「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.