Episode 19 or plot and tears

Another one of those “I don’t even know where to start” -posts. We thought that episode 12 was painful to watch but this was even worse now that we’ve gotten even more invested to the characters and so many bad things are happening. This episode had two major points: Kotetsu and Barnaby’s unsteady partnership, and the revelation of what really happened on that day 21 years ago when Barnaby’s parents died.

19. There’s no way out.

First, I’m just gonna say: we called a lot of this stuff in our speculah. Anyway…

Barnaby is having a legitimate breakdown. I feel really bad looking at it from this angle, but the way he’s just falling apart is realistic and well written (and I’ve witnessed some real-life breakdowns). Considering all the crap he’s been through already it’s almost a miracle it didn’t hit him even harder. And if the beginning of the episode looked bad for him, things only got worse. In the span of a day he learns that he’s spent 21 years chasing a lie, his partner (and maybe the only friend he’s ever had) wants to quit, and that Maverick has been messing with his memories and is responsible for killing his parents. I’m surprised he didn’t go temporarily insane from all that.

Barnaby has spent enough time around Kotetsu that he’s learned to tell when Kotetsu is avoiding something – which truthfully is most of the time when it’s something that concerns himself. I’m getting the impression that Kotetsu actually suffers from low self-esteem when it comes to things that concern him as a person and it also plays a bit into his style as a hero. I feel like it’s hard for him to get that someone might appreciate him for who he is. If you think of how his decision to quit came to be in episode 17, you’ll notice that a part of his reason was that he thought Barnaby doesn’t need him. He’s running away, not just from his diminishing power but also from rejection. It’s easier to deal with it if you’re the one rejecting, not being rejected. We think there’s something more to why he’s acting the way he is, something that we’ve not seen yet. It might have something to do with how he grew up in a time when NEXTs were still shunned, and he’s experienced what it was like before Hero TV made them accepted. He might have gotten used to people other than his family not giving a damn about him, and now he’s got Barnaby who trusts him and wants to be his friend – and that can be pretty scary for someone who’s made avoidance a lifestyle.

Despite being so dense, it seems that Kotetsu might finally start realizing what exactly he’s doing, not just to himself but also to the people around him. The unfortunate overheard phone conversation was the worst possible way for Barnaby to find out about Kotetsu’s plans to quit and Kotetsu made things much worse trying to avoid the issue, even when Barnaby called him out on it he tried to cover up further. Barnaby doesn’t want just to be able to trust Kotetsu – he wants Kotetsu to trust him too. In the end they both reacted in a logical way: saying and doing hurtful things to protect themselves, using what defense mechanisms they could and Barnaby managed to rile Kotetsu up to a point where he actually retaliated. They both overstepped the line, but we have to say that the fault lies mostly with Kotetsu this time. Barnaby’s sanity was hanging by a thread, he was merely trying to hold himself together. Luckily Kotetsu saw the interview after their fight, and that seems to have gotten at least part of the message through: Barnaby thinks the world of him.

But the bad thing is that right now, Barnaby is alone. And a lot of our Maverick speculah came true…

Stuff we called that turned out to be true:

  • Maverick is a NEXT
  • Maverick killed Barnaby’s parents
  • Maverick brought up Barnaby specifically to become a hero
  • Maverick altered Barnaby’s memories
  • Hero TV has more staging than just Mr. Legend’s case

There’s one thing missing from this list that you might have noticed. We’ll get to it, and why it’s not there. Just keep on reading.

Maverick turned out to be a far bigger bastard than we ever expected. He’s totally unfazed when he talks about the things he’s done. What’s even worse is that he’s a NEXT that can alter people’s memories. He’s already successfully messed with Barnaby’s and Samantha’s memories, and it’s very likely he’s done so several times to Barnaby when he’s gotten too close to the truth. We don’t even want to think about how many times it might have happened, locking Barnaby in a cycle of finding out and getting his head messed up again repeatedly. This time he got so far because he had Kotetsu, and now even Kotetsu is in danger. However, altering Barnaby’s memories again won’t be enough and Maverick will have to do something to the other people who know about it – Aunt Samantha and Kotetsu. His memory altering ability has its limitations, and he needs the victim to be weakened and alone without anything interfering. That’s why he killed Barnaby’s parents, he couldn’t mess their memories in the situation they were in.

