Episode 24 or let’s believe HEROES

We’re in for a week of fried rice and thorough trolling. (Not that the trolling part came as a surprise.)

24. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
-虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず-

We pick up where last week left us off, Wild Tiger and Barnaby facing H-01, the rest of the heroes locked up in Rotwang’s deathtrap, and Kaede taken hostage.

They don’t make evil henchmen like they used to…

If Rotwang is good at something, it’s gloating and spewing his anti-NEXT opinions. Maverick doesn’t have a problem taking advantage of other NEXTs, but being a NEXT himself he didn’t look all too pleased listening to Rotwang’s ranting so he’s probably planning to get rid of him as soon as he’s no longer needed. It’d also be risky to keep Rotwang around, because he could turn on Maverick if he ever found out he’s a NEXT. Where Maverick fails as a classic villain, Rotwang is almost a caricature of one, egging the heroes to betray each other while gleefully pushing the controls. It wasn’t a surprise that the bomb collar set up was rigged and no one would be able to get out of it alive.

The one who had the hardest time seemed to be Rock Bison. Kotetsu entrusted Kaede to him if something should happen, and he had the most internal struggle about freeing himself. In the mean time, Nathan seemed very thoughtful so we might find out next week what he had on his mind. The magazine spoiler about Blue Rose acting mature during the climax of the series came true, but she’s actually been headed that way for a few episodes already.

Another expected turn of events was how Kaede showed yet again that Kaburagi women are a force not to be messed with, and freed herself and the rest of the heroes. Personally I’m still iffy about how her ability is utilized, but as long as she does what she does out of her own free will and not because someone tells her to do something, I’m fine with it. Her opinion of her father seems to have changed a lot, too. Next episode will show if she gets a chance to tell Kotetsu that he’s cool.

Yuri has probably figured out what’s going on by now, the short flashback to when he helped Kotetsu continue his flight shows he was going to find out who’s behind all this. It also shows that unfortunately H-01 managed to land a shot on him, so it’s uncertain if he’s capable of fighting at the moment. Still, he could well play a part in finally stopping Maverick since he is in the building, and he seemed suspicious enough to maybe even go tailing him.

Say hello to my little friend

The battle against H-01 had us on the edges of our seats. The pacing in this episode felt good, with just enough breathers between the action scenes to keep the tension on both how the heroes will get free of the bomb collars and the main fight. The fight choreography was carefully planned, and in fact this episode had several animation directors, one of them worked on the previous action heavy episodes. The battle was also a treat to the eye after the time limit on their 100 Power reset and the suits went into Lightning Mode. The activation of Good Luck Mode was another display of how well Kotetsu and Barnaby work together.

Barnaby: Now!
Kotetsu: Got it!

Barnaby is clearly in a protector mode during the battle. He pushes Kotetsu out of harm’s way several times and looks pained whenever Kotetsu takes a direct hit. Compared to many other anime the use of expressions and body language in general is on a different level in Tiger & Bunny, and it’s good to note how they don’t forget this even in the heat of the battle.

This week’s title pretty obviously refers to the final shot on H-01 and Kotetsu and Barnaby risking the shot. This gamble could be the “test of their bond” that was referenced in the magazine spoilers. It paid off with H-01 destroyed, but Kotetsu’s powers running out left him severely hurt, and possibly dying. However…

Schrödinger’s Tiger

There are a number of reasons why Kotetsu will survive, but thanks to Satou and Nishida’s superb trolling skills, they’ve left just enough room for us to get worked up with “what if?” worry. If anything, the “death scene” was a way to get the two to finally fully open up to each other. As for the reasons, killing Kotetsu this late in the series would be pointless if we consider character development. He’s finally reached a point where he can be honest about things to other people Barnaby, which was the major flaw he had to work on. Not to mention, Kotetsu as a character is aimed at the 40’s working male demographic. His message is that there’s still a lot he can give, even if he has to look for a new direction in his life. Having him die at this point would not fit with this message. Same goes if we look at it from Barnaby’s viewpoint. His confession of how he’s been practising cooking fried rice so Kotetsu could try it shows a different side of him – ready to do something just to please another person because he wants to do so, not because it’s expected for publicity. Having Kotetsu die now would destroy him. He’d lose yet another important person, and even worse – he was the one to pull the trigger.

