Does Concrete Revolutio Have What It Takes To Be The Superhero Anime We Need?

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And speaking of superhero stuff, who else is hyped for the new Jessica Jones coming out tomorrow? I sure fucking am.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t fair of me to dismiss Concrete Revolutio outright based on the first episode. But y’know, in addition to all the odds stacked against it based on the staff alone, when said staff says they’re going to take an approach similar to a work you really enjoy (Aikawa literally name-dropped Watchmen in regards to this thing), you can’t help but feel skeptical that he’s going to miss the point entirely. And when said first episode confirms that to be the case…well let me ask you guys one question: are you watching the show right now? I kind of doubt it given how utterly lacking in popularity it’s gotten on MAL and other sites. Not to mention, One-Punch Man is airing in the same season; and whilst they weren’t very good, the majority of us watched Rolling Girls, Charlotte, Parasyte, Gatchaman Crowds Insight, etc. So it’s not like anime fans are starved for superhero stuff this year.

Anyways, ever since its lackluster premiere, Concrete Revolutio has done a far better job of nailing down the Watchmen feeling it wanted to achieve on announcement, as well as nailing down everything its predecessors from this year got wrong. It’s Blood Blockade Battlefront if the characters actually had flaws that drive the story. It’s Gatchaman Crowds Insight if it pushed its superhero media agenda with forward momentum. It’s One-Punch Man if its crazy world was actually being in service of more than just cheap jokes. The animation is crap (for all its pop, there are alot of still frames) and the execution can be a little wonky, but there is no shortage of energetic/expressive presentation when it’s required for the story to have it.

Now obviously, I’m not saying this will go on forever. Even if it wasn’t Bones we’re dealing with here, I make it a rule to never assume a good thing will stay good until it’s actually over. Nevertheless, I’ve finally found a show this season I like more than Ushio and Tora (and for the few of you who are still watching it, that latest arc was pretty sweet, huh?) and the only time it’s bored me since its premiere is that episode which focused on that boring one-off comic relief band, which was still interesting on a conceptual level mind you. So I really do have hopes that Concrete can keep the momentum up for however long it’s running because it’s got my attention like no other, not just in comparison to Fall’s output, but to this entire year in general.

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So if you’re not aware, Concrete Revolutio starts out like pretty much every other Bones show in that it’s about a group of talented individuals who keep the peace around their area in their own quirky ways, right down to introducing us to said group by focusing on an outsider who ends up joining them after a series of coincidences exploit their hidden talents that the group wants to utilize. From then on, the series has been taking a sort of episodic approach to things as it focuses on exploring its superhero kitchen sink world through various characters and the conflicts they bring whilst hinting at a larger plot in the background. But unlike the other shows I called out this year for doing this approach and sucking for it, Concrete is more South Park in its execution of the waiting game (topical-wise; not humor-wise bar from maybe how easily manipulated the characters can be). Whilst I’m interested in seeing what comes of the future plot, the show isn’t banking on teasing the audience with a story that may or may not pan out as its sole entertainment draw. This show is aware that the functional episodic anime with a larger story in the midst has conflicts, character, and themes every episode whilst the good ones push everything the new Garo is doing to unexpected heights.

It is the kind of show you’re going to have to really pay attention to get into, I’m not going to lie; but you don’t have to pay attention too hard. I have a pretty poor memory as is, not even remembering Earth-chan in the latest episode until someone pointed out to me that she made appearances here and there in the beast arc. Or was it the episode centered on the policeman? Yeah, this is a show I’m definitely gonna have to rewatch sometime in the future to get the whole picture, assuming the show convinces me in the long run that it deserves a second glance. Still, even if I didn’t remember who Earth-chan was prior, that didn’t stop me from loving her story as a flawed female (I think) version of Astro Boy by way of Superman. When you can appreciate an individual episode without having to remember too much about the on-going continuity and what happened prior, that’s how you know a show is good.

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Of course, it helps when your generally likable main cast helps to drive the plot. And whilst I wouldn’t say the main cast is amazing or all that memorable, they’re generally fun characters who definitely have more to them than quirks. I’ve talked before how I like Noragami’s characters more when their stereotypes are just a framework for larger issues and a lot less when they just act like said stereotypes, and Concrete’s Investigation Bureau barely has any of the latter. The closest is probably the ghost kid, but he doesn’t get too much to do after his introductory episode, so that helps a bit. They’re still going to need more development in the future before I can form an emotional attachment to them, I’m not going to lie (Earth-chan and the policeman dude draw more sympathies from me than Jiro or Kikko right now), but what they’re definitely not is boring. These characters make mistakes brought out by their flawed personalities and unlike Noragami, said mistakes actually stick. Why is it so hard for anime to write that sort of stuff anyways? What is up with the fanbase and their love for the status quo?

