「日本『怪獣』史 後篇」 (Nippon ‘Kaijū’ Shi Go Hen)
“Japanese ‘Kaijuu’ History Latter Part”
Those of you who noticed that Emi was taking the shape of this lady, good job! The conspiracy runs a lot deeper than I had given it credit for, especially since Emi seems aligned with Jiro’s foster father, who seems to fall on the ‘mad’ side of scientist and gets increasingly shady by the episode. Is he really aligned with the Bureau, or does he have his own nefarious purposes?
In fact, how many sides are there to this story—parties involved—anyway? There’s the Americans who repurposing alien monsters to fight communists (because nothing bad can come out of that); there’s the Japanese government and the Superhuman Bureau who were using kaijuu as scapegoats for their superhuman PR campaign; there’s a marketer hired to frame kaijuu as good guys and superhumans as bad guys; there’s the guy who hired her who has a cobra motif cane, which means you can’t trust him (the moral of Disney’s Aladdin, if I recall); there’s the student protests of the 60s who have somehow been co-opted into the kaijuu movement, there’s the kid who thinks he’s looking out for his big little bro but is actually just a tool, and there’s some crazy guy (how did he even survive?). I, er, lost count. The point is, there’s a lot of players here, each with their own views on this issue. Sure, some may be more noble than others—or, at least, believe that they are more noble than others, but just like in real life it’s just a lot of competing vested interested muddling with each other.
It’s natural that each of these interests reflect a different interpretation of what kaijuu are and how we should treat them, perhaps reflecting the kind of fiction that Concrete Revolutio has mashed together to construct itself. What the kaijuu—and monsters as a whole—are always a reflection of the zeitgeist. If the current generation is worried about the dangers of nuclear power, then Godzilla is a radioactive mutant. Or maybe it bears an ecological message. Or maybe it’s here to make humanity insecure about its place as the apex predator. Or some just don’t care, and for them Godzilla is just a big star they can spin into something profitable. Perhaps it’s because kaijuu never feel the urge to monologue about their motives—they just do their kaijuu thing and destroy Tokyo no matter what made them—but makers of monster movies have always felt comfortable overlaying whatever social fear of the time is onto their monsters. In the same way we use zombies, I suppose. It’s interesting that Concrete Revolutio recognises all of them, but refuses to definitively weigh in on the side of any of them. The entire issue is kept very grey.
And that’s the thing with Jiro; he doesn’t deal well with grey morality. It’s all bright lines between black and white; it doesn’t matter what the story behind a kaijuu is, if it’s rampaging and causing suffering, put it down. It’s a laudable philosophy, to be sure, but hard to make work in practice. He’s been kept unaware of all the ethically questionable practices of the Superhuman Bureau so far (just this episode, a premeditated (and perhaps precognited) plot to hijack a train to stage an accident to remove a troublesome public figure), but from the flash-fowards we’ve been shown, it’s likely he eventually gets a wakeup call. Interestingly, Kikko (who has about as many faces as Emi), Jiro’s junior, is starting to be the less naïve one since she’s let into all the dirty secrets; less naïve, but seemingly no less idealistic. Contrast this with Fuurouta, who just kinda broke down in episode 02. The avenues for character growth are alrady laid out fairly clearly. All that’s left is to see how they’re walked.
Full-length images: 16.