So can we stop pretending that Kotetsu is some loltastic guy, everyone?

I keep getting the feeling that Kotetsu was meant to be a lot more serious character, but his backstory was bumped in favor of Barnaby’s, and the need to make Kotetsu be the out-dated old dude that can’t connect with the younger generation. But the creators left bits and bobs of his character story hidden in the subtext (DAMNIT TIGER AND BUNNY, I LOVE YOU AND YOUR PLENTIFUL MEANINGS.) I very much felt that the Rising was a way of revisiting the original idea of what they had for him as a character.

So, if we start at the beginning, Kotetsu’s father is dead. Judging from how his older brother, Muramasa, acts half way inbetween father and brother to him he probably died when Kotetsu was relatively young. This would also explain Kotetsu’s very sizable impression with Mr. Legend, as a male role model since he was lacking one at the time of the bank heist.
Maybe this is the reason he keeps things to himself, if his family situation was dire from early on, appearing to be happy was something he could actually do for his brother and mother even though he was powerless to do anything else.

Next thing we know, he’s in high school and he is a punk, getting frequently in fist fights. We can read whatever we want from that, I suppose, but Kotetsu is already carving out problems for himself. He has at least a certain degree of success, never once losing a fight, not even to Antonio (Rock Bison) even though he used his NEXT powers and Kotetsu didn’t.

There’s a few things that are important to note about his and Tomoe’s relationship for later importance. Tomoe’s the class representative, very smart girl, who’s into heroes and is bossy and tsundere. Upon their first meeting, Kotetsu gives her the nickname Megane-chan (Glasses-chan, for you non japanese speaking peeps), while she only refers to him by his full name. Later, after having saved her, she calls him simply Kotetsu-kun.

So they hit it off, and later Kotetsu becomes a hero. Even though he seems to carry the nickname ‘Crusher for Justice’ for the entirety of his career, he still manages to make enough points to become the King of Heroes, regardless of what points they may have docked off of him. While Tomoe is alive, everything seems to be going smoothly,

But once Tomoe dies, his career takes a dive. He goes from being King of Heroes to second to last place in the first episode that we see him. The person that used to never lose a fight is now frequently messing up and missing points. Without Tomoe, Kotetsu can no longer focus on what needs to be done.

At some point, Kotetsu becomes an alcoholic. He is a master of pretending to be fine (to the point that they were mentioning it in the Rising, both Karina and Kaede mention this) but if you watch the series and the movies, how well he is feeling corresponds directly with how many empty alcoholic containers are displayed in his apartment. GO AND WATCH IT. Yes, Kotetsu is cute and adorkable, but he’s also immensely depressed.

In The Beginning, he trips over beercans on his way out of the apartment. Before Barnaby, Kotetsu was absolutely at the rock bottom. When Kotetsu, Barnaby and Pao-Lin have to take care of baby Sam, and Kotetsu has to mention his wife to everyone, he refuses to go to his place and instead gets wasted at Barnaby’s. When he’s losing his powers, he goes and gets drunk. When he has a fight with Barnaby, he goes and intends to get drunk, but backs out. The creators are constantly referring to this, without saying it directly.

Furthermore, the only thing that stays constant in Kotetsu’s character design is his bead bracelet of amethysts. Amethysts are worn to protect oneself from getting drunk. Poor dude’s an alcoholic and it looks like he realizes it.

But after he teams up with Barnaby, especially after the time skip, his bad habit seems to be gone. He climbs back up to 4th place in the ranking. He is teamed up with a bossy, tsundere, glasses-wearing smartypants guy and suddenly things fall back into place for him. Hmmm.

Barnaby is important to Kotetsu because he regained his life back through him, he’s exactly what he needs and every time they are separated, Kotetsu slips again (THE RISING, OMGOSH). Sunrise really does ship their own creations, I just wish they had the balls to take it places.