Before I move to anything else, I want to open with how this episode and last episode are saying one thing very clearly. Here is episode 14, where Jaguar, Emi, and the rest note how Raito is the most human of them all. And here is the moment from episode 15, where Jirou tells Emi and Kikko that The Rainbow Knight was in fact Superhuman. Raito was human in spite of being a robot, while The Rainbow Knight, a person without supernatural powers, was more than human, because of what he was capable of doing. The show is very clearly here, over these last two episodes, rejecting the xenophobic and racist ideas of essentialism, that we are what we are, rather than who we are. “All he wanted was to create a clear legal line between human and non-human,” and that should bring to mind The X-Men, and what its two Jewish creators were thinking of when they wrote that thing up, the Nuremberg Laws.
The Nuremberg Laws were chalked up to protect “German purity”, and were a bunch of antisemitic legislature which defined who is a Jew, and what they’re allowed, or not allowed to do. What was outlawed? Oh, you know, marriages between Jews and non-Jews, for instance. And here it is very easy to see how it becomes very relevant to this episode. And if we look at Haruka’s song, she’s shouting at us what her story is about, it’s a story of giving up hope, of wanting to go away. It’s of being betrayed by society and its promises. It’s a story of wanting to be free to be who she is.
(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)
There’s a song in Hebrew that goes, “Because being free means being completely alone.” Humanity places expectations on you. You are chained by the social web. So a woman is not supposed to love another woman? So an idol is not supposed to love anyone at all? So a superhuman must be cold, able to turn against their once allies, for the sake of their image? Superhuman, or rather, non-human demands are made of idols, of anyone who’s famous and supposed to inspire others. To be able to truly live as you wish you must go where there’s no one else. Which is why the analogy is made with spacemen, with running away. But you will note that the spacemen who are as free as she wishes, they all wished to come down to Earth to be able to interact with others, because this freedom is terribly lonely. She knows it too, Master Ultima who was chased away from Japan and Earth for not being “pure”, and she herself who is running away because she feels as if her world is already empty, and as if she could not be any lonelier. Though we see her friends helping her.
Having spoken of Haruka, what of Jirou? Most notably, we actually see his growth in this episode. He knows he can’t always do the right thing, and he knows the truth of what Haruka says to him, as she laughs at his naive sense of justice. He can’t always do the right thing. He can only give it his best. Just as his hero, The Rainbow Knight, has done. The Rainbow Knight who was true to his nature, a nature of helping others, and who wore a mask to free himself of his limitations, even as he became a symbol and burdened himself with more ties, ties of hope, ties of obligation. Because that’s what human relationships are. That’s what Haruka Aki truly wishes for – not the cessation of ties, but to regain those specific ties she had, those that were cut loose and are now snarling up her emotions.
Haruka says “This nation’s sense of justice is what our parents fought for,” and you will note, not “Justice”, a true kind, but a sort that differs by country. An empty word that leads to atrocities and losses. Haruka perhaps even knows that the Fumers will take her over. That is what she wishes for. Because if they do, she won’t suffer anymore. She’s willing to offer herself up to a race that speaks of “bettering humanity,” but is only interested in creating a better car for them, even as they kill them. As such, this beautiful shot was a great moment to end the episode on, as Haruka accepts her humanity, but also hides her emotions behind a mask. But she is with her friends. Together, yet alone. As we must all live. Bearing the ties to the rest of humanity, as a person, and as a symbol.
And this brings us back to Jirou.
Jirou hates, or hated, the kaiju. Haruka as well was made more powerful using his blood. Jirou was the model after which Claude has been constructed. All that Jirou must fight has been modeled after him. Jirou is the atomic bomb in this universe, quite literally. Jirou is the manifestation of power, which could be harnessed for good or for evil. He must fight himself, and he must fight what is wrought from his nature. This whole show uses superhumans as allegories for various situations humans must face with, such as Fuurota the shapeshifter with the issue of growing up, or androids and the nature of choice.
But Jirou is the analogy for humanity as a whole, who must contain the paradox of believing in justice and trying to fight for it, while knowing it might not exist, and others might have a different humanity. Jirou is humanity trying to do better, of trying to wrestle with the harm it has done, and trying to wrest its powers for good. Relevant for Japan who was bombed by the atom but then turned to employing that technology for the sake of energy. Relevant for a country who must live with the shadow of its militaristic path, in an time where voices are being made for the sake of regaining its old power.
