Speculah: Special “what is going on because I have no idea anymore” Edition

Okay, we can stop speculating about how Barnaby’s parents died and who killed them and why. That doesn’t mean that everything is solved. Quite the opposite, in fact. And the whole jazz with how Ouroboros plays into everything still isn’t resolved.

Cutting for spoilers, and because this got a bit long.

Now that we know what Maverick can do with his NEXT power it’s like we’re operating on a whole new level of paranoia. Stuff was untrustworthy before but now, nothing can be trusted if Maverick has been in contact with it. And before I go on with this, I have to note that some of this stuff will probably have loopholes. With a skill like Maverick’s – despite its limitations – it’s hard to know when someone’s memories are real or faked.

Maverick's tie has a butterfly pattern. This might be a reference to "Project Monarch", an alleged mind control program.

What Maverick has done so far has made it easier for NEXTs to be accepted into the society, but we doubt he’s doing it for just the public good. He seems to be in it for money. He doesn’t state it, but we get the impression that this is all just business for him. Also, the way he talks about teaming up with “a certain organization” to create fake crimes to make Hero TV more exciting creates a new question: “does Ouroboros even exist?” Maverick never identifies the organization as Ouroboros and it may be something he spun to complete the plan to make Barnaby the new King of Heroes. If we assume Maverick was behind the Ouroboros attack he could easily have supplied Kriem with the exosuits, and that’d also given him a backup plan if the heroes and especially Barnaby failed in stopping them. If he created the situation, he could just pull the plug on it all. He could have planted fake memories in Kriem, too.

Jake Martinez, again

What doesn’t add up is why Jake Martinez would go along with something like this. He was a loose cannon, but he made one thing very clear: he dislikes heroes and the idea of NEXTs siding with normal humans. He talks about it in the epilogue part of episode 11 when Ivan’s cover is blown. Considering his attitude and the fact that he saw himself even above other NEXTs because of his two powers, him teaming up to boost Maverick’s cause doesn’t make sense. After all Maverick was who made Mr. Legend a hero. If Jake was a member of the true Ouroboros and his views reflect the views of Ouroboros, this would make it a pro-NEXT organization and we don’t see them approving Maverick’s methods or views of making NEXTs seek acceptance by serving normal humans. The way Jake is portrayed in Kriem’s flashback seems very different from how he acts during the Ouroboros attack. Of course, 20 years had passed and he’d spent a good deal of them simmering in prison, so that could have affected his personality. There is also a slim possibility Maverick had also messed with Jake’s memories while he was in prison, but this seems way too risky especially if he’d failed with implanting the altered memories.

What Jake Martinez did pose to Maverick was a direct danger. One of them could read minds, the other alter memories. A mind reader could find out about faked memories, possibly even recognise an altered memory when he sees one – not to mention he could expose Maverick’s deeds if he ever got a peek into his mind. The attack might just have been a plan to get rid of Jake for good, and to give yet another way for Maverick to have control over Barnaby. If getting rid of Jake was the true goal of the whole incident, it was a very risky endeavor that could easily have failed. Maverick doesn’t seem like that kind of a gambler so we’re kinda sceptical about it, but it’s still a possibility. Maverick probably expected Barnaby to personally complete his revenge and kill Jake, and that would have made Barnaby a murderer. Whether or not it’d be accepted as dealing justice, it would have been another trauma to add to an already traumatized mind. But because Barnaby had created the bond with Kotetsu, he was able to stop before he did anything he might come to regret later.

Summarized facts about Ouroboros:

  • Barnaby saw the symbol in the fake memory of his parents’ murder.
  • He started investigating it seriously when he was 10.
  • He learned the name Ouroboros when he was a teenager and a crazy criminal J.G. Benjamin with an Ouroboros tattoo uttered the name before being wheeled away (ep 9 flashback).
  • Both J.G. Benjamin and Jake Martinez had 250 year prison sentences. Was this a coincidence?
  • The only known members of Ouroboros were Jake Martinez, Kriem, Hans Chuckman and the black guy that Lunatic killed in episode 6. They are all dead now.
  • Both Kriem and Jake had Ouroboros tattoos, as did the black guy.
  • Maverick talks about “a certain organization”. He never identifies the organization as Ouroboros.

At the moment we’re pretty certain that Ouroboros is not the “certain organization” that Maverick talks about. If Ouroboros is just a dummy organization, this all makes sense. It acts as a distraction from the actual organization that’s staging the crimes, gives public something to be afraid of and helps to make Barnaby the King of Heroes. It’s possible that Maverick decided to use the Ouroboros design if he was aware of the Ouroboros tattoos Jake already had. Why reinvent things if there’s already something that can be used readily available? According to the series timeline Barnaby started investigating Ouroboros in NC 1963 when he was 10. Jake Martinez was arrested in NC 1962. This would give enough of a window for Maverick to rearrange Barnaby’s memories to contain the Ouroboros design and send him on a wild goose chase.

