At this moment, I don’t think any of you would be surprised to hear that my brain has two different sides on how I feel like I can enjoy something. I really do like watching brilliant series which explore concepts in some interesting and fantastic ways. At the same time, I really enjoy over the top series with tons of explosions and spectacle if the characterization is at least passable first. Combining both of those together is why I’m am an anime fan if not a mecha anime fan. Concrete Revolutio feels like that sort of combination of the too. It looks like a mess with its seemingly unpredictable episode to episode narrative and large variety of characters, but it’s somehow very thought out. Each episode has hints and hooks that builds up to something larger. That’s the spoiler free review.
Concrete Revolutio is produced by Studio Bones and is split into two cours which leads to 24 episodes in total. The first season is 13 episodes and Last Song, the second season, is 11 episodes. Lastly, the show itself is created by the infamous (in a good way) Sho Aikawa who wrote scripts for famous things like Angelic Layer, the original Fullmetal Alchemist, Martian Successor Nadesico, and a wide variety of anime of various quality. I didn’t even know this fact when I first watching it but it makes a lot of sense in hindsight. If you know those series, then you would know that you are in for a good and unique time when watching this one. Of course, the series itself came out right before or around the time of My Hero Academia, so there are some animation similarities between too. Whoa man. I’m sorry for geeking out a bit with this one. I’m just excited to write about this show.
Starting in the mythical era Japanese era of Apotheois in the year of 41 or just 1962 AD, Japan alongside the rest of the world is filled all sorts of super human and super natural figures. When I say this, I’m saying that the world is filled with giant robot pilots, kaiju, witch girls, time travelers, espers, aliens, cyborgs, ghosts, demons, super powered robots, tokusatsu characters of different types, and I haven’t even covered all of them because this is on the top of my head. Of course, normal people don’t know about them somehow. When you ask what genre this series is, you can possibly say all of them. In a very Men in Black way of handling them, they are kept under wraps by the Superhuman Bureau. If they cause too much damage, they are eliminated. Simple as that. Or so we think.
The show follows along the protagonist Jirou Hitoyoshi whose past is mysterious to himself as he recruits members into the Superhuman Bureau and that Bureau joining him as they investigate different super humans cases and assess how dangerous each one is. In the first episode, Concrete Revolutio breaks so many genre conventions by Jirou outing Witch Girl Kikko Hoshino who was in her secret identity working as a waitress before she transforms and helps Jirou hunt down a person selling technology from Planet S. So instantly you have this magical girl and spy mysterious jammed together in a way you wouldn’t expect and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention a flash world to the future where Jirou is not a part of the super human bureau and some more questioning of super heroes. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of ride this show is, I don’t know what to say to you. It gets more interesting from there.
When I mentioned earlier how this show is a mixture of smart and ridiculous/intense at the same time, that is beginning of what I meant. Concrete Revolutio is a series that happens when you throw in 1960’s anime characters and 1960’s Japanese politics together when examining what it means to be a hero. It gives us case after case on different aspects of heroism. The show is very deceptively episodic at first. Each episode in the first season examines a new character, but it also carries characters that previous appeared with it as it builds its crazy world and it turns into a heavy load. The second season builds upon all of this. The politics involving students riots and the US occupation of Japan are heavily present in the show’s story and themes as well..
The amazing thing is that somehow all of this mixing of genres, character types, politics, and everything else in a seemingly chaotic mess works somehow. It’s pretty impressive how it does it. The main life line in the series is the protagonist himself, Jirou. A guy with a mysterious past who pilots a four-legged robot called Equus from a normal sports car to throw in Transformers references. Plus, he has a hidden beast inside of him. Part of the show is Jirou uncovering his past and the current him reacting to all that is found out. I mean, everything he has done plays heavily into the show’s story. You can almost say he’s the reason why this all happened, but that is something you need to figure out. You can uncover all of that yourself when you watch the series hopefully. If you want to. Just be sure to bring your Durarara hats to keep track of all the characters and plot lines. I needed to calibrate myself to the show in the beginning.
