Gatchaman Crowds 05 – METANORN

Gatchaman Crowds – 05

Gatchaman Crowds 005

Woah there buddy, shark week is over. Put those fangs away.

I loved this week’s episode to pieces. Gatchaman Crowds has steadily been improving week by week to an impressive extent. Even the background music has been picking up, finally showcasing more catchy songs other than the iconic “GATCHAMAAAAAN” tune. Unfortunately, the animation is still wavering between “decent” and “pretty darn ugly.” Much like Tsuritama, the art direction is wonderful while the actual animation quality…isn’t quite as wonderful. But hey, everything else has improved so I don’t mind a little derp here and there in exchange for a good story.

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What is the best way to save the world? Is it through GALAX? The Gatchaman crew? The police and other life-saving forces working in unison? Is it a combination of all of them? Gatchaman Crowds denies us a typical “villain of the week” format, giving us a bunch of different “heroes” to mull over instead. This week especially poses lots of hard questions about these different groups of heroes and how they operate. Each group is both criticized and praised for their weaknesses and strengths. There is no definite answer about which group is the best for society, leaving the viewer to ponder what fits in with their own sense of justice. There is no such thing as a one, true hero in this show because no one is perfect and the show never frames any one group as being explicitly better than the other. I love how this show doesn’t make black and white statements like “GALAX is bad” or “Gatchaman are obviously the best heroes ever omg of course because that’s the name of the show.”

Hajime puts Paiman on the hotseat, asking him why they bother hiding their identity. In theory, it could be easier if they could be contacted and called upon when needed – much like the police or an ambulance. GALAX could even notify them if they were near an accident so they could provide help, which would be rather useful considering all the ruckus Berg Katze is causing. They could do so much more…but they’re stuck in the same routine as always. The only thing keeping them from revealing their identity is that it would break an arbitrary rule that even Paiman seems to think is dubious. Both Sugane and Hajime agree that not having to worry about being seen by others and being able to act openly would make their job easier.

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I take back what I said about these things being kinda cute

Rui is grappling with the same issue as Hajime and Paiman as well, but he has a very different take on the matter. He doesn’t think about the more pragmatic benefits to becoming public, like being easier to contact and inspiring hope in others. While Hajime focuses on all the positive aspects of revealing their identities, Rui only sees the negative. He sees going public as defying his morals about saving people without any reward. He knows going public means fame, recognition, and all sorts of things he isn’t really interested in. What he really wants is for his group of 100 Crowds vigilantes is for them to get their kicks entirely from saving other people. Going public means they might start getting god complexes and only save people in return for glory. So although GALAX could get more followers by exclaiming “hey, we have a group of superheroes, isn’t that neat?”, Rui resists because he doesn’t want to seem like a flashy leader.

Personally, I think he takes the whole justice thing a little too personally. He gets far too upset whenever an accident happens, and he can’t seem to accept anyone doing something nice for their own sake. I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as true altruism. No one ever does something purely for someone else. There are always conscious or unconscious hidden motives. Deep down, Rui is saving people because it makes him feel good. That is for himself. Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so. It’s okay to help people, even if it’s for selfish reasons.

I think Rui should widen his horizons and just accept that some people just really like a little “thank you” after doing a favour. Umeda – the guy Rui fights with and instantly kicks out of his group – isn’t shown to be a nasty, selfish guy. He’s a caring father who wants to help the world in his own way, although it is dangerously similar to something Light Yagami would cook up if he had this power. Yet again, we have yet another type of justice competing against another type of justice. Both could be right, it just depends on who you side with. To me, Rui is a bit of an extremist, and therefore does not think rationally. He’s chasing a pipe dream without thinking about how the real world works, in contrast to Hajime who has a really good idea how the world works and tries to make the best of it. For the record, I probably wouldn’t make the best decisions if I was followed day and night by an alien threatening to destroy all of mankind either. Rui is doing the best he can in his current mental state, but I’m afraid that just isn’t enough.

