Concrete Revolutio Episode 20 – The Soft Dictatorship of Freedom

Let’s talk about contexts. The obvious context for this episode is the Vietnam War. It’s not the context for this episode alone, as the “Shinjuku Riots” also revolved around Japan’s involvement with aiding America in said war. In episode 17, revolving around Devilo and Devila, I drew parallels to how the Native American population was treated, which this episode references as well. The episode made use of the PTSD, no place to return to, and the way the war changes you, all of which had a big place in Hollywood films about Vietnam, but it is even more acrimonious of America’s involvement and nature than that, which is all about context.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 20 notes - Jonathan Morrell on natives not wanting their freedom

I’ve discussed before how the whole show is in some ways a Cold War story, and about Japan’s honour, honour that was trampled by America after World War 2. This context is important, because there was a tendency by the two world powers to make use or get involved in the matters of other countries, then leave the clean-up to them. An example of that would be Afghanistan, where what later became the Taliban was supported by America in their bid to fight indirectly against the USSR. While there wasn’t as much “direct colonialism” as was seen by the Imperial Nations (including France and The British Empire) pre-World War 2, there was still the view that America was going to come in and “liberate” the people, give them democracy, whether they want it or not, and then leave them to handle building their country, with a ruined infrastructure, for their own benefit. The most recent example of this would be Iraq, in 2003, or some of the “Arab Spring” revolts of 2011.

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 19 – Farewell to Nostalgia

You know, this whole episode felt like one big homage to the tokusatsu genre, and if we look at a recent anime franchise with ties to the tokusatsu genre, it’d be Garo. We’ve had our knight in a crazy armour, the “monsters” she was fighting, a sword beam, etc. This is a love-letter to a simpler time, with simpler media. Or is it the case? You know Power Rangers? It’s been influenced by Super Sentai, and other tokusatsu series, and we all remember how the villain who’s redeemed and switches sides is actually a pretty common motif in these shows.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 19 notes - Hitoyoshi Jirou on how today's morality is ambiguous

And this is obviously a big part of the theme behind this episode. Continuing directly from episode 16, where we discussed how the past can’t be ignored, or it will come back to haunt you, we reach this episode, where Jirou speaks in platitudes and tells Koma how she fit better in the past, where you could clearly tell right from wrong. And just moments before the show had Koma tell Jirou how wrong he is, I thought to myself how those lines are a betrayal to everything the show has been saying up to now, especially in this cour, and in this episode as well. The whole story with Asahi is exactly about how good and evil aren’t clear, and were never clear. Jirou is acting somewhat like a child, thinking there was no wrongdoing and tough circumstances before he came around, but that’s obviously nonsense.

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 18 – For the Children

ConRevo is a show that always builds on past episodes, and you could see it with small moments such as thereappearance of the Tartaros Bug Lady that we’ve first seen in episode 2, or the unsurprising return to one of the best lines in the show, that first appeared in episode 8, “If you’re an ally of justice, does that make me evil?” which I could see why a writer would wish to return to, or another writer commentate on, because it’s just such a good line and such an important moment. But more than just commentate on the past, a show like ConRevo can commentate on the in-show future (aside from dealing with the show’s political climate in modern Japan, as I mentioned in episode 16’s write-up).

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 18 notes - Human-man on how quickly the past changes and joy is removed

What are we fighting for, if this is the face of “victory”?

It’s important to actually pay attention to when this episode takes place, inside the show’s chronology. It begins a month before last week’s episode. There are small callbacks with moments such as “This is a passage, not a plaza,” but more importantly was Shiba Raito releasing criminal superhumans, especially one who was half-Devil, from Devila’s tribe. This led to people being more on edge against superhumans in general, and the Devila tribe underground superhumans in particular. But are they just looking for an excuse?

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)

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7 Years! 1,000,000 Page Views! 1,000 Posts! Milestones Ahoy!

Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither was this blog. We’ve passed several noteworthy milestones over the past couple of months, so it’s a nice opportunity to take a moment and reflect on the journey this blog and I have gone on over the years, as I highlight them.

First, 1 million page-views was reached late at night on April 29th! It’s taken us a long time to get here, and I thank all of you who’ve read the posts, and took the time to interact with me, and other readers on the blog. I know I haven’t always been the best about responding to comments timely, and have gone on periods of inactivity at times, but thank you for all visitors, past and current. Trolls aside. Nobody likes trolls. Sorry.