To put it in a tl;dr version, all 24 episodes of build-up to this point would be for nothing if Kotetsu dies now. There would be no reward, and we just can’t see that happening. Besides, we think Nishida’s a better writer than those who end up using character death as a device to get an emotional reaction. We’ve had plenty of emotional reactions already, thanks to this story. So we’re just gonna sit back and enjoy our fried rice and the feeling of being totally trolled for the next week.

Pay attention to the voice acting in the final scenes. Tiger & Bunny is shaping up to be Best Role™ for both of the leads, and especially Masakazu Morita has totally changed the image we had of him before we heard him as Barnaby. The amount of emotion he can pack into his voice was something we didn’t expect, because up until Tiger & Bunny he’s been “that Ichigo guy” to us.

He’s just taking a nap!

Now that I have had time to give it a bit more thought, the whole cliffhanger reminds me of the scene near the end in Bayside Shakedown. Aoshima is shot and bleeding all over the place and they’re rushing him to the hospital, and when he starts drifting off and passes out the female police officer holding him freaks out because she thinks he’s dead. But instead, the guy starts snoring like a lumberjack after working for days and lacking sleep. Kotetsu is kind of in a same situation, running for his life all day, being in a bike chase, punched around on the bridge and then running from H-01 on top of all that. It’d even be in character for him to start snoring there… (In fact, I’m just gonna call snoring Kotetsu to be on the safe side.)

We’ll find out NEXT week. Sadly it’ll be the last week, too. In the mean time, please check out our Sternbild Friend Rice Event and send in your submissions!

35 comments on “Episode 24 or let’s believe HEROES

  1. My adorable bloggers, I believe in Heroes, but I Don’t believe in Sunrise.
    I am fought by conflicting feelings: on one hand it seems absurd that the last thought before dying of Kotetsu (because a person, “feels” when is about to die) points to the eye lashes of Barnaby and not to his daughter. Ok, some might say that it was obvious that he recommended his daughter and blah blah blah … but for the love of God! A man like him, attached to the family, may not have closed his eyes forever without a thought for his wife or daughter.

    On the other hand, I have a bad feeling, an uncomfortable sensation that whispers me: “He’s really dead …he will not return …”.
    It would be horrible. For Bunny who has actually killed him. For Kaede that will remain an orphan.
    For the whole world.
    I love tragic endings, but this time NO. It makes no sense.

    Let him sleep for a while… Our hero is tired….When he wakes up he will be LEGEND. Immortal. Forever.

  2. ;___________________;
    I love you guys <3
    and I hope all is going to be ok, I believe in Kotetsu ;____;

    (sunrise stupid trolls…)

  3. I like a lot of the points you made; and I agree with them.
    Seeing the official screen shots regarding Kotetsu’s “death” made me feel rather sad at first, but after watching the actual episode myself, I am skeptical.

    Why is everyone so sure that he is dead? Is it because of the sudden mood whiplash ? The thing about Kotetsu’s unreadable signal ? The absence of upbeat music announcing next week’s preview?

    I think that people need to remember that this is not the last episode. It is the penultimate episode though, which is an equally crucial episode for building up emotionally powerful finales. For a series finale to have punch, there is a lot of thought which goes into tapping the right buttons that unsettle the viewer. Plus, they have been showing Kotetsu’s power decline for several episodes now, so this is a reasonably fitting plot development; to have Kotetsu fatally injured due to his inability to dodge. Changing the upbeat mood of Tiger and Bunny was a clever move which highlights the fact that the series is about to end.

    Ultimately I am thinking about how writing off Kotetsu will benefit Sunrise. Tiger and Bunny is refreshingly honest about the importance of sponsors, publicity, and good marketing. Put in shallow terms, Kotetsu is a major reason for the popularity of their franchise ( going so far as to unexpectedly boost the sales of a certain perfume ), and Kotetsu equals money, and therefore it is just… stupid to kill off the reason your franchise is doing so well. What they will gain if they write off Kotetsu would be:

    1. Angry, upset fans hurling over plates of fried rice

    2. possible difficulty to start a second season.

