Episode 16 or the higher they are the harder they fall

Before I say anything else about this episode, I just wanted to say that Keiichi Sato (director) and Masafumi Nishida (screenwriter) are amazing. The characterization, relationships and the issues Tiger & Bunny tackles and the way it is done are just incredible. We can’t remember seeing anything like this in an anime before and not even many live action dramas go this deep. The more we get into the characters and their motives the more our mind is blown. If anyone can pull this series through to a good ending, it’s these guys. And they’re turning Tiger & Bunny into a masterpiece. You have our trust, keep on rocking.

I made a separate speculah post last week, but it’s not gonna work this time. There’s simply too much stuff packed into this episode, not to mention dropping the bomb on Lunatic’s backstory.

16. Truth lies at the bottom of a well.
-真実は井戸の底にある-

This week, we dig deeper and deeper into what actually goes on in Sternbild. The title of this episode was very fitting and we got more plot than we expected, although not on the points we expected to get it on.

Lunatic and Legend

Speculations about Yuri Petrov/Lunatic’s connections to Legend were correct. He is indeed Legend’s son, but the family tragedy that we got a glimpse of was totally not what we expected. We’ve seen Legend in Kotetsu’s flashbacks, there are several statues of him around Sternbild and people still remember him as a great hero. But he was losing his powers just like Kotetsu is now, and he couldn’t handle it. Turning a hero into a wife-beater is the lowest you can drag a person everybody looks up to without making him actually commit murder. The domestic violence scenes feel so real that they were painful to watch. The reactions of Yuri’s mother are typical to a victim of abuse, from denial to blaming her son for what happened. These scenes and their intensity really underline the level of writing in Tiger & Bunny. We are shown things without pointing fingers and we can draw our own conclusions from them.

Yuri did what his father taught him and tried to protect the weak but ended up killing his own father and being blamed for everything by his mother who was traumatized by the beatings. And he’s not letting himself forget, even though he covers the burn marks on his face they’re printed on the mask he wears as Lunatic. Our guess is that Yuri was around 14 when all this happened. We don’t know when exactly Legend died but it was after the arrest of Jake Martinez about 16 (after the timeskip about 17) years ago. That means Yuri is probably 30 years old at most, likely even younger despite looking much older. He’s too young to be in the position he holds at the justice department and he’s involved in a lot of high level stuff. This is probably something done to keep him hushed about Legend’s death. It’s possible he worked part of the way himself because it seems like he’s trying to atone for what he did in some twisted way. It could be that working inside the justice system didn’t give him the results he wanted and Lunatic was born to deal judgement to those who escape the system. His interest in Kotetsu and Barnaby stems down to Legend: Kotetsu looks up to him as a role model, and Barnaby is chasing Legend’s point records on Hero TV.

In general there’s a lot of hush-hush around Hero TV. Many of Legend’s arrests were staged, especially towards the end. Other heroes did what they could to cover up for him losing powers. We have to wonder just how much of the current Hero TV is staged and how many people know about it? Maverick is the CEO of Apollon Media and chairman of the TV channel that runs Hero TV, so he must know. It’s likely that Agnes knows at least something, too. People have speculated about Scarf-tan being part of Hero TV staff and this doesn’t seem too far fetched anymore. In episode 10 the people in the office together with Yuri are doubting whether it’s wise to let the heroes handle the Ouroboros terrorist attack. Doubting the competence of heroes didn’t feel so out of place then after the first Lunatic incident made everyone doubt them. But now it seems there are more facts that we’re not aware of yet underneath the surface.

Maverick

We get another glimpse of Barnaby’s memories, and the tragedy gets even worse. It was Christmas Eve when his parents were murdered, and while they died Maverick had taken little Barnaby out for Christmas shopping. We just can’t shake the feeling of how creepy Maverick is in those flashbacks, he doesn’t have the air of a nice uncle but instead of some predator. It’s possible that what Barnaby’s parents were researching contributed to their deaths, but it’s more likely that it was all about Barnaby. We speculated a lot of stuff about Maverick already, and learning all the things about Legend and Hero TV being staged back then just confirms our suspicions.

