More so than usual!
In the show’s past (December, 42nd of the Shinka era), during a peaceful protest, Hoshino visits a high school to see Jin Nakagawa. He makes the root that we saw her eat at the end of the last episode. She uses those roots as medicine since human medical technology is useless to her. Interestingly, he knows she’s from the demon realm. Ullr confirms she’s on Earth looking for a spouse.
Fast forward to August in the 42rd year of the Shinka era. Hoshino, Hitoyoshi, Emi Kino, and Raito Shiba are investigating Claude’s attack on the medical facility (the attack that happened at the end of the last episode). The police have called in Taki, Takahara, and their children from the Strange Power Risk Management Group to aid in the investigation. Taki handed the children jars of special sand. When the children threw the sand into the air, it solidified into the last moments of the crime. The scene showed that Claude slaughtered had slaughtered the staff. As Takahara wondered what Claude had against the doctors, the children found a hidden door. The revealed basement scene unnerved Hoshino and appalled Kino and Takahara. It also explained why Claude had attacked: the basement was full of dead superhumans in states that indicated experiments had been performed on them while they were alive. The same techniques had been used on the “crew” of the _Antares_.
Hoshino, Hitoyoshi, and Kino join Fuurouta and Daishi Akita at Superhuman Bureau headquarters. Hoshino is upset that they’re protecting a politician who once researched ways to destroy superhumans. Akita says he’s not happy about it, but they have to protect their political allies. Hitoyoshi’s not happy about it, either. He suspects ulterior motives. Hoshino, upset, leaves. Hitoyoshi intercepts her. She gives him the family photo from the end of the last episode and begs him to open up to her.
Hitoyoshi doesn’t remember the photo. Kino identifies the brown-haired boy as “Jin” and says that the Rainbow Knight killed him.
When Hitoyoshi arrives home, Yoshiaki Satomi is visiting Magotake Hitoyoshi, who is Jirou’s adopted father. The two older men had worked together before the war to study superhumans. Magotake confirms the young man in the photo is Jin. Jirou doesn’t remember his old friend because of the trauma of the Rainbow Knight incident.
Meanwhile, Claude meets with Satomi to reveal they’ve invited another superhuman, Golubaya Laika, to visit. The US military is aware and will likely try to stop him. Claude hopes he’ll arrive safely.
Golubaya doesn’t arrive safely. The military, led by Master Ultima (a superhuman), ambush him.
Ullr asks Hoshino if she thinks Claude is really Jin. She’s not sure, but she understands whoever Claude is needs to hide his identity. She tries to visit Nakagawa to get more medicine, but he’s not in. Psy-kicker, the superhuman identity of a student at the school, walks with her and discovers they share a common perspective on superhumans. Golubaya’s crash into a school building interrupts their chat.
Students at the high school stage a protest. Shiba asks them to turn over Golubaya and disperse, but they refuse to cooperate with a government that mistreats superhumans. They reveal that the Japanese Self Defense Force and Master Ultima shot down Golubaya. Shiba is shocked. Golubaya tells the students he came to Japan to meet a friend. As he dies, he tells says he just wanted to protect superhumans.
His friend turns out to be Claude who arrives too late to see Golubaya alive. He reveals Golubaya wanted to see the evidence from the _Antares_ and the medical facility. When Psy-kicker asks what Claude wants to achieve, Claude answers “Peace. Freedom. And justice.” Claude goes on to say that humans prevent superhumans from achieving their destiny by keeping them separated from justice — and that includes Hoshino. He encourages her to show her true feelings about wanting to help people. Hoshino begins to transform.
The special forces police arrives and begins to dismantle the students’ barricades. Shiba protests, saying they’re just children. Hitoyoshi arrives in Equus and jumps the police line and barricades. Confronting Psy-kicker, Hitoyoshi asks where Golubaya is so the Superhuman Bureau can protect him. Psy-kicker says that Golubaya is dead and he can’t trust the adults anymore. Claude, though, is trying to tell them the truth. Frustrated, Hitoyoshi tries to grab Claude, who’s carrying Golubaya’s dead body. But Hoshino, in her demon queen form, stops him. However, she seemed to confuse Jirou with Claude. Master Ultima attacks, forcing Hoshino to retreat with Claude through a dimensional portal.
Hitoyoshi tries to get answers from Master Ultima, who just tells him and the Superhuman Bureau to focus on capturing Claude.
