Rolling Review – Concrete Revolutio (12)

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Episode Synopsis:

This episode’s prologue is a flashback to Kikko acquiring some sort of medicinal root from a high-school professor who studies her plane of origin, which is apparently makai, or the devil realm, because absolutely nothing can possibly be as it seems in this show. Also he’s supposedly spoken about Kikko with her mother the queen of the devil realm HOW DO YOU EVEN-

*ahem*

After the credits, we pick up where Kikko collapsed at the end of the previous episode, after Claude has apparently vanished and Kikko has regained consciousness to be joined by Jiro and Emi from the Bureau and Shiba and the Sciencers from the fuzz. The group discovers that the hospital was the site of disturbing superhuman experiments and returns home to brood on this information.

Kikko gives Jiro the photo that Claude gave to her, prompting Jiro to investigate the person in it with him, his foster father and Emi. He is told that the young man was his friend, Jin, but that Jin was killed after being abducted by the Rainbow Knight.

Kikko later makes a visit in the present to the high school from the prologue to acquire some more medicinal root (I wish I knew if it was supposed to look like something in particular) when a Russian superhuman crash-lands into a nearby partially-built structure. Claude, the local police, the Bureau, and the SDF converge on their location. Kikko, slipping into some combination of self-deception and influence from Claude, aids him in the ensuing clash, and the two escape together.

One of Emi’s yokai traces Claude’s scent (presumably from a cloak left at the previous scene), and Jiro moves in to confront him. Claude, on a phone call, tricks professor Hitoyoshi into revealing the truth about the Rainbow Knight incident to Jiro. He then reveals himself to be both Jin and the devil-realm researching high-school professor, and, when the chief arrives to attempt to defuse the situation, Claude reveals him for the alien that the audience has known him to be for some time.

Episode Review:

This showwwww.

Let me start over.

Merry Christmas, folks. I hope you all got something you wanted – I got some of what I asked for [in my last review], in the form of a wider perspective on the Rainbow Knight incident. A couple of weeks ago, though, I had my hopes that this show would wrap itself up by the end of the year dashed by the reveal of a second season. I suppose it’s for the best – depending on what the ultimate scale is, maybe the show will end up with some breathing room. It’s certainly still moving at a mile a minute now.

This episode in particular is so tightly packed with goings-on that are obviously key to the narrative or that simply follow from previous events that I’m having a hard time picking out things to comment on. For instance, Master Ultima’s warnings of war, while surely serious, are, narratively, something we probably won’t have to really worry about until next season. Similarly, the ad agency guy talking about selling impressions instead of goods (which is a real shift in advertising philosophy that actually occurred during this era) feels like a piece to a puzzle that we won’t even have all of the pieces to until, again, next season. Really, it feels like the latter exchange is in here because it contains an implied title drop:

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That’s Fantasies as in Gensou as in Phantasmagoria, in a
conversation about impressions of Superhumans, or Choujin.
Apologies for killing the bit, but I thought it might not be obvious.

One thing of particular interest to me is the brief but deliberate beat in the prologue focused on Ullr’s unsure reaction to the assertion that Kikko is a superhuman of justice because she gains energy from human happiness.  Makes you wonder if mother Hoshino might not have been completely on the level with this guy.

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Why yes, the princess of the devil realm is fueled by happiness, and not in any way
that is at all similar to the Hadoken from 8-Bit Theater or Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

On an unrelated note, I was tickled when I noticed (on my second watch) that the bit with Kikko and Ullr reading the sixties-styled manga (which is already adorable) is pillar-boxed to full-screen.

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I like it; it’s subtle.

Now, at the very least, this episode is pretty definitively setting up the season finale to be Jiro’s violent resignation from the Superhuman Bureau, which is all we can really ask for at this point. I appreciate the number of cards currently on the table, and I’ll count it a win if we figure out a) how much and what kind of influence Claude really has over Kikko, and b) what the significance is of the ad lady trailing Jiro and Emi to the house at the end of this episode.

Episode Summary:

This episode, like pretty much all the ones that have come before it, seems like it’s moving a little bit too fast, but the drama beats are on point. Now that we’ve got an entire second season to figure out what’s going on with the war, the ad agency, and Jiro’s future quest to assemble a rag-tag group of renegade heroes to take on the government, I guess for the time being I’ll just strap myself in and enjoy the ride (and start making a spreadsheet to refer to when the second season actually comes out. Good Lord, this show is dense).


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