(I looked for a relevant Submarine situation in June 1968, couldn’t find it, and the USS Antares was involved in stuff in the 1990s, so forgive me. Also, Claude is such a chuuni, and it’s fun. And it’s also funny, since he’s a chuuni even though he literally has those powers others we use the term for dream of, right? Well, that was fun. Now let’s get to what the episode’s about, and some stuff that bothered me somewhat about it.)
Japan has a long history of conquest and subjugation, even in the 20th century. Even movies such as Grave of the Fireflies and The Wind Rises, here on this subreddit, for a while, couldn’t be had without it being brought up, and how dare they speak of their own plight and not the people they did things to during WW2, say. And not only that, my focus here is on the question of xenophobia, which to a degree might have to do with Japan’s island status, but it’s certainly something that exists. So I wasn’t too crazy about the twist on the “Mutants aren’t real humans!” we’re used to from X-Men, to where supposedly superhumans are fine, and even good, but only so long as they are “evolved humans,” and not “true aliens.” Japan doesn’t need more excuses to avoid discussing xenophobia in its media. Of course, it was a load of rubbish, since the person saying that also pushed for a Kaiju wave, and they’re not humans, and tried to stop regular humans from becoming superhumans with the chocolate scheme in episode 6, but I still didn’t care for the idea that was brought up.
(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)
But that is one of the two big themes of this episode, which is, “what’s human anyway?” We’ve seen the crying Kaiju on the Master Ultima ship, after it was denied entry to Japan. Kaiju have feelings, entities such as Kikko and Emi certainly have feelings. If this show has given us an answer, it’s on what a human is not, and a human is not a tool. It’s an entity that can make its own decisions, and which exists in relation to others. So it’s an entity which exists both as a single and in relation to a whole made of other singles. To call Kikko and the others “non-humans” makes it sound as if they are tools, and it paints those who were made subservient to the ship as “no longer human.” Kikko said the people in the ship are dead, but are they dead, or are they just dead as “humans”, perhaps being what we call “vegetables”? And if you kill them, does it count as killing people, as Jirou said, or not, as Kikko said, because they’re already “corpses”? Those are very actual questions regarding euthanasia, life support, and what humans are.
This ties into the second theme of the episode, and where it touches once more on the themes of the show as a whole, of “multiple justices” and “free will”. As the post-ED section said, striving for justice disrupts the peace and intrudes on people’s freedom, which means it’d also intrude on others’ concept of justice, and thus “multiple justices” is brought to the forefront again. If you strive for peace, you might have to stomach injustices, which might also include curtailing of freedom – most dystopias presented as utopias in sci-fi stories are like that. And of course, striving for peace means disrupting peace itself.
But it’s about free choice and self-determination. Claude said superhumans have to choose for themselves, but then, can’t they choose to decide to be someone else’s tools? Can’t they decide to die for a greater cause? Can you make a choice to stop making choices? If as a human you decide to stop being human, is that choice a human choice? And if it isn’t, what value is there to saying people must choose, if you won’t let them? Claude is a chuuni. I said so earlier. That means that Claude is an idealist, more than that, he’s a child who can’t face reality. He’s like Earth-chan, in that he wishes for contradictory things. It’s not wrong to wish for these things, but you’re going to end up making impossible demands of others, and you’re going to end up disappointed.
Claude is also a “villain”, so his decree might not be seen as right, except not the case in this show. To him, to be superhuman is to make a personal choice for others, that’s what makes you more than human, to think of others, but not because you’re forced to. But if we go back to our second paragraphs, superhumans are humans. That is also what the show is saying it is to be human. To make the self-willed choice for the sake of others’ well-being. Very Japanese, and also, an ideal that’ll leave you disappointed in others, and yourself.
Return to the Concrete Revolutio Episodic Notes page.
Note: Shinka Calendar seems to correspond to the Showa Calendar. Year 19 = 1944, or World War 2, etc.
- Unknown Time – Jaguar (Yoshimura Hyouma) forms the Superhuman Bureau. Episode 10.
- 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.
- December 16 – Mironu of the Japanese Immortal Family is captured by the American forces on Hawaii after his submarine is sunk. He joined the Japanese army in order for his family to avoid the family census. He’s been experimented on and tortured for decades. Episode 9.
- 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 by Rainbow Knight who saves Jirou (Episode 8), baby GaGon meets his adoptive brother. Episode 4.
- March 38 – Rainbow Knight kidnaps Daitetsu Maki and other superhuman kids, to protect them and/or gain money for their release. Dies for it. Episode 8.
- Unknown Time – Jaguar (Yoshimura Hyouma) forms Infernal Queen, also known as IQ, or Advocates of Free History to better the future by removing evil. Episode 10.
- July 40th – Judas is part of the criminal organization The Diamond Eaters, confronts Earth-chan and vows to become good. Episode 7.
- 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.
- September 42 – The Immortal Family cause an explosion, which they emerge fine from, and escape, apparently to alert Mironu who has been missing. The Superhuman Bureau find out the Americans are aware of immortal Japanese, and they know they’re missing a member. Episode 9.
- October 42 – Mountain Horse group tries their luck as superhumans and quits it. Fuurota infiltrates the Sugimoto media group. Episode 6.Same time – The superhuman Bureau recruits Judas after his release from prison. Face off against Earth-chan and try to get her aid in changing public opinion to sway protests against Japan joining the Earth Defence Force (against evil space-men). Earth-chan is given the ability to dream. Ullr (Kikko’s familiar) plots with Emi. Episode 7 (References October 8th 1967 Haneda protests).