And this leads to Hero TV. We talked about the fishiness around Hero TV for example in the episode 16 write up, but things turned out to be even worse than we expected. To boost the falling ratings, Maverick teamed up with “a certain organization” to stage crimes and make the arrests more entertaining. In return he gave some of the technology Barnaby’s parents had used to help with making the hero suits to that organization to be used for weapons. The Brookses found out about it and confronted Maverick – and since he couldn’t alter their memories he shot them. He spared Barnaby to bring him up as a hero. It should be noted that Maverick doesn’t define the organization as Ouroboros, but Barnaby assumes so. In fact, Maverick never mentions Ouroboros at all. So either this means that Ouroboros is something else, or that we are being led astray and made to think there is more than one organization. (I’m betting we’ll be returning to this topic later, right now… we’ve kinda got our heads spinning still.)

Maverick will probably attempt to alter Kotetsu’s memories, but he won’t succeed if the spoilers we’ve seen are legit. It’s been easy for him to control Barnaby who he’s kept mostly isolated, but the more connections people have the harder it becomes to alter just one thing. It’s likely someone will notice something is wrong sooner or later. Kotetsu poses the biggest threat for Maverick at the moment – he’s close to Barnaby, and it’d be impossible to change an entire year of Barnaby’s memories involving him. The most logical option is to dispose of Kotetsu in some other way.

We have so many mixed feelings about this episode. On the other hand, we absolutely love the writing and characterization. The voice acting is amazing and we got our minds blown by Morita again – he needs an award for his role as Barnaby. But then… there’s so much pain and suffering (and personally I don’t want to see Barnaby cry ever again – but he was crying in the preview). We just wanna shake these guys a bit, get them to talk it out and give each other a hug. Lord knows they need it.

It’s gonna be one long week…

29 comments on “Episode 19 or plot and tears

  1. Just one thing i have to say: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!, aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
    I’m done.

  2. Great write-up, I was waiting for this post! And now I’m looking at Kotetsu even harder; the possibility of there being more to his story is exciting~~.

    • Thank you, and again thank you! This episode was kind of painful to write about…

      They still have 6 episodes left and we saw on first cour that they can pull off some incredible stuff in short time so I guess anything is possible.

      • Oh wow, six? For some reason it felt like less than that, now I’m even more excited~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!

  3. Seriously, your comments, put in place my conscience and my fangirling soul in peace. lol
    After the episode, I had to “swallow several frogs”, also reading that their relationship is homosexual because instead of punching him, Kotestu slapped Bunny!
    Honestly, the episode is full of fanservice material, but the attitude of Kotetsu is clearly paternal, and while I had believed that he had lied to Barnaby to protect him from another pain, your explanation, about the pride as a hero in decline, and an intimate non-acceptance of the loss of power, persuaded me that it is as you say.
    The slap came because Barnaby told him that he don’t need him.
    I still did not understand what connection existing between their two …
    And about Maverick… hmmm… Who Does say us that he has not changed even the memories of Lunatic? and that the was the one who killed Legend??

  4. Oh! It’s awesome to have such observant watcher(s) like you guys, because even though some of the plot twists are somewhat obvious, (Maverick, the root of evil) this show is really good at distracting (me, at least). I connected Maverick to Ouroboros by instinct but I notice now it’s just Bunny who came up with that. I have got same kind of misconceptions in a couple earlier episodes too.

    Great points about Kotetsu and Barnaby’s characters. I’m scared for Kotetsu. Also, I hope there would be two saturdays per week, yes.

