Tiger & Bunny
Episodes 20-22

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

How would you rate episode 21 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

How would you rate episode 22 of
Tiger & Bunny ?

After the dramatic cliffhanger at the end of episode 19, Maverick wastes no time in trying to shut down Kotetsu as well. When he misses his opportunity due to Kotetsu's own unique brand of unwitting evasiveness, and as Kotetsu seems to be inching closer to the truth, he institutes a different plan: alter the memories of everyone who knows Wild Tiger's real identity and implicate Kotetsu as a criminal. After all, who would believe a villain – a murderer – protesting his innocence? As a bonus, he gets to make a spectacle certain to be a ratings bonanza.

The whole thing is a quite audacious scheme, one perfectly in line with classic American super-hero gimmicks. The flaws in Maverick's plan are the same as always for such scenarios: covering all the little details, and accounting for potential wild cards, is nearly impossible. Yes, he had Kotetsu's information deleted from the Apollon Media systems, and yes, he had the memories of everyone who knew Wild Tiger's real identity altered. . . at least the ones that were at hand, anyway. And that's where Maverick gets shockingly sloppy: he does not account for people who might know Wild Tiger's true identity who do not currently work in the Hero TV business. Not considering that someone at Wild Tiger's former sponsor might know that he's Kotetsu was incredibly careless, as is not considering that at least some of Kotetsu's family – which someone in his position should have easily been able to find information about – might also know the truth.

I also liked how a succession of slip-ups on little details put him in a position where he had to act so drastically so quick. Kriem providing a convincing alibi for Jake Martinez could not have easily been seen coming, and random photos always cause problems like this. The whole business with the celebratory pin was more direct carelessness. That should be a lesson to all mastermind-wannabes: always thoroughly inspect the crime scene when trying to pull complicated deceptions. I'll give more leeway to Maverick on not being able to anticipate Lunatic's interference on Kotetsu's behalf in the hunt for the fugitive Kotetsu; anyone would have logically expected Lunatic to go after Kotetsu as a murderer, but apparently Yuri is not so easily duped, and that he abhors the injustice of framing someone (even if he does not know why or how it's happening) is consistent with his stated beliefs. Apparently Kotetsu made an impression on him in previous encounters after all. . .

But the biggest wild card in play – and the one that no one could have seen coming – is Kaede. Kids are well-known for going off on their own and complicating matters in desperate situations, but here she unwittingly solves the problem instead by equally-unwittingly copying Maverick's powers and reversing the memory alterations. (We now know her power triggers by touch, and apparently contact through clothing is enough.) I am also heartened to see her finally learning and accepting the truth about her father's hero identity, though that is a side consideration for the moment. I suspect that her role in this is not done, especially since Maverick seemed to recognize what she was doing before the cameras went out. That just leaves Barnaby to be convinced, and to deal with whoever – or whatever – the Wild Tiger imposter is. Given what happened in episode 18, I expect that he proves to be an android.

Among other details, Kotetsu satisfyingly proves that he is capable even without his power suit or powers engaged, as he avoids many attacks and capture attempts of his fellow heroes on his own. That Blue Rose is the first to be shaken by his words was also a nice touch; apparently either Maverick's memory alteration is not thorough enough to deal with the emotions connected to memories, or else he did not know that Karina was crushing on Kotetsu and so did not account for it. Also, have you noticed that the same young woman keeps popping up over and over again as either a victim or minor character? She was in the cab that spun out as Barnaby and Wild Tiger raced by in episode 22, she was in crowd shots of people running away from Kotetsu in episode 21, and she was the captive of a villain one of the heroes (Blue Rose, I think?) confronted in one of the earliest episodes. I am pretty sure that she has popped up a handful of other times as well. Perhaps this is the series' hidden running gag?

With all that has transpired here, the series is now set up for the big finale in the final three episodes.

Rating (all episodes): 4

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

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