Gatchaman Crowds – 03

Gatchaman Crowds 005

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A lot of my friends have their birthdays around this time, which means I’m extra busy puttering about scavenging for gifts. Anyways, in between trying to bake the perfect treats for my friends I’m still trying to stay up-to-date with anime. I get excited whenever Gatchaman Crowds comes out, so it’s never too hard to stay on top of blogging when you’re covering really great shows.

The heavens must have heard me complaining about Hajime outshining all of the other characters. Lo and behold, this episode gave everyone else got lots of time to shine.While Hajime is still clearly the main focus, she wasn’t barging into every single scene. We see Utsutsu-chan and OD in their natural element, idly chatting without her. Jou engages in solo combat with the kissy-monster. There’s also a lot to take in about the increasingly baffling Rui. I suppose episode 2 was needed to fully cement Hajime’s personality in place so we could then understand the other characters in relation to her. It’s weird. Despite everyone getting their own piece of limelight, they still manage to connect back to Hajime in some way.

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So cute that I can’t NOT use -chan at the end of her name every single time

For example, although we learn more about OD and Utsutsu-chan, it’s largely in relation to how they behave around Hajime. When together, OD relates to Hajime’s obtuse way of thinking incredibly well and they get on like two peas in a pod. When apart, he still talks about the merits of befriending Hajime to Utsutsu-chan. No matter what, she ends up being the topic of conversation. The cute thing we learn about Utsutsu-chan is that she’s not the type to actively go out and make friends (I call that the venus fly trap approach to socializing) and therefore is hesitant to try and be friendly with Hajime. It’s not that she hates people or is surly – she just isn’t outgoing. I think she actually wants to get close to Hajime, but either doesn’t know how or is too lazy (dreamy?) to reciprocate.

One of the big things Hajime is trying to promote within the Gatchaman organization is making friends. She forced Sugane to tag along with her to collage club meetings, and now she’s smothering Utsutsu-chan with attention. Slowly but surely, her morals are being passed on to the other club members. It’s no wonder people are throwing around the “manic pixie dream girl” trope to describe her, because she really has been quite the (manic) catalyst so far. It doesn’t fit her perfectly, but you can’t deny that she’s having much more of an influence on others than other people have on her.

Sugane has spent the most time at her mercy, and seems to have already started to change his previously indomitable stubbornness. For someone so set on killing MESS, he’s surprisingly accepting of Hajime’s new method for subduing them. It’s nice to see him adapt to the change while Paiman is so hard-wired to “KILL EVERYTHING” mode that he literally keels over at the concept of something new. Out of everyone, he’s been the least affected by Hajime’s ways. This is shown as being a very bad thing, and if he was more than a soccerball-sized pile of fur I’d be worried about him meddling and thus screwing things up royally. The overall message seems to be that adapting to change and thinking through each unique situation carefully for a solution is the right thing to do. Once you fall into a routine, you stop thinking about the best way to react. You have to be fluid.

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Again, Hajime preaches like some wise old philosopher about being conscious of your choices in terms of GALAX-usage. Just when Sugane caves in and admits GALAX is great, Hajime turns around and tells him that blindly trusting it is no good either. I’m sure Sugane is very confused, being a very black-or-white/in-or-out kind of guy. I’m glad he’s at least started to accept things like GALAX though. He’s coming around a little bit and admitting that Hajime is right sometimes. To be fair, she’s almost always right though.

I like how she’s this potent agent of change for everyone, but I worry that she might end up being too right. It’s no fun if someone is never wrong. That means Hajime won’t ever get the chance to grow if she’s already a perfect person – unburdened by mistakes or evil deeds. I want her to lead the Gatchaman crew in the right direction, but I also don’t want her to be correct about every single thing. We’ll see. Maybe she’ll continue to be perfect and godmode her way to the final episode and I’ll end up loving it anyways.

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This isn’t your typical Facebook game anymore…

Last but not least on the list of characters episode 3 elaborate on is Rui. She hasn’t even met Hajime, but I can’t help but see some similarities to our bubbly heroine. Or rather, points where the two will be opposed. The thing about Rui is that he carries himself like a villain (the brooding in front of giant monitors and megane glint really sell him as such), he’s a hero. Like Hajime, he wants to improve the world using a mixture of his own wits (GALAX) and his magical powers. We know Hajime has the whole mecha scissor thing going her way, but we don’t know what special power Rui has. He’s very conservative about using it, so it either has a big drawback or is so powerful that he really doesn’t want to rely on something so beyond the scope of mankind. My guess is that the drawback is something like being hard to control or damaging in some way to the 100 hand-selected users. It’s interesting that he has such a strong sense of justice, but goes about it in a much more cynical fashion than Hajime does. I’ll be curious to see how the two interact once they meet.

