「巨神たちの時代」 (Kyoujin-tachi no Jidai)
“The Age of Titans”

I have twenty pages of NUTS jokes still to make, but I’ll spare you all the bad (read: genius) puns this week because I wanted to divert away from your regularly scheduled Concrete Revolutio post into a bit of a related topic. As you know, Concrete Revolutio references many comic books, anime and special effects shows, but for this episode I actually think that a good comparison can be made to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The Claude personality (based on Jin based on Jirou—you didn’t expect Concrete Revolutio to be straightforward, did you?) that still resides within the helmets does a pretty good One Ring to Rule Them All impression, which I think would be pretty interesting to talk about. So I’m just going to run with it and see how well the metaphor holds.

I’m going to assume that most people have read The Lord of the Rings or have at least seen the movies. If you haven’t, then you really should; not only are Tolkien’s work a literary touchstone that more or less define our modern impression of fantasy, they’re also really good. Quick summary for those who have no clue what we’re talking about (inconceivable!): the titular Lord of Rings created a power artefact (a ring; what a twist!) that offers those who hold it incredible power but also ultimately corrupts their intentions for that power to evil. A standard fable about the good intentions that pave the road to hell. And it’s sort of what Claude (let’s just call it Claude) does, though of course the line between good and evil is not so clearly defined in Concrete Revolutio. What Claude does do, though, is speak to past glory, to entrenched ideals, and use those amibitions to sow, perhaps not evil, but certainly violence and destruction. The helmet offers power, certainly, but power to what end? That’s a question all superhumans grapple with in Concrete Revolutio.

In The Lord of the Rings, the good guys manage to get their hands on the ring, and have to decide what to do with it. The majority opinion is that the ring must be destroyed, but there is a dissenting voice: why not keep the ring, and use its power to champion good and noble causes? In Concrete Revolutio, this position is embodied by the Imperial Ads lady. She is Boromir. In a world full of elf lords and powerful wizards, Boromir was just a man. And for him, to have this power but choose not to use it was either negligence or folly. And so it is with the Imperial Ads lady. She sees all these superhumans with all these amazing powers. But she also sees all these problems in the world. Why haven’t these incredible superhumans fixed them? And Claude whispers, if she had the power, she could fix them. Doesn’t exactly work out. In Concrete Revolutio doing good is really hard. Take Professor Hitoyoshi. We learn more about his past this week, and while he’s still mostly an amoral scientist, there’s one thing he tried to do right: protect Jirou from those nasty Americans (sorry, Americans). But then, whoops. We’ve been lead to believe that there was some great conspiracy behind the death of the Rainbow Knight , but turns out it was all mostly a misunderstanding. Perhaps it’s more comforting to think there is an evil force behind the bad things that happen (as Imperial Ads’ propaganda film pretends) as opposed to bad things happening for no real reason. What’s the point of having these lofty ideals about good vs evil when there’s not actually a tangible evil?

The Lord of the Rings is often considered to have a much more of a black and white morality, which may certainly be so if we compare it to Concrete Revolutio. But it’s interesting the ones who are entrusted with holding onto the ring, the ones who resist its temptation, and who ultimately save the world are not the noble kings or wise sages, plain hobbits. They do not have high ideals, nor aspire to great heroism. They value simple, homely things like good food and warm beds. Many have tried to read a political subtext into The Lord of the Rings, maybe a West vs East ideology, but Tolkien always denied it. In his novel, ‘good’ was not a high ideal, not defined by this titanic struggle against darkness. Good was something simple, down to earth, and part of our shared humanity that may be forgotten from time to time. And perhaps Concrete Revolutio agrees; perhaps the talk about ideals and conceptions of justice and changing the world just make things too complicated. When there is a crying child, you should help them. That seems to be something everyone can agree with. Concrete Revolutio likes to harken back to the childhoods of its audience, to a certain naivete, but perhaps it’s not a bad way to look at the world. Everybody also agreed: combining robots are damn cool. There was no need to let ourselves get hung up on the little details.




  1. A good review. And an interesting episode. Concrete revolutio never seemed to fully support any ideals it brought up, but maybe it just wants to tell us those aren’t always what’s important.
    About Emi and the tiger-dolly thing, I suppose that means it’s possible to bring back Kikko’s demon side? I definitely hope so.

    1. I sure ope so they bring the Demon Queen back because the way things are developing they´re going to need all the help they can get to get out of this mess.

