25. Eternal Immortality.
We didn’t expect to see this much hero action in this episode after all the action scenes in the previous one, but it was really cool to see all the heroes fight Maverick’s army of androids. One has to wonder just what kind of technology has gone into them considering how hard they are to beat, and the heroes would have lost had it not been Doc Saitou successfully hacking them.
Maverick getting rid of Rotwang was also as expected, since he’d served his purpose and it was apparent that Maverick loathed him even more than Rotwang hated NEXTs. (Also, is it just me or did that mainframe thing Maverick ran to to cancel the safety mode on the androids look like that scene in Karas?) Maverick seemed so certain he’d get away with everything, but that was before Agnes delivered the biggest “Fuck yeah!” moment in the episode by playing her cards carefully and being in the right place at the right time with the TV crew.
Return from Hell
I guess a lot of people were worried about Kotetsu, despite the way how Tiger & Bunny is oozing with superhero clichés. Heroes do not die, but I admit I had a bit of a doubtful twinge in the back of my head too. “What if…” This was one way we didn’t mind to be trolled in. I called that we’d get a snoring Kotetsu and although that’d been perfectly in character of him, his “return from the depths of Hell” was just as goofy as expected. Even Bunny’s signature salute can’t give him enough cool to sustain it for more than 10 seconds. Since there’s a definite brohug moment and this time it’s Bunny doing the hugging, I’m not going to say a word of complaint about the way he decided to return “from death”. (The whole thing was just so damn KOTETSU.)
After Maverick’s spontaneous choice to virtually lobotomize himself with his own NEXT power, we’re back to square one with Ouroboros. Maverick’s words also point to Ouroboros actually being that “certain organization” which throws a curve ball at all our speculation. But what is Ouroboros? Are they criminals? A secret society? Something operating in the shadow and secrecy, or something so big that they’re in plain sight but you just won’t see it because it’s always been there. Whatever they are, they’re powerful enough to drive Maverick to erase his own mind. Did he do it out of fear of reprimand if he revealed something he wasn’t supposed to, or to protect Ouroboros? There are more questions than answers again. In the ending scene the Ouroboros symbol that was removed from Stern Dollar in the BD version makes a return, too. It might signify that a continuation will deal more with Ouroboros – or it might just be a nod to many Hollywood movies that end in a stinger like that.
Lunatic finishing off Maverick could be seen as redundant since the man was already a vegetable. That doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve his punishment in Lunatic’s view of justice, and Lunatic can do things heroes can’t. Yuri must have seen Maverick’s boast on how he had committed no sin and how he displayed no remorse on live TV, and that’s like waving a flag to Lunatic to come and kill him. All that considered, Lunatic delivering the final blow was expected. (Also, he looked fabulous while doing it.)
Heroes, a year later
A year passes but some things don’t change. It’s nice to see how the other heroes are doing in their private lives, as well as how they’re continuing as heroes.
I’ve actually been waiting for some feminist to bust out a complaint about Pao-Lin in a dress, but luckily I’ve not seen one. She’s Chinese, those are her parents and she’s just showing respect to them because she knows they care about her. She’ll probably change out of the dress as soon as she’s out of their sight.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
The timeskip we get in the end shows that Kotetsu and Barnaby have spent some time apart, figuring out their lives – and this is a good thing! They’re both adults who need to have their own lives. Gone are the clingy Bunny and the revenge-seeking Bunny, and although he still seems to have things he needs to figure out, he’s grown much stronger. He’s not returning to being a hero just because Kotetsu returned, but because it’s what he’s decided to do now out of his own free will and not because someone has manipulated him to do it. The memories of his parents and the way they protected him even from beyond the grave set him on the path to become a protector and returning as a hero is just the last step to confirm it. (And as a fine detail we finally have a confirmed birthdate for Barnaby.)
As for Kotetsu, he had to figure out what he wanted to do with his life, too. We’re not surprised he returned to being a hero, because it meant so much to him. He’d probably end up going stir crazy (and driving his family crazy while he’s at it) if he didn’t get to do the things he loves so much. Besides, giving up isn’t in his vocabulary, nor is it a part of his character. He’s gone through midlife crisis and tried a different way of life. Kotetsu has always carried a strong message to the audience and now it’s also expanded to “don’t set limits to yourself and don’t let others limit you”. I think his decision to quit as a hero was influenced by people like Ben suggesting that he should do so.
Kotetsu and Barnaby may have been apart for a while but their bond has just gotten stronger, the headbutt after yet another Princess Carry speaks volumes. They’re on equal ground now, stronger as individuals and stronger together – and totally comfortable around each other. This time Kotetsu doesn’t even bother to protest to Barnaby carrying him
in his strong arms (he wasn’t even using Hundred Power). This ending delivers what we wanted from the series, because it shows they’ll still be a part of each other’s lives. (Though we didn’t expect them to return to being heroes.)
Last chance to troll
There are many ways to interpret the title of the episode, so I feel like there’s some trolling going on with it. It could refer to Kotetsu and Barnaby’s bond that has grown much stronger. It could refer to Ouroboros since “it won’t die” and the Ouroboros symbol also signifies infinity. Or it could mean Kotetsu’s spirit and his drive to never give up being himself, forever.
There’s a lot of material – things left open-ended and a whole basket of red herrings the production team inserted into the series – that can be used for S2. All those things make the world of Tiger & Bunny feel more complete even though they’re left unexplained, because they also show much planning and attention the story received.
That’s it for now. We haven’t enjoyed another show like this… like never ever. The ending felt good(man) and left us with a huge grin on our faces (Aki calls this an understatement but come on, I don’t have words for this!). Nothing is ever perfect, but even with the imperfections Tiger & Bunny is no doubt the best anime we’ve seen in a very long time – and we don’t expect to see anything like it for a while.
Thanks for watching with us and discussing with us, and reading our crazy theories. It’s been a blast. We ain’t going anywhere, though. There’s all that sweet merchandise coming out, NEXT PROJECT, BD extra drama CDs, another character song CD… And whatever continuation might follow. (I’ve actually warmed up to the idea of a 2nd season after I realized just how much material they still have that could be used for it.)