The series also examines the different sides of Jirou through different characters in the Superhuman Bureau personified. Kikko is an immortal witch girl with a good heart but a chaotic power underneath her who can be called Jirou’s super heroism. On the other side, Emi is an immortal yokai and represents Jirou’s bad side. She’s known Jirou forever. Fuurota is an immortal ghost boy who examines Jirou’s kiddish nature and a reminder of Jirou to always be himself. Lastly, there is Hyoma who built Jirou’s Equuz and other things and could be considered Jirou’s enabler? That’s hard to figure out though. I also don’t want to say much about Hyoma other then he’s cool because he is a super human Jaguar person time traveler. Believe when I say that doesn’t even spoil everything about him. Each of them is a fun character.
With all of that talk, I just love how this show works. A show with all sorts of retro character designs with different powers on display, the show really needs to be an artistic and animation power house in order to keep with everything. Somehow, Studio Bones is able to do it and each episode is a spectacle in it’s own way while keeping it all very era specific. All in different ways from massive magical gates to character and robot transformations, to display of energy and magical beams that carry tons and tons of impact. Everything fits in a very unique art style to keep all the characters similar enough to fit together in their universe, but also referencing characters and heroes from that era masterfully with a very pop art kind of color pallet and background designs. Each character is distinct and memorable in their own way.
I do have to mention the mechanical design because Concrete Revolutio has a lot of mecha in it. Can I just mention how much I love how many mecha appear in this show? The Equus itself is great in how it’s designed and moves in a creative and unbelievable way that somehow works. It runs, it jumps, it flies, and combines in some greatest mechanical design that Studio Bones has done in a while and that’s not all of it. There are a lot of super robot designs from that era in the how itself that also combine and come in a lot of different sizes, shapes, and abilities with the older style mecha pilot suits. I just can’t guys. This show is so cool in this particular way and I can’t help but love all of it. Sometimes I feel like this show was designed for people like me. I know it’s not, but still.
Something tells me that you know what I’m going to say for this show, it’s a solid watch. It took me an episode or two to sync up with the story with my Durarara and Baccano hats for it, but once I did I was able to follow it pretty easily enough with some repeated episode viewing for clarity. The story of Jirou Hitoyoshi and his thousands of super powered friends from different places in this show. This show is just something else in a lot of ways. Even the weaker episodes have unique things happening. Heck, this show even looked at Code Geass and said “no” to a lot of what that show did story wise. (I didn’t have anywhere else to say that.) So yes, I admit this show isn’t for everyone. It can be a confusing ride if you don’t find your own path in it in the first few episodes before it gets busier. If you are into everything I said, then you are set for a good time. Thumbs up!
Lol, Jirou and Kikko with a hat XD
To offer a correction Scott, it’s not that normal people don’t know about the superhumans, but rather that people aren’t allowed to talk about them. They aren’t afforded basic rights, which is why so much of the series is focused on the protest for said rights.
We watched this pretty close together and I largely agree that the show just does a LOT. Even when it has a weak episode, it doesn’t feel bad which is largely due to the sheer variety episode-to-episode. The ending of the series is a letdown, however, as it builds to all of these themes and ideas but focuses them down to the most boring common denominator. Don’t get me wrong, the show is well-worth the ride, but it’s disappointing to see it can’t fully deliver on all of its promise.
As you mention, the series pulls from just about every era of animation possible. The distinct designs keep everyone clear but also make it immediately obvious what they are alluding to, even if you aren’t an avid fan of Japanese animation or manga. I mean to say, the designs feel referential even without context, but never lack their own identity.
If there’s anything that might convince others to stick around, it’d be for the unique qualities of the show. The characters, the method in which the story is told, and the volume of plots it attempts. All of it comes together to create something that I truly haven’t experienced before after years of watching anime, so I consider that a huge win. As I mentioned, it doesn’t stick the landing 100%, but this is a series where the journey outweighed the destination.
Finally, you know I gotta say it: Earth-chan is best girl, no debate :p
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What else was I supposed to put there?
I feel like I didn’t get that because we don’t spend a lot of time with any actually normal people. Like one episode when we follow normal people and then the super human bureau shows up on the side would have been great.
I didn’t mind the ending myself because it did feel put together well enough for a train that has no brakes on it.
Yeah, they put a lot of work into these character designs and they are really fabulous designs.
She is pretty great. Best girl by a mile.
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“She is pretty great. Best girl by a mile.”
It’s not that I’m disagreeing, per se, but I was always partial to Kino.
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Let’s be honest here, there isn’t any bad girls at all. Kino is great too! 😀
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Glad we agree on what’s important XD
This sounds ace, I’ve nearly taken a proper look a few times, definitely will one day now 🙂
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