「セイタカアワダチソウ」 (Seitaka Awadachisou)
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.