Later, Kino helps Hitoyoshi track down Claude. Claude is on the phone to Hitoyoshi’s adopted father. They’re talking about the Rainbow Knight incident. Claude’s saying that Magotake helped spread the story that all of the children were killed. Except that, in reality, they were all sent medical facilities for experimentation. Claude also confirms that the Rainbow Knight never asked for ransom and was, in fact, just trying to protect the children. Claude forces Hitoyoshi to listen to his adopted father’s explanation. Magotake, thinking he’s still talking to Claude, confesses that the Rainbow Knight was going to tell the public about the illegal experiments, so they decided to label him a dangerous superhuman so the public would support the government exerting more control over the superhumans — through organizations like the Superhuman Bureau. Magotake’s shocked when he discovers Hitoyoshi was the one listening, and Claude severs the connection.
Claude reveals himself as Jin Nakagawa. He says that if Hitoyoshi had he not been Magotake’s adopted son, he would have ended up in the military labs, just as Nakagawa had. Nakagawa says point blank that the Superhuman Bureau does not exist to protect superhumans.
Kino and Akita break in. Akita takes responsibility and says that he truly wanted to help protect superhumans “for the sake of the planet.” Hoshino in queen demon forms arrives and immobilizes Hitoyoshi so Claude can slice Akita into pieces. Akita does not die; instead, he’s revealed as an alien (of the Fumer race) who’s real goal is to adopt superhumans as their heirs.
MyAnimeList says that there will be 13 episodes in season 1 with the last episode airing on December 27, 2015. So it looks like we have one more to go!
What I Liked
The sand that Taki, Takahara, and their children (the investigators) used was inventive and interesting. It was fascinating how it could recreate critical moments in time so detectives and others could examine the scene.
The show effectively built up the tension in Hoshino and Hitoyoshi as they saw more and more of the plots surrounding them. I’m really curious to see how Hoshino goes from future demon queen to someone who’s still in love with Hitoyoshi (as we saw in the first episode). I was heartbroken to see how Magotake had betrayed his son and destroyed his heroes.
How does a man keep a secret like that? How do people live with that kind of decision?
The show presented realistic scenarios and a realistic range of responses, including rationalizations and brave attempts to change the system. It looks like Hoshino and Fuurouta stays with the Superhuman Bureau, whereas Hitoyoshi leaves and joins up with people like Earth-chan. Who’s right? Or is “right” valid only from a given perspective? I think the show’s taking the side of there is an objective right, but in the world they’ve created (like the world we’ve created), it can be expensive to stand up for it.
This episode tied up a lot of dramatic threads, while at the same time setting the stage for something bigger in the future. I think we know why Hitoyoshi leaves the Superhuman Bureau. At least, I hope nothing more dramatic happens to him! After this episode, we see that the theater is bigger than we knew. I’m dying to know how long the Fumer have been involved and what their plans are!
During the end credits, you can see flying saucers behind Akita. Those certainly make more sense now! What a great visual hint!
What I Liked Less
If Kino could track Claude with her creatures, I wonder why she didn’t before this episode? I know it’s hard in a supernatural/extra-terrestrial world to keep all of the powers working in harmony, and maybe there’s a legitimate reason. I couldn’t figure it out, though!
The central questions this series poses haunt me and demand answers. For example: It’s one thing to labor blissfully unaware of the plots and betrayals all around you. Once you learn of them, though, you have to take some kind of action. Do you rationalize and say you’re working for the greater good? Do you risk losing your job, friends, and even your life to stand up for justice, peace, or freedom? Do you take some other path?
The superhumans in this series are individually powerful. Many of the ones featured fight for justice, like the Rainbow Knight. Yet, those in power malign them to achieve their own ends. They do the same to anyone who tries to stand up for abstract concepts like justice unless those concepts can be aligned with the goals of those in power.
It’s fascinating to me that Concrete Revolutio, one of the most dramatically abstract and inventive shows of this season, can be so relevant to the political and economic realities that we face today.In fact, I can’t think of series that has so captured those realities. Even Battlestar Galactica, a series I loved, didn’t do it with such aplomb and grace. I think that’s a sign of its relevance as anime art.
Reviews of Other Season 1 Episodes
- Episode 1: The Witch Girl of Tokyo
- Episode 2: Inside the Black Fog
- Episode 3: An Iron Couple
- Episodes 4-6: Missing due to a mysterious calamity
- Episode 7: Go Beyond the Sky and Stars
- Episode 8: Nobody Knows about the Rainbow Knight
- Episode 9: End of the Endless Family
- Episode 10: Mirage of Destiny
- Episode 11: Justice / Freedom / Peace
- Episode 13: Riots in Shinjuku