Home > Episode Reviews, Tiger & Bunny > Tiger & Bunny Episode 11 – Real Heroes

Tiger & Bunny Episode 11 – Real Heroes

How do you measure heroism? What constitutes true bravery? Is it a matter of power? Success? Or determination? For the entire series run, Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks have had an ongoing argument about the nature of heroism and about what it means to succeed in that “business”—starting with the fight over whether they are (or should be) a business at all.

The show has obviously stacked the deck in favor of Tiger’s opinion (and the audience, of course, would like to believe in a form of heroism less calculating and mercenary than what Barnarby usually proposes). Slowly, we’ve seen Barnarby won over by Tiger’s selflessness and desire to protect. And so this episode we begin to see how Barnarby accepts his partner’s understanding of heroism.

The mayor seems to be a spineless whelp. Maverick of Hero TV and Petrov (secretly Lunatic) are the only officials who keep their cool

The first half of this episode consists of the mayor and most of the heroes’ managerial team wracked with indecision, wanting to appear strong but worried about the consequences of failure. It’s the heroes who take charge of the situation, as Tiger urges them to respect their first duty and protect their citizens. Even if Jake is released, he asserts, we heroes will just catch him again.

To counter the public outcry, Mr. Maverick has Barnaby give a live broadcast, explaining his own personal history with Jake. Barnaby fights as a hero under his father’s name in honor of his murdered parents, killed by Jake. Yet even he is willing to let Jake go free for a while, with the understanding that he and his compatriots will bring him to justice.

Barnaby wasn't actually named Barnaby; he took his father's name as a tribute and a reminder of his ultimate goal. Using a fake name might have also kept the tabloids from figuring out his parentage, although one thinks some intrepid reporter would have been able to figure it out

Given the extraordinary way in which Barnaby has guarded his private life and history until now, it’s a particular sacrifice for him to do this, perhaps just as much as it is to let Jake go in the first place. But his actions help considerably in calming the public, providing the political cover that Maverick needs to put his plan into place.

Maverick, of course, has no intention of letting a brutal murderer go free, and when chance places an Ouroboros agent within his grasp, he strikes. Capturing the agent, he sends Origami Cyclone in as a replacement, with the latter’s disguise powers giving him the perfect ability to infiltrate Ouroboros. Once Cyclone figures out how Ouroboros is remote controlling the mechs, they can disable them and free up the heroes to attack directly.

Ouroboros sends in a lackey to see why the city council is taking so long to free Jake. He thinks he has immunity because of his organization's power. Big mistake

For the second time in the episode we see a hero taken outside his comfort zone. It was only a few episodes ago that Cyclone identified the most important duty of a hero as being a good billboard, and while that opinion changed rather quickly, he’s still been struggling with finding his own place as a hero. Now that fate has given him a chance, he takes it, even though the task plainly terrifies him.

Given that confident or even overconfident heroism has been the order of the day for Tiger & Bunny, with heroes more than capable of dealing with their threats, Cyclone’s infiltration is another radically different form of heroism. He goes in undocumented, without support, and without the ability to defeat anyone. By the end of the episode, it’s obvious his ruse has been detected and Jake is about to make his day very unpleasant.

It's not quite clear how Jake figures out the ruse, but perhaps the amount of time Cyclone spends sweating has something to do with it

Yet Cyclone’s powerlessness and ultimate failure really doesn’t change the nature of his act as perhaps the most heroic on record. He’s afraid, yet places himself in danger anyway. He’s willing to risk everything for the sake of the city—and in a different way, so is Barnaby. Both are putting the public above themselves.

It’s a view that stands in direct contrast to Jake. He, and the organization he founded, works from the premise of the superiority of Next, and the superiority of stronger Next over the weaker. He rules his organization not by charisma or by providing a grand vision, but through sheer power. And he is powerful, so much so I’m not certain how the prison he was in could hold him.

Jake murders a fellow inmate while he's on his way to freedom, just because he can

Once freed, he insists on keeping the mechs in place to destroy Stern Bild anyway, just because the idea of holding a city in the palm of his hand amuses him. He’s amoral, ruthless, and seems to treat the world as his own personal playground. If Cyclone and Barnaby have shown true heroism over the course of this episode, Jake exemplifies true, unvarnished, and unrepentant villainy. And those different visions on how to use one’s power will come into direct conflict next time.

You can watch the episode here.

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