「怪獣と処女おとめ」 (Kaijū to Otome)
“Beast and Maiden”
Everything seems to suddenly come to a head this week in Concrete Revolutio as Emi finally decides to take matters into her own hands and kill Master Ultima. I was actually expecting Ultima to last longer than he did, since he seemed to be something of a mastermind character, and we hardly know anything about him and whatever grand schemes he had for human ascendency, and now he’s dead before the OP even started. That said, we’ve known for a while now (especially emphasised in Devila and Devilo) that antagonising Emi, princess of the youkai, was a Bad Idea, so perhaps Master Ultima was asking for it this entire time.
It’s also about time that the titular superhuman war finally begins, now in the penultimate episode. It seems like Concrete Revolutio had been waiting to make all its revelations before setting the story to ‘Implode’, but now that we have them all I can’t exactly say the plot is exactly much clearer. Apparently, the standing theory is that Jirou is the superhuman birthed to prevent the nuking of Hiroshima, and is could be a gateway to another world? Probably ours? I for one, was instantly reminded of the original Fullmetal Alchemist (the one that diverges from the manga), which scripted by Aikawa Shou—just as Concrete Revolutio is. It seems like Aikawa-sensei is taking another stab at this particular twist (the fictional world is connected to our one), but I’m not sure where exactly he’s going to take it for Concrete Revolutio. FMA went down strange avenues at the end, and I don’t think Concrete Revolutio needs more convolutions, exactly, since the alternate history angle already gives it plenty of material to work with one episode before the finale. So, is Concrete Revolutio supposed to be an allegory in critique of nuclear power, now? I’m actually a supporter of nuclear power (in that I think it’s better than coal, in general), so the Soylent Green Matrix seems a bit extreme to me, if that’s indeed what it is. And all sympathy to Hiroshima, but certainly there are other Bad Things—war crimes, even—that came out of the War. I wonder, did a superhuman show up to stop the Holocaust? Maybe the Nanking Massacre, and subsequently get Concrete Revolutio banned from Japanese TV? Hell, maybe they could have interceded in the World Wars in the first place? We know that horrific human experimentation went on regardless; what’s the scale on which the cosmic karma of Concrete Revolutio judges these things? Or is Jirou and the bomb just a freak accident?
Aside: I actually don’t think going back in time to kill Hitler is actually a good idea, and not just because of the Command & Conquer: Red Alert scenario. Even if we don’t consider that the economic and geopolitical conditions of the time would probably have lead to some conflagration anyway, I think it’s inevitable that humanity would do something horrible to itself. Without a negative example, without a hard lesson, would we do something worse? In our world, at least, I don’t think people would be so eager to let a police state drag them into war again so soon, propaganda or no. But, well, alternate history.
Looking ahead: ‘World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.’
So, next will will be the finale for this second season of Concrete Revolutio, and this big question is: how? With so much going on, and the superhuman war just beginning, it’s going to be quite a feat for Concrete Revolutio to wrap itself up in just a single episode. It’s possible that it can be decided with one climatic battle, and just let the apocalypse sort them out, but can that address all the underlying tensions behind the conflict as well? I don’t really see Concrete Revolutio extending to a third season, but I suppose it could. We’ll know for sure soon enough.
In any case, I don’t see how things can get worse than this. It’s not just the coming war, but also personally for our characters as well. Everyone we’ve come to know are either fighting to the death or being rounded up. Earth-chan, always the beacon of the little people, has once again gone down, and it’s not just her. And what will happen to Emi, Jirou, and Kikko? Jirou remembers: he promised to love her forever. That’s a death flag if I’ve ever seen one.
Speaking of Fullmetal Alchemist, I wonder how the upcoming live-action version will turn out. The director seems really positive that it’ll work out, and that any changes will be for the movie’s benefit.
There’s clearly some money behind it because they’re filming in Italy. But one thing I’m interested in seeing is the special effects. If they’re bad, that could potentially ruin the film imo. You’d be watching it thinking wow, this looks so bad lol.
I ship these two so hard now. If we go by conventional tropes, Jiro and Emi will likely die at the end of this but with their ideals living on, but there’s an important variable here: Magical Girl Kikko with all her powers.
Also, no! Not Earth-chan again!
Poor Earth-chan indeed. Jaguar even tried to blame her situation on her, but even the couple of literal-minded robots saw through his lies. In the end, they had to admit that they took her down because they suspected she was going to support the other side…
…which in CR terms is basically admitting you are carrying a big “We Are Doing Bad Things” poster written in the language of Mordor with the blood of babies sacrificed in the name of Cthulhu.
So, is Concrete Revolutio supposed to be an allegory in critique of nuclear power, now?
Not exactly. Although the episode doesn’t hide that the bomb was (or could have been) Bad with capital “B”, the characters also discuss that a breakthrough in nuclear energy could have paved the way for a new source of energy, an alternative to fossil fuels. Let’s not forget that they are currently facing the oil crisis of the 70s.
In-universe, they even seem to have this utopian image of what nuclear energy could have meant for the world. A joke on them, perhaps, until you remember that they got superhumans instead of nuclear bombs. Both have their advantages and their drawbacks, and a potential for mass destruction.
If anything, this episode seemed a criticism against what countries and people would be willing to do to get the resources they need. “The rights of people we consider inferior aren’t as important as our economic needs, and if they resist they’re evil terrorists! We need to stand together against Evil! For Great
Yet, we know that nuclear power did not lead to an energy revolution that ended wars. Ironically, I think it’s arguable that MAD prevented more wars than energy policy did.
Exactly. It was a very subtle and interesting observation about fantasy and sci-fi. Paper supports everything, but reality is stubborn.
But the irony is double: CR is also a deconstruction against the idea in fiction that just because superhumans exist, they will make the world a better place. Fantasizing about nuclear energy in a world without it isn’t very different from fantasizing about Superman and magical girls in ours.
I’m surprised there’s only an episode left, but I doubt there will be a S3.
I don’t think I fully understand everything this episode, and I can’t predict what will happen next at all. But I can say for sure I enjoyed this episode very much. Wonder what’s going to happen with the “love me forever” thing.
Going forward, everyone seems to have chosen a side… except Kikko. She really might end up the only survivor in the main three (I will be sad). Please give Kikko her powers back T_T (secretly hoping for a demon queen vs yokai princess fight, queen (candidate) > princess(?) )
I doubt there will be a season 3 as sales are very poor.