Concrete Revolutio is a series that continually causes metaphors to leap to mind for me, and the one this episode inspired is that this series is like an explosion. An explosion of ideas, of plot, of character, sure – but it applies to the structure, too. A season of this series sends shards of plot shrapnel and meaning everywhere in a seeming riot of chaos, and until we see those shards start to land we have no idea that there’s actually a pattern to all of it. We can have little idea what that’s going to look like until it happens, but it most assuredly will happen.
I spoke several times towards the end of the first season about how this series seemed to be settling into a discourse on three ideals – justice, freedom and peace. Everyone in this series with a sense of ideals seems to be fighting for one of those three, and when they’ve overlapped those people become allies. But more often than not, they seem to be mutually exclusive – and we see that in the divorce that came about between Jirou and the Superhuman Bureau. The fallen idol Haruka Aki speaks of the freedom she desires – but that freedom puts her in conflict both with Jirou’s sense of justice and the Bureau’s charter to keep the peace. For a while Jirou’s ideals and Aki’s overlap, so they become allies. But only for a while.
Of course, this being Concrete Revolutio there’s a great deal of social commentary layered into the batter as well – no writer of anime is as bold in tackling politics as Aikawa Shou. In addition to his frequent bugaboo of Japanese nationalism, Aikawa ruthlessly strikes out as two of the scourges of society as he sees them in one swell foop – discrimination against homosexuals and the craven idol industry. It was an affair with another member of her band that causes the scandal which sent Aki down the path she’s on now, as it was incompatible with the commercial interests of the agency behind the group.
Their leader Satomi personifies no ideal but greed, but that too plays a significant role in the story. To Satomi and Teito industries, superhumans are “products” and no more. To both Jirou and the Bureau this idea is unacceptable, so the allies turned enemies become allies again, however briefly. This is the nature of Concrete Revolutio, where allegiances shift around just as much as the timeline does. It can’t be broken down to something as simple as the lesser of two evils, because usually both sides see what they’re doing as being in the service of good. But good (and evil) is subjective – and when someone doesn’t know all the facts, their perception of good and evil is effectively being seen through a set of eyeglasses with the wrong prescription.
Along the way, as ever, a few fragments of plot shrapnel fall into place. The story of the Fumers apparently came to an end through Akita’s hand – came to an end when he decided that their covert control of humans was both immoral and counterproductive. Only able to possess dead bodies, they were searching for the perfect superhuman hosts – the very reason for the creation of the Superhuman Bureau in the first place. But in the Year 44, Akita tricked Jirou into drawing his two cohorts into his body by releasing his locks and destroying their hosts, then sacrificed himself to bring Jirou under control and kill off his fellow Fumers.
But before he perished Akita told Jirou a cryptic tale about Tenkyuu Knight – a “regular” human. “A regular human could do all that just by hiding behind a mask.” the dying alien tells Jirou, before asking answering Jirou’s “What’s the difference between a human and a superhuman?” with another question: “Tell me – what is a superhuman?” That enigmatic exchange and the answer to that question seem very likely to be crucial when Concrete Revolutio begins to tie all the loose ends together at last.