Tiger & Bunny
Kotetsu finally makes his long-put-off visit home, while a deathbed confession shatters the contentment Barnaby had reached after his face-ff with Jake Martinez.
Kotetsu seems to find his own version of contentment in volume seven of Tiger & Bunny. Not the satisfaction of reaching your life’s goal that Barnaby felt; but a calm contentment borne of accepting things as they are.
In episode 17, Kotetsu arrives at his family home in an area that looks a lot like small town Japan. His daughter, whom he has more or less abandoned is reticent to let him back in. Having lost her mother, her father, and being in the care of an elderly grandmother who could die at any moment, Kaeda feels that getting close to someone will only hurt her in the future when they inevitably.
Kotetsu has long been avoiding this trip to see his daughter. While there, he has a flashback to his wife in her hospital bed, telling him to leave her and be the hero he is supposed to be. It is then suggested that Kotetsu’s commitment to his heroic duties is an attempt to keep his promise to his wife. But that doesn’t explain why he runs from his daughter. He could be a hero and still go home on the weekends, or he could have her live with him in Stern Bild.
Perhaps, then, Kotetsu is living with the same fear as his daughter; afraid of getting close to people and hurt as a result. If that’s the case, it makes sense that he lives his life in disguise; so that no one will ever know the real him. He lives in a superhero fantasy world to escape having to face a painful reality.
After the events of volume six, Kotetsu is faced with having his second life taken away from him; and in that loss, he rediscovers the true connections he has with his family. He finds that what he has been running away from is what he needs most.
Barnaby believed Jake Martinez to be the NEXT who killed his parents. In episode 18, he learns that that isn’t the case. Normally this would just be unfortunate information that puts him back on his mission for justice; but it causes Barnaby greater concern because he remembers the event so vividly. That memory is an integral part of his character. It shaped the entire course of his life, it’s the reason he became a hero. If that memory is false, then what is left of Barnaby? Thus, Barnaby is thrown back to square one; not only in his search for his parents’ killer, but also in his search for self.
These three episodes were focused entirely on the protagonist duo; with quiet but well crafted, character-driven stories. Kotetsu has faced his mortality (at least that of Wild Tiger) and is ready to move on. Unfortunately, this happened just as his partner’s world fell apart. While Kotetsu’s subconscious motives for being a hero are suspect, his sense of duty is very real, making him feel obligated to set things right for Barnaby before Kotetsu can leave for good.
With only two volumes left, these were the standard ‘calm-before-the-storm’ episodes.
This Blu Ray was imported from Japan, and includes English subtitles and menues. The screencaps are from the streaming version, and do not represent the video quality of the BD, which is beautiful.