「果てしなき家族の果て」 (Hateshinaki Kazoku no Hate)
“End of the Endless Family”

Oh dear, the USA doesn’t look too good this week. Torturing a prisoner of war with horrific experiments is positively Josef Mengele, and while I’m of the understanding that the US also had some issue with unethical medical experimentation in the 90s, it’s another thing to so brazenly commit war crimes. And then, when that doesn’t pan out, they send a giant transforming robot (i.e. Optimus Prime and the Autobots) to a foreign nation to painfully murder the most adorable family in Japan (and also, I’m assuming, all the fish). Well, at least they had a proper English voice for the Americans while they were wasting bullets; I don’t know what I’d think if they committed their atrocities while speaking pidgin.

To be fair, there was no pretence by Concrete Revolutio that the Japanese government was not ready and willing to do the exact same thing, which makes it less of an ‘evil Americans’ conspiracy (I don’t think even the CIA had ever tried to unleash a chemical weapon on a foreign civilian population) and more of a ‘government conspiracy in general’. The US may be Japan’s patron superpower, but I don’t doubt that they’re no less cynical about superhumans over in Concrete Revolutio‘s USSR, or indeed any country. So, fear not, viewers! Everybody’s evil! Huzzah!

Speaking of anime being far more controversial than it has to be: evolution.

In seriousness, I don’t think Concrete Revolutio was trying to do any serious science denial, or get bogged in the kind of religious debate I hear goes on in the United States over the topic. It’s true that Concrete Revolutio is set around the time science became something to be feared (threat of nuclear annihilation and all that) instead of a beacon of hope but, I think it’s trying to make a point about human nature instead. We humans are by now quite used to having mastered our world; we’re at the top of the food chain, and we’ve paved over landmasses with civilization. Science is but another aspect of that, seeking knowledge to perfect our understanding of our world’s mechanics. This is all well and good, but it is the nature of mastery that it brooks no dissent. Concrete Revolutio posits that, for humanity at its worse, its mastery is nonnegotiable; what we cannot control, we must destroy—as it was with the kaijuu. Control, or destroy. And so enters the titular ‘endless family’, who defy all science by, it is implied, being as old as the rock they live on (the most amazing part being that they’ve been able to put up with each other for billions of years), being able to come back to life despite what anybody says about how they shouldn’t be able to, and with nobody being able to figure out how they do it. They represent something beyond human understanding, that we can neither control nor destroy. I’m think for both the Superhuman Bureau and their American counterparts, the inability to understand superhumans is itself unfathomable. I can empathise a bit; if there’s anything we’ve shown to be really good at, it’s killings things. And now there’s something we can’t. It’s a nightmare.

(Incidentally, I was a bit disappointed that Emi’s summon ended up just melting anticlimatically. Emi’s schtick, youkai, are creatures of Japanese horror, bogeymen from a time when humans feared the dark. It would have been appropriate for them to defy reason too.)

Looking ahead ~ the future is now

I think it’s very certain by now that Concrete Revolutio is going somewhere, even if we can’t exaclty pinpoint the destination or the velocity at which we’ll careen into it. For the first time, we have an episode that set mostly in the ‘future’ i.e. after Jirou left the Bureau. Things are starting to come to a head, and the holes in our chronology are steadily being filled in. This week, we find out another juicy detail; Chief Akita (the old guy) makes a big fuss at some point and no longer heads the Superhuman Bureau, with Professor Hitoyoshi seemingly replacing him (and being a bit of a douche about it). Well, Chief Akita was an alien (right?), and there was that thing about the DFE so… I dunno. Does it tie in with Jirou leaving to start his superhuman civil war? I think that may be where we’re reaching.

Next week seems to be about Jaguar (literal jaguar? Never stop, Concrete Revolutio). Though he may be a Superhuman Bureau loyalist, and butts heads with Jirou, he doesn’t seem entirely without sympathy for Jirou’s cause. Considering how he’s been hiding the time traveller thing, he probably has his own agenda too. Which mean, time police! If you thought Concrete Revolutio jumping around its chronology was confusing before, I’m sure next week will be great for you.




  1. This series is awesome!!Didnt have time before, but now I watched all the episodes of Concrete Revolutio. It’s such a breath of fresh air, with its style, its story telling techniques, its concepts, its characters and it actually challenges the viewer to put things together. If they manage to make everything converge at the end/lets us solve it, then this will be one of the best anime Ive seen.

