Finales: Tiger and Bunny, Sacred Seven

Tiger and Bunny 23 ended with Kotetsu dead and Maverick still free. Episode 24 contains many of the cliches that final episodes do, but has a thoroughly happy, though silly ending. I’m satisfied. That’s all I really wanted from this show.

What's worse than an H-01?

It didn’t start well. First we get a recap of the death scene, leaving out Barnaby’s tearful wild rice line, not to mention Kotetsu’s eyelashes one (hey, producers! What about your yaoi fans?). Then they have to interrupt the death scene because Maverick has more up his sleeve. And I got worried. Last week’s episode had a long stretch of heroes losing and things getting grim. You need these moments of course, but they went on and on with it, countless shots of the good guys fighting and losing until I started to check my watch. This week was more of the same, at least for a couple of minutes. But then, out of despair, the show remembered that old trick of side characters showing up, erasing one threat, giving a pithy speech, then stepping aside for the next side character. When they do it well, like here, it’s irresistible.

First, there’s Saito finding the H-01’s safety code. I had forgotten about them. Then Agnes appears on a helicopter and exposes Maverick’s lies. I hadn’t forgotten about her, I had simply not counted her as in on the action. And if her explanation seems a little lame, well, showing up in a helicopter helps us ignore it. Also, Agnes is the show’s most amoral character. I could even see her going along with Maverick’s game if it brought her show ratings, but exposing the game is an even bigger scoop. But the most satisfying moment was the return of Kotetsu. Never mind that he was dead and just got back up again, or that shrewd little Kaede allowed herself to be held hostage by Maverick. It was handled perfectly. Maverick has a gun to Kaede’s head, we see A shadow on the edge of the screen, and after he slugs Maverick he starts to talk, and we realize that he’s the same good-hearted doofus he always was.

Too bad the show had ten minutes left. They tie up loose ends and forget others. Lunatic takes care of Maverick. Barnaby remembers his parents and why he became a hero, but everyone has forgotten the dead housekeeper. Kotetsu retires but returns like an aging veteran who misses the game (nice touch). It’s all a bit messy. And I was never warm to Barnaby’s plight, anyway. I really never cared about his parents or anything in his life. It made him one-dimensional. Kotetsu on the other hand was a full-fledged character with several sides to him. He was an outstanding anime character and I will miss him. Other quibbles: though some of the side characters got stories, not all of them did. What about Rock Bison? It seems like they were afraid to touch Fire Emblem, but I wonder what Sternbild’s gay community thinks about having an hero who was out, but at the same time, so flaming … I had to throw that joke in once. Both these heroes deserved more time as opposed to Sky High, whose episode simply showed that he was a fool. Also, while we got plenty of chances to see them use their powers, we rarely saw them succeed. Usually their abilities were shown only so we can see that the enemy negate them.

So, okay, an uneven series, but if I gripe about things they didn’t do well it’s only because the show set a high standard. It was fun to watch the desire to do good in the world bounce off a modern, corporate environment. Kotetsu grounded the improbablies with his amiable bumbling. And if some of the stories were unbelievable or inane, well, this IS a superhero cartoon. Well done.

Unlike Tiger and Bunny, Sacred Seven did not have 25 episodes to work with, so the characters had less time to make an impact, not to say they would develop a character to Kotetsu’s level. And the magic-rock world they tried to make was even sillier than superheroes are, but they did a decent job with the time and materials they had.

Kenmi’s powered up, Knight is fighting him, unaware that it’s one of those “absorb the power of the attacks” dealies and that he’s just making him stronger. Fei, used as a hostage, tossed around like a rag doll, gets a little angry and becomes the cutest super-robot you ever saw, and she goes off and inadvertantly increases Kenmi’s strength, so he’s now an armored lizard who likes to give evil speeches. Meanwhile, Ruri tells Tandoji that the power’s always been within himself … sigh, all those precious stones they didn’t have to use … and he goes off to fight, which of course makes Kenmi stronger, so NOW he’s a GOLDEN armored lizard, and invincible, until Kenmi runs around the mountain a few dozen times to build up his speed and clobbers him. Before Kenmi dies he plants the “core of evil” into Fei, and now we got a new battle.

This one’s more about damage control than killing villains. We get a lot of quick flashbacks to touching moments while Tandoji talks to Fei through the crystal wall until Knight can get in and give her a hug. And it’s over. Oh, and Aoi woke up. Okay, this series got silly a lot, I never bought into anyone’s tragic backstory, and I got tired of Hellbrick tossing the word “hell” into every one of his sentences. But the action scenes were fast and fluid, and they created some nice imagery based on the geological theme. This series could have been a lot worse.

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