I have a shtick, my shtick is to talk about what episodes mean, what they want to be about. Sometimes, some shows make it easy, by very much wanting to ask you what they are about. Sometimes, those very same shows also make it hard, by making it pretty hard to understand what they’re trying to say, or trying to obfuscate it. Thankfully, this episode of Concrete Revolutio, while very much being about a very specific thing, is actually pretty easy to decipher the main theme, the main question it wishes to ask. But it doesn’t tell us the answer. Then again, I’m getting ahead of myself.
So what is this episode about? Oh you know, the usual Big Questions™, such as “What is justice?” “What is love?” and the one question both of which are eternal variations thereof, “What is free will? What is choice?” Nothing major. The episode’s plot and the specific choice of superhuman chosen was also in line with this question, as androids and being “programmed” often go hand-in-hand with questions of free will, and God. Just as last episode’s theme was change, and it was explored using a shape-shifter that’s locked into one form, one age.
So, robots, they follow a sense of Justice that was imprinted onto them, does it mean it’s false, or untrue? Does justice require us to be able to judge situations by changing criteria? Jirou definitely thinks the androids know what justice is, but is Jirou right? Jirou definitely has his own sense of justice, and keeps acting for the sake of superhumans, which the Bureau that purports to protect doesn’t really care for, but he’s a terrorist, so is he right?
But here’s the thing, we’re all formed by the societies we live in, by our parents, by our biological construct (including chemistry and our brains). Are we not already “wired”? And the question of whether “justice” exists separate from our own mortal conceptions is a big one, and if it does, then it not bending or changing is already a given. So does it matter if true justice is imprinted on us by “God”? And if it does, how do we know we’re not a form of “androids” and thus aren’t really any better than these androids who were created by scientists? All of these are deep philosophical questions, but that’s what the show is asking. It’s not actually answering them, but there are some answers given by the characters.
Android Detective believes in an unchanging sense of justice, that the country abandoned, so will try to set it right. But is this truly what his old self would’ve thought, or is it merely what the imprinted and now unchanging cycles placed by the scientist who remade him is saying? They describe love, and especially Kikko says that “we all are made to love, and that is justice!” And it can be read in several ways (and it must be noted that she still loves Jirou), that it is justice to follow our imprinted nature, and thus there can be as many justices as there are natures, or that it is justice to search for love, that love is itself justice. And if love is justice, and justice is true, then there can be no such thing as “false love”, and the source of the robots loving one another doesn’t matter, only that they do.
And if we go by that route, then there is such a thing as “true love”, and I don’t mean merely that Mieko kept searching for her other half (almost literally) for over two decades, but that she kept finding those who were similar to her loved one, but didn’t merge with them, even when offered to. And if justice is unyielding, then the android detective himself should’ve recognized his lack of justice, for he looked to get rid of Mieko at first, for she could harm others, and later on sought to unleash her upon others. His measure of justice changed. He was a bit of a moral stuck-up, talking about “the indecent Bureau”, so it’s not too surprising how he snapped, but his tone was always one denying the existence of others, of their choices, of their will. He was being unjust.
Then again, he never accepted himself, and went as far as to say there are no “good superhumans.” Sure, he didn’t define himself as a superhuman, but if justice and love can exist independently of us, then his weak refutation of his own nature should’ve served as a self-fulfilling prophecy from himself about his own nature. There were no good superhumans, but later he also argued that the humans themselves faltered, so there he was, in the wrong.
And is there love? Is there justice? Why did we not see how the episode ended? Because we already have our answer – there is love, and there is justice, and both are given as manifestations of free will. We each carry our own justice, which is the willingness to fight, and to love. The results of our choices might matter, but not within this episode, where it’s the existence of the choice, and that we made it, that matters. Nothing else.
- Year 19 – A war of some sort. Referenced in episode 3.
- July 41 – Kikko joins the organization, Jirou goes against orders and saves Grosse Augen. Episode 1.
- August 41 – Fuurota joins the organization, kills the bug species. Kikko with the organization for one month. Episode 2.
- February 42 – Bombing incident with android detective. Episode 3.
- April 46 – Jiro is an enemy, ex-Grosse Augen helps him, Kikko declares love. Episode 1.
- February 47 – Male android returns. Android detective now fugitive. Episode 3.
- August 48 – Bug princess comes back for Fuurota, he learns what he’s done, gets saved and comforted by Jirou. Episode 2.
I’m curious to see if Jiro’s ‘measure of justice’ will have changed between the events of July 41 to April 46. Is the Jiro that openly betrayed the bureau and went rogue with ex-Grosse Augen the same Jiro that secretly defied orders and saved Grosse Augen? If not, what could have caused this shift in ideals between those 5 years?
Hmm, questions, questions.
I think he’s still the same Jiro, just one who gave up, for some reason or another. But I’m sure we’ll find out as time passes.
And yeah, I plan to keep updating the timeline :)
The ANN write-ups theorize that the “Shinka years” are supposed to parallel the years of Emperor Showa’s reign (1926-1989), which would make Shinka 19 to be 1944 and Shinka 42 to be 1967.
What do you make of that interpretation? Does it add some meaning/context to the show’s message for you?
The phrasing here is quite weird, as you can see my own timeline clearly says the same, with drawing a parallel between the Shinka and Showa eras.
That interpretation is “obviously correct”, because the date the Beatles performed in Japan is identical, the protests, the train “accident” in episode 5. These aren’t accidental.
Why is it done? I think first and foremost, because this isn’t just sci-fi, but alternate history. The show was promoted as “Our world, where supernaturals appeared 20 years ago,” more or less, and that is the “our world” part. Beyond that, the show deals with social commentary, and dealing with our real world and all of its social context and history helps with that, especially considering the show uses its fantastical elements to reference issues with real social context, of arguing against Japan’s military involvement, which is reminiscent of recent Prime Minister’s Abe’s policies, etc.
It uses our world because it actually wants to say things about our world.
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