  5. Wow, good job catching that Maverick never specifically mentions Ouroboros. Like Bunny, I just assumed he was talking about it when he mentioned “a certain organization.” Also, I think your character analyses were spot-on.

    It does look like Maverick is going to attempt to alter Kotetsu’s memories though, if the scene of him drinking tea in the preview is anything to go by.

    • The thing about Ouroboros is pretty easy to miss, really! But the subs do reflect the Japanese correctly so if you pay attention, you’ll catch it. And thank you very much! It’s really interesting to analyze characters that are so well rounded.

      Maverick will definitely attempt to mess with Kotetsu, but we’ve caught some spoilers that seem to indicate his plan will fail and he’ll have to find another method to try and dispose of him.

  6. I’m still crying from the 19th episode…
    It’s just… I have no words…
    It was too shocking for me…
    sunrise, I hate you…

  7. I love your write-ups–and I love how you’re considering that Maverick might not be talking about Ouroboros at all. (What about that tattoo on the bank-robbers in Kotetsu’s memory/the pole-dancers in episode 16?) Yet even if we do call it, it would still be shocking if the show actually took advantage of this in plot, though–a;sdlkgha;dklsgh
    The voice actors are definitely amazing in this show, main characters especially. Morita against a more upbeat type and all (Maeda Keiji, Tidus, Barnaby? WHAT), and I swear Hirata’s voice is what makes Kotetsu.
    After reading this, I remember Barnaby saying things like,
    “I’ll never forget that you wasted three minutes of my life.”
    “I’ll never forget that you wasted an afternoon of my life…”
    That Maverick has been messing with his memories just puts these lines into a new perspective now, and I feel even worse for Barnaby yet happy that the scriptwriter(s)(?)(Masafumi?) did that kind of subtly.
    God damn it, the emotions I get from this show and what went into making it and what it’s doing to its fans.

  8. Btw, can you give me some words about Maverick and Jake? How do you think, they were met before?
    Or what IF Barnaby didn’t win that fight with Jake? (sorry for my english)
    Then Jake’d crash all the city? What Maverick would do then?
    I mean, he’s working with Ouroboros… or he don’t work with them now? I’m confused…

    • Uhh we have a few theories but right now they kinda hang on whether or not Ouroboros actually exists or if it’s just something Maverick planted in Barnaby’s mind and then used to stage the attack on the city.

      He probably had a backup plan if Barnaby had failed, a mastermind of that level doesn’t do this stuff without plan B or even plan C up his sleeve.

      • Then what about tatoos on that black man’s neck? And what about Kriem with Jake? Kriem were talking about Ouroboros… or it’s just Maverick’s work…

        • There still isn’t more evidence about Ouroboros than the four people we’ve seen connected with it: Jake, Kriem, Chuckman and the black guy. It’s likely Maverick had something to do with it all but it’s hard to say to what extent, and if Ouroboros is an actual organization we don’t even know what their true agenda is. Need more information but they’re not giving us it.

  9. I love this summary!

    Anyway, I’m starting to think that Ouroboros doesn’t even exist, now that you point out that Maverick didn’t mention it. Probably he made it up because he wanted to keep Barnaby busy all these years, and what’s better than a secret organization no one knows about? Or, you know…I just recalled that the only person we see wearing the tattoo was that crazy guy, who surely got his mind brainwashed permanently by Maverick.

    Another idea that comes to mind is that Ouroboros might even be a good sort of organization somehow, maybe opposed to this other criminal organization Maverick is the creator of. Maybe Jack and Kriem were somehow the good guys (even in a crazy, out of control way), because they are opposing Hero Tv so strongly. So yeah, I guess we learned that Hero Tv has got to go.

