Welcome

Hello, you've stumbled on this modest, one page tribute to the relationship between Kotetsu and Barnaby from the anime Tiger & Bunny. This site is maintained by Isa and it is a part of Amassment and Chasing Skies. The series takes place in fictional version of New York called Sternbild City. About 45 years ago, individuals with superpowers appeared known as 'NEXT'; some of these people used their powers to become superheroes. Some of these heroes appear on the wildly popular television show, Hero TV where they earn points for heroic feats such as saving people or capturing criminals. These heroes wear suits that brandish advertisements for their sponsor companies. The story mainly focus on Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Wild Tiger), a down in the ranks, veteran hero and his partner, Barnaby Brooks Jr. The series shows us their journey as a the first tag team hero and their struggles to accept one another. There is also at least one episode dedicated to each of the heroes who appear on Hero TV.

Barnaby:

He is a 22 year old hero with the NEXT abilities that allow his powers to be increased a hundred times within a five minute limit. He witnessed the murder of his parents by Jake when he was four years old. He was then taken in by Albert Maverick, the CEO of Apollon Media, the company responsible for Hero TV. He spent his life searching for the murderer, far from the typical childhood. He didn't seem to have friends as he dedicated his time searching for information on Ouroboros. With this intention he decided to become a Hero. It was a great move as he would have better access to criminals possibly linked with the syndicate and a greater access to information involving criminals in Sternbild City .

Unlike the other Heroes, he never hid his identity from the public in hopes of crossing paths with his parents' murderer. Barnaby prefers to work alone and dislikes people interfering in his life; an indication of the lack of friendships and relationships in his life. His personality is the polar opposite of his partner Kotetsu. He is logical and analyses the situation before taking action.

As a hero, rarely does Barnaby lose control of his emotions on the job, the exception being when he is is faced anyone he assumes connected with the Ouroboros as can be seen in his confrontations with Lunatic. He is dedicated and while he is ambitious about getting points, he admits to share one belief with Kotetsu. He is not a hero who needs acknowledgement from people.

After the defeat of Jake in episode 13, Barnaby directs his attention to new goals. He states that he wants to building a bigger and more exciting Hero world, repaying Maverick for all he has done for him.

Random bits:

Saves his favourite food for last
Has five pairs of the same glasses
Fussy about the indirect lighting in his interior design
He prefers rose wine.
He uses two tissues at once.
He always drinks milk before he goes to bed.
He does not like fire.
Barnaby was taken in by Maverick at the age of four, after his parents' murder.
He visits a hairstylist twice a month.

Kotetsu

Kotetsu is not the typical protagonist in an anime. He is a middle aged, widowed, father of Kaede and an over the hill Hero who holds on to his beliefs and ideals. He's clumsy, goofy and immature but its what makes him so charming. Kotetsu is very dedicated to his job as he genuinely loves being a Hero and saving people. Inspired by the Hero Legend, he chooses to use his powers to protect people but with his decreasing popularity and the cause of numerous property damages he seems to cause quite a bit of trouble to the people around him. Nevertheless he has sharp instincts and is very observant as seen in episode 3 when he quickly identifies the bomber and episode 13 when he figures out Jake's NEXT abilities. Of course his assumptions are not always correct.

Kotetsu is self-sacrificing. He goes to great lengths and takes risks to protect people, simply because he wants to. We see this when jumps in front of a distraught Banarby to protect him from Lunatic's fire arrow in episode 8 or even when he has exhausted his powers he continues to fight. Despite being a fun goof, there are times when the consequences of his actions bear a heavy guilt on him. An an example is in episode 12 when he loses the trust of Barnaby over his own actions. Even when he tried to redeem himself by deducing Jake's powers, there were negative consequences which deeply affected him.

He dotes on his daughter Kaede, still treating her like a baby due to not always being there for her. In some way he can be a papa to everyone as he meddles in each of the Hero's lives and imparts his advice upon them. Even if he is made out to be a joke on Hero TV, the people who come in contact with Kotetsu can acknowledge that he is a very good person. Its another extension of how much he helps people.

In the second season of Tiger & Bunny, life seemed to continuously knock Kotetsu down as we learn his powers is decreasing until it might completely diminish. This is obviously very distressing for Kotetsu, who made many sacrifices to get where he is and is a person who loves his job very much. Not only is he losing his powers but he learns about the cruel truth behind his inspiration, Legend. Like Kotetsu, Legend started losing his powers but under the pressure of his fame, he turned to alcohol. Hero TV staged Legend's performances so the public never learned the truth behind Legend. Knowing this, Kotetsu was at a very low point in his life.

In episode 17, we learn another reason why Kotetsu is so hell bent on being a hero. He made a promise to his wife that he would always be a hero. She died in the hospital while he was doing his hero duties. However in this episode Kotetsu also begins accepting his reality and realizes that he can still be a hero to his daughter who needs him in her life. He makes a promise to Kaede that he would return to her after he resigns from his job.

