Concrete Revolutio Episode 19 – Farewell to Nostalgia

You know, this whole episode felt like one big homage to the tokusatsu genre, and if we look at a recent anime franchise with ties to the tokusatsu genre, it’d be Garo. We’ve had our knight in a crazy armour, the “monsters” she was fighting, a sword beam, etc. This is a love-letter to a simpler time, with simpler media. Or is it the case? You know Power Rangers? It’s been influenced by Super Sentai, and other tokusatsu series, and we all remember how the villain who’s redeemed and switches sides is actually a pretty common motif in these shows.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 19 notes - Hitoyoshi Jirou on how today's morality is ambiguous

And this is obviously a big part of the theme behind this episode. Continuing directly from episode 16, where we discussed how the past can’t be ignored, or it will come back to haunt you, we reach this episode, where Jirou speaks in platitudes and tells Koma how she fit better in the past, where you could clearly tell right from wrong. And just moments before the show had Koma tell Jirou how wrong he is, I thought to myself how those lines are a betrayal to everything the show has been saying up to now, especially in this cour, and in this episode as well. The whole story with Asahi is exactly about how good and evil aren’t clear, and were never clear. Jirou is acting somewhat like a child, thinking there was no wrongdoing and tough circumstances before he came around, but that’s obviously nonsense.

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 18 – For the Children

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).

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 18 notes - Human-man on how quickly the past changes and joy is removed

What are we fighting for, if this is the face of “victory”?

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.)

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 17 – Nowhere to Run

Let’s start with the “perfect shot” from this episode (NSFW-ish). Just so pretty. It’s also saying a lot that these two are holding the Earth in their hands so lovingly, because they love the Earth, even as they are forced to abandon it.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 17 notes - Devila looks down on puny humans

The past still have power, but it’d be a mistake to overstate it.

This is a continuation of last week’s episode of modern humanity in general, and Japan in particular, renouncing their past, renouncing their obligations to the world and to its inhabitants. You’ll note how Devilo says “introductions are etiquette where I come from,” we are told they’re as much “devils” as yokai, and then you realize there might be some pacts being broken here. Also, “The Pied Piper of Hamelyn,” right? He only led the kids astray when the deal that was made with him wasn’t upheld. Same here.

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)

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Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Episode 2 – No Adults Allowed on this Ride

Before anything else, I want to make it clear that I had a lot of fun watching the last episode of Kabaneri, as well as the first. It’s propulsive, and full of funny moments. Are all of them supposed to be funny to me? I doubt it, but some are, and I’m never laughing at the show too hard. And yet, I’m going to focus on some of the things I did not like, because the things I do like are mostly about pacing and direction and general atmosphere, or just the very subjective feeling of fun I’ve had. There’s not a lot of words for me to say about it other than to just say it is so. But when it comes to the episode’s writing, and some meta-concerns related to that, which I liked considerably less, I actually have a lot of words to say. So, keep in mind that I’m enjoying the show as you read what is to follow.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri anime / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress anime episode 2 - Ikoma wants people to see him prove himself

Somewhere between the two, Ikoma and Takumi are such dorks. Such fun goofballs. Hollering and clasping over their successes. No, it’s not funny that they do, but how they do it is almost straight out of a shounen manga. But from that we go onto just how dumb Ikoma is sometime. Or rather than dumb, he does things without relaly thinking them through. Last week we had him cutting his hand to draw the Kabane without thinking through of how it’d hurt, and let’s not return to the auto-asphyxiation scene.

(Though this piece uses Kabaneri’s second episode as its focus, it also shares some ideas I have about how a certain brand of anime deals with its ideas. The “GrimDark “”Seinen”” shows.)

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 16 – The Impossible Blind Leap for the Future

Did we really have an episode with zero time-skips? I guess we did. So, let’s talk about what this episode has been about, which is two things, the first of which I’m surprised I didn’t see coming, and that’s sports. The second is the relationship of the past and the present.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 16 notes - Japan wants to leave the war behind

So, sports. This episode’s historic event is the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympic Games. Sports are an obvious topic to discuss when it comes to military, national pride, and the tension between nationalism and individuality. Wars have started over football in the past. Wars and hostilities have ceased for the sake of athletic competitions (and this is part of the legacy of the Olympic games in ancient Greece. And fascist regimes have, just like democratic ones, used these events to try and bolster national pride. All of these have very much been at the forefront here, which will be more relevant as we go into the second part of the episode.

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post.)

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 15 – Bound Humanity, Free Space

Post-Episode Write-up:

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.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 15 notes - Haruka Aki wants to be a free superhuman

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.)