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When fighting about collages turns into insulting someone for being single

Aside from the supernatural forces trying to save the world from Berg Katze, you have the regular humans. Sounds boring after talking about people in neon mecha suits and soul-powered TV gremlins, no? It’s a shame, but the noble firefighters, policemen, and so forth are overshadowed by GALAX too. More than once we’ve seen people attacking them verbally, while emphasizing how much better GALAX is. As Hajime says, there’s no way you can replace something like the cops with normal civilians, so thinking of it as a total replacement is bad. GALAX should be more like a supplement, but it’s quickly becoming more popular than the disjointed forces. Although they bicker and rarely even co-ordinate with each other despite being on the same block, they work together in a pinch. Yes, these people are still highly relevant in a crisis despite teens claiming that GALAX is all they need. In a show where there are 2 kinds of superheroes with powers from another planet, it’s nice to see normal people once again get the job done.

Now, there are a lot of different groups of people trying to fight (knowingly or unknowingly) against Berg Katze. So what do all these heroes need to succeed? They need a connection.

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Utsutsu-chan, I’d connect with you any day~ :>

Although enhanced communication surely won’t be a miracle cure to solve all their problems, it would certainly help smooth out some of the problems society is facing. I feel like Gatchaman Crowds is heavily emphasizing the importance of staying connected with others and communication. Hajime will most likely be the driving force of this change. She’s already befriending everyone and trying to bring them together on a smaller scale. It’s only a matter of time before her goals get more lofty and she can finally verbalize what it is everyone should do to stay connected. GALAX is a great tool for communication, but Hajime knows people shouldn’t purely rely on it. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see all of these people unite as one against Berg Katze, proving that humans don’t have to be their own worst enemy? Won’t that make him eat his words of “this will all be your fault?” Maybe Hajime’s optimism is rubbing off on me and I just want everyone to hold hands and sing in a circle, but hey, what else are you going to do with this motley crew of wannabe heroes?

Now that Rui and Hajime have met, things should get really interesting. I like how so many events were foreshadowed early in the episode, yet still caught me off guard. While talking to Paiman, Hajime said she’d definitely use her powers in an emergency even if it meant revealing her identity. That’s what she did in the tunnel. JJ’s prophecy was specific, yet cryptic enough that I didn’t see it coming until the bus was already crashing. I thought the box wouldn’t be a bus…Also, I suck at math because JJ only just added Rui’s bird to his origami collection this week. That’s not even math, that’s simple counting skills. The kind you learn in kindergarten. Ouch. Well, I can count well enough to know that Jou is still alive, which is comforting. Let’s hope he didn’t burn in the fiery explosion that occurred this week, because that would just be too sudden for my heart to handle.

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Until next time~

About

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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21 Responses to “Gatchaman Crowds – 05”

  1. skylion says:

    The major expose of the writing of this show is, “Why do we think of these problems with end game style solutions?”.

    Updating the world is being treated as an end solution, as if a utopia will come from it. But that guy what was arguing with Yui has a very real and rich point. We want reward for our labours, even if it’s just recognition. It is one thing to be a good citizen, donating time, or resources on the QT. But we have to admit, we want some chiba in return “some of the time”; that amount of time being variable to each person.

    Given all that, the question of “who is better” comes down to the task at hand. Spider-man can nab a purse-snatcher, but he has no real authority to make an arrest. Put him on GALAX along with the police, and everyone’s jobs can stand to gain from benefit…but it isn’t automatic. It’s a potential to be realized.

    And why do I get the feeling that JJ and Kissy-Face have been playing a long long game, with our planet being but the latest of battlefield?

    • Overcooled says:

      None of these options offer a complete solution on their own. Heck, even combined you won’t get a utopia because there will always be crime. For something like GALAX which Rui should realize has limits, it’s surprising he’s so uppity about people just asking for a reward for their good deeds. That’s not even a big stretch.