Random bits:

He likes to put mayonnaise on everything.
Brushes his teeth in the bath
He likes to chew candy.
He eats the ice in his juice.
He squashes his burgers before he eats them
He always clips his nails too short.
He puts on his left sock before the right one.
He has an older brother who owns an alcohol store.
He likes to do silly things for laughs

Relationship

Tag Team Heroes

Even before they were made a team Kotetsu and Barnaby had conflicting beliefs about the ideal hero. In their first meeting Kotetsu tries to teach Barnaby about the way heroes should act but Barnaby stated they were old fashioned beliefs. Their relationship began as a forced patnership, the first team of Heroes, a tactic used by the company to increase attention and profits. Barnaby and Kotetsu were reluctant to be paired together. They had completely differently opinions and methods in carrying out their Hero duties.

Initially there were many of disagreements of how heroes should be and they clashed a lot. Kotetsu often questioned the beliefs of Barnaby when it came to being a hero, not understanding the high value of points to the hero, especially if lives were at risk. Kotetsu tended to dive into situations without thinking it through causing problems for Barnaby. An example would be their first appearance as a team on Hero TV in episode 2. Kotetsu clumsily mishandles the situation with the stone statue, putting both his and Barnaby's life in danger. They both agree that they cannot work with each other. Barnaby believes that Kotetsu is old fashioned and naive while Kotetsu dislikes Barnaby's attitude. He dislikes the cold attitude Barnaby has towards the death of the criminals he arrested.

Their personalities are totally opposite; Barnaby being a very serious, ambitious young man in contrast to the fun loving, papa that was Kotetsu. Even though Kotetsu disliked the situation, he tried to connect with Barnaby. However Barnaby initially rejected any form of friendship Kotetsu offered stating several times that he did not trust him. Barnaby acted cold towards Kotetsu often making rude comments at the expense of Kotetsu and calling him 'Old man' rather than his name. In response Kotetsu mocked Barnaby, coining the nickname 'Bunny' and imitating the actions of Barnaby. For many Tiger & Bunny fans their relationship was instant love. It consisted of the right combination of humour, denial, corniness and seriousnes and the starting point was so delicious that fans imagined the many different possibilites and ways their relationship could develop.

The Friendship:

With more crimes commited in Sternbild City, the more interaction Barnaby and Kotetsu have. Whether they liked it or not, they started to compliment each other perfectly and it made their teamwork so much more stronger. This can be seen in episode 3 when the dealt with the bombing situation. Influenced by Kotetsu, Barnaby started relying on his instincts a little more even if he didn't accept it.

They began to understand each others personality and accepting the other came naturally with time. Barnaby's cold attitude towards Kotetsu slowly started to melt and he began to trust him more. We see this in episode 8 whereby Barnaby wonders why Kotetsu bothers with him. He has flashbacks to all his harsh words towards the man yet Kotetsu still risks his life for Barnaby. Barnaby had been on his own for such a long time that maybe he forgot how much devotion and care people were capable of so he was quite uncomfortable with Kotetsu's attempts of reaching out to him. Whatever the reason, in this episode he starts seeing Kotetsu as more than an assigned partner. One could even say he was quite fond of Kotetsu's meddlesome personality but his tsun tsun attitude would never allow him to admit that so easily. Kotetsu supported Barnaby greatly with his goal on avenging his parents. He allowed Barnaby time to research the Ouroboros, even trying to compile his own research to help Barnaby. They seemed to be getting along better with each other. They did things friends would do, sharing drinks or confiding in each other.

By the end of season one, they are referring to each other by their name, both sharing a trust and friendship with each other.

Subtle Gestures:

Kotetsu and Barnaby have the bromance of the century and while this is quite obvious, its the subtle gestures that make their relationship so incredible and lovable. In each episode, its the subtle changes in the character such as their expressions, words or actions that build up the layers of their relationship.

Episode 2:
Barnaby smirks at the show Kotetsu put so that the young NEXT could be a Hero too. Barnaby has already figured out Kotetsu's personality, the over caring type, and he believes Kotetsu to be naive. In this episode, Kotetsu also coins the nickname Bunny for Barnaby because "Barnaby hops around and has long ears like a rabbit".

Episode 3:
Kotetsu and Barnaby share another belief, both heroes can't go all out unless there is a real situation, i.e. they both dislike simulations.
"I'm not so heartless I'd leave without my partner," - Kotetsu.
These words elicited a small smile from Barnaby which shows the beginning of acceptance of his partner. In this episode the appear to be more comfortable with each other as well. Kotetsu and Barnaby display successful teamwork when Barnaby understands Kotetsu's intention on how to get rid of the bomb showing that he is relying on his instincts more.

Episode 4:
The following dialogues shows both acceptance (dialogue 2) and overlapping beliefs (dialogue 1) of both Kotetsu and Barnaby.
Dialogue 1
"We're not risking our lives just to be appreciated by someone." - Kotetsu.
"We seemed to have overlapped a bit." - Barnaby.

Dialogue 2
"I'm a hero because I want to save people. A hero can't abandon a life while there's still hope!" - Kotetsu
"Are you still saying such naive things?" - Barnaby
"Don't get in my way." - Kotetsu.
"I didn't say I was going to stop you." - Barnaby
"Huh?!" - Kotetsu
"A hero cannot abandon his points while there is still hope." - Barnaby

In this episode, just like friends, they made a bet on whether Blue Rose would appear. It shows their increasing comfort around each other.

