I was thinking that Concrete Revolutio has been awfully well behaved these past few weeks, but alas, it is now back to its usual antics, i.e. being confusing via information overload. This time, though, it’s not because Concrete Revolutio is jumping around in its chronology—it’s managing to sit nice and still, actually—but rather because of the number of characters who decide to pop up and ldistract us by looking important but not telling us why. Let’s see all the ones we have here, as much for organising my own notes as anything else:
- The new masked superhuman, Claude (what kind of super alias is ‘Claude’?), is obviously important. He’s the central antagonist of the episode, is connected to the Hitoyoshis, and has Jirou’s giant flames, but in yellow.
- The Hitoyoshis had a maid? Was she around before? She’s going to die, isn’t she?
- Not sure about the musical number. In the end they just floated about and did nothing. More important are their sponsors; the band’s presence shows their influence at work.
- The detective is around so that his strict adherence to the law and Claude’s ideals can fight.
- The blonde guy is in the OP, and showed up at the superhuman bar in episode 07. Not sure why I need to care about him, though.
- The Sciencers, or at least their apparent leader, was also at the superhuman bar, and was the one who warned Earth-chan about Kikko being a witch. The Sciencers apparently follow Clarke’s Third Law of Science Fiction, or rather it’s reverse: any sufficiently analysed magic is indistinguishable from science.
- Apparently Kikko has a superpowered dark side, future queen of the demon world, and part time lingerie model. This way she can play her own rival in a magical girl spinoff.
That’s a lot going on even for Concrete Revolutio, isn’t it? To put it positively, I suppose Concrete Revolutio has a lot of respect for its audience. ‘Exposition? Inner monologue? You guys don’t need that stuff’. I suppose I should be flattered. But while over-explaining things makes for asinine storytelling, too little explanation doesn’t make for much of a story at all. There is a very fine line between being clever and just being mentally disorganised. I hope Concrete Revolutio manages to maintain the right balance, because I do think it is mostly ‘clever’, but it has many things to say and perhaps not enough time to say it. I have heard complaints about Concrete Revolutio to the effect that it’s a mess and nothing is connected. I think differently; the thing about Concrete Revolutio is that everything is connected, which is what makes it confusing sometimes because we’re not always told exactly how. It’s a jigsaw puzzle being built patches at a time instead of from the edge first. But it seems fairly certain that there is a big picture.
So, what was this episode going on about? Well, Justice/Freedom/Peace. It seems to me that Concrete Revolutio is making a point that the three exist at the expense of each other. There has been talk of different concepts of justice clashing with each other before, and Claude went on a similar kind of spiel (especially in the preview), but I think there is no better example of this lesson than the Superhuman Bureau. On first glance, it is a very necessary thing. With all these superhumans running around, each with their own agenda and values and destructive powersets, someone has to bring order to chaos. And this is nominally the government’s job. The Superhuman Bureau wants to maintain peace, but must do so at the expense of justice (doing many shady things) and freedom (controlling media, populace, and superhumans). And really, when it comes down to it, it seems that the Superhuman Bureau does have ‘protect superhumans’ at its heart still (which, I assume, was the ideal on which Jaguar founded it in the first place). Sure, it does its political horse trading, but they seem to be the only ones in the government to stand against inhumanely weaponising superhumans. As shady as the Superhuman Bureau is, it’s entirely possible that they’re one of the less shady arms of the executive. Except for Dr Hitoyoshi, of course. He looks more and more the dark heart of the organisation with every episode.
Looking ahead ~ clouded horizon
I think it’s apparent by now that there’s no way in the thousand flaming hells that Concrete Revolutio is going to wrap itself up in just this cour. There has to be another, or at least another intended. Even at the warp speed at which this episode was paced, I can’t see a satisfying conclusion within 13 episodes. I think, at best, we’re going to find out how and why Jirou broke from the Bureau, and his crusade will have to be left for another season.
Still, if there was another season in the works, you’d think Concrete Revolutio could afford to catch its breath once in a while, rather than playing out like the crazy scrawls of a desperate writer scheduled to be executed at dawn. Perhaps it does have that much to say, and I hope it does give itself the chance to say it properly. We’re digging deep into the philosophical quagmire of Concrete Revolutio now, into why the straightforward idealism of Jirou does not work in his world. Justice, freedom and peace are all nominally the causes of ‘good’. But too often are they in conflict; what to do? I can already hear a masked vigilante yelling: never compromise!