  2. What I really want to know is how Jiro and the rest are going to stop the Imperial Ads Chief, he has a powerfil weapon in the form of the mass midea and has already brainwash mosy of japanese society into thinking superhumans are an evil force must be erradicated no matter the cost. The Super Human Bureou is useless and most of the time they arethe puppets of Imperial Ads, they´re just part of the problem and the way things are developing that guy is going to cause a genocide of global proportions, something like we´ve seen in the Days of the Future Past movie recently and that´s not pretty. That guys is insane!.

    P.S.: A little clarification about the One Ring, the Ring itself does not provide the power but it functions more like a really nasty power buster, if a human or dwarf got his hands on it it would give them poer strong enough like the Witch King of Angmar, if it´s an elf powerful like Elrond or Galadriel then we have some serious trouble on our hands but if a Maiar (lesser god) like Gandalf, Saruman or the Blarogs sue it then you can kiss Middle Earth goodbye! They could gain a power close to a Valar (the 14 chief great gods) plus some serious insanity, and that´s one of the many, many reasons Gandalf does not even touch the acursed thing.

    1. The One Ring was imbued with much of Sauron’s power, and claiming it for oneself would make one quite powerful indeed. The big deal is that it’s the one ring to rule them all, even the three that Sauron had no direct hand in making. Would it make one, even Saruman, more powerful than the Valar, though? Sauron was but Maia himself, and definitely a league below his master. I find the proposition doubtful.

      1. According to Tolkein Sauron in his prime with the One Ring had power close to the weakest of the Valar, but I doubt he could defeat any of them in single combat or be a match for the Aratar (the most powerful of the Valar).

  3. I must say that Imperial Ads’ film reminded me a lot of Varrick’s films in The Legend of Korra: cheap and blatant propaganda, but with more truths in it than what the heroes would like.

    And in the end, so many horrible realizations for Jiro: his adoptive father (and Emi and Jaguar) did many horrible things to appease the government and the Americans, just to protect him, and in the end the person who killed his childhood hero was himself. Taking into account the conversation during the NUTS fiasco, it seemed like a metaphor about becoming an adult.

    Interesting comparison to TLOTR. But wait,wouldn’t that make Jiro the One Ring? He was born as a weapon, his blood has the power to awaken destruction in everyone and for that power many are willing to do whatever it takes. Heck, the propaganda film basically painted him as the Evil Overlord’s secret superweapon. But only Concrete Revolutio asks if the ring is really evil or just a victim of the circumstances.

    1. If the One Ring is about the lust for power, and Jirou is the ultimate power then, yeah, he’s totally the One Ring. Since he is atomic bomb, though, I think Concrete Revolutio will very likely consider the use of that power Bad(tm).

      1. It’s probably more accurate to view Jiro as nuclear power. By itself it’s just a force of nature and isn’t inherently evil; only its use by humans is evil.

        Unfortunately, along with the consistently negative portrayal of the US, this conclusion will leave the series with a strong taint of nationalist Japanese self-justification: never mind Imperial Japan’s lust for empire or the 20+ million it killed, the Americans are the real bad guys because they used that bomb.

      2. Unfortunately, along with the consistently negative portrayal of the US, this conclusion will leave the series with a strong taint of nationalist Japanese self-justification: never mind Imperial Japan’s lust for empire or the 20+ million it killed, the Americans are the real bad guys because they used that bomb.

        I’m not sure that’s the case. The taboos about WWII are still strong in CR, but previous episodes have hinted that the Japanese “imperialists” did horrible superhuman experiments in the past too. The problem of the Americans shown here is, basically, that they are repeating the mistakes of the past, no matter which new ideology or threat they use to justify it.

        The current wave of nationalism seen in anime, of which Gate is the most triumphant example, is usually tied to a more positive vision of militarism. It mirrors current political movements in the Japanese government to strengthen Japan’s forces which has the approval of the USA for their strategy in the Pacific.

        With Japan’s current situation in mind, Concrete Revolutio feels like an answer to that trend: militarism is bad, people will always find “reasons” to exploit others for the greater good, and bowing to America’s pressures for political gains and to make the country supposedly “stronger” against new or old enemies is not worth it if it’s morally bankrupt.

      3. @proper1420
        In addition to Mistic’s fine points, I should also note that Concrete Revolutio very much reflects the counterculture movements of its time period. No institution is going to look all that good coming out of it. And maybe we’ll get Master Ultima’s side of the story too. We’ll have to see.

      4. Another problem in that America is not only repeating the mistakes of the past, It´s making it worse, those lunatic are talking about the genocide of every single non human in the planet and they say it´s justice! That´s sickening. On the japanese side of things, we have the Chief of Imperial Ads that wants to create a genocide of only super humans, they´re both the worst kind of scum and as of knowI don´t see Jiro could stop any of those factions.


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