Crazy tier theory: Another possibility we thought of was that if Ouroboros does exist, it was created for the good of the city and Barnaby’s parents may have been involved in it, maybe even been part of its creation. And after they died, Maverick could have seized control of it and made it work for his own purposes.

That “other” tattoo

Apart from Ouroboros tattoo, there’s another tattoo that has been recurring. It’s seen on the bank robbers in Kotetsu’s flashback where Mr. Legend saves him. Knowing the facts we do now, it’s likely that the bank robbery was staged. The tattoo is seen again in episode 16 on a dancer in the shady night club where Lunatic confronts Lady Killer.

Picture courtesy of /a/.

It might be nothing, the director and writer are known to plant traps in the story so that even the voice actors don’t know all the facts. But if it turns out to have significance it might be a connection to whatever organization truly is behind the staged crimes. The club where the dancer was performing didn’t seem like a very upper class place. It could also be that the “certain organization” is actually the sponsoring companies who have their own agenda.

Kotetsu’s situation

We also have to think of the power-loss Kotetsu is experiencing. The condition seems to be extremely rare according to Ben, but the only other case we know is Mr. Legend. It might be so rare that Kotetsu is only the 2nd case ever. This feels kind of far-fetched, but the main thing connecting Kotetsu and Legend is that they both are heroes. Is Kotetsu’s power-loss artificial to make Barnaby look even better? Did they do something to Legend too if he became a problem for some reason?

In the beginning we really didn’t think much about it, but the way how Ben went out of business and Kotetsu got suddenly picked up by Apollon Media was just a bit too convenient. They had a new suit for him ready and all, so clearly it was planned. They (read: Maverick) really wanted to pair up Kotetsu with Barnaby. It was meant to work in two ways: if Barnaby doesn’t perform that well it can be blamed on Wild Tiger who was already recognised as a failure (he was 2nd last in the NC 1977 ranking) dragging him down, and if he does perform well he’ll look even better in contrast with blundering Wild Tiger. If this was Maverick’s plan, the thing he didn’t foresee happening was how well Barnaby would bond with Kotetsu. The key for Maverick to control Barnaby has been to keep him at a certain degree of isolation and that’s where things started getting problematic. Wild Tiger & Barnaby are actually successful and popular, so breaking up the team by executive order would be a bad business decision. As far-fetched as it sounds, if Kotetsu’s NEXT power is being artificially tampered with it might be just to get him out of the way by pushing him into retirement to leave Barnaby alone again.

/end speculah… FOR NOW

<@Aki_the_geek> amazing
<@Aki_the_geek> we went from OMG OUROBOROS a few eps ago to IS IT EVEN REAL
<@Aki_the_geek> how
<@Aki_the_geek> just…. how

Right now we’re feeling like we should watch the whole thing again from episode 1 just to see if we can spot anything we might have overlooked. And I am dying to see all the notes Nishida must have on this story because you don’t just spin this out of thin air.

28 comments on “Speculah: Special “what is going on because I have no idea anymore” Edition

  1. First of all I have to say that: You’re a genius! The way you connect all the events and place each piece in this strange mosaic with intelligence and patience, it’s fantastic! I love you girls!
    And then you know what? All this reminds me of Lost. The beautiful American series in which no detail was left to chance and that eventually, even if the ending was not fitting right, pulled the whole key to the problem.
    I’m sure that the solution is in every single episode: nothing had happened by chance. At this point, even the fact that Kotestu has the identical power to Barnaby must be not by chance.
    I have concluded that Maverick, and we have the comfort of the dates, is the one who created the Next 45 years ago, and that just because they are his creation has a lot of care for their destiny.
    He is the first Next, the result of his experiment, which then has been emulated in some way …
    This series is an inexhaustible source of surprises…
    Thanks and thanks again!

  2. Maybe i’m fool, but I can’t understand, why Mavedick forced Barnaby to say about his past to all the city? (in 11th episode)

    • It was all to make him stand out from the other heroes. It made him more identifiable and relatable, and then he saved the city. The other heroes are nameless, but Barnaby’s public image is more personal.

  3. OMG! I love you guys! You are in everything! I didn’t stop to think in such details, but now I’m really impatient for the next saturday @.@ Gosh I wish the time could go faster just to see the next chapter ^_^ This series is so well planned that one can’t help but waiting and thinking about the clues and enjoying every single second of each chapter. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughs about this amazing show.

