「セイタカアワダチソウ」 (Seitaka Awadachisou)
“Canada Goldenrod”

I think this is the episode where Concrete Revolutio starts putting itself together, pulling in its various episodic satellites and trying to form a single, overarching narrative out of all of them. While I’ve been waiting for this moment, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing. I think it’s actually fine for an episodi anime to remain episodic, and only drawing on underlying themes, a bunch of motifs and the character development if they want to bring it all together in the end. Trying to go one further and fully incorporating all of the cast (which is pretty big in most episodic anime due to the guest stars) and the plot events is a much more difficult thing. Remember, these are not just running subplots that eventually lead back to the main plot; these are usually self-contained stories that need extra work to link back. At worst, it can become a multi-way narrative car crash, and an undecipherable mess. Concrete Revolutio walks a very delicate tightrope here. This week, it calls back the cliffhanger with Daitetsu from way back in season one, and runs from there. It’s all without much warning unless you’ve really been paying attention to the dates, which is the way Concrete Revolutio likes it but it doesn’t really answer a lot of questions. Earth-chan pops up again, and while we already know she’s supposed to be in this scene, we still don’t know exactly how she got there. When we last saw her she was broke, and now they’ve rebuilt her, faster, stronger. What happened in the interim? Concrete Revolutio will have to jump backwards to cover that, which I don’t feel is an ideal way to do things when you’re trying to pull yourself together. Unless it doesn’t intend to cover that and just leave us to assume what happened, which is hardly ideal either (though not a huge travesty, since Earth-chan’s reboot doesn’t necessarily need be a big deal). And while we’re wondering about all that, hey it’s the bug princess, and we have to remember all the way back to the second episode. Obviously Concrete Revolutio has huge respect for the faculties of the audience unlike many other anime, which is great, but I hope it doesn’t overreach and end up imploding.

While these old characters start popping up again, there is still the usual single-episode-guest-star. This time, I’m guessing it’s the Incredible Hulk, since he shops at the same indestructible underwear store as Bruce Banner. In him, Concrete Revolutio addresses a point that I think it should have made Jirou confront much earlier: the distinction between a superhuman and a superhero. Humanman is obviously no hero, and no villain either. He is possessed of neither the urge to do good, nor the desires to commit evil. He’s just some dad who stumbled across power, which isn’t even all that flashy; it just makes him big, strong and grey. He has no ambition, no branding, no nothing. He just wants to keep being able to impress his daughter. And Earth-chan is right, even though she is still much too black and white about it. There’s nothing in his cause but simple selfishness. If the plants really are causing real problems for a lot of people then perhaps the best course of action is to burn it all (though I’m not entirely sure about trusting a company that seems to secretly test its shady drugs on children). Compared to just one man’s ego, perhaps the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few here.

But Jirou defends him anyway, because ‘think of the children’. At this point, I don’t think Jirou’s rebellion is really about an admiration for superheroes. Or even about protecting superhumans from oppressive humans. His cause, it seems, is more about the individual vs the collective, and he weighs in overwhelmingly for the individual. And it’s evident that his ‘team‘ doesn’t necessarily agree with him. In fact, it doesn’t really seem like much of a team right now, just a bunch of mutual outcasts who sometimes interact.

So, superhumans are not all superheroes, but Jirou doesn’t care. Why fight for them? Not all superheroes are superhumans either, even if Jirou wants to insist that the Rainbow Knight was a superhuman, despite a lack of powers. Who does the daughter call for when Humanman is in trouble? Her father, and then her mother. When one is a young child, one’s parents are tall and strong. Mama and Papa are the heroes.




  1. Mutant invasive Canadian flowers cause an allergy that turns ordinary citizens into superhumans, including a widower who becomes Japan’s version of the Incredible Hulk. You don’t see that everyday.

    Concrete Revolutio may rely too much on the “Viewers are geniuses” trope, but at this point it’s part of its charm. I was waiting for the end of that cliffhanger for months!

