Concrete Revolutio – 09

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That was a fitting episode for a series with as elastic a concept of time as this one.

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).

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4 comments

  1. G

    Yup more USA bashing…

    I wonder if we will ever see an anime that shows Japanese torturing Allied prisoners in WW2 or an anime about the Rape of Nanking?

  2. Maybe after we see an American cartoon about the internment camps in WW II.

  3. K

    Do we even have a confirmation of Concrete Revolutio's second cour? I can't find that info anywhere, that doesn't sources back to Yaraon (which is a trustful as the Daily Mail)

    After watching the episode I think that their power is more likely the baby's power. They all are of different ages, and one of them is family by marriage. The only way they could all have the same power is it were gifted by someone else. Of course, this is if you want them to be only superhuman. They can perfectly be gods too. I mean, Emi is a youkai, so gods can totally exist in Concrete Revolutio.

  4. U

    Worth noting that this episode was not written by Sho Aikawa. It could be considered a one-shot episode by the legendary 83-year-old anime writer Masaki Tsuji. Tsuji also wrote the first episode of Sazae-san in Oct. 1969. Sazae-san, which is still airing episodes today and is by far Japan's most popular animated series, is about a seemingly ordinary family of seven… and even though they've been on the air for over 45 years, they've never aged… *wink*

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