      And yes, it definitely depends on the situation who and what you would need. What’s the use of GALAX if no one is nearby, right?

      Good point. Considering that Berg Katze seems to have destroyed many planets before, I’d say it’s safe to assume JJ has been fighting against him for quite a while.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Woah there buddy, shark week is over. Put those fangs away.

    He’s late and didn’t get the memo. This is what happens when you don’t stay up to date.

    I really want to see what happens when Hajime and Rui meet up. There almost alike. She’s overly optimistic and he’s a hopeless idealist. Rui means well with his ambitions but he doesn’t have enough street smarts to know who he can and who he can’t trust and he should have seen the possibility of his collaborators crossing him a mile away. More naïve on his part, he believes people would carry out deeds without expecting a reward which is definitely not the case. It mostly a means to an end. Personally, I think a person hopelessly devoted to their ideals to the point of obsession is very dangerous because there’s no telling what they’ll do if their faith is ever broken.

    “The one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying. In spite of everything you’ve done for them, eventually they will hate you.”
    – The Green Goblin (Spider-Man)

    The easy doesn’t mean it’s the right way. It’s better for the Gathamen to keep themselves hidden until they’re needed because though their primary enemy is Berg Katze but an even worse one would be human nature itself. If they were revealed, it would be all well and fine as long as things are good but if turns out bad and they can’t rescue everyone, they’d be shunned and cast out in a heartbeat, some would even be counting on that to happen due to possible jealousy that they can do things regular people can’t and secretly calling them freaks.

    • skylion says:

      That is a great quote, BB. My rival is well versed.

      Gods with feet of clay.

    • Irenesharda says:

      Great quote and I agree that Rui is extremely idealistic to a fault. He’s not very realistic and I could only sigh and roll my eyes during his entire impassioned speech. I would have responded the same way as his underling, in that he’s not a very fit leader, at least not yet. You can have a goal or a dream, but you have to also be able to face and deal with facts. There is actually nothing wrong with a little recognition or reward, and even police, some firefighters and other public servants get paid.

      I also agree with your reasons on why they shouldn’t reveal themselves and I’m surprised not one of the Gatchaman could think of them. It’s would actually become much more difficult for them if they revealed themselves, having to deal with the public as well as the governments of the world, the fear and hatred that may arise.

      Lastly, I’m also beginning to fear that Berg isn’t the primary enemy. Sousei X was also a villain in the original Gatchman series and it would be real interesting if Rui’s only friend, the AI that controls his network, stabbed him in the back and was truly playing him the entire time while Berg was doing the dirty work.
      I actually wouldn’t be surprised.

      • zztop says:

        Hm. I kinda had that same thought about X being the true mastermind, while Berg(and manipulated Rui) carries out its wishes.

      • Overcooled says:

        I’d love to see Rui and Hajime meet because I think they’d have an excellent dynamic. They’re both idealistic, but Rui really takes it too far. He only accepts people with the same mindset as him without acknowledging the opinions of others.

        There are pluses and minuses to revealed identities. It could either be extremely bad (we must dissect them…for science!) or extremely well. I see no in-betweens. For now since their primary enemy is someone normal people can’t even see, it probably is a better idea to stay hidden.

        I don’t like how Rui puts so much trust in X either. It’s another accident waiting to happen.

  3. Vespera says:

    Why is it that I find myself hating Hajime even more with each passing episode. There’s a limit to how much of Hajime’s attitude a viewer can take.

    People who use Galax have the same sort of mentality mmo players have. They like to stay connected in the game and they may even met at an event but they won’t really get to involved with each others lives. Like how Hajime is bringing together all these people in an event expecting them to be the best of friends but they really don’t give a shit about each others everyday mentality/lives. Which led to the argument between the 2 ladies. And how none of them are really connected in the real world since they don’t even have each others phone numbers.