So far, I see Rui as a hero because he’s saving people and not asking for anything unreasonable in return. I see nothing wrong with wanting to create an Animal Crossing/Twitter hybrid and improving the world. GALAX is really a fun concept for the show, and I’m glad this episode put so much effort into describing it further. I loved seeing the various features such as the all-knowing X, the ability to hack into systems and find out when milk has gone bad, and even alerting nearby professionals when someone is in trouble. Again, X reminds me of Higashi no Eden’s Juiz, a cellphone “receptionist” who will answer your questions and help you out.

The appeal behind GALAX is so strong that I actually wish we had something like that now. Right now. Seriously, imagine needing a dogwalker/dentist/lawyer/prostitute and being able to just ping them? The beauty of the system is that no one is required to respond, yet they still do. GALAX gives everyone a little incentive to be nice to each other, and that’s enough to make people a lot less douchey. It still requires a carrot to be dangled in front of people before they do anything though, which Rui apparently hates. My guess is that his end goal is to either have a GALAX system that functions the same way minus the rewards once humanity has been conditioned enough.

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GALAX has really made things interesting. I know all they did was yell at teachers and unplug vending machines, but that scene in the school felt so energizing. Part of that was probably the already iconic “GATCHMAAAAAN” song playing, but it genuinely felt like an exciting victory. I’m starting to get really pumped up for how they’re going to mix the story with MESS with GALAX and have heroes like Gatchman mixed with average civilians saving the day.

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say the kissy monster (according to MAL he’s called Berg, but we’ve never been formally introduced in the show) is a rogue MESS. The MESS communicate by changing their body shape and what does this guy do? He shapeshifts. The key wrench in my theory here is that he doesn’t make people disappear, he isn’t following the hivemind trend of MESS and he’s not a floating rubix cube. Hmm. Whatever he is, it’s certainly not human.

I’m also concerned about Hajime’s “don’t trust the internet” advice coming back later on. Not everyone has a Hajime to give them worldly advice, so perhaps Rui will send out a false alert on GALAX in the future and completely trick everyone into doing something. He might be given false info by the more-than-just-creepy voice in his head or his near-sentient giant computer. Although MESS are supposedly higher beings, you can’t help but think having a hivemind mentality is bad. And that just might be what happens to the human’s way of thinking if they rely on GALAX too much.

Bonus (if you play Animal Crossing): Show ▼

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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22 Responses to “Gatchaman Crowds – 03”

  1. skylion says:

    What is it with traps not being able to sit like a lady? They just totally hit that seat like a dude…I am all up with you looking delicious, but you got to take the role more seriously….Take cues from Hato-chan….that’s dedication.

    I enjoy your take on him being a hero; it’s a good take, I won’t buy it for a second “O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
    My tables!—Meet it is I set it down
    That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”

    His good works are going for something much larger I think. This is just a feel BTW, I have no evidence to back that up, but Rui is either being taken advantage of by Kissy-Face or is not that alarmed by it.

    “Don’t drink the MILK!”

    Hajime is classic awesome…

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, the same thing happens in Uchouten Kazoku lol. At least he still wears his female clothes indoors most of the time and takes good care of his skin.

      There are so many mysteries he could be anything! So far he hasn’t done a lick of evil though, and he doesn’t seem to be the type with a tendency for outbursts of maniacal laughter or puppy-kicking. I hope he doesn’t get taken advantage of, but it’s probably easy to slip up when you’ve got that much to lose.

      • Joojoobees says:

        Yeah, based on the little we saw in last episode, I was ready for a villain, but this episode makes me think that was too hasty a judgement.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    GALAX is inducing a hivemind influence on people. Rather than thinking and believing in things for themselves, they’re relying on something artificial to give answers and directions which is essentially taking away what makes people human. That’s probably what Hajime is trying to make Sugane understand so he doesn’t overboard because he looks like one to take things literally. OC, how did you manage to end blogging another anime that deals in psychology?

    I see Rui’s plan as a non violent means of a new world order (A clear contrast to Koko Hekmatyar from Jormungand). But where he is concerned, it’s safe bet he’s unaware how GALAX can have a negative effect on people otherwise he wouldn’t be as confident as he is now. Though I don’t understand what he hopes to gain by crossdressing and he’s frighteningly good at it. What he’s doing is basically trying to change human nature itself and that’s considered a near impossible task.

