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.
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.
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.
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> we went from OMG OUROBOROS a few eps ago to IS IT EVEN REAL
<@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.