One theory we spun was that Maverick was the one who created the, well, legend of Legend when Hero TV started, but Legend lost his powers and came crashing down. He’s now trying to do it again with Barnaby, this time bringing up the hero himself from childhood. Another possibility is that Maverick is or was a NEXT, maybe even a hero back in the day, and he contributed to the capture of Jake Martinez instead of Legend. This would give a connection to why Jake Martinez was used if Barnaby’s memories were altered. Maverick could well be living his dream using Barnaby as a proxy.

Bottom line is that just like Legend is someone Kotetsu looks up to, Maverick is the person Barnaby looks up to because he was the only thing close to family he had since he lost his parents. But Maverick is going to come falling down from the pedestal Barnaby has set him on. It’s hard to say where it’ll start, it could be just finding out that most of the arrests he’s done as a hero have actually been staged. Sky High was a good King of Heroes in that sense since he’s an air-head and wouldn’t have suspected a thing. Barnaby is much smarter. And the results won’t be pretty, since the producers themselves have stated that Barnaby is in for hard times on this cour.

Kotetsu & Barnaby

To us Kotetsu and Barnaby’s partnership is the most interesting part of the series. Things are changing from the first cour where it was Kotetsu actively trying to help Barnaby and now it’s Kotetsu who’s going to need someone. This is where they stumble. Kotetsu doesn’t want to show something is wrong and to make people worry about him. Barnaby isn’t good at this people thing and having an actual friend. Next week’s episode seems to be at least partially about Kotetsu’s family and his past, so maybe it’ll be easier then to figure out his motives and why he covers his hurt under all the dorky joking. Part of it is probably that he’s still mourning over the death of his wife. And if Kotetsu ever finds out what Legend turned into before his death it’ll hit him really hard, since just hearing that his idol was losing his powers and how it was covered up was a huge shock for him.

Kotetsu was there to catch Barnaby in episode 13 when he was losing against Jake. Barnaby wasn’t there to catch Kotetsu this time when he fell. This isn’t because Barnaby is being an ass or because he doesn’t care. Kotetsu doesn’t let him care. He isn’t telling Barnaby that his powers are failing. He could be there for Barnaby during the Ouroboros attack because Barnaby opened up and talked about his search for the killer of his parents. Barnaby talked about his hurt even when Kotetsu failed his trust. Kotetsu is trying to do it all by himself now, and Barnaby needs to push harder to get him to talk about it.

Producer Kazuhiko Tamura pointed out in an interview that Tiger & Bunny is a story of Barnaby’s growth as a person and how people of different generations can have something to give to each other. Growing is never easy and sometimes it hurts. Barnaby needs to follow the example that Kotetsu set him earlier and be there for him so they both can grow.

What happens next

We’re likely to get more surprise stuff next week, not just Kotetsu’s back story, since Lunatic was a surprise this week. Kotetsu’s brother will probably make the long awaited appearance next week, too. And this post has turned into the longest I’ve typed here so far, so I’m just gonna stop here and sit back and get ready for next week and the suffering that beeing a TaiBani fan is. Because sad!Kotetsu is going to make us sad too.

8 comments on “Episode 16 or the higher they are the harder they fall

  1. Congratulations, as always, for the perfect and beautiful comment.
    I’m agreed with all your theories, and I dwell on the relationship between Kotetsu and Barnaby.
    I do not think Barnaby is still ready for a moral support to his partner.
    And Kotetsu is too ashamed to ask for help to the person should be his disciple.
    However, Barnaby estimates his partner, and is grateful to him for the success that made him catch BUT he feels not affection for the “man” Kotetsu, at least not yet. He has only a great admiration for the Hero, if he loved the real man in the same way, would be able to read the soul of Kotetsu pain and his eyes would be able to identify the hidden scars of his companion.
    Probably is too early for him, and we will see the full development of his relationship with his partner at the end of the series.
    “Bunny & Tiger” is a story of extraordinary ordinary people in their weaknesses.
    And Kotetsu is a hero of honesty and transparency.
    He does not need superpowers to fight evil. The sense of his justice is beyond the dynamics of the sponsor or the scores.
    This anime is one of the most beautiful stories ever told.

    Kisses and thanks for Your precious work

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