    • skylion says:

      It’s one of the things I love about her character, she is insightful, not afraid to risk a guess. She knows how to use a tool (even thou she forgets what the Y is in DIY).

      • Highway says:

        To be fair, it is a different language.

        I am far less worried about people ‘losing their individuality’ as you guys (same as with Psycho-Pass). People use tools. If the tool is helpful, they use it. If it’s not helpful for something, they either don’t do that, or figure out a way to do it. All arguments about “People lose the ability to think for themselves” are hogwash. This has always been the case: some people do what they’re told, others do not, necessarily. The people who aren’t going to think for themselves weren’t going to learn before GALAX.

        • skylion says:

          Rather or not this art imitates our odd notions about how life works is to be seen.

          • skylion says:

            I still imagine the nurse they called for…when that guy claimed, “we don’t need an ambulance”, the nurse hollering for them to get one, cause she knows a bit better….

            • Overcooled says:

              I think people are still able to think for themselves, but it’s easy to fall into a pattern. If people are conditioned to think GALAX is a reliable source, they will continue to believe everything it says. It’s not so much about losing individuality as it is trusting a source without knowing exactly where the info is coming from. Even the most informed and critical person can fall into that kind of trap if something is renowned for being so accurate and helpful.

            • skylion says:

              “Harry, never trust anything where you can’t tell where the brain is” Mr. Weasly.

    • Sumairii says:

      I’m also skeptical about a potential loss of individuality. GALAX, as portrayed in Crowds, is likened to the internet we have today. Obviously there are differences, but both are powerful mediums for communication which can be used and abused.

      And to be honest, the only thing GALAX has over the “typical” internet is the sheer volume of usage of its “matchmaking” capabilities, which we already have in arguably the same form. It’s still a choice for people to use these services, and I don’t think making this choice removes any of our individuality, no matter what these services may do to how we respond to situations.

      • Sumairii says:

        I point us again to the oft-quoted phrase: don’t trust everything you read on the internet. I find it highly improbably that even with something as intrusive and powerful as GALAX people will start believing everything they hear from it.

      • skylion says:

        I think the show does rather underline the complacency we get from our internet feeds.

        • Sumairii says:

          Maybe I’m just a bad example, but I only use internet feeds for anime and manga (go figure). I get my news from the radio. And I don’t mean from those celebrity news gossip stations.

          Of course, there are also things people tell me “in person” over the internet.

  3. Irenesharda says:

    You know, I can’t believe that I once thought this show was going to be simple. Now I’m getting more questions than I really wanted.

    This episode serves to show us the good that GALAX does and the work that it’s creator Rui accomplishes when he’s not cross-dressing. However, I just can’t shake the feeling that GALAX is going to end up being a very bad thing. I never tend to trust an AI with that much power and influence. GALAX seems like good idea at first, but 9 times out of 10, it’s going to backfire and become either a tool for evil purposes or a Skynet,

    We also see that Rui has made a contact with someone and in turn has made a contract with 100 others and calls them the titular CROWDS. However I have to say that those eyeball things look completely stupid.

    Jou has confronted the redheaded demon thing who has struck again. We learn that the MESS are highly evolved aliens that may have not been the enemy after all. and we have some school antics involving spoiled milk.

    While I’m beginning to like OD and Utsutsu, and Jou is still my favorite, Pai-chan seems to be a one act character, Sugane is too uptight, and Hajime while not as annoying as last time, still happens to be my least favorite character.
    I think it really has to do with what was mentioned last time, about Hajime simply being hardwired as a character to be “right” and the audience is automatically supposed to agree with her stance. I beginning to feel manipulated when she’s around. That coupled with her hyperactive personality makes me ignore her whenever she’s on screen.

    Well, this was good episode and has more than tripled my questions. However, I do hope we get some answers soon.
    I give this episode a 7.6/10.

    • Overcooled says:

      I recall you really not liking the first episode, but I’m glad you find it more bearable now!

      GALAX sounds like a wonderful creation, but when superpowers and aliens are involved…well, you’ve got a recipe for disaster there.

  4. Vespera says:

    Man Hajime is so annoying I just want somebody to punch her in the face. At first it was just because her accent was flat out annoying and her happy go lucky attitude was getting on my nerves. But man did this episode throw salt in an already open wound!

    Is Hajime so naive to believe that everybody does things for a good reason? Some douche bag speeds though a small street almost running you over and you come up with every excuse in the book just to justify his actions. And just because you can’t prove he wasn’t just being an asshole he automatically must be doing something important. Or at least that’s how Hajime thinks it. Holy crap does nobody see anything wrong with this sort of thinking?!