    Shallow reasons aside, I think that killing off Kotetsu is going to go against everything Tiger and Bunny stands for. The entire series is about deconstructing superhero cliches, and it is aware of what a cheese-fest it can become, but underneath all that, it’s still an awesome tribute to the traditional messages which made all of us fall for comic-book superhero stories in the first place; faith, hope, trust, optimism. That hope that someone will come in and rescue us and make things right again. A Hero who saves the day.

    Because of this, I do not think that Kotetsu will die. Although the “not quite dead” twist is going to be a massively cliched move, again, this is Tiger and Bunny we are talking about- we are more than aware of how this series uses cliches, and rolls with them.

    I hope with all my heart that Sunrise remembers that this is NOT Code Geass. This is Tiger and Bunny, an upbeat, fun, flawed, massive cheese-fest with a lot of heart, and a lot of faith.

    • Thanks for the comment, you make really good points! I didn’t grow up with American superhero stuff myself, so there’s a lot of small details that I don’t really know to pay attention to in relation to them.

      I think the stumbling point for many people with Tiger & Bunny is that they refer to it as everything Sunrise, when Sunrise didn’t have any faith in the production and were even reluctant to admit at first that it was a hit and wiping the floor with some of their sure-to-be-a-hit -titles (I’m looking at you, Sacred Seven). By the point where they started to have an interest in the series, the production was too far ahead to make significant changes, so I believe that what we’re witnessing is the indiluted vision of Keiichi Satou and Masafumi Nishida. Which is pretty cool and exactly the reason why the series turned into a hit in the first place.

      Think about what if T&B was produced by any other studio, would the collective fandom freakout about the “death scene” be as big as it is now?

      • I like that, I think you’ve made a good point when you say that Sunrise never actually had faith in Tiger and Bunny initially. How ironic that Tiger and Bunny have become such a massive hit now, haha. While I do not think that the writing of Tiger and Bunny is the most stellar, I agree that it is effective when it needs to be ( seriously the latest episodes have been pulling all the punches ), and more importantly, I am happy that Keiichi and Masafumi have developed incredibly likable characters, with Kotetsu specifically in mind. I am glad they were allowed to do what they wanted to do, and now that it has come to this, I really really hope that the writers will wrap this up in a manner which is befitting of Tiger and Bunny’s essence.

        I think that it is precisely because of Sunrise that everone is freaking out about the death scene. most think that if sunrise could do it with code geass, they can do it with tiger and bunny. it is a frightening implication. If they go ahead with Kotetsu’s death, it would be a great injustice to the series, and all the major developments happening up to now.

        Your bit about how this “death scene” was to get Tiger and Bunny to open up to each other hit me. I think that this is plausible. Both of them were never truly honest with each other, so I am hoping that this is merely an extremely close call to teach Kotetsu and Barnaby to trust each other more. Kotetsu’s lines seemed more like that of a passionate, honest confession, and you are right, Barnaby also, for the first time ever, wasn’t thinking about being cool or doing something for benefit. We learn that he has been cooking fried rice for Kotetsu, which I think is a HUGE character development for this mega-tsun, haha. So to kill that away… aah, what a waste.

        That being said, the comment about Barnaby’s eyelashes was also somewhat out of place for a supposed death scene, I think. I would have been more “seriously” worried if Kotetsu at least mentioned his wife and Kaede. Knowing Tiger and Bunny, I am taking minor details like these more seriously, as they could be foreshadowing for future episodes.

        I hope Episode 25 will tie things up nicely. I don’t want to be dissapointed.

      • here’s my take on that:

        1 ) the marketing aspect and product appeal was incidental with T&B, as no one had banked any success on this series to begin with. the Sleeper Hit of what it was came out late in the season, so the success in advertising is an unexpected bonus for the sponsors.

        by the time T&B’s popularity gained momentum and peaked, production was likely completed for the final half of the series to suddenly reverse course the plot. the Ep. 24 ending is a fitting build-up to the Team grand finale battle and the culmination of character development for both lead characters.