Jirou is fighting against the Bureau’s past, where it was erected on the back of experimented on humans, and finding a superhuman to take the blame for a crime they did not commit. But the Bureau’s future is cultivating cattle for the Fumers, and to take humanity’s choice away. Power harms those who came before, and power harms those who are yet to come. And that too is what Japan is wrestling with.
Humanity is kept safe by the Fumers, it is allowed to “advance”, but in exchange it is forced to give up its freedom, and its soul. And that too is a metaphor for post-World War 2 Japan. And that wrestling against who it wishes to be, for the sake of power, but also peace, and defending the weak. That is Jirou, and that is humanity.
As an aside, I am quite tired of how Emi and Kikko are constantly reduced to merely being crazy about Jirou, rather than their own characters. Yes, the show has always been about Jirou, and Kikko was mostly there as the show was building up to it, but speaking of “The dignity of characters and nations,” let them have theirs.
Latest entries appear italicized, as per a request/suggestion made last week. New/Updated entries: December 44, ~Year 45-46, October 46, November 46.
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.
- August 20 – Hitoyoshi Magotake finds baby Jirou in a crater in Hiroshima, with a shadow the dragon’s shape. Reference to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Jirou is “the child of the atom,” and a human weapon. Episode 13.
- 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.
- December 42 – Kikko meets up with Nakagawa Jin, who researches superhumans and The Devil Realm, and who gives her special medicine. Episode 12.
- 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.Immediately After – Golubaya Laika, a Soviet Superhuman who’s anti-war flies towards Japan, is shot down by the American-siding Master Ultima for passing over the facility where the Japanese and Americans experimented on superhumans. Jirou finds out his father framed and killed The Rainbow Knight who tried to save kids from being experimented on. Claude is revealed to be Jin, Jirou’s childhood friend, who was experimented upon. The Chief is revealed to be an alien who’s trying to help humanity ascend via superhumans. Kikko helps Claude.Episode 12.Immediately After – The truth of the Japanese-American Superhuman experiments is revealed to the public. The government tries to suppress said information. Chief Akita believed dead, Jin (Claude) and Kikko believed guilty, and are missing. Episode 13.
- October 8th 43 – American Fuel Tanker ignites protests by Japanese anti-war students. Episode 13 reference.
- October 21st 43 – World Peace Day (our world’s is in September 21st), Chief Akita kills and assumes the spot of the pro-Imperial Ads politician who can pass or deny the revised Superhuman Secrecy/Rights Law. Students go on protests against the government for the experiments. Government uses force to crush protests, Claude is revealed to be evil and Jirou defeats him. Emi suppresses Devil Queen Kikko. Earth-chan is broken. Rule-changes denied, and Jirou leaves the bureau. Episode 13.
- ~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.
- December 44 – Osaka Earth Expo setup, Jirou arrives and reclaims The Rainbow Knight’s mask, the supposed source of his power. Akita and the other Fumers have a disagreement, they fight, including fighting Jirou. The Fumers die but end up within Jirou to help him control his power. Akita reveals to Jirou The Rainbow Knight was a normal human. Episode 15.
- ~Year 45-46 – Osaka Earth Expo, relevance unknown.Episode 6 reference. Year 45, it is published that The Rainbow Knight’s mask is stolen from the expo. We know Jirou stole it. Episode 15.
- April 46 – Jiro is an enemy, ex-Grosse Augen helps him, Kikko declares love. Episode 1.
- October 46 – A space android arrives to capture the S Planetarian (which Jiro saved in episode 1), they make use of the Okinawa Return Protests to lay a trap for him and Jiro. Shiba Raito kills the android to “fix” himself and becomes a fugitive. Episode 14. We find that Judas obtained Jirou’s blood during this time, and used it to empower Haruka Aki. Episode 15.
- November 46 – Jirou takes on the role of the fugitive in order to protect superhumans. Episode 13 preview for cour 2. Haruka Aki, a former member of the Superhuman idol group Star Angel is killing spacemen to try and find the Fumers, to be able to go to space and reunite with her dead girlfriend. Jirou saves her from the Bureau and her former allies, then fights her. Jirou reveals to Haruka, Kikko, and Emi that The Rainbow Knight was a human. Imperial Ads reveal their plan to kill off Superhumans who are destroying the image they wish to create for Superhumans. Episode 15.
- February 47 – Male android returns. Android detective now fugitive. Episode 3.
- March 47 – Two weeks after the androids incident, Shiba Raito and Jiro join forces. Episode 14.
- 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.