    Galax is no more than a means to the end but more importantly a huge sham. It does little more than organize people to a situation but it never really connects those people on a deeper level besides the initial thanks for saving me and well wishes. Unless people truly get to know one another besides playing the game(Galax) nothing will truly change.

    I find it ironic that Rui created this program to bring people together and save lives but all it’s really done is distance each other and make the act of saving a life very impersonal.

    Also I know it’s all the hit now but what’s gonna happen when people start to become lazy with it? How much staying power does Galax have to not just become another past fad? People are eventually gonna get tired of always being at the beck and call of this thing.

    • Irenesharda says:

      I don’t really like Hajime either, I can’t stand “perfect” characters whose only fault is simply that others “don’t understand them”. Her “always right” attitude along with her hyper quirks are grating to me, but that’s just my opinion. However, she’s been featured less recently, so I’ve been enjoying things so far.

    • ajthefourth says:

      Hullo, optimist here. ^ ^

      I think that, in the end, it doesn’t matter if Galax is a huge sham or not, provided that it organizes people in crises when it matters. Humanity has shown that, time and again, we are absolutely pants at organizing ourselves – regardless of how much we believe the contrary – but we have the heart and capacity to care about one another enough to want to help each other. Simply the act of and ability to organize people as a unit is a very valuable tool. As for GALAX being a fad, you may be correct with certain things, i.e. the lawyer being called for that woman with a neighbor problem; however, when there is an accident or more serious situation, I don’t think that people would opt not to help.

      Continuing on this idea a bit, I think this, and not the outright gamification of GALAX with carrots and such, is the crux of how GALAX works. We’re very susceptible to suggestion and GALAX provides a directed suggestion when an incident occurs. If a notification pops up on your phone saying, “You’re a nurse, your skills are needed!” how many people would refuse such an honest plea for help? Likewise, there’s always the choice to opt out of helping, GALAX isn’t forcing one to do anything. Even if it becomes a background noise social media outlet in the every day (much like Facebook and how many people I know complain about their dashboards constantly) as it runs in the background, when a crisis occurs the call can still be answered.

      Additionally, although I am not an MMO player, I would push back against the idea that people don’t reach out to each other constantly, be it through MMOs, MOBAs, Twitter, or other social media outlets/games. Simply from my own personal experience on Twitter, I have seen friendships develop, relationships bloom and fade, and people making a continuous effort to keep in touch, even meeting up in real life.

      • Overcooled says:

        AJ pretty much said what I wanted to here, because I don’t think you discount the relationships people form online so easily. I used to play a lot of MMOs, and it’s possible to play together and get involved in each other people’s lives in a meaningful way. You don’t even have to meet them in real life. This too is an important kind of connection. I think Hajime wants people to form connections in multiple ways, which is why she both introduces Sugane to GALAX and drags him to real life events with friends.

        That being said, GALAX can’t magically make everyone become good friends who go out for ice cream and sing each other lullabies every night. It depends on the person and whether to not they want to help, and just how much help they provide. It may not always form deep connections, but it’s definitely not a sham.

  4. Irenesharda says:

    Well, this was interesting. Berg is making more and more problems and Rui is scrounging as to what to do. On top of that his 100 CROWDS members are beginning to find him a lacking leader. And…I have to say, in a way, I have to agree.
    Hajime and Rui actually suit each other very well, both are overly optimistic, naive, idealistic, and dramatic with weird quirks. I like Rui’s spirit and he has some good ideas, but I think he is too idealistic and naive to make an effective leader in a realistic world. His ideas are nice, but there is no way realistically that everyone is going someday all be nice and helpful to each other, and no one is going to care about profit or recognition. Where no one dies from violence or accidents. That world just doesn’t exist.

