For all of its light-hearted moments interspersed throughout the series, it appears that darker times are ahead in Tiger & Bunny, with episode sixteen kicking off with a flashback that shows just what happens when domestic violence and NEXT powers come face to face.
As the episode progresses (even though it was pretty clear from the outset), we learn the exact implications of this domestic and to whom it pertains - while this state of affairs goes a long way to explaining Lunatic's work and his particularly twisted and vicious sense of justice, it also adds another layer to Kotetsu's concerns as his superhero powers continue to diminish speedily despite his best efforts to hide it from his comrades.
While Barnaby continues to lap up the plaudits and enjoys the fruits of breaking a point-scoring record established by Mr. Legend, so this much heralded hero of yesteryear's past hangs heavily over much of the proceedings - Wild Tiger's problems catch up with him alongside some depressing revelations about the man he idolises, while this same person continues to haunt Lunatic's decision-making processes. In short, it's all pretty depressing stuff save for the odd snippet of humour which Kotetsu continues to provide even in these tough times for him.
Certainly, compared to the largely light-hearted nature of Tiger & Bunny up to this point even when its dealing with a city under threat, criminal masterminds and so on, this episode brings us some really heavy stuff rife with alcoholism, domestic abuse, rape and murder. It's a darker tone that works surprisingly well even in the midst of the garish hero costumes and larger than life action, perhaps because we're now so comfortable in the shoes of its characters that we actually care about this downward turn. There are some interesting elements at hand and building up for the second half of the series as it progresses apace, and judging by what we have before us this side of the show is going to be as eminently watchable as the first.