Concrete Revolutio continues to be a survey course in paranormal phenomena and Japanese history. It remains as superficially confusing as ever but while it may be my imagination, I can almost convince myself that I can see structure forming in the mists of the plot. My hunch is growing that the split cours are going to follow the cyclic model of the universe – first an expansion, then a contraction. And I suspect that the season break is going to be the point when the transition takes place.
Much of what happened in this episode followed a familiar pattern. We had time jumps (Years 16, 42 and 44 to be specific), a supernatural phenomenon, and a heavy dose of politics. But this was really the first time we’ve seen the schism between Jirou and the Superhumans Bureau explored in any detail, and the McGuffin this time around was something quite different from any we’ve seen before.
That McGuffin was the Morino family – a strange and timeless unit that never seems to age. Hyouma (who teasingly makes reference to his ability to transcend time) admits to knowing them, but won’t offer any more detail than that. By Jaguar-san’s recollection there should be seven Morinos, but the Bureau knows of only six. The reason is that the seventh, the father, seemingly, was taken prisoner by the Yanks during the war and systematically “killed” as part of a series of experiments to unlock the secrets of immortality – experiments at which they roundly failed.
Make no mistake, the Americans come off looking pretty bad here, which is not entirely unusual in an Aikawa Shou series. They pretend to release Minoru-san under the guise of forming a research partnership with the Superhuman Bureau, but in reality their aim is simply to have him lead them to the family so they can kill everyone in it – to destroy what they cannot understand and exploit rather than have it be used by another power.
The thing is, though, that the Japanese come off almost as badly, which is likewise in-character for Aikawa-sensei. Their aim is to exploit, which is what leads to the schism with Jirou – who always saw the Bureau’s role as protecting superhumans. Jirou is naive, no doubt, but he has a clarity of purpose that drives him in everything he does. In the Year 44 we see extended post-breakup interaction between Jirou and the others for the first time – their genuine desire to see him return, his still-fresh anger over what he sees as their betrayal of his ideals. At this stage is still seems almost possible that Jirou and the others could somehow reconcile – though of course we know that as of Year 47 at least, they’ve only grown far more hostile towards each other.
The other crucial component of this storyline are the Morino clan. They’re clearly not “simply” superhuman – their ability transcends the capacity of any of the Bureau to understand it. Are they aliens? Gods? We never get an explanation, but it’s quite clear that they simply wish to be left alone to exist in peace – “incapable of hurting others, incapable of being hurt”. I don’t know if that’s literally true, but they do take it upon themselves to “die” in order for the giant robot the Americans have sent after them to self-destruct, its mission complete. But not even the molecular disintegration weapon the robot unleashes on them can kill the Minoru – they outlive their executioner and disappear into the shadows (until the second cour, anyway).