  4. My biggest question is, why did Maverick do all those things to Barnaby? I mean, yes, he wants him to be the best Hero or something, but why? I hope he has a very good reason, because, let’s face it, he raised him as his own child, and was with him for more than twenty years. I don’t know why, but it does seem a bit… excessive to me. :/

    • I wish we knew more about his motives, but his decision to raise Barnaby as a hero talks about how he’s just thinking of business. He could have killed Barnaby too, but since he was a NEXT he was worth sparing for the sake of future ratings.

      The guy’s a bastard. 8|

      • The thing is, I wonder if he really is just thinking of business… :/ Well, probably, but I guess I’m biased because I like him as a character, even though he’s a bastard. XD

        I wish his past with Barnaby would be explained, I’m really curious about it… But now that he has messed with his memories yet again, I guess it won’t happen. OTL

      • Someone on another site made the very astute observation that they could be going for Maverick as a twisted Professor X. That is, someone willing to go to great lengths to create a world where NEXT can coexist peacefully with humans.

        Though Xavier can be pretty twisted himself depending on who’s writing him vOv.

        • I’m not all that familiar with X-men, I confess… I read mostly French comics when I grew up so what I know of most American superheroes is from the movies. (-。ー;) It’s plausible that Maverick could have that sort of agenda, but so far the stuff he told Barnaby sounded more like it’s just business. I hope they’ll eventually reveal the reasons why exactly he started Hero TV, because that’d sure help a lot with figuring out his motives.

          • Professor X was the leader of the X-men, and his thing is a desire for peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans, in contrast to his counterpart Magneto, who is a mutant supremacist. Their history is *extremely* long and *extremely* convoluted so this doesn’t apply at all times in all canons, but it’s the gist of their positions. It should be noted that he is an extremely powerful telepath who has rewritten memories for “the greater good.”

            NEXT are very obvious analogues of mutants, and how they were treated in the past is very similar to how mutants have always been and are still treated. So we don’t know why Maverick started Hero TV, but the idea is that perhaps the public acceptance of NEXT after Mr. Legend’s death wasn’t a beneficial side effect, so much as something Maverick was actively working towards. Who knows how it’ll play out in the end, but it’s a possibility.

          • The Professor X I know from the movies seemed very benevolent so the thought of similarities between him and Maverick didn’t really cross my mind. It’s definitely worth considering. There are a lot of similarities that even I have noticed between American superheroes and Tiger&Bunny, but mostly they feel very subtle.

            And thanks for the clarification!

  5. Been reading this site for a while, your analyses are always a treat to read! And I have to say, in light of this speculation, Kriem’s statement that they were just a small faction of Ouroboros now seems like clever misdirection and makes me want to jump on the Ouroboros-doesn’t-exist bandwagon even more.

    • Thank you, thank you! \|宜|/ We started this blog just to keep track of all our theories but it’s always great to hear others enjoy reading our speculah.

      • I agree, this blog is fantastic. xD Half the reason I enjoy this show the way I do is because of the fandom and this is just one of those aspects of it that just makes everything better. Plus, I’m not good at reading between the lines so reading this stuff really supplements the series.

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  9. If power tampering is the case, then if they do a second season and discover this, not only is that a whole new plot to open, but when LUNATIC gets wind of it.

    Holy shit.

    The trail of “justice” he will blaze. It will also explain why he went through the trouble of killing Maverick even after what the man did to himself. Having rendered himself to that state, there really was no point in killing him, seeing as he had already given himself an existence that in my opinion was worse than death. Yuri probably knows something we don’t.

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  11. Mr. Legend and Wild Tiger both had children with NEXT powers, and at least in Kotetsu’s case, his powers began their decline around the time that his daughter’s were being realized. The same may have been true for Mr. Legend and Yuri.

      • Well if you think about it, genetically inherited things the child has wouldn’t affect the parent anyway. Besides, it’s still fiction.

        • If power loss that was connected to children was a common phenomenon, there would be more information about it and it wouldn’t be as mysterious as it seems. NEXTs have been around for over 40 years, there must be a lot of them with children by this time. So making assumptions that it’s caused by the effect of their children doesn’t hold water unless the writer gives us information to support it.

          • True, it is only a theory, just like the other stuff you posted. I’m not assuming anything. Just that there is a connection between Mr. Legend and Wild Tiger that is interesting to note.

          • Their connection might be there just like the connection with Tiger & Barnaby having the same power; it makes it easier to see their similarities and differences. Legend and Kotetsu both have a family, both were heroes, both suffered power loss – but their methods of coping with the problem differed.

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