Tiger & Bunny 16 - Sunrise Turns Off the Lights

Well, things certainly took a dark turn during this week's installment of Tiger & Bunny. If you thought last week was depressing, this one definitely tops it. The series seemed to be a light-hearted action comedy centered on a likable cast of characters; with less than half the series remaining, I think it is appropriate to address more serious issues. I don't think this dark turn should come as a surprise at all; there were hints sprinkled throughout the earlier parts of the show for those of us watching closely.

Before we get to the meat of the episode, let's look at the relationship between Barnaby and Mr. Maverick. Barnaby reveals that Maverick was with Barnaby the entire time 21 years ago, even on the night when his parents were killed. Coincidence? I don't think so. I've had some suspicions about Maverick in earlier episodes, and this just adds more to fuel to the idea that Maverick is pulling the strings behind everything. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Maverick that ordered the death of the Brooks couple. Then he takes Barnaby in and grooms him to be the top hero that he is today. But what's Maverick's motive? Money? Perhaps, but that seems a little too simple.

This scene really got to me. It's like I'm back in the seventh grade, reading Flowers for Algernon again. It just adds to the sadness of Kotetsu's predicament. His powers are decreasing little by little as time passes by, and there's nothing he can do about it. By the end of the episode, he symbolically wakes up in the trash.

Well, I didn't see this one coming. I've been wondering about how Sternbild's most famous hero could just disappear, and this episode finally addresses that. Who could have guessed that Legend lost his powers AND became an alcoholic AND beat his wife AND was Yuri's father AND was accidentally killed by Yuri himself? This not only provides the reasons why Yuri became the vigilante he is today, but also tarnishes the one figure that Kotetsu has looked up to for being a hero. I already liked Lunatic as a character prior to this episode, but this makes me really sympathize with him. It's really sad that his mother has gone insane and still blames him for the death of her husband.

I'm glad to see that a lot of things are coming together so nicely. As Legend's powers were declining, the companies that backed the heroes have staged things so that Legend could take the credit and remain the top hero. They even erased records of anything that made him look bad. The obvious question would be why would they do such things?

Boobs 'cause I can.

Money. In his prime, Legend was the cream of the crop. Hero TV ratings were high because of him, and Legend merchandise was raking in the money. We've seen how obsessed Agnes is with the TV ratings. Going back to some speculation from when the show first aired, many questioned the authenticity of the crimes and saw the blatant advertisement plastered all over the heroes' suits. A theme that was constantly hammered to the viewers was that, aside from their hero duties, the heroes also had to deal with pleasing the company that sponsored them. Perhaps under all of this is the writers' critique of capitalist society, such as Sternbild.

When Yuri was still a young boy, his father told to him to "become someone strong who can punish evil". It seems that today he is ridden with guilt that he killed his father. He uses his NEXT powers to deliver his twisted idea of justice on criminals to justify what he did to Legend as right. What I see are the blatant parallels between Legend and Kotetsu. Both had declining powers, both have some involvement alcohol (Kotetsu to a much lesser extent), and both seem to have a somewhat strained relationship with their offspring. But this is set up so that Kotetsu won't go down the path that Legend went. He has two things going for him. One, from the 15 episodes we've already seen of him, he's just not that kind of guy. Two, he has Barnaby to share his troubles with.

All in all, I think that this episode was one of the best yet. Though tough to watch, I'm liking the direction this series is heading towards and I can only hope for a happy end. It looks like we'll finally see Kotetsu visit his family in the next installment. It would be nice to finally have Kotetsu and Kaede in the same room, but for some reason I'm doubting it will happen, judging from the preview. I'm hoping the flashback to his wife won't be too sad.