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Kiznaiver Episode 1 – Show and Tell

First Impressions:

Presentation:

I have more than one screenshot folder open when I watch a show. The first has all the screenshots I take of the show, where anything interesting, background, line, etc. might appear. These folders are massive. The second is where I collect the most useful “reaction faces” and such. Some shows, some episodes yield 0 results for it, while others yield ~10. Then I have a folder where the most important and/or beautiful moments of a show are collected, moments that would be useful when writing a post, to encapsulate the episode, or to drive home a point about it. Most episodes get roughly 4-10 screenshots in this folder. Rare shows that have a lot to say or are very beautiful get about 20. This episode of Kiznaiver had 69 bloody images. Here is the album of these screenshots, in case you’re interested.

Kiznaiver anime episode 1 - Visuals, child Agata Katsuhira runningKiznaiver anime episode 1 - Visuals, unknown girl
Kiznaiver anime episode 1 - Visuals, falling Agata KatsuhiraKiznaiver anime episode 1 - Visuals, blue bridge

Before I move on to point out similarities, I want to make it clear that this show is gorgeous. Just keep in mind I’m actually positive on the show’s presentation as you read the following segments.

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Concrete Revolutio Episode 14 – The Metal Detective’s Ironic Quest for Simplicity

Post-Episode Write-up:

I touched upon this concept in my write-up for the premiere of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress last night, but shows that want to tackle philosophical questions often have to tackle the issue of telling us what the themes are early on, before it actually elaborates on them, and makes them fully-realized. ConRevo definitely is a show with a lot it wants to say (and you might want to take a look at the write-up I wrote for the first cour on that topic), so what does it do here? It doesn’t change the character this episode revolves around, Android Detective Shiba Raito, but it had presented it to us when our knowledge of the characters and the themes is much improved.

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 14 notes - Shiba Raito is justice

“Wait, what do you mean, it didn’t change the characters? Shiba Raito is a totally different person now!” And I hold that he isn’t. This episode was so terribly ironic on so many levels, but most of all, his. It kept cycling around how Raito transformed and then didn’t, that it’s hard not to look at it and be a tad amazed. But, let’s start from the beginning.

(There’s an updated chronological timeline at the bottom of this post. Also, full episodic notes.)

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Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Episode 1 – Philosophical Derailment and Off the Track Beauty.

Themes / Story:

Look, before we actually get to the themes and story, I have to get this off my chest. I was a medic in the military for three years. If you get poison in your blood, a tourniquet won’t work. Don’t do that. And most certainly don’t ever think, “I need to stop it from reaching my brain! I’ll just stop all the blood to my brain!” Cause then you don’t get oxygen and you die. And if you do get oxygen, then you’re not stopping shit. It sort of hurt when the show went for “This isn’t a curse! This is science!” And then went so unscientific about it.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri anime / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress anime episode 1 - Ikoma and cowardice

Also, this scene was friggin’ hilarious. I haven’t laughed at any of the comedies I’ve watched this season as much as I did at this. Speaking of this moment, it really did serve well, as several other examples, of showing how our main character doesn’t think things through – yes, we’re presented as if his case is heroic and those he rails against are cowards (who ostensibly are so harsh to protect everyone, but then run away to protect themselves and not their charges), but they do have a point, and he does rush into things non-stop without thinking of the ramifications. So at least that aspect of his character was consistent in presentation.

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Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World Episode 1 – Pissing Promise and Premise Away

Alternative titles: “(Only) Two Minutes in Paradise”, and “Steins;Gate Was Great, Wasn’t It?”

This is a first impressions post. I rarely find that I have this much to discuss about first episodes, but every so often a show comes along and it just has so much to unpack. Well, having a 50 minute premiere certainly didn’t hurt that aspect. But in case you’re looking for the bottom line, Re:Zero’s offering was extremely uneven thus far, and most of it did not pass muster. Though I’m going to keep watching, I’m not sure I can actually recommend the show to others at this time.

re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu anime / Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- / ReZero anime - Natsuki Subaru doesn't understand

When you can only notice when the jokes are pointed out to you.

And thisĀ is exactly why I have so much to discuss in the show, because while most of it is bad, it isn’t bad in the same way last season’s Dimension W was bad, which was mostly uninteresting and just throwing a whole bunch of events at the screen while forgetting its characters have personalities it has to contend with, or that they do not have personalities and perhaps they should be given some. The mix of good and bad, and bad that actually undoes the good, is exactly what makes this show interesting to speak of. I’m also going to compare it to other shows and some recent trends, which might be unfair to it, but that’s life, unfair (Spoilers galore for the first episode).

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