Tiger & Bunny
Episodes 11-13

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

How would you rate episode 12 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

How would you rate episode 13 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

Throughout the last few episodes the story has been dropping hints about a mysterious organization called Ouroboros, a member of whom seems to have been the killer of Barnaby's parents. Over the course of these three episodes that story thread not only advances by great leaps but also comes to a climax and apparent resolution.

Throughout the first ten episodes, the series has mostly had the heroes dealing with standard criminals and the occasional NEXT who was improperly or vengefully using his powers. They didn't have to deal with a “danger to the whole city”-level threat, so the actions of Ouroboros in sending out those powered suits represents a massive escalation for the heroes. Never mind how Ouroboros managed to fund and obtain all of those fancy powered suits; such practical considerations are beneath superhero fare, right? What's important is that the group is doing it to secure the release of Jake Martinez, who also just happens to be the guy that Barnaby has finally identified from his childhood memories. Jake is a real piece of work, too; in English he's voiced by the once-heard-everywhere Steven Jay Blum, who gives perhaps his career's finest villain performance here. I also don't blame Kotetsu for initially mistaking his power for being a laser; I would not have figured that at first, either, though clearly he did something other than just a light blast at the guy in the prison cell.

The terrorist attack in episode 10–indeed, a lot of things about this scenario–somewhat reminds me of The Dark Knight Rises, which came out a year later. (That movie was already in production when this series aired, so the similarities are most likely coincidences.) What follows in episodes 12 and 13 is a more standard superhero scenario, one where the heroes are on the ropes until they figure out the secrets behind the villain's powers. However, this does give all the heroes a chance to show what they can do. Origami Cyclone gets to use his powers for the first time on a mission and collects valuable intel before getting his butt kicked. Sky High gets soundly defeated for the first time, and Rock Bison for not the first time. Wild Tiger gets to show off some true heroics in the bridge fight in episode 11 but then gets his butt kicked by Jake in episode 12. However, the information he collects from that fight is invaluable. I've said it before, but Wild Tiger's main strength may be that he's got good instincts–most of the time, anyway.

Fire Emblem, Dragon Kid, and Blue Rose all get relegated to “deal with the other pressing problem” duty, and I wish that a bit more of this had been shown since their roles are every bit as crucial as Barnaby's for keeping Jake busy. (Blue Rose's signature motorbike is also a cool design.) Still, seeing Barnaby finally defeat Jake with an assist from Kotetsu was very satisfying, especially since the assist was based on using Barnaby's growing trust of Kotetsu to outsmart Jake. Honestly, I thought Barnaby came down unfairly hard on Kotetsu for the lack of trust in confronting Jake in the warehouse, as Barnaby had shown before that he loses his head when dealing with matters involving his parents, but it all worked out in the end.

The whole scenario does raise a couple of questions, however. Lunatic staying on the sidelines for the whole thing seems odd, as I am sure he could have found an excuse to get away if he had wanted to. Also, Jake having two unrelated powers does seem to be stepping outside of the rules for NEXT, so perhaps some more is going on there? And how is Kotetsu going to make it up to Kaede? Among other observations, the “NEXT supremacist” attitude displayed by Jake and his girl draws yet another parallel to Marvel Comic's mutants (intentionally, I'm sure) and Karina again seems a little too concerned about Kotetsu; Fire Emblem has clearly noticed, and he's not wrong.

So with the big plot line to date concluded, where does the second half go? Things are rarely as complete as they might seem at a given time in comic book storytelling, and given that this series follows comic book superhero protocol in most cases, you can probably expect that here as well.

Rating:

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