Sephyxer fanart for 1 million pageviews geekorner

An accurate depiction of the blog’s owner by Sephyxer.

Speaking of how long it’s taken to get here, the first post on this blog was made on March 3rd, 2009. That’s just over 7 years ago! It was an early screening review of the Watchmen film. It wasn’t a very good film, let me tell you that. Later that month, I covered the beautifully written Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susannah Clarke, which isn’t perfect, but is quite good. As you can see, the blog’s start in particular was much more wide-ranged than otaku interests alone, and later down the road I even covered a geeky bootleg shirt!

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 17 – Nowhere to Run

Let’s start with the “perfect shot” from this episode (NSFW-ish). Just so pretty. It’s also saying a lot that these two are holding the Earth in their hands so lovingly, because they love the Earth, even as they are forced to abandon it.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 17 notes - Devila looks down on puny humans

The past still have power, but it’d be a mistake to overstate it.

This is a continuation of last week’s episode of modern humanity in general, and Japan in particular, renouncing their past, renouncing their obligations to the world and to its inhabitants. You’ll note how Devilo says “introductions are etiquette where I come from,” we are told they’re as much “devils” as yokai, and then you realize there might be some pacts being broken here. Also, “The Pied Piper of Hamelyn,” right? He only led the kids astray when the deal that was made with him wasn’t upheld. Same here.

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)

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Spring 2016 Anime Season Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

I actually had this write-up 90% written for 3 days, but just didn’t put in the last 10% and didn’t release it. My bad. Been feeling badly, so aside from not finishing the post, Kuromukuro, this week’s Joker Game, and Kagewani are missing. Enjoy! I’ll try to get to comments this weekend, on the Snow White with the Red Hair post as well.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst). This time ordered by “tiers”, in each tier most shows are about equal for me, organized alphabetically within tiers. Was a weird week in a way.

Tier 1) My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia Episode 4:

Boku no Hero Academia anime / My Hero Academia anime episode 4 - Midoriya Izuku is very cool

Can only punch once before he’s out ? The new One Punch Man, now +heart!

It seems as if My Hero Academia operates in “Tick-Tock” cycles, where we have an episode that’s mostly build-up and is slow, and the episode that follows cashes in on all that build-up, giving us cool action sequences, tearful thematic moments, and the desire to watch the next episode right away. Thing is, as good as those “uptick” episodes are, the time until we get to them is frustrating. I’m not sure whether covering these 4 episodes in 2 would’ve been workable, or if covering them in 3 would’ve had good stopping points for episodes 1-2, but there’s definitely an uneven quality to the show due to its pacing.

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Snow White with the Red Hair – Beyond Shoujo Bounds

Akagami no Shirayuki Hime - Snow White With The Red Hair animeThe original title for this piece discussing Snow White with the Red Hair (Akagami no Shirayuki-hime in Japanese, and “Akagami” in this piece from now on) read as “Transgressively non-Transgressive Shounen Romance?”, but as “transgressive” is not a wide-spread word, I opted for readability. But this piece needs some unpacking of terms, which will be brief. “Shounen” and “Shoujo” are demographics, with “shounen” referring to young boys and “shoujo” referring to young girls. How do you know a series’s demographics? You look at the publication where it’s released. This also means that over time “shoujo” and “shounen” have grown, at least in the west, to mean certain genre conventions. Though this is “wrong”, this colloquialism is what this piece will use (I wrote about anime/manga demographics before). As for “transgressive”, we’ll get to that soon enough.

Akagami’s anime adaptation ended its second season recently, and after watching it, I thought it is as shoujo (remember: aimed at younger girls) as they come. It’s serialized in a shoujo publication (LaLa DX), it centers around a super-capable commoner heroine, it has a love at first sight encounter in its very first episode, with the super-capable and handsome prince, and the show has all the necessary associated sparkles for the lovey-dovey sequences, balls, gowns, declarations of eternal love and loyalty and not a lot of romantic conflict or plot-progress and external conflict (we’ll get back to this). And yet, watching the second season something suddenly became apparent to me: This quintessential specimen of the shoujo genre conventions might actually not be one?

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the two seasons of the anime series. I think due to the nature of the story, these spoilers should not impact enjoyment of the show.)

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