Tiger & Bunny returns to being a fun show with a bang. This episode didn’t have as clear a focus as the previous ones, but it’s probably because this was really just a set up for the rest of the story. At least, that was the feeling we got, as if it was kind of a second pilot.
First of all, new opening and ending themes premiered in this episode. We’ll do a separate post about them later, because there’s a lot of interesting detail in both sequences. The new OP seems to confirm Lunatic as a major villain again since he’s on the receiving end of a Good Luck Mode attack at the end of it. More new sponsors have also joined the series, and Fire Emblem now sports Animate logo in addition to the previous FMV one. The one to score the most sponsors is Origami Cyclone. He was called “a walking billboard” before and now he’s living up to the name with a total of four sponsors, more than any other hero.
Ten months have passed and the episode starts with Wild Tiger and Barnaby as guests in a Hero TV Special talk show. A lot of things have happened, including Barnaby becoming the MVP of the just ended Hero TV season and Wild Tiger scoring 4th place. The two of them seem so comfortable together even the other heroes are a bit baffled as they watch the talk show. And Karina is upset with something…
The series and the 2nd drama CD have so far dropped hints of Karina’s crush on Kotetsu on varying degrees of subtlety. Now her puppy love is made obvious, and we really can’t take it as anything other than that. She’s acting very much like a typical girl of her age, kind of reminds us of a student having a crush on a teacher. Their dynamic is slightly different, though, because they’re both heroes and on the same line. It appears Karina might be misunderstanding Kotetsu’s concern – which is something he shows toward everyone. He’s an incredibly nice guy, after all. We think that if Kotetsu ever realizes she’s crushing on him, he’ll just tell her to go find a boyfriend around her own age. To us it seems it wouldn’t fit his characterization to act in a different way, and he’s been daughter-zoning Karina so much it’s hard to even imagine him seeing her in a different light. (We can’t blame Karina for her crush because you’d have to be a heartless bastard to not love Kotetsu!)
As comedy relief this time we get served an incredible amount of Kotetsu going all out in his adorkableness. Where Barnaby doesn’t seem to mind at all (quite the opposite in fact), Karina gets annoyed by the way Kotetsu acts. The whole episode is like a buffet of second-hand embarrassment, from the talk show to dance rehearsal to the actual performance. And I don’t even want to get started on the creepy stalker NEXT that we have seen before. Oh and the cosplayer looking guys from the preview were actually new heroes starting on a lower tier of Hero TV. (Guess those hero suits are on budget…)
But speaking of that stalkery NEXT, Kotetsu and Barnaby chase him down and during that chase Kotetsu’s powers go out of control like in a power surge and the color of his powered up glow changes from blue to orange. Kotetsu himself finds the power boost exciting, but the duration of his power is also shortened when it happens. There’s no doubt that this is going to play a big part in the remaining episodes. It may be just an occasional fluke for now, but something is happening to his Hundred Power and it may be what sparks the line heard in the recently released trailer: “Are you telling me to quit as a hero?” This sounds like recycling an age old plot device, and we hope the writers will be smarter than to trip into something so simple when they’ve been doing a pretty good job so far.
So how did the episode title “Love is Blind” relate to the events? While some people might think it had to do with Karina’s almost comical level of schoolgirl crush on Kotetsu, the fact that she herself kept disputing it by wondering how anyone could like an insufferable klutz like him doesn’t quite fit the picture. Instead, we’re going to point at Barnaby, whose attitude has gone from the early series “I don’t want to work with the old man” to “Kotetsu-san can do nothing wrong”. Just about every shot of them together underlines how much their partnership and Barnaby himself have changed during the timeskip. (So much actually that this new, softer Barnaby feels almost creepy at times.)
Judging from the next episode preview, it will be about Keith who’s in love… and the girl he’s shown with looks like she could be Kriem’s sister with less infatuation to make up and plush toys. We have a baaad feeling about this but… We know there’s gonna be more twists than we can think up, and we can think up pretty outrageous stuff when we set ourselves to it. (In fact, some of the ideas we’ve tossed around seemed so outrageous we never posted them up here and then they actually happened. Like Kotetsu forcing himself to heal with Hundred Power.)
Until next episode, remember to drink your milk! It’s on us!