Episode 5:
"You even butt into my personal business life if I'm eating properly and what not." - Barnaby
"What's the big deal?" - Kotetsu
"It drives me crazy." - Barnaby

This is an important dialogue as it shows that Barnaby is unaccustomed to someone fussing over him.
In this episode, Kotetsu wrongly assumes that Barnaby is upset over not having a birthday celebration planned for him. Kotetsu takes the initiative to plan a surprise party. Even though Barnaby denies camaraderie between them, Kotetsu still puts effort into getting a gift for Barnaby and plans a party. Later in the episode, Barnaby and Kotetsu are completely in sync so that they broke through the criminal's diamond skin.

Dialogue 1
"What was that power just now?" - Barnaby
"It was the result of your splendid teamwork." - Doc Saito
Kotetsu and Barnaby both deny working together, passing if off as a coincidence.
At the end of the episode, Barnaby looks happy at the gesture of Kotetsu giving him points for his birthday.
Dialogue 2
"Why are you smiling?" - the thief.
"I'm not smiling." - Barnaby.
The above dialoge is proof of Barnaby's growing fondness of Kotetsu and his tsundere attitude.

Episode 6
In this episode, it is revealed that Barnaby seems to use the excuse of points to cover his worried feelings over Kotetsu or when he wants to help him. A hero is unable to earn points if the cameras from Hero TV are absent, nice try Barnaby but you're not fooling Kotetsu.
"And here I thought I could earn some points." - Barnaby
"Oh, is that so?" - Kotetsu.

There is a scene in this episode whereby Kotetsu remembers the criminal from the bombing incident and links it to the man using the robot. Barnaby is quickly able to follow Kotetsu's thoughts and it shows how synchronized they've become. This is further emphasized by Nathan's inability to comprehend the situation as quickly as Barnaby.

Episode 7
Barnaby loses control of his emotions when Lunatic kills his only connection to Ouroboros. Kotetsu learns about the murder of Barnaby's parents and though he offers to help, Barnaby pushes him away.
Dialogue 1
"Everyone has their own personal issues to deal with." - Kotetsu.
"I didn't expect you to be so uncaring." - Nathan
"Its not like that. This may be a part of Bunny's past that he doesn't want us to touch." - Kotetsu.
Tha above dialogue shows the amount of consideration Kotetsu has for Barnaby even though he is usually a meddlesome person.

Dialogue 2
"I sympathize with your circumstances and I understand that you're feeling impatient but remember a job's a job." - Kotetsu
"I know that and I don't need your sympathy. A job is a job, afterall" - Barnaby
"As always you're not very cute." - Kotetsu.
This was Kotetsu's way of telling Barnaby to be strong. He has become a very adequate partner to Barnaby as he always supports him but at the same time he reminds Barnaby of his responsibilities. Dialogue 3
"Damn it, he got us again!" - Barnaby
"Its too early to give up. We still have a lead." - Kotetsu.
In this dialogue, Kotetsu provides that needed support to Barnaby. Barnaby probably never had a friend so actively encourage him on his quest to avenge his parents. Their relationship is naturally developing into a friendship they both denied at first.

Momentum

10 Months Later
In season 2 of Tiger & Bunny, the Hero team, Kotetsu and Barnaby are wildly popular among the fans. Barnaby is now the top Hero, breaking Legend's record and people respect and like Kotetsu, they've become the highlight of Hero TV. That was not the only change for their relationship had evolved into the friendship we all imagined it to be. They both had a mutual respect, trust and dependence on each other. Barnaby still made his cheeky comments but there was a fondness directed to Kotetsu. None of the characters believed their relationship could be so very different from how it first started.

Barnaby's attitude had changed due to finally being able to avenge his parents. He is a lot more light hearted and his attention can be focused on more positive things in his life. Their relationship is presented in a way that Kotetsu seems to be the closest companion or friend Barnaby has, Maverick being the only other known person in Barnaby's life. They're both important to each other.

As previously stated, Kotetsu is self-sacrifcing. He does not want people to worry about him so he when losing his powers, he keeps it a secret. Barnaby suspects a change in Kotetsu but he does not know how to broach the subject. This is a complete change from the first half of the series whereby Kotetsu was reaching out to Barnaby. This is where Kotetsu needs a strong support in his life and Barnaby has to be just that. He is after all Kotetsu's partner.

Site

The name

Aibou is Japanese for 'partner' but many people also associate the word with 'gay' or 'homosexual'. The reason this name was used for the site is because Kotetsu and Barnaby are essentially partners both in their work and in their personal life as they've become good friends who support each other. For many fangirls as well their relationship extends the limits of a bromance into a romantic relationship which is why I thought 'aibou' would be appropriate for this site.

This is a work in progress project as the anime is currently ongoing. The site was lasted updated on 28th July, 2011. Keep checking back for new updates!

Credit

Minitokyo

Link Buttons