Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – 10

Concrete Revolutio - 23 -1I’m used to a bit of mental fatigue at the end of Concrete Revolutio episodes – they almost always deliver a lot of stuff that needs time to process.  But this was a pretty intense episode even by ConRevo standards.  This is a show that’s always been more about the brain than the heart – the characters are interesting, but it’s a plot-driven exercise in a good way.  No that we’re this close to the end (more on that shortly), the emotional side of things is starting to pack a lot more of a wallop.  And that makes watching an episode an even more draining experience.

Concrete Revolutio - 23 -2I’ve said it repeatedly so my apologies for doing so once again, but the intellectual ambition of Concrete Revolutio really is staggering.  This show tries more shit in an episode than most do in a cour.  The story here is so intricately plotted, but as confusing as it once seemed it’s all coming together with elegance.  But in addition to that it’s an exhilarating and heady testing ground for philosophical debate, a biting commentary on real world politics and a loving testimonial to the joys of animation generally and anime specifically.  This is one of those series that makes me say “thank goodness anime exists”, because there’s really no way we’d see anything like it anywhere else.

Concrete Revolutio - 23 -3There were multiple headlines coming out of this episode, which starts off in October of Shinka 50 (1975) with things in a hell of a state.  Satomi’s propaganda film seems largely to have won the day in terms of public opinion, with a schism having developed between good “human type” superheroes and evil “beast type”.  Included in that latter group of course is youkai, and while I may be reading too much into it I think there’s a certain commentary on the eternal tension in Japan between embracing its past and embracing everything modern at all costs.  Emi has turned ever-more militant, as these are her people that are being targeted for hate (and worse).

Concrete Revolutio - 23 -4The fulcrum of this conflict is Master Ultima, who’s “Ultimapolis” is a kind of floating (or submerging) marine city that’s powered by the “bio-destroyer” using superhuman- I don’t know, essence?  Whatever you call it, Ultima sees no moral issue with using beast-type superhuman cells in this fashion – they represent a kind of perfect energy source because (as we saw with the immortal family) those cells regenerate -and the Japanese public largely agrees.  This is wholly unacceptable for Emi, of course, and she takes matters into her own hands in violent fashion and puts an end to Master Ultima, taking over Ultimapolis and beginning negotiations with the powers of the human world to get it recognized as a nation for youkai and beasts.

Concrete Revolutio - 23 -5The big bombshell (no pun intended) this week, though, concerns Jirou.  The fascinating hard sci-fi concept introduced is that Jirou exists at the nexus point between the Concrete Revolutio universe and another (ours, presumably) where the atomic bomb worked and Hiroshima was destroyed.  How exactly it happened is nebulous – “someone wished for it” – but it connects a lot of dots for ConRevo.  Where all that energy was dispersed by Little Boy in our world – and literally led to new forms of peacetime energy – in this universe it had to somewhere else.  It was concentrated in Jirou, then slowly seeped out through the superhuman culture that grew from Jirou’s blood and being.  What a fascinating twist for Concrete Revolutio, another big idea to wrap our brains around, and one full of plot implications.  If nothing else this world is one where energy is a much bigger problem than ours, and it’s that tension that’s driving a lot of what we’re seeing this season.

Concrete Revolutio - 23 -6There’s so much more going on here: Emi’s extracted promise from Jirou that he would never see Kikko again – one of the drivers for his leaving the Superhuman Bureau.  The death of the cyborg detective Shiba Raita, and his final message to Jirou.  The seeming demise of Earth-chan, who needs the distress calls of humans in agony in order to give her power, the ultimate contradiction of her sad existence.  Michiko‘s coded message in song to Fuurouta and Kikko (and earlier Jirou) to let them know what the true power source of Ultimapolis was.

Concrete Revolutio - 23 -7In the end it was always going to come down to a war, even if the shape of that war is a little different than what we might have initially expected.  I actually hadn’t realized until the preview that there was only one episode of Concrete Revolutio left, and that does worry me some – Aikawa and Mizushima have left themselves an awfully large pile of loose ends to try and resolve in a single week.  ConRevo‘s absence is going to leave an awfully large hole in the schedule because not only is there nothing else like it, there almost never is – we do get series with this kind of ambition once in a while (often from Bones) but they’re a rare thing.  As I’ve said before, while this series is vastly under-appreciated in its own time, history is likely to more than give it its due.

 

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9 comments

  1. s

    damn, things got turned up to 11 this ep. In regards to the superhumans being used as energy by the bio destroyer; since most of the superhumans are like offshoots to jiro, they can essentially be used for nuclear fission/nuclear fusion, which is what the biodestroyer does. It breaks down the superhumans through nuclear fusion, and then they are regenerated just to be broken down again. However, the regeneration process also fuses their molecules and that creates energy (from what it seems anyway). Looks like my early prediction about kikko playing a major role to jiro in the finale was on the money as it seems that the ep may focus on those two

  2. f

    Studio Bones remind me of the old Gonzo. Lots of ambitious, stylist shows which other studios will never make. And like Gonzo, they messed up quite often(maybe not as much as Gonzo, though). However, when they hit the jack pot, like with ConRev, it is so amazing. Let’s hope Bones won’t go bankrupt. I’m a bit worried. Apparently My Hero Academia anime is not doing very well.

  3. Of course it isn’t. One of the selling points of “My Hero Academy” is how fast paced is, the staff behind the anime really dropped the ball going for a slow burn and basically centering on the most boring parts of the manga.

  4. I think its harsh to criticize the staff for adapting material slowly and faithfully in a world where most adaptations end up rushed as hell.

  5. In my view that statement is factually incorrect across the board. I can’t speak for every manga reader, but since the anime is paced exactly the same as the manga and the manga is extremely popular, the documentary evidence says they like the measured pacing.

  6. s

    what makes you think that bones would be going bankrupt? because of academia??? one anime wont do that…..And Comparing bones to gonzo?? eeehhhhh

  7. f

    According to this, Bones is in the red: http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=1479069. I’m not sure how reliable it is, so hopefully somebody can explain things. Manglobe’s situation makes me paranoid.

    And whether you like Gonzo or not, they used to be quite popular in both Japan and the West. They has made several critically acclaimed anime , as well as being the pioneer in using CGI(I know most people don’t like anime CG, but it is everywhere now). It’s not like Bones’s record is spotless either.

  8. s

    this is a report of their earnings for that fiscal year from april 2014 to march 2015. All that illustrates is that they had a subpar financial year, not that they are in trouble. If you look at their earnings from the previous fiscal year, you see that they actually did pretty good. You also have to take into consideration what may have been going on within the 2014/2015 year for bones to not have earned that much. One such factor (and correct me if im wrong) could have been the lull of content coming from them within that year. I think back then even i was like “hey, where did bones go?”. Now if the data pertaining to their 2016 year is also subpar, then i guess i could understand your concern, but we dont have that info yet. Even then i wouldnt say that Bones may go bankrupt as who knows what stores of money they may have.

    And in regards to bones, i wasnt saying that they have spotless track record. I know how popular gonzo was back in the day but in terms of quality, in my opinion, bones has a talent that gonzo didnt/does not have.

  9. D

    Agreeing with Guardian Enzo on this show’s ambition; rarely has a show presented itself with so much political, philosophical & cultural references.

    Adding on to a cultural reference probably unbeknownst to those who grew up outside of Japanese TV broadcasting.
    Swim Taiyaki-kun
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkld0D9S1mw
    & interesting background
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyoge!_Taiyaki-kun
    From the lyrics one can assume where the inspirations of certain designs and theme presented in the episode derived from.

    Just one week left.. sigh..

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