        2) now, the trickier part of what makes the death plausible: it is the impetus you need for the characters to develop.

        for both Kotetsu and Barnaby, to move beyond the trust barrier, imminent (and possibly permanent) death is the vehicle that let’s them finally just say everything. especially for Barnaby, who is finally able to share that he’s let his guard down enough to let someone in and actually care about them (the voice acting for Barnaby in those final scenes was so strong your heart couldn’t help but break for the poor kid.) for Kaede, it forces her to confront that this bumbling always-absent figure in her life had his reasons for being gone. and for everyone else, they learn that being a hero comes with a sacrifice – in Kotetsu’s case the ultimate sacrifice.

        as a model for the older demographic, Kotetsu’s death would be an example of the older generation teaching the younger generation a lesson through sacrifice, earning him immortal/legendary status.

        that said, i hope Point 2 is proven wrong – i’d rather, he’s passed out from shock/fainted/asleep/what-have-you because i can’t imagine a Season 2 of Tiger and Barnaby without the ‘Tiger’ part. and honestly, i think the death speech would have involved something along the lines of ‘please help Antonio take care of Kaede.’ but being the adorkable hero we all love, i can see him saying those final words to make his last moments easier on Bunny.

        • as a model for the older demographic, Kotetsu’s death would be an example of the older generation teaching the younger generation a lesson through sacrifice, earning him immortal/legendary status

          You’re missing the greater message of the series: forming bonds with people and keeping going against all odds. Nishida calls the 2nd cour “a cheering song for all the people working hard” and having it all end in tears doesn’t fit with that, either. There are plenty of stories of such sacrifice, but with people who have already sacrificed so much (unwillingly in Barnaby’s case) more isn’t needed. It’s time for them to be rewarded for those earlier sacrifices.

          • /* You’re missing the greater message of the series: forming bonds with people and keeping going against all odds. */

            You may have just described Barnaby’s character evolution – with or without Kotetsu’s death.

            personally, i hope he lives. i’d rather ‘a hero’s death’ be the death of Wild Tiger, as Kotetsu retires from being Sternbild’s hero, to being a hero to someone much more important: Kaede. perhaps it’s time for him to start the next chapter in his life.

          • I’d rather the only death in this series be the death of Kotetsu’s alternate identity, “Wild Tiger”, rather than the death of Kotetsu himself. I see this as a relevant ending which not only relates to the previous plot developments, but also opens up a lot of possibilities, should they be planning to write the next season. One of the major issues Kotetsu is struggling with is the acceptance that he may be past his prime. I believe that this is a common issue which a lot of us struggle with- what happens after this? Will life have anymore meaning if I can’t do A or B anymore? Am I still useful?

            It would be interesting if the remaining of Kotetsu’s powers are used to “revive” him- while effectively killing off Kotetsu’s powers, at least for the time being. This turns Kotetsu into normal, but very much alive citizen of Sternbild, who then learns how to deal with life after being a hero. Who knows, they might be able to write Kotetsu regaining his powers back as Wild Tiger in Season 2- but for now, this would be a good way to end Season 1, I think.

  4. I still haven’t forgotten Sunrise for making me cry like a little girl when I watched Gundam SEED last episode… T__T I have a feeling that Kotetsu will not be dead, though. Like you said, all 24 episodes of build-up to this point would be for nothing if he dies. How is it going to end, though, I wonder.

    At first I wasn’t serious about it, but now with the last scene between them, I really want Kotetsu and Barnaby to end up together. OTL This is probably trolling from Sunrise, and I guess this is just what they call “friendship”, but really? For Barnaby to learn how to cook Kotetsu’s favorite meal, it doesn’t seem to be something he would do just for a friend… (and that’s the epitome of his deredere side) I’m not sure about this one, but I read somewhere that the director or the writer even said in an interview that he wasn’t interested in women?

