I think before discussing the theme of the episode I’ll discuss a couple of timeline considerations, then the themes, then what I thought of the episode as a whole.
Timeline wise, this episode had given us the first time that Jiro is set against the Bureu, at year 44 (1969). This is also 4 years before episode 2 where Jiro saved Fuurota from the bug queen, and in this episode he wanted to say he’s not a child anymore, that he grew up – does he still see things as more black and white here? Or is it a result of this episode appearing later than episode 2, even if his personality here is more advanced, rather than less? There’s also the possibility of him being a child here, thinking he’s grown up because he doesn’t want to be treated as a child, and only later, when he’s truly grown up, he realizes how much more growing up he has to do.
This episode is set a month after the Kaiju incident, and involves the same antagonist. Is the Superhuman Bureau the “enemy” because they’re against superhumans, who are weapons of mass destruction (related to anti-war/anti-Atom sentiments of that era/Japan, or perhaps anti-American sentiments?), or is it because they’re kaiju lovers and they want to strike down the Superhuman Bureau who worked against them? It feels neither is true, especially as they make use of their own superhumans, there’s something else going on here, which might be related to how the Bureau is not all that it seems, or to the censorship it employs.
And here’s the other thing about the time-line that’s relevant here, with how in year 44 it’s apparently illegal to be a superhuman. In year 46, the first few moments of the series, when the passersby on the train see Fuurota, Jiro, and Kikko are superhumans they tell them to get lost. So people are clearly aware of superhumans here, even more than they do up to year 42, which is related to how they unveil them in year 42’s end, but here’s the thing, the Bureau obviously failed, because Superhumans are not only not looked up to, but are denigrated and chased off. Unless they’re tolerated as peace-keepers, but chased away because no one wants the mess they bring themselves. Something to keep in mind going forward.
Theme wise, this episode coming right on the heels of the kaiju episode, both in terms of episodes and in terms of time-line is probably not a coincidence. The kaiju mini-arc was about learning who we are and what we want to be, about tackling our own darker natures. And this episode was about following our dreams, once we know what we want to do and who we are. What do we do if we have a goal but we can’t accomplish it, or not accomplish it as much as we would like, should we just give up because we can’t be the best? That’s a valid choice, and I know some people who make it, but there are a whole lot of fun activities we won’t engage in if we can’t be the best at them, because “the best” are by necessity a very small group.
And then, what do we do if we have a talent, but it’s not what we wish to do, something we could be the best at, but which is just not fun? I can tell you my father was deeply disappointed when I did not pick up programming or engineering in university, which I’d have been good at, simply because I found it boring. And this is also a valid decision. And this is what this episode was all about, about deciding what it is we wish to do, and how much we’re willing to give up for it, up to the dignity and respect others give for us. Laughter is a good medium of exploring it, for the difference between laughing with someone versus laughing at someone is major, but for Don, to whom the only real goal is that they laugh, it mattered not.
Now, about this episode, I wasn’t that big of a fan of this one. Don and the others were pretty ridiculous, and not necessarily in the good sense, and how they simply forgot about and moved past Dee’s death in the end? :-\ They weren’t terribly interesting characters, and I didn’t find them all that funny, but I guess it was a way of showing us the daily lives of superhumans, and the decision of whether to be a superhuman, as someone who can hide it, and what to do with one’s powers.
I did find it interesting how the show tied “hippies” or “peace-lovers who are in-tune with the universe” to “those who have the potential to become superhumans,” as opposed to those of military bent, it’s the peace-lovers who can become weapons. Unless it’s simply because those are the ones who attended The Beatles’ show. Something to think of.
Note: Shinka Calendar seems to correspond to the Showa Calendar. Year 1 = 1925, final year = 1989, year 19 = 1944, or World War 2.
- October 14 – Jiro’s father meets GaGon in the Pacific Isles, loses “Maria”, a native shapeshifter? A month after World War 2 broke out. Episode 4.
- August 17 – GaGon faces off against American Superhumans in the Pacific Ocean. 9 months after Pearl Harbor.
- Year 19 – A war of some sort (World War 2’s equivalent). Referenced in episode 3.
- November 29 – Invisible Kaiju appears, Emi chooses to appear as an adult, Jiro’s father finds him naked and unconscious. Episode 4.
- January 34 – Flashback sequence. Giganto Gon breaks Jiro out of the laboratory where he’s held. Jiro wants Giganto Gon to destroy everything. Episode 5.
robot-GiGantor defeated, baby GaGon meets his adoptive brother. Episode 4.
- January 41 – 6 months before Kikko joins. Grosse Augen first appears as a Kaiju vanquisher. Call for “more magic” instead of science within the Bureau is made. Episode 4.
- June 30th 41 – The Beatles play in Japan, their powers bring forth more superhumans, or at least open the potential for some. Mountain Horse group becomes superhumans. Episode 6.
- July 41 – Kikko joins the organization, Jirou goes against orders and saves Grosse Augen. Episode 1.
- Between July and August 41 – A month after Kikko joins, just before Fuurota joins. More Kaijus appear, various superhumans fight them off. We meet Earth-Chan and Kaiju-using robbers. Grosse-Augen “replacement” takes up the burden. Episode 4.
- August 41 – Fuurota joins the organization, kills the bug species. Kikko with the organization for one month.Episode 2.
- November 41 – 3 months after Fuurota joins, humans confirmed as creating Kaijus. Mini-GaGon and Kaiju-lovers introduced as Fuurota’s friends. Episode 4.
- February 42 – Bombing incident with android detective. Episode 3.
- June/July 42 – Master Ultima returns from Mars, Bureau leaders revealed non-humans, expose their own Kaiju-creating ring. Jiro unleashes his arm. Episode 4.
- July 42 – USA throw away a Space Kaiju’s remains near Okinawa. Kaiju-sympathizers grab remains and begin agitating against the establishment and the Superhuman Bureau. Episode 5.
- August 42 – Protests by students begin, Jiro forced to become a Kaiju, faces off against Mega GaGon. Mega GaGon killed. Episode 5.
- October 42 – Mountain Horse group tries their luck as superhumans and quits it. Fuurota infiltrates the Sugimoto media group. Episode 6.
- November 42 – Mountain Horse band brings down Sugimoto Media Group’s plot to block superhumans’ powers. Dee of Mountain Horse band dies. The Bureau now knows of the Sugimoto group as their enemy clearly. Episode 6.
- ~Year 44 – Kaiju wave of attacks dies down. Episode 5 reference.
- October 44 – Jiro tries to recruit Mountain Horse and they decline. Jiro’s quest is revealed as gathering superhumans to take on the Superhuman Bureau. Superhumans appear to be illegal. Fuurota goes and meets him. Episode 6.
- ~Year 45-46 – Osaka Earth Expo, relevance unknown. Episode 6 reference.
- 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 lady comes back for Fuurota, he learns what he’s done, gets saved and comforted by Jirou.Episode 2.