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).
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.)
Last week I talked at length about how the powerful are only looking for an excuse to oust the weak, to run them out or have them assimilate, and this is where it started. But it didn’t really begin here. As the old lady on the bus said, “Let the superhumans kill one another, they’re trash anyway,” or how someone commented it’s now a crime just being a superhuman at all. And you can easily draw parallels from that to modern racial talk in the USA, with lines such as “Driving while black” and “Let them kill one another.” It’s an “us” and “them” mentality, running counter to last week’s message of difference yet similarity, and hope.
But where is all of this coming from? What line actually repeated multiple times during this episode? “We can’t have Shinjuku repeat,” everyone is afraid of a civil war, is afraid of the disruption of order. “I don’t understand what the kids want” is something multiple characters said as well, even Jirou. And as Claude’s arc had taught us, if you try to maintain peace, you’re going to oppress justice and freedom, and if you try to maintain them for one group, all of them, then you’re going to subjugate another.
“I don’t understand youngsters” is lack of empathy. But sometimes this lack of empathy is exactly the foreshadowing and backshadowing this show is capable of. Jirou and Jaguar both asked the exact same line, “Why be a superhuman in these times?” Because the two of them are the same, and that is exactly why they are so busy fighting and arguing, because they can’t take that “they” also stand for the other side, which means actual themselves might be “wrong”.
And that brings us to a moment that got me to tear up. “Because fighting for children is what superhumans do,” and this is the line that had Daitetsu brand Jirou as “truly evil“. This is important, you guys. Why did Daitetsu brand Jirou as “truly evil”, and why did Earth-chan go against him? Jirou and Kikko had taught her that you can’t always do right, but if you’re aiming for rightness, it might be good enough. Human-man was just aiming for his daughter’s happiness, which might be good enough, but he didn’t aim for “justice”. Jirou often clashed with the Bureau and Public Security, but so long he fought for what he believed as justice, they could still see it somewhat, but not him fighting for something he accepts as “wrong”.
So why did I tear up, and why did we need Daitetsu here? Notice how “Fighting for children is what superhumans do” is what Jirou said, rather than “superheroes”? That’s a callback to episode 15, a callback to the “superhuman” who wasn’t, the one whom Jirou idolized, who “kidnapped” Daitetsu and the other kids, The Rainbow Knight. Superhumans, or superheroes, exist to inspire humanity and the kids. A fitting message for a show that is about protecting the future by accepting the past. Unlike the government, who slipped an experimental drug into kids’ vaccination (terrible message to include in a show, by the by), exposing them to harm, rather than protecting them.
This is why Jirou is fighting to stop another Shinjuku, even as he doesn’t demonize the kids. He wants to protect the kids who will be harmed by a potential second Shinjuku riot/war, while also understanding that not protecting the kids is exactly what leads to such a situation. Daitetsu is fighting for black and white morality, and Jirou knows it’s impossible, even as he fights for that image, for the sake of children who believe. And then, when the kids grow up, as Kikko does, he can end up admiring them. Kikko knows things aren’t simple, but rather than try to clear the board, she tries to work from within the system. More mature than Jirou, and he knows it.
This episode? It’s about the encroachment of civil rights, and about how things get gradually worse, unless you fight to make them better, and it might not be the best reason, but “for the happiness of children” and “a better future” are good enough. And sometimes, you just fight for the kids you see, because you can’t fight for them all, just as others fight for the sake of all children at the expense of one child’s dream. And every single one is a superhuman worthy of admiration.
It was also about the ties of past and future, “This is a passage, not a plaza,” is a callback to last episode, which happened in a month’s time within the show, but then we find out it was a plaza until some time back. It was changed because it might have led to violence, or to people turning against the establishment. And that is exactly what leads to diminishing civil rights, when you fear the other side so much you curtail their rights until you push them into acting out. And last week and this week we used minority groups as our analogues, but the “minority group” used here, the “outsiders”? That’s the kids, the teenagers whom the adults don’t understand, and don’t give voice to. A fear of the future, and a rejection of the past. And this is also the show’s meta-narrative.
Note the name of the episode, “The Seitaka Awadachi Plant”, which is a non-native plant, an intruder, which chokes out local plant-life and fauna. A message of fear about how mutants who will come in and replace us, about foreigners who will come in and steal our jobs. A message about xenophobia and the fears of loosing your border controls. And also a message about how if we don’t protect nature and meddle too much, we might lose it. This episode continues the environmental trend the show has had since it came back from its break.
P.S. “I was called a mutant,” from someone who looks halfway between Wolverine and Beast? And a sequence that looked straight out of the start of the old X-Men cartoon? I chuckled.
Latest entries appear italicized, as per a request/suggestion made. New/Updated entries: October 47, December 47.
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.
- January 47 (to February 47) – Amidst preparations for the Sapporo Winter Olympic games, a local elder god named Pirikappi is angry over facilities being constructed on its turf, turns population into trees. Emi gets possessed by elder god, a human appeases it. Humans can undergo “superhuman surgery” that increases their physical capabilities. Emi speaks of the troublesome elder godunder Tokyo. Episode 16.
- 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 and Episode 18.Same time – Shiba Raito frees Superhuman criminals, one of them, a half-Devila tribeman kidnaps a bus. Superhuman Disease spreads, where a polluted mutated plant’s pollen turns people into superhumans. Episode 18.
- November 47 – A fire erupts in a tunnel, Superhumans are blamed for it, plans start to evict the underground Yokai and develop underground. Episode 17.
- December 47 – Devilo, brother to Queen Devila of the Underground Devil-Yokai tribe goes to the city. Government and Public Security plan to evict them to develop underground for November’s retaliation. Devilo and Devila leave for space, after draining a part of the world’s oceans to create an ocean in Space. Bureau and Public Security tensions reach very high levels. Episode 17.Same time (Christmas 47) – Daitetsu brands Jirou as “truly evil”, Tartaros Bug lady revives amidst the pollen and spreads them throughout Japan, Jirou protects a “selfish superhuman” and defies Public Security, the Bureau, and even Earth-chan. Episode 18.
- 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.