Episode Title: All’s Well That Ends Well
Original Airdate: 4-3-11
The show starts off with a really great introduction into the world of this series in the city of Stern Bild starting off with the ubiquitous Hero TV telecast as it narrates the action of the heroes and in doing so gives a very succinct introduction to both the heroes and the state of televised superheroism. Each hero gets their own moment to do what they do best, whether it is heroically capturing a criminal, saving a civilian, or making an inopportune blunder like Rock Bison who stops the speeding van, but gets the entire van stuck on the horns of his costume as the criminals escape, or Origami Cyclone who doesn’t actually do anything but stay in the background for screen time. We also get quite a bit of time in the television production booth as Agnes directs both the heroes as well as the cameras, and her motivation isn’t catching criminals, it’s making engaging television that will draw in ratings.
One of my favorite parts of the world of this show is the meta element of the superhero reality competition program that they are all involved in. It’s a great combination of cutting between the actual action where the heroes are fighting the criminals, the narration of the actual show complete with graphical pop-ups showing how many points they are getting, the off times where the heroes are dealing with the business side of being sponsored superheroes, and my favorite part: the behind the scenes with the producer Agnes where she is doing things like asking a hero to postpone making his move so she can cut to a quick commercial. There’s also quite a bit of the main hero Kotetsu being completely down on his luck. First off, he’s got one of the odder and less useful powers: he can gain the strength of 100 men, but only for five minutes. He doesn’t care about points or avoiding property damage, and rarely pays attention to how many minutes he’s been super-strong for. And he’s also a bit of an absentee father as his young daughter Kaede has to be raised by his mother while he’s off fighting crime. On the surface, it makes him a pretty poor prospect for a main character, but somehow he ends up being a likable doofus that we end up rooting for even as he gets one-upped by the brand new hero to the show: Barnaby Brooks Jr.
Barnaby is exactly the same and yet exactly the opposite of Kotetsu, he has the exact same “hundred power”, but he’s just interested in getting the points. He also doesn’t care about any secret identity, his hero name is his real name while Kotetsu closely guards his own true identity. The “Bunny” from the title will come later as Kotetsu’s initially less than respectful nickname for him. So of course the episode ends with the reveal that the two of them are now being paired together in the first superhero team, in a very odd couple type moment. Not only that, but he’s essentially being forced into this pair because his old sponsor went bankrupt and his last chance is this new sponsor, complete with a new mech suit to replace his old spandex one. The pilot episode was a lot of fun and I’m very excited to be digging into this world that I have only experienced through the movies that more or less bookend this story.