November 15th, 2015.
And the slow build-up towards the event that finally turned Jirou against the Bureau continues, with no real time-skips to speak of (one post-ED doesn’t count, and a very short flashback scene in-show probably doesn’t either). In themes, which we’ll soon get to, we’re referencing episode 3, with the androids, as well as episodes 4-5 with the media-manipulation in particular.
Before we delve into that, this episode references the 1967 (Showa year 42) Haneda protests on October 8th, which went on to last for 990 days, until June 23rd, 1970, which would be “Showa 1944”, or when episode 5 referenced “The wave of Kaiju attacks dying down”. Quite a nasty way to reference protests, or at least, the rising up of emotions against the government. In real life, this had to do with protesting against Japan’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and here it’s about the Space People, but still, protests against the globalization’s effect on Japan as a pacifist nation, and making use of superhumans as weapons, rather than people.
Speaking of which, it should’ve been obvious by now, but who called Earth-chan to turn away Master Ultima? It was one of his “space beasts”, who didn’t want to enter a place where it wasn’t wanted. Kaijus, and space-men, and space-women, can have feelings too. Even robots can have feelings.
I wanted to say “Let’s start our thematic breakdown,” but it seems we’re already there, so let’s keep going. I’d like to mention a short sci-fi story I’ve read several years ago, where one of Superman’s enemies comes to Lois Lane and reveals to her the truth, that Superman emits a probability-altering wave that calls to him super-villains and causes accidents and such, so he could swoop in at the last minute to save everyone. After Lois confronts him he flies away to Alaska, just in time to save an Inuit lad from a big polar bear…
And so we’re here with Earth-chan, if she feels good saving people, then maybe she’d turn to creating situations people need to be saved from, and doubly so if what she feels good about is the feeling of helplessness that brings forth others’ call for her. Then again, she just follows her set nature, and it’s not like our world is lacking in situations that’d bring about people calling for her, even without her doing so.
Looking at episode 3, there’s a risk in turning to others, be they machines or otherwise and arguing about whether their sense of justice is “right”, because we all follow our own sense of justice. People might get hung up about Earth-chan because she is a robot, but we’re all programmed by our surroundings, and we all believe, or at least act as if we’re right. But the danger here is that of mistaking cause and effect, and following symbols – if Earth-chan is just, then whatever she does is just as well. So rather than actually engage in just actions, we just need to convince people we’re just, because, well, what is justice if not a social construct? And if someone is agreed to be a holy person, then why not just convince that one man, rather than convincing the multitudes?
In this, Earth-chan is the same as the Bureau, where Earth-chan helped the boy who had an asthmatic attack, she, at that moment, only helped the symptom, rather than the root causes, and even as she sabotaged the plants, she only treated a symptom of capitalism and commerce, rather than dealing with pollution in general, or the people who created the plants. The scene in the investment company was meant to show us how everyone follows Earth-chan’s to decide what is right and what isn’t, but it showed rather how Earth-chan can only handle black and white, gross (as in ‘overt’) and clearly-directed “bad acts”, she doesn’t handle systematic injustice, how corporates act within the law to rob people of their freedoms, quality of life, or whatever it would be. Think of episodes 4-5 and the behind-the-scenes struggle to manipulate public opinion, which even this episode is – this is about deceit, but no one knows of it, and so no one can call forth Earth-chan, and even if someone did call her, who is she to punch to “solve” the situation?
We live with lies not only because we need it to live, or because we understand things aren’t so simple, but because if we can’t handle living with greys, then we won’t be able to handle this world at all. It’s interesting to think of Jirou in this regard, who in his fight with the Kaiju was clear about his sense of right and wrong, but his actions in episode 1 and since (with Grosse Augen) had been acting out on his clear sense of right and wrong, while recognizing he’s acting in a shades of grey environment.
But Judas shows we all want to dream, we all want to lie to ourselves, we all want to believe in this shining beacon that does know right from wrong, and will show us the way. Even if it’s a lie. It wouldn’t surprise me if Judas’s “I will restore you, Earth-chan,” means back to a setting of black and white, rather than one of shades of grey.
P.S. This episode (and the show since episode 3) was very much about social commentary, and exists in the same space as Gatchaman Crowds. I’m glad anime is growing up enough to tackle these issues in anime-original works. And I love discussing these topics.
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.
- 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.
- 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 the October 8th 1967 protests by Haneda airport).
- 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.
- April 47 – Judas, Jirou, and Megahssin (the fused form of the male and female androids break into a lab to retrieve Earth-chan’s stasis/broken down form, vowing to return her to her former glory. Episode 7.
- August 48 – Bug lady comes back for Fuurota, he learns what he’s done, gets saved and comforted by Jirou. Episode 2.