    As for the Gatchaman, I do like that they brought up the why they don’t reveal themselves, however, none of them could come up with some of the very real, very compelling arguments as to why they can’t simply just reveal themselves and say “Hi” to the world, even though I can already name several:

    In order for this to work, Gatchaman would have to risk not being thought insane and that people wouldn’t believe them anyway, and then there is all the aftermath that would come from them revealing themselves to a public that knows nothing of extraterrestrial life. They would have to face governments and a public that will praise but also fear them. This would greatly hamper their work. Also, since Paiman mentions a committee of some sort that governs out in space, it could be possible that they have sort of a “Prime Directive” sort of thing that doesn’t allow them to reveal themselves for risk of affecting the culture and growth of the world.

    Also, if they begin mentioning that there is an alien that has come to Earth and can turn into anyone and use their form for anything it pleases, they would invite such a panic and fear close to something like the situation in “The Thing”, but on a much bigger scale.

    And in the end it wouldn’t make a difference because Berg can hide anywhere and as anyone and can use that panic and fear and escalate it to terror and anger therefore surely cause the very destruction he’s looking for.

    Sure it might be more pragmatic to be able to call the heroes in in a “Batman-like” or even “Powerpuff Girls” world, but neither of those scenarios are really realistic in today’s world. I think the original Gatchaman, sure. Now? No. Rules are around for a reason, however, they should actually look into why they were made.

    It seems that next time CROWDS and Gatchaman are going to meet, however, I am scared at the repercussions. Rui has had to use CROWDS, which is what Berg wants. However, as of this point, until he begins to trust and become friends with the Gatchaman, the only person Rui trusts is his computer AI, Sousai X. However, since I leaned that a “Sosai X” was Berg Katze’s boss in the original series and leader of an organization known as “Galactor” (Galactor = GALAX?), I am beginning to suspect that poor Rui is being played on both sides.
    It would make sense since X came from Rui after Berg gave him his powers, and the two of them are kind of playing a game of good cop, bad cop, with Berg being the evil, crazy red herring, while Sousai X is the real villain mastermind. Similar to Gin and Aizen in the SS Arcs of Bleach.

    I’m interested to see how this is all going to play out. And poor Jou has yet to escape those enormous death flags. Will Berg show up just to wreck havoc during an already very dangerous situation? Will there be a mutiny against Rui by the 100? What about the Gatchaman, what will happen with them?

    I give this episode an 8/10.

    • JapanInspired says:

      Oh, that was quite interesting, about your thoughts how Rui computer might be on Berg’s side. That doesn’t really sound unrealistic, and that would be a shock for me if you are true.
      This might be a stupid question, but I really don’t get it why Berg Katze wants Rui to use the CROWDS so badly?
      I had quite a few theories, but non of them sound logical.

      And I also thought right from the start “why are Gatchaman hiding from people”. It’s quite interesting that they talked about it, didn’t expect that.

      I think you’re right how all that information about superpowers and all can bring panic to people.

      • Overcooled says:

        My guess is that Berg Katze knows that Rui hates using his Crowds power. He just likes messing with him. Rui wants to update the world using his own strength, and hates admitting that he needs the special powers from a malevolent alien to make his dreams come true. I think that’s why he gets a sudden boost of confidence when X tells him “Crowds is YOUR power.”

        • JapanInspired says:

          Oh, I see…
          So Rui hates the fact that Berg, a crazy alien that brings so much problems to the world, gave him the powers to save people?
          Rui want’s to show Berg that he can do it without him?

    • Overcooled says:

      I’m actually a bit surprised Paiman, Hajime or Sugane didn’t discuss the cons of going public either. I think that scene was mostly just to show how they’re stagnating so much that they don’t even think about change. Still, you listed a bunch of super important reasons why they can’t just waltz in and announce “I’m an alien!”. It may have worked in Tsuritama, but I don’t think it would work here.

      I’m with you on X also being a bad guy. So far everything that can go wrong for Rui…goes wrong. Plus, it’s the perfect set-up since he only trusts X now.

  5. JapanInspired says:

    Wow, the end, the end was epic, I think I was sitting in shock while the ED was going and trying to get all my thought together.
    I think it’s interesting how Gatchaman Crowds is a funny and interesting show, but brings you a lot of food for thought about the world, the society, people and all.