    Then there’s the whole Galax crap that’s just a disaster waiting to happen. So far Sugane is the voice of reason in this show and a person who I see as the shining hope in a world of illogical drones. It really pains me to see him turning against his values each episode because of Hajime.

    What really pissed me off was how Hajime countered Sugane after he said that galax was pretty useful. Now she say’s that it’s just a machine and shouldn’t be trusted to much…..BUT JUST MINUTES AGO YOU WERE RUNNING THOUGH THE SCHOOL WHIPPING UP A COMMOTION OVER SOMETHING OFF OF GALAX THAT MAY HAVE NOT EVEN BE TRUE! How can she say not the trust it when she was practically sucking off of every word that came from the thing over the milk incident.

    How was she to determine whether the information was true or false at that time anyway? Exactly she can’t! Hajime was just acting on the info from Galax that could have bee fake anyway. Maybe reality will slap Hajime in the face when Galax goes belly up.

    • sonicsenryaku says:

      hajime’s thought process is certainly flawed, but even she realizes that. I think what she was trying to get at with the whole “guy speeding in his car” is that having a negative aspect on everything is just going to wear you out. She realizes that she has no way to prove that the guy was speeding for a good reason, but if she thinks to herself that it was for a good reason, then she doesnt have to get so worked up and angry over people and their inconsiderate tendencies; if you look at almost any situation, technically you have more to gain by coming up with a good reason for something rather than thinking the worst (and the think that’s the lesson). It’s sort of like a common case of the false attribution affect

    • Highway says:

      As someone who generally wants to see the best reasons for people to do things, I agree with Hajime’s way of thinking. To me it’s a truism that the more you think negative thoughts, the more negative you become. So if (the general ‘you’ here) you’re always jumping to the conclusion that someone is doing something negligently, recklessly, thoughtlessly, or even maliciously, you’re going to think the world is pretty much out to get you. But the truth is that you’re really not that important. Most people aren’t doing things to screw you or with you. Usually they’re making their best choice at the time. And most of the time there’s a plausible doubt as to their motivations from the perspective of the outside observer.

      Hajime is trying to get people to see the good in other people. That’s what she wants GALAX to do also.

      And the point regarding the milk, I thought that was a good cost / benefit analysis on her (and others) part. What is the harm from keeping people away from possibly tainted milk? They have to drink something else for lunch for the day. There was a very low cost, and a potentially gigantic benefit (as we saw actually happened). If the potential costs had been higher, she might have been less inclined to believe GALAX.

  5. JapanInspired says:

    I had mixed feelings about this episode. The part with the milk made me think that it’s like an episode about nothing. And made just for fun (it was hilarious though, poor Sugane).
    And then I thought that it’s to show how GALAX can be handy, and what a person the “cross-dresser guy” is.
    I guess my first thought about him were wrong, If I understood it right, he is the creator of GALAX, creator of X, and actually trying to make the world better.
    I also thought that his words were true, about how people these days don’t want to help each other unless theres a reward involved (GALAX points? I guess).
    Aaand my thoughts about that Pink-haired- can I just call him Miyano-san? at least for now… calling him “the pink-haired-guy-that-really-creeps-me-out” is kinda…
    So judging by the 2 accidents it looks like he comes to people who have dirty thought, sucks out their..appearance, and does those bad things about what that person was thinking, but didn’t really do.
    As that guy wanted to scare his teacher with a knife, and Miyano-san decided “why not go all the way and cut everyone I see?”.
    It seems that Miyano-san is really interested in the “cross-dr- oh yeah, I know his name now, Rui. So he’s interested in such a powerful person as Rui and can you just imagine how of a chaos Miyano-san can do if he uses him?
    Overcooled-san, good job on the dress^^ Too bad I don’t have a DS, I’ve wanted to play this game for so long :(

    • Overcooled says:

      It was full of all kinds of things…silly milk-banning to more intense stuff about GALAX. So far I really like Rui. He seems like he’s trying to do some good for the world. The crossdressing as a (very convincing) woman is just a bonus.

      I think you’re right about the pink-haired Miyano targeting bad people. So far he’s attacked a drunkard and a kid with a knife and taken their malice to the extreme. If anyone’s a villain, he is.

      Hehe thanks! I know a lot of people who got a 3DS just so they could play Animal Crossing :>

      • JapanInspired says:

        I like Rui a lot too (at least for now).
        Haha, I must admit, Rui looks pretty good as a woman.
        Reminds me of Kuranosuke from Kuragehime.

        It got me really interested in what will happen with all of these characters, I have so many theory’s already.

        You are very welcome ^^

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