    … okay, I’m off with the fujoshi rant. That’s probably something only us can see, after all. Can’t wait for next week!

    • I think I may have read this last month, but I think the bit about Barnaby’s interest in women was more that he had been too busy working and bent out for revenge, he hadn’t had the time to be interested in women. Hahah, but you never know~

      • Ha ha ha ha I read the same things on TvTropes, something like;

        “Even ignoring his Ho Yay towards Kotetsu, he exhibits some Camp Gay tendencies such as pickiness about indoor lighting or fixation with maintaining his Farrah Fawcett-esque hair. Since Word Of God explicitly mentions his lack of interest in women, Camp Straight is out of the question, though he could just be a Camp Asexual.” and then; “Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger & Bunny has been tripping off gaydars at an increasing rate thanks to his fabulous Farrah Fawcett-inspired hair, his officially stated disinterest in women despite his Charmer/in-series Mr. Fanservice status, and increasingly obvious fondness for Kotetsu. ”

        FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

  5. What did Usa and Tora say before the preview started?
    Also I doubt there’ll be snoring. The preview’s tone was too serious for that.

    • Plucked the words out of my mouth. I definitely don’t think it’ll be a case of the ol’ tiredness (although he deserves it after all the physical/emotional stress he went through), I think it’ll take a NEXT or something to bring him back to life. Will Kaede play a role in that I wonder?

      Masakazu Morita’s acting in this episode was absolutely incredible. I can’t believe that guy plays Ichigo, I don’t know if he’s ever been given material like that to work with before but he was amazing. I hope he gets more roles like Bunny in the future.

      • I hope he gets more roles like Bunny in the future.

        ^ This. He talked about his roles in an interview recently and said he audioned for both Sky High and Barnaby, and he was more interested in Sky High’s role. I’m glad they cast him as Barnaby, he’s simply perfect and he deserves more roles like it.

  6. Am I did only one who has been a fan of Morita from Gundam Destiny as Auel? And then as Tidus from FF? And also hearing him sing? ;o; I nvr watch Bleach so I can’t comment on him as Ichigo. XD

    Also, I guess he will die but ‘revives’ after having a chat with Tomoe in heaven. lol.

      • I LOVE that song! The first song that made me love Morita-san! Also, that song made me cry buckets cause he sound so pitiful and sad. I am still listening to it until this very day. lol.

    • “Also, I guess he will die but ‘revives’ after having a chat with Tomoe in heaven.”

      This was something that floated around in the back of my head as well. As koshkosh pointed out above, this series is obviously fond of and unafraid to use cliches, so I wonder if this scenario will play out too? Then again, Tomoe has already “fulfilled her flashback requirement”, so I really wonder if she’s going to appear once more.

      Either way, I’m hungry for fried rice now, lol.

  7. Contrary to most of the reactions I’ve read, I was not really surprised with Bunny’s confession about learning to make fried rice for Kotetsu: Barnaby has been showing his feelings really straightforward since the beginning of second cour, it’s obvious that his love for Kotetsu is unmeasurable. But for Kotetsu, to finally being honest about how much he cares about Barnaby and the happiness he felt when he was called “Kotetsu-san”… man, that was really something. I cried heartbroken in that moment. He has been afraid so much of being close to someone… and it was even worse when you realize he wasn’t aware of how much he meant to Barnaby, There was genuine surprise and kind of regret in his expression. He doesn’t think of himself as important to others and that’s terribly sad. Hopefully, when all of this ends (and no, I don’t have any doubts that he will be ok) he may start his new life as a better and more self-confident person, because he’s not alone anymore.

    So I have a week to learn to make friend rice. And i will eat along with those two, because after being trough all of this, happiness and a loving family is the only thing they deserve.

  8. I think my favorite part of this episode has been living on Pixiv and seeing a thousand images of Bunny struggling to make Fried Rice. Sometimes well, sometimes… like something out of Basara. Glowing. Evil. Meant to kill.

    As well as a thousand more images of Bunny clinging to Kotetsu’s “corpse” and crying.

