Home > Episode Reviews, Tiger & Bunny > Tiger & Bunny Episode 21 – I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

Tiger & Bunny Episode 21 – I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

Tiger & Bunny had its path for this episode laid out pretty clearly. Wild Tiger had to evade his pursuers, figure out how he was framed, and come up with a plan to get out of it. It’s a fairly straightforward setup that hinges on alliances Tiger makes with three separate figures.

The first was made obvious from the preview from last time. Yuri Petrov knows enough to know that Tiger’s been set up, and that offends his particular sense of honor. So, careful to keep his knowledge of Tiger’s real identity secret behind a veneer of insanity, he helps Tiger to escape when he’s cornered by the posse of heroes.

Lunatic blathers on about the will of Thanatos and whatnot, so no one seems to understand why he defends an accused murderer

A slightly less obvious move was to have Tiger’s former manager Ben Johnson come to Tiger’s aid. He also can’t imagine that Tiger killed someone, and returns Tiger’s old suit (which he had kept around in the back of his cab). He can’t provide much more support than that—and the encouragement of a longtime fan—but as it happens that’s more than enough for Tiger’s purposes.

What I didn’t expect, however, was that Tiger’s daughter Kaede would get into the fray. Her grandmother finally reveals to her what her father’s real job is, and Kaede is so moved as to skip school, burn her limited savings on a train ticket, and head into the city. She hasn’t had a chance to help her father yet, but with her mimic ability, she should make quite an appearance when she crashes the conference of heroes that Tiger calls at the end of this episode.

One sign of Tiger's cleverness is how he picks a spot to hide where he knows Johnson's cab will pass by

That conference Tiger calls is part of yet another one of his plans, and despite Tiger’s reputation as a hothead, the guy’s plans typically work. Given how slow Tiger is on the draw regarding other matters (it takes him a remarkably long time to realize his fellow heroes don’t remember him, and he doesn’t figure out Maverick is behind the betrayal until he’s directly confronted with how Maverick lied to him), I suppose this is an inconsistency with his character. That said, it’s not as jarring as, say, arbitrarily changing a protagonist’s fighting skill based on the needs of the plot.

Although it feels like I’m making excuses, I’m also willing to forgive the improbability that the other heroes don’t realize that “Wild Tiger,” in “a new costume,” is really a robot. When Sky High couldn’t figure this out with an android a few episodes back, I made much ado about his cluelessness, but now I think that this is just part of the setting of the world, much like how a simple mask can conceal an identity.

Although the robotic Tiger has yet to speak, it does have many of the same tools as the real Tiger does. I'm guessing Kotetsu is far less fond of this technique now that he's on the business end of it

That said, it does feel odd that Maverick had both a robotic Tiger and a matching new suit for Barnaby available so quickly. Likewise, given how easy it will be to poke holes in Maverick’s rewritten memories—Tiger nearly wins over Blue Rose before he even knows what happened, and very likely his plan for next episode will revolve around revealing a bunch of information to his fellow heroes that only he could know—this was still a really unwise idea in the first place.

What Maverick is counting on, in the end, is Barnaby, his finest product. Now that the hero has a new set of vengeance-inspiring memories and a trusted friend and mentor to shape those emotions in a useful, easily televised way, Maverick must be aiming for a new ratings bonanza. But this requires that Barnaby strike fast and without mercy, before Tiger can make his case.

Given how much effort it takes for Tiger to make Blue Rose (who loves him) consider the evidence, it will likely be a hard case to make regardless. We'll see how convincing the robotic Tiger can be

That may be what Barnaby does, of course, which is why Kaede is around to muck up the works. Both Kaede and Lunatic are elements that Maverick could not have planned for, so perhaps my beating on him for dooming himself so willfully is misdirected. But the general admonition never to implement a plan with so many avenues for failure still applies.

What impresses about this episode, however, is how it illustrates the deliberate plotting we’ve had throughout the season. From the slow revelations about Lunatic, to Kaede’s recent power manifestations, to the episode on robots, to Blue Rose’s character building episodes, practically every plot element that we’ve had in the last dozen or so episodes has been building to this particular moment. The problem with a Chekov’s Gun is that it tends to be predictable when noticed. But few people expect the gun to fire twice.

Besides the boost in ratings, Maverick's plan, by removing Samantha and Wild Tiger, gets rid of the only other people whom Barnaby would ever listen to. Maybe Maverick is a bit jealous that someone else is playing with his toy

It’s that sort of slowly building narrative which I particularly admire in anime and other forms of serial storytelling. When taking a superhero story, there are certain quirks or peculiarities that you simply have to accept in order to appreciate it. Taking the show as a whole, the complaints I have about this episode are easy to ignore.

You can watch the episode here.

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