「宇宙を臨むもの」 (Uchū o Nozomumono)
“Those Who Look Upon Space”
I wasn’t actually expecting much from an episode about the Angel Stars, them being arguably the least consequential of season 1’s superhumans. They never actually did much except to act as goons for the villain (on the assumption that cobra staff = villain, because Disney), and sometimes sing. Good thing there was plenty of entertainment to be found anyway, mainly in the continued rivalry between Emi and Kikko. They make a surprisingly good duo despite how catty the relationship actually is. It helps that Kikko is the main source of comic relief in a serious show, which helps her reflect some of the malice from her snarky youkai senpai. I suspect that they’re both going to lose, though; that’d be the funniest outcome, in a darkly ironic sort of way.
I was actually wrong about the Angel Stars, though, or at least the one member that this episode guest stars; she brought plenty of meat to the table. Turns out, ‘Angel Stars’ is quite the appropriate name for those who despair of the earth, and made for a temporarily interesting motif. Her actual story is not really too different to others we’ve seen in Concrete Revolutio—disillusionment with society, justice, yada yada—but she opens up a few interesting angles, beyond the usual clash of ideals (for starters, she supposedly embodied a lack of ideals). In fact, I think this was perhaps Concrete Revolutio‘s most substantive episode to date, simply by virtue of how much they tried to pack in. Let’s just count all the issues they raised on a short 20 minutes:
- The human condition.
- Undocumented residents.
- Space, the new frontier.
- LGBT discrimination.
- The War.
- The moon falling in three days a la Majora’s Mask.
And this is not counting all the plot details that Concrete Revolutio also has to cover, like the nature of the fumers, human augmentation, whatever the deal is with Master Ultima, and the continuation of Professor Hitoyoshi’s shady work. All the while, it also tries to remain entertaining, providing the ridiculous fights with plenty of collateral damage so that we can have something to go with our popcorn. To call Concrete Revolutio ‘busy’ would not be the half of it.
One must admire Concrete Revolutio for, if nothing else, ambition (and I wish more people watched it for just that). But there is the matter of scope, and practical limits to it. Sure, there are no ends of social issues one can shine light on, and the 60s was a bottomless well of contention that can be plumbed for material, and it’s worthwhile for anime to address some serious topic once in a while, but to address them all at once may be beyond the ability of any single show. Concrete Revolutio has made a good effort of it, to be sure, and so far it’s managed to keep itself together so far, but in realistic terms there’s only so much one can shove into a show before it implodes from the bloat. It hasn’t happened yet, in my opinion—I watched this episode afraid the entire time that Concrete Revolutio would finally go over the cliff of incoherence, but it never did and managed to link everything together in the end, somehow. And I’m sure that there was those who didn’t follow along quite as well (and I’m not 100% sure I’m 100% on board myself) and may be quite lost. Concrete Revolutio is certainly an unapologetic show; if you can’t keep up, it’ll leave you behind. I’m wondering whether if Concrete Revolutio, in its ambition, is sacrificing too much accessibility. And its wide coverage also necessarily sacrifices depth. I’m not saying that this show is shallow—far from it, and it has mostly managed to tie all these disparate issues into some central themes—but some topics, like this week’s ostracised-into-suicide lesbian couple could have perhaps used closer examination. It is one thing for any medium to be thought provoking, and Concrete Revolutio certainly is, but one can go higher than that. Speculative fiction has always been very good at asking questions. The real test is how it answers them—or whether it is able to at all.
So, all this mess was started because of a trio of bad smokers that wanted a better body in order to conquer the world. But their plan backfired so hard, one of the trio betray’s them to make matters worst, that they’re now dead and sucked into Jiro’s arm in order to control his power.
I’m not sure it’s that simple. We’ve seen superhuman origins and situations that don’t have anything to do with the Fumers.
-We have indeed the Fumers, trying to protect superhumans so in the future their race will take over them. The Bureau is their creation, but now they’re free from their plans.
-We have governments (like Japan’s and USA’s) experimenting to create their own superhumans. For purely peaceful goals, of course /s. Any sacrifice is worth the price, any danger has to be tackled drastically if it can’t be controlled.
-We have that shady PR agency that wants to promote superhumans, but only those who are from human origins and have a proper way of life. Deviants are shameful.
-We have politicians like the one the Chief possessed, who apparently wanted to stop this lawless situation in which superhumans aren’t neither recognized nor illegal, but who tried to use the fine print to make them unpersons.
-And finally we have the superhuman themselves, who go their own ways (like Jiro) or side with one of the factions.
There’s nothing black and white in Concrete Revolutio. Even the worst have some positive qualities or ideas, and the other way round.
I don’t think Fumers are bad guys. They try to forcefully guide in shadow are fishy. But now they are all dead and thing gone even worst. He give their power to help Jiro cause he think it will reach their goal. And it is Rainbow Knight that made he change his mind. Anyway Emi and Kikko together are good friend now. It really hard for Jiro to choose one of them and not cause Youkai vs Makai wars.
The Fumers where treating and in reality promoting breeding of the Superhumans like cattle, to the point all humans could be vessels for them. In the end the Chef of the Bureau decided to lot let his kind take over them in the future, he like humanity as a whole to much to allow it.
I don’t think the fumers are monolithic. No doubt, some are more or less malevolent than others in their ‘guide the lesser races’ arrogance, and some turn around like Akita.
I have to say I find this second season much easier to follow. It may be because the flashbacks (when they appear) are less extreme, their order is better, we are finding out what happened to those characters, organizations and events that were mentioned from time to time, and we get at least more answers than new questions. For example, now we know who the Fumers are, their intentions and the fate of those three.
Also, I can’t blame Concrete Revolutio for being so non-chalantly ambitious. What other anime would be unwilling to show or discuss (like here, idols losing lives and minds because the society they work in can’t accept they aren’t the incorruptible pure pureness marketing sells, not to mention homophobia), they show. A machine gun of ideas.
Sometimes, it reminds me of the Neuromancer. Not because it’s cyberpunk (it isn’t), but because it addresses many things instead of devoting itself to a single subject.
By the way, I agree, Emi and Kikko are perfect as a duo. And those faces! XD
The first season was filled with so many start points for characters…. I wasn’t sure there was a point i should be able to figure out. This series needs to be marathoned!
I suppose the first season had to jump between the ‘past’ and the ‘future’, whereas now we should be firmly in the ‘future’, some flashbacks aside.
this seems to be the type of show I would EAT UP!…but for some reason just like the first season, i just cant get into it…..too all over the place?…nah! i yet to find a show like that….then what could it be? hmmmmmm
Unleash the yandere!
Stills can’t do this justice. This episode had so much great animation.