If you’ve followed the fandom on both the Japanese and the Western side, you’ve probably noticed that we’re thinking on the same lines about how Tiger & Bunny should end. Most of us want everyone to be happy when the final credits roll – especially Kotetsu and Barnaby. And well, if being together makes them happy then that’s how it should be. I’m talking about the so-called “Two Daddies Ending”. This can mean a variety of things, depending on your own standpoint and how you see the characters. For simplicity, I’m going to say that it means that Kotetsu and Barnaby will continue to be a part of each other’s lives in a meaningful way.
The Tiger & Bunny fandom is one of the most mature and open-minded ones, if not the most open-minded one I’ve ever been a part of. Browsing through imageboards I’ve seen numerous comments from people who point out that they “don’t like the gay” but they still would like to see Kotetsu and Barnaby end up together. (And while Tiger & Bunny does have a pretty big yaoi fangirl following, that has very little to do with this since those fangirls can be found in just about any given fandom.) The way I see it is that many Tiger & Bunny fans have found the acceptance that love and happiness can come in many forms regardless of gender – and those forms don’t have to include sex.
Director Satou obviously has a plan, and to me it seems that part of it has been blurring out gender as much as possible. The choice of not giving detailed character profiles could also play into this, since it allows us to experience the characters based on how they act and what they say, without being defined by their attributes. Take a look at Nathan for example. Most of us probably had prejudices about the character at first, but now everyone loves him. Nathan also shows that there’s very little prejudice in the world of Tiger & Bunny. The way the other heroes act around him makes it seem like he doesn’t stand out from the norm, and we haven’t heard any negative comments from other characters in the series. As the owner of Helios Energy he’s also a very influential person. You could of course argue that we just aren’t shown it, but for now I’ll argue that you can’t show something that just isn’t there. (I’ve written an opinion on Nathan before, you can read it here.)
With the choices he’s made and how the characters have developed, Satou has created a world where he could pull off that Two Daddies Ending if he wanted to. It would still be a pretty bold move if he did it, but a large part of the fandom seems ready to accept it. This alone is a huge achievement, along with how unified both the Japanese and the Western fandom are in wanting happiness for the characters.
Ultimately, I think most of us are ready to accept any ending that will make the characters we’ve grown to love so much to be happy.
(Btw, here‘s the Pixiv tag for arts with Kotetsu, Barnaby and Kaede.)