Everyone is in shock as Kotetsu lays lifeless as they learn now that his powers had been declining, and in the wake of this Maverick makes his entrance. And with the true object of his revenge in sight, Barnaby refuses to forgive him.
However while it seemed as if he was powerless he and Rotwang unveil the newly mass-produced H-01 to go up against the heroes, and while they put up a good fight they find themselves ultimately overwhelmed. Yet just as Maverick gives the order to finish them, the androids go silent, with Saitou and Ben finding that a last ditch safety measure set by Barnaby’s parents has activated, bringing with it a strange code.
So in order to get them back up and running Maverick races off to reset them all, disposing of Rotwang along the way, and even though the heroes attempt to arrest him, he points out that the public and many powerful people in the city are on his side, that their word will mean nothing. However in exclaiming this he’s determined his own fate, as just when he finishes saying this Agnes arrives with the Hero TV helicopter and reveals that she’s been recording everything and had been faked that her memories hadn’t returned, biding her time until the right moment. Despite this though, Maverick doesn’t intend to go down so easily and makes a run for it, later appearing before the other heroes with Kaede as a hostage. However with his daughter now at gunpoint, Kotetsu gets right back up and delivers a swift punch. Explaining that he had just passed out and annoyed that they killed him off so easily.
But after a tearful reunion, it’s still clear that Maverick won’t give up as even though Barnaby accuses him of all the crimes he’s committed, he reasons that it’s only due to him that NEXTs are accepted in society and that Sternbild has flourished, that hope can only exist with despair, that he is innocent. And even after this he still tries to take the easy way out by reducing himself to a vegetative state. But in the end Kotetsu is finally able to hear his daughter tell him how cool he is, and Saitou passes on the code ‘1104 + 728 = 10313329‘ to Barnaby. Aside from that Kotetsu also decides to announce his retirement, and because they’re partners Barnaby also decides to retire, seeing it as the chance to choose his own path for once. And just as it looked as if Maverick had finally escaped justice, Lunatic intercepts the truck he’s in and passes on the voice of Thanatos.
Following this in the epilogue, things pick up one year later as all the heroes are shown to be alive and well, Ben has just signed a contract with Apollon Media, and on the anniversary of his parent’s death Barnaby visits their grave. Finding that the code that Saitou gave him was their birthdays, the date that he was born, and his weight. Reminding him of how his parents wanted him to be someone who would protect others. And at the same time Kotetsu has been shown to have come back from his retirement, styling himself as “Wild Tiger One Minute” in the lower league, but when he gets into a bit of trouble it’s none other than Barnaby who comes to his rescue, deciding that if he’s coming back from retirement he will too.
Well I must admit that I feel kind of foolish, last week I was thinking that Kotetsu may have really died after the events of the last episode, especially after all the lengths they went to in order to suggest it. However regardless this was a spectacular finish to another great series.
But still Kotetsu surviving may have been something to be expected from the very moment he passed out, and that he’d make his return just when he was needed most, however even for a passing moment I thought that they really might have killed him off. They did so many things to suggest it and it definitely would have made the moment when Barnaby came face to face with Maverick again an interesting one, throwing him into an unstable state, he would have been manipulated all his life and lost everyone important to him because of him. Would he really be sufficed by just having him arrested? So I was still a little surprised by Kotetsu’s return, but if anything glad as well. As far as lovable main characters go, he’s simply great and it really would have been a shame to see him go. And really he had a pretty cool comeback by punching Maverick out when he was holding his daughter hostage, then getting annoyed at how everyone pretty much killed him off before having his dream come true.
As far as the epilogue goes, while the part about Kotetsu heading back to work because Kaede didn’t want him around the house kind of makes the part about him retiring redundant, for the most part it was pretty nice. Showing that one year later the heroes were all still living their lives and hanging out together, even showing that Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid had started to act a bit more feminine in that time, and despite how tacked on it felt seeing Kotetsu now as Wild Tiger One Minute wasn’t really that bad. If anything it would have been out of character for him to just give up on being a hero even if he completely lost his powers. But most of all I liked how it allowed Barnaby to find his true reason to be a hero, if anything the show has always been about his journey to this point, leading to him once again teaming up with Kotetsu. Something which among other things definitely seems to suggest a sequel of sorts is on the way.
The other thing for this being the matter of Ouroboros, Maverick may have been brought to justice but they’re still at large, as an organisation they’re simply too big to go down with him. And quite frankly we still don’t really have a good idea of just what they have in mind, Jake and Kriem may have talked about a utopia for NEXTs, but when it really came down to it, Jake was simply a mad dog to be used and disposed of and Kriem was really only acting to him, so it still isn’t exactly clear. However what we do know is that they’re deeply rooted in the very core of Sternbild and their goals have something to do with NEXTs. Possibly suggesting that their goal may not be all that bad but the methods that they use to reach it definitely are, a sort of method where only the end result matters, acting in the shadows if they have to. So it kind of has me wondering how things will carry out if there is a sequel.
Wow, it may still be a little too early to say this but if they can pull off a good second season (which they could easily do) I think that Sunrise may finally be back, after what feels like a few years without seeing that many memorable shows from them, they’ve went and produced yet another amazing show. And if anything it feels as if we could be seeing more of it as well.
Undeniably though, this has really been a fun show, sure it had some dark and somewhat serious moments along the way but from start to finish it was just a fun lighthearted show, one of friends being friends, trust, and dealing with any troubles they may have had together. With entire episodes being devoted to any of the struggles that the characters had, Karina/Blue Rose and her double life, Ivan/Origami Cyclone and the guilt and sense of failure he felt, and Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid and her femininity. And for the duo that the show takes its name from we saw both the conflict that they had with each other, going from two people who constantly bickered into an inseparable duo, by the end of it you really get the feeling that neither of them could have really continued without the other. Then there was there individual conflicts, while Barnaby struggled to find meaning in his parent’s deaths and revenge, Kotetsu silently suffered with whether he could really keep his promise to his late wife or even be the father he needed to be to his daughter.
Both of these struggles were great and managed to bring the issue of the trust between them out, and even if some of the points and stories along the way may have been kind of cliche at times, it wasn’t like that was a problem at all. I may have already said it before quite a few times now, but this show was one that thrived on those sorts of situations. When you saw them you would have still liked them regardless, be they the cheesy character interactions or even how predictable some of the things in the story could have been. In all it just made the show a fun one, it was easy to like and grow attached to the characters and just an easy show to enjoy in general. It’s the kind of show that even people who don’t really watch anime could enjoy.
Another thing that I liked in this show was also the setting of Sternbild, while first coming across as somewhat futuristic representation of New York it just had a great atmosphere to it. With various statues lining the sky and the multiple levels of the city itself making it seem kind of unreal as well. Not to mention it was also always fun to spot Scarf-tan in every episode. The idea of Hero TV, albeit questionable, was also a good one as well, introducing the idea of commercialised heroes and just being a fun take on the superhero concept, while bringing in characters like Agnes and the rest of the Hero TV staff to cover things from the sidelines. Not to mention bringing in the moral conflict between ratings and what’s needed to attain them.
Without a doubt the style of animation in the series was also an interesting part of it, usually when CGI animation shows up alongside hand drawn animation the general impression that it leaves isn’t really that good. It comes across as being lifeless or simply just cutting corners depending on how it’s used. But not in this show, if anything it was probably one of the best parts of the animation, some of the action scenes were really good and the little poses that the characters struck or the characteristics they showed off really added a bit of life to it all. It was actually something that made the show better, and if anything it just wouldn’t be the same without it.