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12 days of anime #9 – The taste of lies [Concrete Revolutio]

17.12.2015

CR 07 - earth chan

My mind is a mess. My thoughts are so unorganised I don’t know whether I can pull off a blog post that makes sense. As I contemplate my profound insufficiency, the chaotic mess links me to one convoluted piece of narrative that is Concrete Revolutio.

Concrete Revolutio seems like it has a thousand things to state but couldn’t make heads or tails of its own concepts. Eventually the series plunges into the grey mishmash of black and white threads succeedingly woven into one giant ball of twine. It is easier to list; it is however a headache to link. The same as me typing these words in order to sound cool but couldn’t point to any graspable connections. Connections are troublesome when one needs to articulate them. I’m not even sure where to start.

There’s one thought which, to me, has resonated throughout the year – that the world keeps sending us conflicting messages. If not conflicting, imagine we are doing 10 or 20 jigsaws at the same time, then one piece of information just pops up and we have no idea which jigsaw it belongs to. Okay, let me try harder to arrive at the main point of this post. Sometimes people are overloaded by facts. When that time comes, many of us turn to fiction.

This is a good year for escapism. Shirobako, which I consider a prominent candidate for anime of the year, is a candy-coloured pill that dutifully offers comforting solutions to challenges. Hibike Euphonium, my favourite, grants me a fantastic romance story between soul mates. Shimoneta goes hand in hand with it shameless competitor Prison School in providing a weekly dose of guilty pleasure.

And then we have Gakkou Gurashi that probably refers to escapism. By applying a structure that jumps between slice of life and zombie apocalypse, Gakkou Gurashi  tickles all those who enjoy aforementioned series or similar products. We are like a certain character in the series who willingly submits herself to the fictional world of happy school life and thereby becomes a burden to sane friends. Around this time I also got to play The Stanley Parable. Anime viewers may feel a little itching with Gakkou Gurashi for its implication, but the series later pays off with thrills, character development, and a heart-warming conclusion. The Stanley Parable, however, is a different beast that gives players an experience similar to a slap in the face. Good year to ponder on escapism indeed.

CR 07 - uso no aji

Throughout its course, Concrete Revolutio laments the crumbled ideals of a child that this world is clear-cut, fair, simple or easy, which it is not. Every childish figure who thinks of justice as black and white is punished by the series. Fuurouta kills off the bugmen because he thinks they are against humanity, only to face his massacre sin several years later. Jaguar has to hunt and eliminate his younger self regardless of a time paradox, because his later worldview opposes the former. Earth-chan saves whoever in need but is powerless in judging conflicting actions. She couldn’t judge lies, which are at the heart of the grown-ups’ world.

My favourite anime moment of this year is when Kikko the witch introduces “lies” to Earth-chan in the forms of candies/sleeping pills. A brilliant way to phrase the mess we have gotten ourselves into.

Episode 7 of Concrete Revolutio, besides showcasing Earth-chan’s superpower and determination, drops some hints that human’s crime can be unmanageable to the child android. Earth-chan solves environmental problems by bending chimneys of factories, and based on the sad look on her face, perhaps deep down she is conscious of the solution’s futility. Her mind is programmed to deem the lying Judas as bad; this same mind gets baffled when Judas rescues people, which should be a good action. The black and white mindset becomes unbearable. At last, Earth-chan has to come to terms with lies. Or dreams. Or imagination. Or fiction. That is her way to compromise.

I love how Concrete Revolutio does not comment further on this detail (the series is already very busy anyway). The thought of it is just beautiful. Those candies are evil since they are called lies and offered by a young witch. They even forewarn the recipient of addiction with the promise to lull them to sleep. On the other hand, they are also soothing since they lead Earth-chan to a new world, a world of dreams and human desires, and serve as an upgrade for her handicapped programming. It’s a good thing we know not what happens to Earth-chan later (apart from her joining forces with Jirou), so the use of lies is thus open for interpretation. But talking from experience, seemingly a messy mind may be one destination too, after consuming jugs after jugs of lies.

CR 07 - the lie

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