Tiger & Bunny
Episodes 14-16

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 14 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

How would you rate episode 15 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

How would you rate episode 16 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

During its original 2011 broadcast, Tiger & Bunny aired all 25 episodes without interruption. However, its first and second halves almost feel like two different seasons. It's not just the change in opener and closer, both of which are new with episode 14, either. A ten month time skip has also elapsed, and with Jake Martinez defeated, the story has moved on to a new stage. Collectively, these three episodes gives the first hints about what some of the bigger storylines might be, though the direction of the overall plot is not clear yet.

The biggest and most readily evident difference is the way Barnaby acts towards Kotetsu. The first half featured signs that Barnaby was very gradually starting to warm up to Kotetsu, and with episode 14 that process seems to have completed. Barnaby is now far more tolerant of Kotetsu's antics and even goes as far as crediting Kotetsu for helping him to take the season title from Sky High. That would have been unthinkable for Barnaby in the first half–at least without a very begrudging attitude, anyway. He admits to being much more relaxed now that his quest to avenge his parents is over, and it shows in his expression and the way he carries himself. He also opens up and elaborates more on how Mr. Maverick was a family friend who raised him.

But is something else in Barnaby's background possibly lurking still? The revelation that his parents were working on high-end robots is interesting, and an android generated in part from their research, which goes berserk and tries to kill heroes in episode 15, seems like a message. A comment about how it was designed based on heroes and perhaps could replace them eventually is also the kind of reference which usually winds up amounting to something much bigger. The casual mention of Jale's gal still being in a coma (and thus unable to be questioned) is surely another hint that a bigger picture still remains.

Speaking of bigger pictures, the truth about Lunatic is now coming out: he's not only the son of Mr. Legend but also responsible for Mr. Legend's death somewhere less than 15 years ago. A nerve-wracking domestic abuse scene triggers that event, and that in turn was triggered by Mr. Legend's NEXT power fading–which, ironically, is now happening to Kotetsu as well. Ben's description to Kotetsu about how fellow heroes covered for Mr. Legend so he could maintain his name adds another piece to the puzzle. But how did the young Yuri escape blame for his father's death, I wonder? Was someone covering up the truth?

Irony is also the ultimate result of Sky High's feature time. The guy is a great hero but has always come across as a bit of a dork, and that is fully on display in his dealing with the girl he fails to realize is an android. The irony comes in his renewed confidence from talking to the girl unwittingly being responsible for him destroying the girl.

On other fronts, it's now official and out in the open (to the viewer, anyway) that Karina has fallen for Kotetsu. She has never quite felt like a typical tsundere, but she is certainly acting like one now! I cannot imagine that going anywhere, as Kotetsu clearly still sees her as a kid (as he should), but watching her try to skirt around her crush should be amusing to watch. Her episode also shows the formal introduction of the Second League, which becomes important again much later.

The other things to watch for in these episodes–especially 15–are the subtle and not-so-subtle references to classic sci-fi works. The robot in Barnaby's parents' lab when he visits is clearly an homage to Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, and the android girl looks suspiciously similar to the android in Fritz Lang's Metropolis; in fact, the way she falls apart at the end somewhat resembles how it happened in the anime version. The scientist's name, Rotwang, is also a Metropolis reference. And was that the Empire State Building in one brief shot in episode 16?

Anyway, in general this was a slow set of episodes, but at least some seeds for the season's trajectory have been planted.

Rating:

Tiger & Bunny is currently streaming on Viz.com and Hulu.


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