's like they never left,” because really they've never left my heart, not even for a second, but that wouldn't be strictly accurate. An unspecified but significant amount of time has passed. New heroes have joined the network. Some of the characters have visibly aged, especially Kaede, who looks to have entered her teenage years full throttle. The episode draws deliberate parallels to the first series' premiere, but in smart ways that draw attention both to how much is the same, but also how much has changed. Kotetsu and Barnaby have come so far! Instead of going home and drinking himself into a stupor, Kotetsu is calling his daughter and doing yoga. Instead of obsessing over Ouroboros, Barnaby has found a new passion in growing potted plants, replacing the cold sterility of his old setup with leafy green vitality. It's reassuring that these two aren't just repeating old patterns, and are genuinely developing as people. My heart is full.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same, and the two of them also spend most of the episode bickering over petty disagreements only to make up in the end when it matters most. Because they're married and you cannot convince me otherwise so don't even try. The episode also hints at the cyclical nature of life – Dragon Kid, once the baby of the group, has a protégé, and an arrogant young hero calls Barnaby “old man.”
Tiger & Bunny 2 is not newbie-friendly. The action in the first episode as depicted is mediocre, with no big set pieces and mostly a way to do a roll-call of the heroes. Instead, it's wall-to-wall character beats meant to help us remember where we started, and show us how far we've come.
In the aftermath of Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising-, faith in the superhero industry has continued to fall even as the number of heroes has grown worldwide. To combat this, Hero TV has instituted a buddy system for their superheroes—allowing for newcomers and experienced heroes alike to learn better teamwork as they compete for a shared trophy. Of course, there is no pair more experienced than Tiger & Barnaby. Yet, while some things change, others stay very much the same.
This first episode is all about setting up the new status quo, beginning with a prolonged chase scene that introduces us to all the principal players—including a few new ones—as well as their powers. We also see that Kotetsu's own powers are continuing to fade, forcing him to rely ever more on his power suit—effectively holding Barnaby back from scoring points.
But what's important to note is that while Kotetsu and Barnaby fight for most of this episode, it isn't because of anything related to their professional lives. Barnaby is not mad that Kotetsu's powers are fading nor that he didn't show up to stop the armored truck because he got distracted helping a kid get his balloon back—they simply are very different people who get on each others' nerves despite their time working together, constantly bickering with each other to a childish degree.
Yet, the climax shows us that, when it comes to being heroes, they are far more in-sync than any other pair. Before Kotetsu even removes his helmet, Barnaby is already flanking the villain, ready to take advantage of the distraction he knows is coming. And when it comes, he acts, taking down the villain in an instant. It's solid visual storytelling. It lets us know why the pair are the core of NC's superhero community.
Then we have the bonus of the villain of the week who has the power to remove kinetic energy from an object—effectively stopping anything he comes into contact with. He basically serves as the episode's mini-mystery: “How do you defeat a person you can't touch or shoot.” The answer is a clever one: he has to know an attack is coming to stop it. Therefore, he can't stop an object outside of his line of sight—especially not if it's moving at the speed of a hundred-power kick. There's no time to react. Fun stuff.
In the end, while it's far from the best episode of Tiger & Bunny, the season premiere does its job well by laying the groundwork for all that's to come while still showing that our heroic duo has grown—even if they themselves may not know it.
discuss this in the forum (309 posts) |
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history