「デビラとデビロ」 (Debira to Debiro )
“Devila and Devilo”
I don’t ever really blame anyone for finding Concrete Revolutio confusing, especially for Western viewers, because while Concrete Revolutio obviously draws inspiration from Western comic books and movies) and folk legends), it is still fundamentally based on Japanese pop culture and, in episodes like this one and the last, Japanese mythology. If you’re not familiar with terrifying yokai sealed underground, or that catfish are believed to cause earthquakes, or Asian water dragons, the episode is going to look a lot like a lot of non-sequitur imagery that don’t tie together into a coherent aesthetic. This is before we factor in whatever old anime Concrete Revolutio pays homage to in any given episode, and whatever history they’re messing around with (all of which I’ll leave as an exercise to the reader). Without this broad knowledge, I imagine it’d actually be difficult to appreciate Concrete Revolutio in entirety, because it definitely is not going to slow down and explain itself to anybody. I’m probably missing quite a lot myself, which is uncomfortable to admit but almost definitely true. I think I say this every week, but Concrete Revolutio is packed to the brim, which is great for those seeking a bit more depth in their anime, but may ambush those who expected a light mecha action show. Give and takes.
It doesn’t help that Devila and Devilo seems specifically written to be confusing. It’s a story about tolerance, so Devilo needs to seem alien and inscrutable. Sure, he only states the completely obvious, but the obvious is also asinine, and is certainly not how humans communicate at all. And because he says only obvious things he can make a really sappy speech about shared humanity and whatnot, but how does that translate into practice? Is coexistence really so simple? Sure, Public Security were altogether bigoted, arrogant and stupid in this episode, and definitely deserved the punch, but beneath all that they sorta kinda do have a point. Devilo was certainly innocent, but innocence does not preclude being dangerous. Sure, Public Security was way too trigger-happy in their response, but what really is the rational to these underground youkai? They are so far above humanity that they are veritable gods, beyond our reach and understanding. Humanity is simply not equipped to deal with a relationship like this. We’ve been happy with being top dogs of Earth for so long, then along comes these someone who can siphon water off the planet to terraform the moon or something. And you thought the earthquake monster was bad. I can understand if these underground youkai trigger a flight or fight response. It’s a threat? Gotta send in the ninja police to kill it. It’s not a well-reasoned, diplomatic response. This is humanity’s allergic reaction.
For those of you who thought that last week’s episode felt too much like filler, you’d be happy to know that this episode does much to foreshadow future developments—which makes it even busier, but you should be used to the Concrete Revolutio pace by now. There is evidently a rift growing within the Japanese bureaucracy; the Superhuman still sort of sometimes tries half-heartedly to do the right thing (and usually fails), but there seems to be another faction (represented here by Public Security) who are much more law-and-order-purge-the-xenos about superhumans. So there’s definitely going to be a source of conflict there. But, perhaps more importantly, this episode continues on from last week and shows us more of Emi’s world, and her character in general. I am increasingly convinced that she will have a large role to play in the future. Something to think about: she’s supposed to be on the same ‘rank’, if not higher, than Devila. As this. That’s actually rather terrifying.