    I’m certain Kotetsu is coming back… Because it’s highly likely that Saito isn’t getting a reading from the suit since, you know, half of it was blasted away.

  9. I think that no one noticed one really important thing: why in the preview Maverick jauntily comes into the room full of furious and sad heroes which are crying over their friend? He would be really stupid if he didn’t have something else instead of teaming with Robo-clown guy and his S&M room. I suppose Kotetsu’s condition isn’t the main problem here but somehow it’s really important. In my own theory:
    1) Maverick got second NEXT power which would help him fight with all heroes
    2) His second power would be something like healing wounds;
    And theory 3 which also fits the 2): Kotetsu is still seen as a criminal. So none of the hospitals would help him as long as Maverick wouldn’t agree. So what if he makes pact with heroes – “I’ll help Wild Tiger if [....]“? ‘If’ might be anything, like [imo the most possible] Barnaby’s 100% obedience to his orders for the price of giving Kotetsu life? Of course he would agree for that, he’s feeling quilty for killing his most precious person! So again everything goes as Maverick plans. End of season 1.

    Of course with all of my heart I wish them a happy ending without something like this but the more I think about it the more probable it becomes ;_; sorry for crushing your hopes anyway ;A;

  10. If they are going for a positive ending, hopefully there may be something in Kaede’s power to bring life back to Kotetsu. However, there is something else more possible which I will elaborate below.

    Like many people, I really doubt he died. He was just severely weakened to a state near death, a.k.a. near-death experience.

    One point that many of the discussions I have seen everywhere failed to mention. They had five minutes before the powerup can activate again, right? What Kotetsu really needs to do is to survive within the five minutes before his powerup can activate again. I doubt he died, probably maybe he had to rest first and not waste up his remaining life energy. To me I think he’s doing what’s right from his instinct.

    Kotetsu’s powerup grants him the power to heal wounds faster too. That’s probably one of the few logical ways he can survive without it being too miraculous or cliche to believe.

    If the secound arc’s motto shows, it could mean group NEX healing is a possibility too, but that’s a little too cliche. It’s more likely to be group support that saves the day.

    Otherwise it will go the other way whereby Kotetsu is lost forever. This can be possible considering that Sunrise LOVES to kill off likeable characters as many people have mentioned. There was supposedly a hint that one hero will die, and I do think Kotetsu is the sacrifical lamb unfortunately, even though I like him very much.

    Also, nothing to worry for second season with the loss of Kotetsu. From the looks of whatever hints we have right now, second season will be mostly on sidestories from the looks of things, with the event timeline being between episodes 1-25 of season 1. (e.g. episode for Lunatic, elaboration for the second-tier characters like Rock Bison, Dragon Kid, Origami, Sky High and Fire Emblem) The first season is most probably the main arc ending on an extreme note.

    There is a possibility of a good ending or a bittersweet ending. It will depend on what type of message they want to convey to audiences. I hope they make the right decision.

  11. I don`t think Kotetsu is dead ( realy hope that )
    but this situation is a good oportunity for “Tiger” the heero to end his time in HeroTV by “daing” on duty and everyone will remember him as the one that saved the city from the “terorist group” that Maverik mentioned to the other citys officials (of course Yuri will not belive one word of it) but if Maverik is put in prison then HeroTV will be under scrutin to and by asociation the heros to wil be in bad light .
    The best scenario I can think is that Maverik is kiled (one way or other) and all blamed on Oroborus ( Maverik is working with them from long time) and Tiger will be the one to get the credit “post mortem” .
    Of course Kotetsu will go to his family to start a new life
    if we can asck for more then he will work on HeroTV and this way he will stil be with Bunny and other heros .

  12. ALBERT MAVERICK!! THIS ISN’T OVER YET!!

    It’s time to put that bastard down once and for all! You used Barnaby, you let Jake who thoughts that he killed Barnaby’s parents & you let Rotwang from ep15 to make H-01 in order to kidnapped Kaede! I’ve had enough of your bullshit, really!

  13. Pingback: Episode 25 or all’s well that ends well | This is Sternbild

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