    True, it was high time the series started addressing Jiro’s tendency to mix superhumans and superheroes. That may be a problem in the long run with his team: Judas, who keeps looking more and more like a mad scientist; the detective who now is overcompensating for his previous lawful zealotry and has become an agent of chaos; and Earth-chan, who might have become a bit more flexible, but she’s still the cutest Knight Templar of Justice ever (I also agree that her judgement, although unsympathetic, was clearly the moral one; that dad wouldn’t protect those flowers so strongly if it was his kid suffering horrible secondary effects).

    It’s going to be even more interesting with that “superhuman explosion” of year 48. After the government thought they had it all controlled (“it’s a passage, not a park! No gatherings allowed!”), there’s going to be a new bunch of superhumans in a world that isn’t as bright and (apparently) simple anymore.

    Welcome to the seventies.

      1. Up to a point. Under regulations like those, they did jail several superhumans, without the general public caring too much thanks to the bad rep they got after Shinjuku. Even if people like Shiba free them, a lot of them are bitter and turn to crime, thus proving right the government’s self-fulfilling prophecy.

        That Devila and Devilo were so powerful that attacking them was suicide is another matter, because few can match their power levels. Compare that to Earth-chan in the past. She wasn’t that powerful, but not even the Bureau could touch her because she was incredibly popular. However, now it’s different, for her and for any other superhuman.

      2. With the superhuman explosion, I won’t be surprised if there won’t be more superhumans who are simply uncontrollable like Devila and Devilo. But even a demographic change should be, as you say, interesting.

  2. Even to this point the lines aren’t clearly defined, and I doubt they will be anytime soon. Not that I’m against that, I like that there’s no clear good vs. evil. It’s more of a clash of ideals. But I do wonder how the end game will shape up because of all this.
    From my perspective, in addition to the 3 sides that are in the ED, Earth-chan is a 4th side of this conflict, mainly because her black and white view may oppose all sides if she deems their actions not aligned with justice, so she is not a reliable ally. But besides that, Emi has her own designs, so she may also form her own side. But however many sides are in this conflict, Imperial Ads will always be the one side I’ll never root for.

    1. The problem is that Jirou’s side isn’t really a side at all right now, just a band of misfits without a cause. Unlike Longhaul, though, I do think that there are sides, but the people on each one can be variable. There’s no denying that there are opportunists too, though. It is a messy business, as it should be.

  3. passerby, would you say that jirou’s obsession to protect superhumans is starting to become a bit destructive; especially since he doesnt draw a line between those who are righteous or evil?

    1. It is true, though, that superhumans are something of an oppressed minority. But Jirou doesn’t really seem to have a plan to change the system. Right now, he’s just a rebel. He’s liable to do both harm and good, because that’s not the metric on which he makes his decisions on.

      1. exactly; which is ultimately what makes me raise my eyebrow to jirou’s path. He doesnt have a plan of action to change anything. He just has this desire to protect superhumans, which is admirable but without a plan for reform, it just becomes an obsession. To an extent, i think kikko realizes this as well, but she cant help but love that desire for him to believe in superhumans of any nature; just caught up with this series and what a ride it has been

      2. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the show! Jirou and Kikko seem to have a bit of a feedback loop going on, actually. Jirou first started defying the Bureau because he felt like he couldn’t disappoint his idealistic kouhai, so he’s guided by, ‘What would Kikko do?’ while Kikko really admired her righteous senpai and still often ponders, ‘What would Jirou do?’. How healthy it all is remains to be seen, but at least I think the two of them, and a lot of other characters on this show, at least try to do the right thing, and that’s the problem, really.

      3. i agree; and it’s that struggle to do the right thing is one of the things that thematically makes this show really enjoyable to me. The narrative is very dense but there’s always something to pull away from it. In terms of narrative presentation, it slightly reminds me of revolutionary girl utena

  4. The X-Men vibes were strong in this episode.

    Also, I fist-pumped when Bug Princess came out. I’ve got a soft spot for Bug-hime. Here’s to hoping there’ll be more episodes for her.

  5. I’m not watching the show but I saw something that very much looks like a reference to one of my favourite anime so I just had to chime in. Isn’t that Hulk-like thing actually a reference to Bounen no Xamdou and its school bus scene from the first episode?


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