    But really, the end blown my mind. I really hope now that Rui found Hajime, she will help him, maybe she will change his point of view, or maybe He and the other Gatchaman will combine their powers to work together?
    It’s so heartbreaking to see Rui in so much pain.

    And one thing that bothers me. The previous episode. Joe was getting into a fight and his paper bird, they just skipped that? What happened? The whole episode I was getting the creeps and thinking that Joe is not Joe, that it’s Miyano-san, lol. I know, I’m getting crazy thoughts.

    • Overcooled says:

      That cliffhanger! I’m surprised it took such a serious turn with the blood and explosions. In fact, the whole show has been taking a surprisingly pensive turn. It’s insanely fun to write about.

      I don’t know if it will happen just now, but I’m also looking forward to Hajime and Rui talking to each other. I just know it’s going to be good. I wonder how long it will take for Rui to understand what the hell this crazy girl is saying.

      Ahhhh, I never even thought about Jou potentially being a fake. I think it should be fine since Jou was acting normally and knew a bunch of things only the real Jou should know. But we’ll see!

      • JapanInspired says:

        Yup! I was so surprised with the blood and all. It felt like a different show.
        Haha, I’m sure it’s fun to write about, so much happening, so much thought being born, so much theories…

        Hajime should take it easy on Rui, he’s already stressed out, and now a super energetic girl appears.
        XDD, maybe, but I think Rui is smart enough to think about all the possible words she must be using/missing in her sentences.

        Joe being normal is what was stopping me, but what if Berg has other powers? like getting in your miiiind and seeing your paaaast *creepy music insert here*.
        But yeah, I think Joe is fine, but I was upset to see that they just skipped his fight.

        And Utsutsu-chaan she makes me melt, seriously, how can she be so cute?

  6. Gecko says:

    I wanted to agree with a few things Rui said, but he is just so idealistic and forgetting about real people. Rui wants everyone to help others, and while that’s a great idea, some people are not going to be able to do that. If the bystander effect could be reduced, it would certainly help, but violence is going to continue on. If a hero is just there, everyone will rely on the hero rather than themselves. It makes me think back to Dios in Revolutionary Girl Utena, and how everyone just wanted him to save everything, rather than trying to do it themselves. I prefer seeing everyone actually do stuff, rather than relying on someone else to do it. (Although certain things should be left to certain, trained types. Like the Gatchaman handling the MESS. Or licensed chefs preparing blowfish, considering Penguindrum.)

    And plus, if the 100 were to use their powers to decide which groups and individuals survive, they would be the ones calling the shots on what is right and wrong, and then they would control the direction of a lot of things. That’s like Light Yagami and I can’t say that I would want that to happen. 100 people shouldn’t be allowed to decide the fate of entire economies. (But considering the 100 are doing a lot of work, they probably should get some money, since it takes up a lot of time and it would be hard to have steady work hours if you had to leave every now and then to save someone.)

    I’m hoping the lack of black-and-white ideas of heroes stays, rather than finishing off with a “this is the best! nothing else works!” type of end. There are a lot of ideas about heroes swimming around, and it would be nice to see each one get a shot at working.

    But anyways, Rui and Hajime working together could be pretty great, if she can manage to communicate properly.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, he’s got a good thing going with GALAX…but he has a lot of messed up ideals that he follows far too obsessively. It would be great if a mixed system using GALAX as well as Gatchaman could be used. That way people would still help out, but the dangerous jobs could be left to the professionals.

      I actually wouldn’t mind people using the Crowds people to kill criminals who were 100% guilty, but I wouldn’t like it being used on politicians. I’m one of those people who would do the same as Light Yagami if I had a Death Note though. I doubt most people would agree to that sort of thing though.

      I fear Hajime will take a long time to get her point across to Rui, who is already stubborn enough to ignore people who argue with him competently.

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