The first time I saw “Concrete Revolutio” was at the Daisuki industry panel at Anime Expo 2015. The director was there to promote the show specifically for Daisuke, which is why it surprised me when I saw the first video pop up on Funimation’s site first. Still my first impression at AX2015 was, “so it’s FLCL with a more cohesive storyline”, and I wasn’t too far off the mark. The first episode of this show is all over the place in terms of anime genre’s, but it keeps you interested by giving you more about the world little by little. The end of the episode ends on a cliffhanger that is sure to bring you back for the next episode at least.
It begins in an small dinner where we meet Kikko Hoshino (a waitress) and Jiro Hitoyoshi (the customer). Jiro propositions Kikko to help him in a sting operation against an “industrial spy” who is attempting to make a deal with Japan’s top scientist. We flash forward to a weird scene of a slightly older Kikko trying to track down Jiro on a train, but we soon come back to the dinner. In this dinner the “spy” and the scientist are meeting, and the scientist recieves a package. Before he leaves, Jiro tells Kikko to take the package, and we find out that the “spy” is in fact a hostile alien (“S” Planetarian). Then the show reaches into the grab bag of anime genres and pulls out “Magical Girl”. That’s right Kikko is a magical girl, complete with transformation scene and small talking magical creature.
After the package is taken the “S” Planetarian grows to the size of a skyscraper, and another giant alien (Grosse Augen) fights the bad alien (kaiju genre). Jiro drives to their battle and his car transforms into a mech, because apparently at this point the acid was really hitting the writer. With Jiro’s help Grosse Augen brings down the “S” Planetarian in a scene strait out of 80’s mech anime. After this Grosse Augen offers his hand in appreciation, but to Kikko’s horror Jiro cuts Grosse Augen’s finger and sprays it with a strange liquid. This liquid is used to track him with another super powered individual. It turns out Grosse Augen had possessed a willing human when he crash landed on earth, but Jiro has to be rid of him to ensure humanity’s safety. Jiro separates the two, and sends Grosse Augen back to his world. When Kikko asks about the human Grosse Augen had possessed, Jiro implies that he died in the separation.
For her part in helping Jiro, Kikko is invited to join the Super Human Bureau. This Bureau is in place to protect super humans, since the super humans protect humanity. Flash forward again to Kikko chasing Jiro. Kikko discovers that the man that was previously Grosse Augen was placed in the defeated “S” Planetarian by Jiro rather than killed. This apparently went against the Super Human Bureau, and this is apparently why Jiro is on the run. The episode ends with a befuddled Kikko wondering how to respond to the Super Human Bureau’s invitation (in the past) to join them. All together an interesting, if a bit widespread story that lends quite a bit of potential to this season.
Writing out the story I watched really makes me realize how crazy this first episode was. It starts out with some talk of espionage, then quickly moves into insanity. There are aliens that can grow to the size of kaiju (giant monsters), a magical girl, and even a car that change into a mech. Add to that the time-hopping factor of the show, and you get an episode that keeps you on your toes the whole way through. With the fast paced action and genre switching, I think the color palette fits nicely to give you a sense of “organized chaos” if you will. It’s as if the artists want you to feel like this world is a mess of clashing genre’s, but behind the scenes they are moving everything according to the script. It’s an interesting feel from the plain total chaos I got from FLCL.
Ending where it did, this first episode opens up a wealth of mystery for the next eleven episodes to unravel. What is the relationship between science and magic in this world? How exactly did Jiro go from Bureau agent to man on the run? What is that creature that resides in Kikko’s cleavage? It was surprising to have a show that introduced a major character of the world, then dismiss him all in the first episode. Grosse Augen is reported by Kikko and some background characters as a well established defender of humanity, and within the first episode he’s gone. One has to wonder if he’ll come back at any point in the show. It would also be nice to see Kikko’s backstory, especially her start as a magical girl. There is also the case of the characters in the Bureau we haven’t met yet, but I’m sure we’ll get to know them by episode two.
I will admit that I am worried about this show to a degree. The number of possible story lines in this show makes it very ambitious indeed. With that comes the possibility the potential for plot-lines to windup left open by the time this show ends. That could just be fear from the previous season shows (like GANGSTA), but if there was an anime in danger of being overly ambitious this season it would be “Concrete Revolutio”. Still from this point I’d say the show presents itself well, and has the ability to be this seasons break out hit. This is a show I’m positive the anime community will be watching closely, including myself of course. Hopefully it delivers the quality experience the first episode seems to imply, but the only way to know is to watch.
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!