「空も星も越えていこう」 (Sora mo Hoshi mo Koe te Ikou)
“Go Beyond the Sky and the Stars”
How peculiar. An episode of Concrete Revolutio with hardly any flashbacks or flashforwards at all. Sure, there were bits of backstory for this week’s more potent electro-master (just, powers aside, a young man disillusioned with society and falls in with the wrong crowd; the 60s were rife with them, it seems), but even that was framed as Judas (not the most trustworthy kind of name) telling his tale in the present. The was still rocket speed, but it’s quite the straightforward piece coming from Concrete Revolutio.
The story itself is about, other than sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll (again, 60s), Earth-chan, simplest the cutest little sentient satellite ever. Also, apparently, Astro Boy; c’mon, just look at these people. Although Go Beyond the Sky and the Stars takes place before last week’s episode chronologically (even at its most coherent, Concrete Revolutio wants to be confusing), it builds upon those previous themes, and also those of episode 03 (y’know, the one with the robots and the detective and the robot detective). So, like the robots of An Iron Couple, Earth-chan has an absolute sense of morality. And unlike Mountain Horse of They Are Always Laughing, Earth-chan’s totally a big damn hero (nothing says ‘big’ quite like branded merchandise). So here we have an honest-to-goodness, unflinching hero and the question posed is whether such a thing can actually exist.
Earth-chan is a child. This is not just in her design or her mannerisms; arguably, only a child can sustain her worldview. She exists only to help others. She has straightforward solutions. She detests lying, for no other logic than that lying is bad. It’s a very undeveloped value system, to be sure, but that’s not really a mark against Earth-chan because compared to the cynical scheming the ‘adults’ do in Concrete Revolutio, a blunt instrument like Earth-chan is positively endearing. But even Earth-chan’s innocence, as we may call it, is called into question, such is the setting. Not only is good and evil a very grey matter much of the time, her moral core is also suspect. Some fairly sophisticated theories were actually raised by Concrete Revolutio, but as usual it only brushes over them. Firstly, there’s the notion that Earth-chan is not a hero because she does good, but rather that she’s a hero, so any cause she champions is by default good—it’s not so much a matter of morality as it is one of charisma. Authority defines morality, not vice versa. That’s fairly meta for superhero fiction, but one can’t deny how tempting a tool they have been for propaganda in real life. Then there’s the notion that Earth-chan is innately wired to respond to feelings of distress, and desires it. It feels good to do good, and therefore doing good is not altruism, but simply another form of rational selfishness. To compound that, the possibility is raised that because Earth-chan is empowered by the suffering of others, she was originally created for nefarious purpose, meant to be sustained by chaos she sows herself, Munchausens by proxy, yada yada.
The conclusion that Concrete Revolution draws, it seems, is that none of that really matter. Earth-chan believes in righteousness. She is genuinely happy when someone turns back from the dark side. Whatever grim origin story she has, or the academic points of moral philosophy, do not change that. Hence the little lies that Earth-chan learns to accept. In a world like Concrete Revolutio‘s (or if you’re feeling negative, the real world), the idealistic superhero just can’t make it without at least a bit of wilful ignorance. The idyllic life? Only in dreams.
Which is really why Earth-chan was doomed from the very beginning. No forthright defender of justice can survive into Concrete Revolutio‘s crapsack future. Too good for this sinful earth.
Looking ahead ~ burn the witch
Like Earth-chan, it seems that Kikko also has something sinister going on behind her magic girl gig; she’s apparently sourced from darker fare than Cardcaptor Sakura, which may mean the everything may not be alright. Poor Kikko. You live in a setting where bad things happen to good people. And it already seems good people is an endangered species. Maybe Jirou’s new Justice League will do something about it? Well, we still don’t know why anyone’s doing anything so let’s just leave those flashes of future to the future.
For now: super robots! I must say, it’s about time. Nothing says Japanese superheroes quite like super sentai mecha. Now for the Concrete Revolutio twist.