    As for the T&B relationship, I’m floored at the writing. And I also knew from the first episodes that Kotetsu’s big issue is a terribly low self esteem. It’s pretty clear in the fact that he always cares for the others around him but he never allows anyone close to himself. He doesn’t consider himself worthy the attention. Clearly the only one that could reach him easily was his older brother, but for Barnaby is harder because Kotetsu considers him some sort of a son at this point, and we know he tends to protect his own family by hiding things from them, so…

    I suppose the next step is to really become partners. In this I think Barnaby is the one who has invested more in the relationship, which came as a surprise because I was sure the opposite would happen! These writers are really sneaky and insightful.

    OH, what about these spoilers you mention? I want to knooow, Sunday is so far away…

    • Kotetsu considers him some sort of a son at this point

      Nope. This is incorrect. Kotetsu doesn’t view Barnaby as a son, or as a child. The kids (Karina and Pao-Lin) have already gotten the headpat treatment, but he’s never viewed Barnaby as a kid. While Kotetsu sees them as equals he also sees Barnaby as the more competent one when it comes to being a hero, so he doesn’t consider himself truly worthy of being Barnaby’s equal. And at the same time Barnaby looks up to him. This makes the relationship between Kotetsu and Barnaby pretty complicated, and there are a lot of emotions involved in it. Especially from Barnaby’s side since he’s been effectively kept isolated to turn him into a perfect hero and Kotetsu is one of the few relationships he’s forged himself.

      (Spoilers say Kotetsu will be framed for a murder, but I don’t have a source to cite so take it with a grain of salt.)

      • Their relationship is definitely complicated, that’s for sure. I hesitate to say Kotetsu is a father figure too, but I can’t get over how much Barnaby looks like a little kid to me now, especially with the slap. So I’ve been settling for “mentor” as a word to use for now, but you can’t forget about Kotetsu’s self confidence problems so its so hard! xD;;

        • Although Barnaby acted a bit childishly in the situation, the slap was not something you’d deliver to a kid. If Kotetsu had an abusive streak in him he might have punched instead of slapping, but he doesn’t.

          I really don’t get where the idea comes from that Kotetsu is a “father figure” for Barnaby, since nothing in the way they act shows it. Barnaby sure doesn’t see Kotetsu as one and although Kotetsu has tried to protect Barnaby in several occasions he has never acted in a way that’d seem fatherly to me.

  10. Among a lot of other things already discussed here, this episode got me thinking about HeroTV and its effect on the treatment of NEXTs in society.

    Kriem’s flashback showed that as a NEXT, she was treated as a freak and ostracized by both parents and peers. We still don’t know if this was typical or not, though we do know that Kotetsu had his own problems dealing with being a NEXT prior to meeting Legend, though that could have also been just kids being cruel (as kids can be). We know there still is some NEXT prejudice, but it has lessened by comparison.

    We know that Mr Legend was considered the first real hero NEXT, though this notoriety was more than likely gained after Maverick began his ratings-boosting plan. While Ororboros seems to have a pro-NEXT agenda, we don’t have confirmation that Maverick allied himself with them. (the fact that an Oroboros tattoo was part of the false memory indicates otherwise if you ask me), though they both do have a pro-NEXT agenda.

    So, by creating Mr. Legend as part of HeroTV, did HeroTV (and by extension, Maverick who is also a NEXT) purposely create a friendly, yet larger-than-life NEXT figure as a propaganda tool to smooth NEXT/normal relations?

    Let’s face it, Maverick is someone who’s done bad things and continues to do bad things (and IMO is a complete and total bastard), but like Magneto and about a thousand other villains, did he do them (at least initially) for “Good” reasons – ie: trying to make NEXTs more accepted by the public?

    Sidenote: file this under “let’s screw with Barnaby’s head even more”, have we seen many flashbacks of his childhood? I know we saw one towards the beginning of episode 13, but besides that I can’t think of any beyond the Christmas trip, and we all know that one was fake. Let’s just say that after Kriem’s flashback and recent revelations, I’m wondering how many “happy” memories of his childhood are real. After all, his parents were working on robotics to keep NEXTs under control.

    Then again, that whole train of though might just be the Conspiracy Express jumping the tracks to Parnoid-ville. 😉

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