The Reset Button Sucks

 Anime, Tiger & Bunny  Comments Off on The Reset Button Sucks
Sep 182011

That’ll teach me to think a popular anime would get a good ending.

I’m not too pissed at the way Tiger and Bunny ended. Despite pulling off the biggest cop-out possible, the ending still managed to do some cool stuff.

But the ending pulled off the worst case scenario: The status quo was reset.

Tiger wasn’t dead. I can live with that. I was amused by how he came back from the dead (“I just passed out. Did you even bother to check my pulse?”). What irks me is that Tiger doesn’t get any kind of closure. He retires, but once we hit the fast forward button and skip ahead one year, he’s right back at the hero game. I dig that he’s been demoted to the second string hero team, but wasn’t the whole point of Tiger’s entire character arc leading towards his inevitable retirement or heroic death? He either fulfills his role as a hero and gets the regular life he’s always wanted or he dies heroically and is remembered as one of the greatest heroes of all time.

Instead of that we this ending. His daughter doesn’t really want him around and he was apparently never really interested in domestic life. One year later he’s back out there doing his shtick. It’s like fucking Brett Farve or something. We don’t need that bullshit. Unless whatever potential second season shows Kotetsu being a pathetic wreck who should have known better than to unretire after a perfect stopping point, everything that’s happened to this point was meaningless.

This isn’t what I want, and it isn’t what the series needed. We don’t need a “same as it ever was” ending. We don’t need that sort of cop-out to feel better about ourselves. We don’t need that safety to enjoy a series. No one’s going to freak out if, GASP, something actually changes when the final episode rolls around. You can still do a sequel with all of the same characters and still allow those characters to be in a different place when said second season rolls around. Maybe Tiger comes out of retirement in the second season. Maybe he’s forced to deal with Ouroboros when Bunny’s life is at risk or something like that. Or maybe he moves on and becomes a mentor figure of sorts– like he’s a teacher at that hero academy or something. He’ll still be in the series and he’ll still have his ambiguous relationship with Barnaby that so many people love, but he’ll have earned that change that should have happened after 25 episodes.

We’re basically back to where we were when the first episode aired. I’m not sure why anyone would be satisfied with that sort of ending. Why watch something if, in the end, you’ll be in the same place when it’s all over. That’s OK in some sort of sitcom or whatever, since you’re just in in for the laughs, but not in a series that attempts to have something resembling a story.

Reset Buttons suck, yet far too many anime series buttonmash it. Fuck you, Reset Button.

That’s out of the way. Let me talk about what I did like about the ending:

  • Liked that Maverick was well aware of that bastard robot-maker’s NEXT prejudice. He was just using the dude, hit his NEXT nature, and then offed the prick when the opportunity came up. That’s very supervillainish.
  • Liked that Maverick all but confirmed the whole “I’m just the tip of Ouroboros” angle. With the Kotetsu cop-out I was worried they were gonna do the same with the villains and have everything work out in the end.
  • Liked seeing Lunatic off Maverick despite Maverick’s self-lobotomy. Was hoping Lunatic would play a more active part in the finale, but I’m glad he got in there somehow.
  • If we’re gonna have to deal with the lameness of Kotetsu living and not retiring, I like that he’s been relegated to lame-ass second stringing. Hopefully they don’t write that off in whatever sequel comes along.
  • Loved Maverick’s speech about how he made the city what it is and how he was the one that made NEXT acceptable in the eyes of the public. As far as we can see, he’s right. Maybe someone else would have come along and made the strides he did with creating Hero TV and whatnot, but he’s the one that did it.
  • If we’re gonna have Tiger live, at least we got it in the most anticlimactic manner possible. No last-minute save or “Kaede had a healing power” ass-pulling move or anything like that. Barnaby and the other heroes were just too grief-stricken/busy getting killed/stupid to even check to see if Kotetsu was alive. “Did you even check my pulse?!”

So yeah, I’m a bit irked at how everything played out, but not as irked as I was with, say, Angel Beats or Madoka. It wasn’t a game-changing fuck-up or anything like that, it was just disappointing. Should have expected the near-worst-case scenario that we got, but I’d rather have actual expectations than be yet another “well, I lowered by expectations so I enjoyed it more than I thought I would” dude. Damn I hate that attitude. It’s like striving for mediocrity. Just because a movie or an anime strives to be mediocre doesn’t mean I should too. Screw that.