This is where it should’ve ended.
But, hey, no chance of that, right Sunrise?
From start to finish, Tiger & Bunny was a seriously mixed bag. On the one hand, the good guys were generally quite likable, if also generally undercharacterized. On the other hand, the larger narrative was fairly forgettable, and plagued with insipid one-shot episodes about sixteen year olds crushing on single fathers twice their age and about babies. It was for this very reason that I found myself going weeks between episodes, and then playing catch up when the fancy struck me.
Of course, probably the most massive problem with T&B were the handwaves and conveniences, those moments where everything looked bad for the Heroes, only for some miracle moment to occur. This issue was on gruesome display in the final episode, as it served to wreck any sense of suspense present, particularly when the Heroes were faced with the H-o1’s, outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded. It was the first time I felt excited about a fight in the entire show… and Sunrise quickly pulled the plug with an outside cut of the power supply. Gee, thanks, Sunrise.
And this was rampant throughout the entire final episode. Every time something looked hairy, fingers were snapped and everything was fixed and straightened away. Not that this came as a surprise – it was only an exacerbation of a previous habit of the show, after all. But that’s not an excuse for it, either.
The finale essentially rendered null and void other concerns throughout the show, as Tiger retires only to… un-retire and join the Second-rate Heroes. Bunny retires because… Tiger has retired. Oh, and Maverick is bad and made him become a Hero for his own ends. But its clear that Tiger’s decision to retire is the bigger impetus behind his own decision, since he un-retires when Tiger does in the epilogue.
While I would’ve preferred Sunrise had kept Tiger dead, I’m willing to let it slide. But the epilogue should’ve been chucked to the cutting room floor, as it takes pains to shit all over virtually everything the show did. And that’s not even getting into the fact that the epilogue gave us Blue Rose leafing through a book about wooing single fathers, continued to equate feminization with maturation in young women with Dragon Kid, and got one last homophobic kick in courtesy of Fire Emblem and Rock Bison.
(I have this alternate theory about that scene though – in this interpretation, Fire Emblem and Rock Bison have been fucking for a while, but Rock Bison is too scared to go public with the relationship. He and Fire Emblem are in the bar on a date, but he refuses to do anything “date-like”. Meanwhile, Fire Emblem has been growing increasingly frustrated with the state of affairs, and is sick of Rock Bison’s cowardice; he grabs the other man’s ass as a passive-aggressive display of his irritation. I like this interpretation better.)
Ultimately, T&B gets a big fat C from me. There were some great moments, but the dull and bad far outnumber them, and I laughed way too any times during allegedly serious scenes to warrant anything better than that. Tiger was truly the only thing consistently good about the show, that oh-so-rare 30-something anime character who isn’t merely tangential to the story, but the direct focus of it. But one lone constant bright spot hardly a show makes.
Which isn’t to say I hated it. It was just ragingly mediocre. It I hated it, I would’ve dropped the fucker months ago. It was mildly entertaining in the manner of the summer popcorn blockbuster, its flaws more evident to the stretch of time it operated across. Given a week between installments, its easier to notice all the problems than during a rapidfire ninety minute span.
On one final note, elsewhere I noted a desire to see Tomino circa 1992 and Victory Gundam do Tiger & Bunny. I stand by that statement – now THAT would be a clusterfuck of memorable proportions.