I guess I can’t end this pre-analysis without mentioning the animation/art style, which has proven to be a turn-off for quite a number of people due to how poppy it is. Can’t say I was a big fan of it either when I saw it in the previews let alone right now, but whilst it may not be One-Punch Man levels of fluid, it’s expressive and I can clearly see what’s going on, which is all I want as long as the writing is strong enough to back it up. And Concrete’s animation is definitely not soulless. Concrete Revolutio as a whole is as far from soulless as it comes. With only seven out of twenty-six (I think. Details are kind of sketchy regarding how long this show is) episodes out and the show still technically in build-up mode, I’m not ready to express the same amount of sycophantic praise this show gets from its very vocal minority. Plus, I think I’m the only fan (if you can call me that) who cares about the spotty plotting this show frequently utilizes to carry out its goals.

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But I’m liking what I’m seeing so far, and that’s praise-worthy enough for now.

Minor Quips

  • I’m still not sure whether Jojo counts as a superhero show or not.
  • Speaking of South Park, man this latest season has been awesome. One of its best in a long time, assuming its epic finale doesn’t suck monkey chunks.
  • This show getting released on the same day as One-Punch Man within the span of a few hours really hasn’t helped the latter, has it?
  • To be fair to the new Garo, it has the same writer as this anime and if he has to sacrifice the quality of one of his works in order for his other work to kick ass, then so be it. Although why on earth did he have to get assigned to two 2-cour shows at once?
  • Yes Bless, I stole that Earth-chan image from you. When I googled “concrete revolutio earth-chan”, your images were amongst the first to appear.
  • Yeah, I’m doing all my PSs and such in this format now.
  • One more “Jessica Jones comes out tomorrow!” hype shout-out for the road.

17 responses to “Does Concrete Revolutio Have What It Takes To Be The Superhero Anime We Need?

  1. Wow, maybe I should watch this. I’ve also been disappointed with One Punch Man and most of the other shows from this season.

    And yes, I can’t wait for Jessica Jones. Some of the reviews say that it’s even better than Daredevil.

    • No promises it’ll stay good given it’s Bones (and less we not forget, Parasyte also started strong only to collapse at the end), but if you want entertainment from anime now and can stomach a little choppiness, Concrete should satisfy enough. I can’t think of anybody who stuck with the show (not many mind you) who didn’t like its current direction.

  2. Maybe I should check out Concrete Revolutio.

    NOT BEFORE I’ve finished marathoning Jessica Jones though. Daredevil was friggin’ amazing, and this looks even better (I also like the character more). BRING IT ON!

    P.S. And no, I wouldn’t say Jojo counts as a superhero show. Even Rolling Girls is very doubtful for me, also because what few elements has are more of the “tokusatsu” flavour, which while being superhero, is hardly something rare to see in anime. I think part of the interest in watching stuff like One Punch Man is seeing a new injection of traditional western superhero themes and clichés into a Japanese context.

    • I think part of the interest in watching stuff like One Punch Man is seeing a new injection of traditional western superhero themes and clichés into a Japanese context.

      Unfortunately, since Concrete is also doing the same thing whilst airing in the same season on the same day, that appeal is somewhat lessened. Now Concrete is more serious whilst OPM is a comedy, but my point is that the latter can’t bank on that as its only draw. Otherwise, it’s just gimmicky.

      • Heh, I really should check it out then. I still find amusement in OPM. It isn’t some work of genius, but it manages to strike an interesting equilibrium between fun and awesome for me. It’s a popcorn watch for sure, but I like my popcorn watches now and then (also the manga really, REALLY is amazingly well-drawn, but that’s something of a geek appeal).

  3. Upon a closer inspection, I realized I didn’t go deep into the show’s post-war themes or what exactly about its take on the superhero formula is interesting me here. But that can wait for an official review or if I have enough material to make a second intermediary post. This piece of writing was mostly to bring the show’s attention to more people along with further clarification regarding what I generally prefer from my entertainment.

    Plus, when a show is trying to go for a Watchmen feel and is succeeding at it, you tend to have an idea of the show’s substance (and if you don’t know what Watchmen is).

  4. Concrete Revolutio is my second favourite anime this season, after Owarimonogatari. I’m planning to pick up Perfect Insider once it’s completed. A shame Utawaremono has been doing the visual novel approach of dragging the shit out of a simple story. Seven eps in,and I still have no idea what’s the story, and who are important. It’s not even a good slice of life.

