Home > Episode Reviews, Tiger & Bunny > Tiger & Bunny Episode 17 – 90% is Showing Up

Tiger & Bunny Episode 17 – 90% is Showing Up

I ended last episode’s review noting that the only way Wild Tiger could succeed where Mr. Legend failed, to accept his life without his career as a hero, would be for him to rethink the most basic assumptions about his life. What I didn’t realize when I said that was how deeply ingrained some of those assumptions were. Tiger’s devotion to being a hero is something for which he’s already made tremendous sacrifices. Giving it up now would seem to make those wasted in return.

Tiger needs a change in perspective, and that won’t come in Stern Bild. So he finally takes that vacation he promised his daughter Kaede he would take seven episodes/six months ago, and returns to his home town. There, however, he’s not Wild Tiger, but Kotetsu Kaburagi. His family doesn’t care about his hero career, and Kaede doesn’t even know about it.

Kaede is very knowledgeable about all things Barnaby, however; I think she vies Justin Beiber fans in creepy pre-teen devotion

Kotetsu has put away family things for his career, leaving Kaede with her grandmother when she was four, after his wife died. This, he thinks, is what his wife would want. In their last conversation she made him promise to be a hero, no matter what. He missed being at his wife’s deathbed while following that instruction, and he’s missed most of the important moments in Kaede’s life because of it. Now, he has to make good with his daughter in order to find his new purpose in life.

This is a difficult proposition at first, as Kaede is deeply bitter at her father for seemingly abandoning her, and reacts very negatively every time he attempts a rapprochement. Of course, he’s incredibly hamfisted about it, still treating her as the child he remembers, and inadvertently violating her privacy. Even had he reintroduced himself perfectly, however, she still would have been mad at him.

As much as Kotetsu and his wife loved each other, I can't help but think she laid too heavy a burden on her husband

It seems an impossible situation for Kotetsu, and fate (and the writers) have to intervene with an incredibly cliche set of circumstances that allow him to rescue his daughter from a sudden crisis caused by a freak rainstorm. While it does show Kotetsu both keeping his head and using an aspect of his power we’ve never seen before (apparently in addition to his strength, toughness, and speed, his hearing is also improved while he’s powered up), the mere fact such an event happened is, like many other aspects of the show’s plotting, a remarkably convenient coincidence.

The point, of course, is for Kotetsu to realize that there’s more than one type of hero in the world, and the hero he most needs to be—indeed, the hero he always should have been—is a hero to his daughter. That’s what he always wanted to be, of course: Kotetsu’s one goal in life is to make Kaede think he’s cool. Until now, however, he didn’t realize that this could only happen if he is there for her.

Kaede's such a cheap date. Just rescue her from a shrine that's about to collapse and fall off a cliff and all is forgiven

A part of me thinks that it would have been better for Kotetsu to be a hero to his daughter in a way that didn’t require overt heroics; helping her with bullies or some other mundane challenge would have better driven home the principle of being a good parent, and wouldn’t have required for a disaster to hit just as Kotetsu was visiting.

Putting that aside, Kotetsu knows what he has to do. With that in mind, he accepts that retirement is the right choice for him. Given his mother’s failing health, what Kaede most needs is the certainty that she won’t be left alone, so it’s time for Kotetsu to become a father again. As he leaves, he promises Kaede that he’ll be back as soon as he can tender his resignation and wrap up things in the city.

Kaede's own abilities as a Next awaken as she says goodbye. I suppose someone will be around to carry on the family tradition

Given we have somewhere between seven to nine episodes left in the series, I get the feeling that circumstances will make Kotetsu into a liar once again. Narratively, Kotetsu—or rather, Wild Tiger—has to defeat Lunatic and resolve the dark side of his role model’s legacy. The preview indicates that Ouroboros will be finding a way back into the plotline, so he might also have to come to the support of Barnaby once more.

Given how seemingly perfect Barnaby has become, both in regard to his career and his personality, some new source of turmoil for him would be welcome. Frankly, he’s become a bit insufferable, on the same pedestal that the show tried to put Wild Tiger on for the first couple episodes, but without even the hurt pride and lost popularity to challenge him.

Barnaby comes off as the perfect hero, which is one reason why Kotetsu is comfortable with retiring. If there's one thing this show delights in, however, it's poking holes in perfection

I’m getting ahead of myself, of course. As far as this episode is concerned, know that it isn’t the best in the series, but it does pull off what it needs to do to keep the plot moving forward. Kotetsu needed the resolve to be Kotetsu, and not Wild Tiger. Now he has it, so it only remains for the show to keep him from following through on that knowledge for the rest of the series run.

You can watch the episode here.

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