We had a bunch of very fun episodes this week. Rallying from a weaker start, the conclusion to Red Hot Chili Pepper was one more power episode of Diamond is Unbreakable, and My Hero Academia refused to give any ground in its big All Might battle. And we also had a pair of solid season endings, with Concrete Revolutio and The Lost Village both impressing in their own extremely, extremely, extremely incomparable ways. No Flying Witch did result in a bit of a comfy shortage, but I hear there’s a comfy surplus coming up next week, so things should even out in the end. Let’s get right to it and RUN ‘EM DOWN!
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure served up a five course meal of JoJo delights this week, easily making up for last week’s poor showing. Red Hot Chili Pepper’s user was one in a long line of wonderfully eccentric characters, with his guitar theming serving basically no purpose aside from making him that much sillier. His fight with Josuke was a somewhat more conventional Stand battle, but Crazy Diamond is just a far more interesting Stand than most of the hero powers so far, and so there was still plenty to enjoy. On top of that, the visuals were back in peak form this week; lots of great stills, strong colors, and dynamic transitions to keep things interesting.
The episode’s last few minutes were just a sequence of delights all around, as we once again got an opponent hitting Okuyasu in his greatest weak point – not being terribly bright. I really like that, in spite of having a completely absurd Stand, Okuyasu’s “battles” pretty much all come down to him failing to think things through.
And finally, the meeting between Josuke and Joseph was legitimately endearing. Diamond is Unbreakable has consistently had more emotional resonance to it than the prior arcs, since its protagonists are so likable and their problems so mundane, and so seeing Josuke come to terms with this unexpectedly frail father was pretty nice. I could have down without the show double-underlining his choice not to fix Joseph’s cane, but hey, this is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Check your subtlety at the door.
Kiznaiver stuck to its guns this week, meaning it was strong in all those lovely little character moments and kinda wonky when it came to the bigger plot movements. Kiznaiver actually feels like the kind of stories I write, when I’m not overtly trying to avoid leaning into my own tendencies. Plot’s just this kind of fidgety thing going on in the background, I’ve got all these tiny little conversations and moments to create. Surely the narrative will take care of itself, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not actually possible to 100% get away with that strategy, and Kiznaiver suffers for it – Sonozaki’s rebellion here felt pretty empty, for example. But man, all those little conversations on the way feel pretty great.
All Might fully arrived in this week’s My Hero Academia, rescuing his students and taking on the bio-engineered Nobu. Having read the comic and watched the rest of the series so far, it was easy to see pretty much exactly how this episode was going to play out, but it was still fun in action. The most noteworthy thing here was likely the music – My Hero Academia’s soundtrack has been fire all season long (apparently scored by the same person handling Kiznaiver, the season’s other best soundtrack), and the dramatic accompaniment to lines like “The deeper the darkness, the more dazzling the light shines” made them even more fist-pumping than usual. It was also nice to see some creative animation, too – the fight between Nobu and All Might is actually pretty boring on paper, and so the show spiced it up with some great spinning camera work. Things were still slow, as they’ve always been (oh hey, guess it’s time for a two minute flashback in the middle of a boss fight), but as usual, it’s hard to keep this show down.
Space Patrol Luluco reached its version of a climax this week, as Luluco’s conviction earned her a Gunbuster pose moment and a reunion with Nova. I liked that this episode was able to do a bunch of visually fun stuff, but honestly, I’m pretty checked out on this show at this point. I like the idea of valuing a first love because it’s important to you, but I don’t care about Luluco, I certainly don’t care about Nova, and referencing stuff like Gunbuster just makes me wish I was watching that instead. Maybe if the show hadn’t dawdled through those awful reference episodes I’d be more engaged, but Luluco has never really had much emotional weight – it was at its best when it was making goofy, punchy jokes and then moving on to the next thing. The concept is fine, but there is far from enough texture here to make anything feel emotionally strong; Luluco is the outline to a pretty decent show, but is not itself that show.
And The Lost Village ended in fire and glory, offering plenty more of all those weird highlights that have made it such a surreal and charming experience. We got the gift of Lovepon nearly experiencing her own execution, as well as Mitsumune’s biggest character turn being entirely undercut by a stupid waving penguin. And in the end, a good half of the cast pretty much missed the story entirely, spending nearly the whole show lounging around in the village and bickering. It’s likely no other show will ever be equipped to make use of The Lost Village’s innovative “lessons,” but hey, some things are just too ahead of their time. Godspeed, Unlucky Hippopotamus.
Concrete Revolutio did not have a perfect finale. That’s to be expected – it was not a perfect show. It’s always had some creaky bits, partially because it’s trying to contain so very much, partially because that’s just the kind of show it is. The ultimate villain here felt a little less indispensable than some of the prior “antagonists,” and the ultimate battle was a little more insular than the student riots.
But small foibles aside, it was a fantastic conclusion to what was easily one of the best shows in years. So many characters were given the moments they deserved. So many battles were depicted with staggering beauty. So much was done, so much was said.
How can I not love a show that pulls together decades of history in its fatigued, far-spanning dialogue, and yet somehow ends on a man choosing to give himself up to represent an impossible ideal in a world he loves. How can I not cringe when I hear a line like “if I lose, I am no longer justice” from someone I’ve come to know, understand, and feel for, even as his rationalization proves how much further he has to go. How can I not tear up when a show about the intersection of culture, war, and progress ends up in a direct battle between cynicism and a man extolling the virtues of art and sincerity. There is so much here. So much richness, so much passion, so much humanity and integrity and thought. It draws in so much of the real world, and yet makes for such a compelling self-contained story. It is plagued by reality but still brimming with hope.
Goddamn was this a show. I’m not even sad it’s over, because it did everything it needed to do. Concrete Revolutio, thank you for being here.