    Frankly, I gave up on Marvel after the first Avenger movie. They get more and more bland, while no tenstion and good action can be found. Planning to check out Daredevil once I have some free time.

    By the way, has OPM has any new jokes or story yet? Good animation can only take me so far.

    • Frankly, I gave up on Marvel after the first Avenger movie. They get more and more bland, while no tenstion and good action can be found.

      Still watching their films personally. Still getting bored to tears. The Netflix shows are kind of the dark horse in their canon though, which is why Daredevil is so critically acclaimed. It’s like a TV version of The Dark Knight. Can’t speak for Jessica Jones though since I haven’t seen it.

      I’m planning to pick up Perfect Insider once it’s completed.

      Personally, I’m finding the characters to be too unlikable to enjoy that show. Not to mention, the pacing puts me to sleep.

      By the way, has OPM has any new jokes or story yet?

      No.

    • @fgfdfh: I have no clue why I am watching the new utawerumono I agree mostly with your assessment, its also banking far too much on nostalgia.
      I guess its kind of endearing but I know I’m not going to finish it out.
      Even though its the black sheep of the franchise I’m somewhat enjoying young black jack.

  5. Probably my most favorite original show this season. I mean, it’s getting better every episode (well, that is if you ignore episode six but it’s far from worse) and if a show was able to channel a sense of melancholy after I watch it, then that is a good sign. Thankfully, this show has also characters which are not one note.

    I have no idea about Watchmen but the way on how heroes are portrayed in this show is far superior than the stylish but dry Kekkai Sensen, the underwhelming Gatchaman Crowds sequel, the schizophrenic Charlotte and the only-good-for-visuals One Punch Man. Heck, it’s even a better mystery series than Sakurako-san if we’re curious as to why Jiro left the Bureau. 😀

    Wait, this is a two-cour show? Good luck with Bones. Stalker-chan’s estimate showed that it will be the least selling anime series this season. Which is really sad.

    • As long as I can eventually own the DVDs/blu-rays, I don’t really care how well it’s performing. Nevertheless, I wish Sho Aikawa’s shows got a better reception than it did this season. I don’t think the new Garo is as bad as people say it is.

      Heck, it’s even a better mystery series than Sakurako-san if we’re curious as to why Jiro left the Bureau.

      Low bar, even for anime, dude.

  6. I may have to give concrete revolutio a look, it surprised me that this appealed to you as it surprised me you also enjoyed ushio to tora, like yourself I have never been overly interested in the shounen action genre. But if these shows managed to catch your attention then maybe I’ll look pass my bias.

    Though I do share your displeasure with one punch man, can’t help but feel that my lack of enjoyment of it is influenced by my dislike of the shounen type shows its sending up, afterall its hard to enjoy a parody of a genre that doesn’t much appeal to you.

    The drama for subete was no masterpiece, the acting was quite poor and its still fairly self-indulgent but the episodes that focused on the animes current storyline moved a whole lot better than this borefest adaptation and I am dropping it.

    Eh watchmen, I’m mixed on that I like a few of the characters and the cold war stuff but found the comic and movie to be too long, with the movie only having mediocre acting and not really digging the art in the comic and feel that it doesn’t strike me as much as Frank Millers Batman work or other stories by Alan Moore .
    I find the marvel films a big mixed bag with an emphasis on getting tired of them.

    I just completed Jessica Jones just there,I appreciated the well rounded hard ass, damaged female lead, strong but sympathetic, the villain is a good threat both on AND offscreen and is played in an effectively creepy and campy way by David Tenant and I think, partly due to his abilities he may be the most worthwhile villain in the marvel canon if not for Wilson Fisk. Some of the side character dramas pretty decent too.
    However I felt that the lead actress could have been a bit better, the action is cool and all but not AS good as daredevil (hard to beat that awesome single take scene).
    The Marvel character Luke Cage appears in this show and while I loved seeing him here I do wish he’d gotten more screentime. The first three episodes and some later on are where its at its strongest, I like the noir, atmospheric feel of it at the start and I liked that it was kind of depressing and dark. I’d go in expecting a good show but not something that beats out daredevil.

    • I’ll say this as a criticism toward Jessica Jones though, these Marvel things really do need to work on having some better dialogue at times.

    • Concrete Revolutio isn’t a shonen action series though. As for Ushio and Tora, I like it fine, but its age is apparent and the first thirteen or so episodes are hit and miss.