    It addresses so many topics in a really interesting way, and passerby, I think you are just the right person to write about it;)

    Heres what I think until now – though I only watched the episodes once, so this might all be nonsense.
    The humans are the beasts, id est: originally humans were beasts. thats why gogon is the “giant human” in the language of hawaii, and you see the shapeshifter there with the prof kinda being shocked at the sight when the woman turns into a beast. So beasts at one point took the form of humans and the gogon is just one part, being related to todays humans just like apes are to us. I guess thats why Gogon looks kinda like an ape.

    Then this episode addressed the question of where life is coming from. They depict the current theory about molecules in the sea. But they also make a point that there is something off about it. And I guess thats where the family comes in. Cause after the melting part they were actually dead. Thats what the robot got from the data. So there is some kind of life source that is different from everything known. At this point I couldnt help but think of Dark Souls with the fire. But I honestly have no idea. Because we also dont have any idea what up with jirou.
    But I guess, since his blood makes beasts grow bigger, lets them revive and whatnot I cant be thaaat far off.

    Im excited to see what we get from the time travelling story.

      1. No no, I see where Nike is coming from; I don’t think things will necessarily pan out that way, but it’s an interesting theory with some basis in the show. And I think that Concrete Revolutio, while a bit messy, has its own logic that it has stuck to.

      2. Passerby, I am far (!) from being convinced myself. Thats why I said it might be nonsense. I just like making theories.

        And of course, I am so very sorry for writing a complicated comment, that is at the same time extraordinarily long.

  2. First things first, it is now fixed in my mind that Concrete Revolutio is the dark horse this season and this episode is not an exception to support such claim. However, this episode is really wobbly if you asked. The first half has too much exposition that I lost my attention to the show until some minutes later. Well, at least the second half made up for it.

    I also disagree to the commentator who stated that this is just a bunch of nonsense. Hello, we are now beginning to get a glimpse as to why Jiro left the Bureau as well as the events that happened before it.

    1. I consider this yet another case of Concrete Revolutio cramming what would normally be a two-episode arc into a single one. I imagine that with more time they would be able to put more nuance into the mystery of the immortal family, instead of mostly info dumps. That said, I didn’t have too much trouble with it.

  3. Finally found time to watch the episode. Again, so full of interesting concepts and ideas, and so crammed.

    I must say that I’m surprised about this moment in the story. Jiro left, and not in good terms, but everybody at year 44th is pretty much civil about it. Whateer happened, it wasn’t still enough to make Jiro go V for Vendetta on the Bureau. Not yet, at least.

    “Youkai, are creatures of Japanese horror, bogeymen from a time when humans feared the dark. It would have been appropriate for them to defy reason too”.

    I’m not so sure. In Japanese fiction it seems that youkai dying out because of human progress is a common trope. So an Autobot defeating a youkai monster through superior technology would actually be fitting. By the way, I notice it now: if the Bio Destroyer’s weapon destroys organic molecules, and it self-destructs using the same means… does it mean the Transformer was made with organic materials?

    1. I think youkai can be played either way, either dying out by human progress or persisting to remind humans to fear things that go bump in the night. But I’ve always felt that, in the former case, it’s because humans don’t have to fear the dark anymore; we have civilisation and electricity and the most dangerous thing lurking in the night are other humans. Yet, here’s Emi and her subjects strutting about anyway. And, really, if what you thought was the moon turned out to be some giant monster, that would be pretty scary.

      As for the Transformer, you have an interesting theory, but if it was true I wouldn’t know how it would have stored or used the chemical safely. It attacks by spewing messily, after all. I’d assume there was something more to it.

      1. Yes, I think you are right. Indeed, another common trope in manga and anime is that youkai need human fears to survive. If technology takes the darkness away, the youkai suffer. But again, that makes the Transformer a fitting apex predator: if the best youkai can do at this point is scare humans through even more powerful monsters that still lurk in the darkness, a supernatural-killing robot which can’t fear them would be their worst nightmare.

    1. There was a handy timeline posted in a comment a while back, with a link to a blog it came from, and a quick google also shows other curators of a Concrete Revolutio timeline. I don’t think it’s completely necessary to know the chronology in detail, though (but it’s nice, of course); one can tell that this episode is ‘early future’ from context and that’s mostly enough.

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