What? A Concrete episode with no timeskips at all? Probably the most straightforward episode we’ve gotten so far. Let’s jump right into it.
After last week’s thematically deep dive into the Angel Stars as well as Jiro achieving a new way to control his powers, we move forward a few months in time. The Bureau is brought to Sapporo for the in-universe equivalent at the 1972 Winter Olympics that was housed in, you guessed it, Sapporo. They’re brought to find a way to help Japan’s three star ski jumpers remove a mysterious flower that’s obstructing their participation.
I couldn’t find any information on whether there was any sort of controversy surrounding the 1972 Olympic Ski Jump, at least not before the event. However, Japan did sweep the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the normal ski jump hill in those games, just like our in-universe counterparts would later do. Yukio Kasaya, the gold medalist, would later become a national hero for his efforts.
It’s in light of this, that Koichi Amato’s discussion with Jiro is the most interesting. The surgery and body modifications that Amato mentioned was pressured on him is surely a reference to steroids and their widespread use in the 1970s. Though the most famous abusers of steroids in that time period were East German athletes, that’s not to say that these issues have disappeared since. Not at all. If it’s in baseball, football, cycling and many other sports to be sure, the issue of performance enhancing drugs is another in a long line of issues Concrete brings up that still resonates today.
While today PEDs are looked at through the lens of the individual, in the 1970s these were an issue of national pride. And Japan is no stranger to projecting the best image of itself, whether in the real world or in the world of Concrete. Indeed in-universe, one of the executives in charge of the games mentioned that it’s an important moment for the nation to overcome the riots of four years ago, AKA the Claude vs Jiro riots in Shinjuku in the 43rd year.
The other party involved is a local deity of Sapporo, who has been neglected by the populace as her forest has been cut down for the Games. Frankly, I’m actually rather surprised that Shintoism hasn’t been addressed to this extent so far. The rest of the episode follows in a pretty uncomplicated, relative to its predecessors standards, as Amato appeases the god he shares some history with and brings the Games back to normalcy.
In terms of the ongoing narrative, not much was brought to the table. Unlike the episode with our one-off characters last season, the Mountain Horses, I don’t envision a lot from this episode to be a major factor in the ongoing collision we seem headed toward. In fact, there’s really only two interconnected things that will probably play a part and both involve Emi.
She mentions towards the end of the episode that as a yokai, she feels a stronger connection than most due to the kinds of gods that they faced in this episode. This answers why she was possessed but what’s even more interesting is her next statement, that there are old gods in Tokyo that could bring trouble if a similar occurrence were to happen there. Given this, the episode feels more like a transition episode so that we’ll see these Tokyo gods at a later date and not feel surprised. Jiro’s relationship with the Bureau and vice versa doesn’t change drastically, and I highly doubt we’ll see the Three Birdmen or Amato again, particularly since Amato is not a superhuman, having resisted the surgery/PEDs.
All in all, a solid episode that seems to be table-setting for bigger things. The preview for the next episode seems to bring the Time Police back along with a new alien looking character. Given that Jiro has his scarf, and I believe the Time Police leader joins the Bureau when they’re combined in October, 46th of Shinka Era back in Episode 14 (With Detective Raito), this seems to set the next episode somewhere between then and April, 46th of Shinka Era where Kikko sees Jiro for the first time in a long time way back in the future part of Episode 1. We’ll see if I’m right, see you next week!
14th of Shinka Era: Gigantopitecus Gigantus found on an island in the Indian Ocean. (Episode 4)
December, 16 of Shinka Era: Americans capture an immortal superhero (later determined to be Minoru Hatekayama of the Immortal Family) during the War (Episode 9)
17th of Shinka Era: US Army brings Superhumans to fight the giant beast. (Episode 4)
19th of Shinka Era: An unspecified war ends. (Episode 1)
August, 20th of Shinka Era: The Doctor finds baby Jiro underneath the smoldering wreckage of the Enola Gay. (Episode 13)
29th of Shinka Era: In Tokyo, the doctor finds Emi and a naked Jiro (without left arms locks!) on a bridge after a beast attack. (Episode 4)
January, 34th of Shinka Era: Hiroyuki, the homeless boy, finds the baby Gagon.(Episode 4) At the same time, Jiro’s first encounter with GigantoGon and is saved by Rainbow Knight. (Episode 5, Episode 8)
March, 38th of Shinka Era: Daitetsu Maki incident, Rainbow Knight’s cover is blown and he dies. (Episode 8)
July, 40th of Shinka Era: Judas and the Diamond Eaters. Earth-chan comes and battles Judas. (Episode 7)
Januray, 41st of Shinka Era: The Bureau encounters Gross Augen for the first time. Earliest appearance of Jiro with the locks and bandages on so far. (Episode 4)
June 30, 41st of Shinka Era: Mountain Horses claim this is when they received their superhuman status at the Nippon Budokan. (Episode 6)
July, 41st of Shinka Era: Kikko joins the Bureau, Gross Augen leaves Earth. (Episode 1)
August, 41st of Shinka Era: Fuuruota joins the Bureau, and stops the bug species. (Episode 2)
August-November, 41st of Shinka Era: Beasts begin attacking and many Superhumans appear to defeat them. (Episode 4).
