「日本『怪獣』史 前篇」 (Nippon ‘Kaijū’ Shi Mae hen)
“Japanese ‘Kaijuu’ History Former Part”
Could this be? Actual causal connection between Concrete Revolutio episodes? Sure, it’s even more confusing than usual with three different time frames, up from the usual two, but for once we’re not jumping ahead to the future, but sticking with the present, diving back into the past mostly for the sake of backstory. And sometimes, it’s not even that far into the past; we’re following on directly from the case of Grosse Augen from episode 01 (hey look, a source of dramatic irony), and the detective from last episode is still around. I’ve been expecting Concrete Revolutio to string things together eventually, and this looks to be the first step.
I was also expecting backstory for our protagonists this week, because backstory gives characters context, but we only get the slightest hints. That’s to be expected I suppose, as it would be quite out of character for Concrete Revolutio to open its hand so quickly, and it still needed to add a new genre to its lineup, which for this week is: Kaijuu! Luckily for me, Pacific Rim has recently given the Japanese kaijuu genre some spotlight in the West so I’ll skip explaining the venerable history of monsters destroying Tokyo (and every nerd has heard of Godzilla in one form or another). As it was for previous episodes, there’s only the slimmest discussion of the greater themes that underscore the genre—ecological concerns, the fearful reaction to the nuclear age—and instead Concrete Revolutio once again focuses more on the framing of the kaijuu as either good or evil. Even Godzilla is the ‘good guy’ now and then; Godzilla may not care much for humans, but kaijuu hate other kaijuu even more, apparently (and in Concrete Revolutio, judging by the Americans using a kaijuu superweapon, they also hate communists). Curiously, the waters are muddied a bit this time; the kaijuu aren’t just natural phenomena, and are designed to be purely destructive. Turns out the government has been enlisting some angry man to make monsters, because that never goes wrong. It’s the kind of conspiracy that in the real world would be both crazy and stupid, but crazy stupid is exactly the kind of fuel Concrete Revolutio runs on. It’s not even that sinister, though, at least for the Superhuman Bureau. Normally governments would make monsters to, I don’t know, take over the world or terrorize innocents; using them as a glorified superhuman PR campaign is kinda weak in comparison. And why is it even necessary? Even with state controlled media, how can anyone not know of such conspicuous individuals running amok? I suppose that’s another good reason to set Concrete Revolutio in the 60’s; before the advent of the internet (heh, newspapers) and every bystander having a camera on a phone, plausible deniability was still a thing.
So, kaijuu: sympathetic critters or monstrous antagonists? Either, depending on the spin, apparently. ‘We are and have always been at war with kaijuu,’ until the Ministry of Truth says otherwise. We’ll get more discussion about them next week in the latter part of this arc, most likely, along with more on Jirou’s history with them (why does he hate them so much?). Of course, I’d also like to know more about his flaming berserker arm. The role of the fox youkai Kino Emi (Toyosaki Aki) is now bigger for it, since she seems to be the sealer of the overactive gas cooker (and a calming influence on Jirou in general). Curiously, she claims that the youkai, the other monsters of Japan, are aligned with humans, a claim which, considering their mythology, is a bit difficult to believe at face value. Well, more on her as well next week, perhaps.
I’ve had this feeling, for a while, that Concrete Revolutio would do better with two episodes an arc, like Darker than Black, instead of just the one. I suppose not many series can get a dedicated two-cours these days, though. And Japanese ‘Kaijuu’ History is no less fast than the single episode arcs of Concrete Revolutio, so maybe the gearbox is just stuck at this speed. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what it does in the latter part, being forced into continuity as it is. Or maybe they’d just throw that out the window, and have a part two with no connection to the first. That would be… hilarious in its own way (though unlikely considering the preview). I guess we’ll see.