- 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.
- January 43 – Daitetsu Maki, now Otonashi Yumihiko and the other kidnapped kids (presumably) are an unregistered superhuman group, BL Club, who stage thefts by “The Eye of Lucifer”, Rainbow Knight’s old nemesis. Yumihiko and Jirou speak of morality. Superhuman Bureau is asked to stop opposing the FDE. Episode 8.
- April 43 – IQ (Infernal Queen) appear to take out the Superhuman Bureau who they deem evil for controlling superhumans, working with Americans, and lying to the public. Jaguar (Hyouma) #3 takes kills his #2 version, IQ’s leader, and his Time Patrol watch becomes the basis for the Time Travel research program. Episode 10.
- June 43 – USS Antares, a superhuman-powered submarine is brought over by the USA over to Japan. Turns out it makes use of enslaved superhumans. Phantom Sword Claude destroys it, revealing said fact. Jirou turns down an offer by Imperial Ads who say they only want human Superhumans. Protests and revealing to the public the American wrongdoings, a scheme to officiate Superhumans as part of law enforcement agencies is pushed forward by the former Defense Minister who’s behind Imperial Ads. Episode 11.
- August 43 – Kikko sees Claude killing medical personnel, turns into devil form, finds out she knows Claude.Episode 11.
- ~Year 44 – Kaiju wave of attacks dies down. Episode 5 reference. Likely a reference to the 990 days of the protests following the Haneda Protest ending. Episode 7.
- September 44 – Mironu of the Immortal Family is released by the Americans who follow him to try and eliminate the family. The Superhuman Bureau and Jirou try to defend them but are defeated by the American robot, the family survive on their own. Jirou clashes ideologically with the Bureau members. Chief Akita’s absence is noted upon. Episode 9.
- 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.
- April 47 – Judas, Jirou, and Megasshin (fused android) more break into a lab to retrieve Earth-chan’s stasis/broken down form, vowing to return her to her former glory. Episode 7.
- October 47 – Jirou fights Yoshimura (time-controller, “Jaguar”), Restored Earth-chan intervenes, and then so does Daitetsu. Episode 8.
- August 48 – Bug lady comes back for Fuurota, he learns what he’s done, gets saved and comforted by Jirou. Episode 2.
- 25th Century – Jaguar (Yoshimura Hyouma) is sent back in time, as a member of Time Patrol. And as someone who tries to save superhumans, and as someone who tries to build a different future. Episode 10.
I think the superHUMAN vs superOTHERS idea is to set up why the bureau chief is gone, they mentioned that even aliens would be discriminated against, if not kicked out entirely, if the Earth Defense thingee was approved and he was strong armed into agreeing with it back in the Daichi episode IIRC. It does feel a bit sudden to only now bring up the idea in the show but I, and I’m sure other viewers, had already been thinking for a while that this term was an awfully broad one.
I wonder, people mentioned Emi was missing too, but in the first (chronologically -speaking) episode after the chief is gone, Emi is still there, and we know she’s not human either.
I think it’s going to be shown that the chief was revealed as a complete outsider. And in the first episode, which is several years down the line, and again in the musical band episode, it is shown that all Superhumans are looked down upon/treated as a criminal element down the line.
I think that aspect was just to keep Jirou busy, and doesn’t actually add up to how the “other side” has been acting up until now. Though it’s possible they’ll ramp-up the xenophobia – first getting rid of unhumans, then getting rid of superhumans? But still, Fuurota is not human either, and unlike Jaguar/Kikko, people probably know it about him.
But as always in this show, “we’ll find out” is the answer. But I think it’s mostly about just getting the Superhuman Bureau down first and foremost.
Oh man, I’m so curious as to how they’ll conclude this first season. It’s been a crazy mess trying to follow this series. Answers to questions only seemed to lead to further questions. I wonder if they’ll end the season in one giant conglomerate of mess filled with unanswered questions and vague hints to existing ones to hold viewers until the second season airs.
By the way, what are your thoughts on Urobuchi’s involvement as a guest script writer for Concrete season 2? I’m excited but I would probably be way more excited and much less hesitant if not for his recent track record with works that his name is attached to as guest script writer. Do you think his involvement will be a big boon for the series or will we have yet another case of “Fauxrobuchi” on our hands?
I don’t feel there are a lot of questions in the show, though this would’ve been better discussed under the episode 12 write-up ;) Anyway, there aren’t really a lot of questions, as early as episode 2-3, it’s clear why Jirou is splitting from the group. We don’t know the exact moment of break, but it’s not really important, we know his sense of justice and disagreement of methods with the Bureau likely led to the split from the very moment we saw him going against orders and saving the human that was within Grosse Augen. It’s only presented as a mystery with questions, but the entire show was about answering the “why”, by giving us a show about differing views of justice and living in a world filled with shades of grey.
As for Urobuchi, he’s going to write an episode. That means he’s going to write someone else’s story, covering material he should, and give it his spin. But it’s still mostly someone else’s story. And as I don’t know or follow who wrote each and every episode, I’m not giving this too much consideration, and don’t consider this an Urobuchi project.
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