November, 41st of Shinka Era: Kikko and Jiro meet with Beastly Radio Wave. (Episode 4)
February, 42nd of Shinka Era: The robot detective and the female robot incident. (Episode 3)
April, 42nd of Shinka Era: Master Ultima returns from Mars. Beastly Radio Wave is exposed, Jiro activates his locks. (Episode 4)
July, 42nd of Shinka Era: Diving to find the released US Beast. (Episode 5)
June-August (Summer), 42nd of Shinka Era: Earth-chan stops Master Ultima from visiting Japan with his alien beasts. (Episode 7)
August, 42nd of Shinka Era: MegaGon with the Peace Movement. MegaGon goes wild and is stopped by Jiro. (Episode 5)
September, 42nd of Shinka Era: Explosion at the factory. The Immortal Family first investigated by the Bureau. (Episode 9)
October, 42nd of Shinka Era: Fuuruota joins the Mountain Horses as help. (Episode 6). At the same time, Emi meets with Ullr; Kikko and Judas battle Earth-chan and their conflicting ideologies. (Episode 7)
November, 42nd of Shinka Era: Angel Stars have their TV debut. Police and Public Security have endorsed Super Humans, while studying Superhuman Suppression drug, Neynorine. (Episode 6)
December, 42nd of Shinka Era: Kikko meets with the new doctor, Jin Nakayama. (Episode 12)
January, 43rd of Shinka Era: The BL Clan are asked to protect an artifact from The Eye of Lucifer. BL Clan leader revealed to be Daitetsu Maki. (Episode 8)
April, 43rd of Shinka Era: Mr. Jaguar fights the IQ and becomes a time paradox, proving his existence. (Episode 10)
June, 43rd of Shinka Era: Mysterious Knife Claude and the USS Antares. (Episode 11)
Later June, 43rd of Shinka Era: Chief Akita meets with the former head of the Ministry of Defense to discuss the revised Secret Functional Plan. (Episode 11)
August, 43rd of Shinka Era: Kikko meets with Myserious Knife Claude, reveals her true power and Claude reveals his identity. (Episode 11)
Later August, 43rd of Shinka Era: Golubaya Laika shot down, Kikko joins Claude and Chief Akita revealed as an alien. (Episode 12)
Later August, 43rd of Shinka Era: The Superhuman Bureau takes the fall for the Claude incidents (Episode 13)
October, 43rd of Shinka Era: The Student Protests and the Tanker battle in Shinjuku. Jiro and Claude battle. (Episode 13)
Early 44th of Shinka Era: Beast attacks and the craze over Beasts dies down. (Episode 5)
September, 44th of Shinka Era: Surveillance began on the Immortal Family. Battle between the Immortal Family and the American “Transformer”. Jiro’s not with the Bureau anymore. (Episode 9)
October, 44th of Shinka Era: At the Mountain Horses show, Jiro meets with Furuuota to discuss returning to the Bureau, but Jiro refuses. (Episode 6)
December, 44th of Shinka Era: Jiro breaks into the under construction Expo for Rainbow Knight’s helmet. The Fumers join him. Up to this point, Jiro does not have his scarf. (Episode 15)
45th of Shinka Era: Osaka Earth Expo mentioned. (Episode 6)
April, 46th of Shinka Era: Kikko finds and chases down Scarf Jiro. Scarf Jiro refuses to return to the Bureau. (Episode 1)
October, 46th of Shinka Era: The Galactic Inspector and Detective Raito team up to find the S Planetarian. Raito’s inner conflict about justice. (Episode 14)
November, 46th of Shinka Era: Superhuman freedoms are taken away. (Episode 13)
November, 46th of Shinka Era: Scarf Jiro saves Haruka Aki from both the Bureau and Taito Inc. (Episode 15)
January, 47th of Shinka Era: Incident at the Sapporo Olympics with the Three Birdmen. (Episode 16)
February, 47th of Shinka Era: Male robot returns to Japan. Robot detective is disillusioned with Japan, fights Scarf Jiro. (Episode 3)
March, 47th of Shinka Era: Scarf Jiro meets with Detective Raito after their clash. They are allies, for the most part. (Episode 14)
April, 47th of Shinka Era: Scarf Jiro and Judas break into Ikuta Laboratory to find Earth-chan. (Episode 7)
October, 47th of Shinka Era: Scarf Jiro and Earth Chan encounter Hyouma and Daitetsu Maki (Episode 8)
August, 48th of Shinka Era: The bug queen confronts Fuuruota. Scarf Jiro emerges to calm the bug queen and comforts Fuuruota. (Episode 2)
25th Century: Jaguar goes back in time to stop the Advocates of Free History. (Episode 10)
Here we go, the second cour is under way! Let me know if I’ve made a mistake somewhere!