Gatchaman Crowds – 10

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Thank you offering me these small children as sacrifices. Your planet is safe now.

Overcooled here, bringing you some Gatchaman coverage a few minutes before I have to dash off to class. Yeah, I usually write the intro last so I’ve been deceiving you all this time. Anyways, I’m pressed for time so let’s just go straight to the fun part!

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Bitch is gonna cut. you. up.

The all-out social media battle has turned into a more physical war now. Most of the episode is spent watching our titular heroes beat up the Neo Hundred. There is no killing involved because gosh, that would be awfully cruel to send people into comas. I find it amusing that Rui and Jou have been more physically wounded than any of the other enemies in the show. You would think the final war between aliens and the Gatchaman dudes would be a recipe for a bloodbath, but it hardly tops the brutality of Berg Katze slicing up Rui. To be honest, I was disappointed at how kid friendly this seemed. It was almost indistinguishable from a Saturday morning cartoon you’d watch with a younger sibling, complete with cheesy catchphrases and dramatic turns of events you can see a mile away.

There are so many aspects to this battle going on. It’s not just a humans versus aliens situation. There’s a social media element, and the ones doing all the damage are the actual residents of the planet – humans. It’s a complicated state of affairs where the solution isn’t just “beat up the bad guys.” That’s why I felt cheated when this episode played out in such a cliche manner. You’re doing something wrong when an army of invisible monsters destroying the city is portrayed in a way that isn’t frightening at all. The whole terrorism thing is treated far too casually. The amount of panicking is minimal, and no one seems too fussed about aliens invading the planet. The biggest offender here is Hajime, whose optimism is actually a bit offensive in this situation. It almost looks like she’s happy they’re demolishing the city (which isn’t the case, but boy does it ever look that way). Her constant grins and the playful way the other Gatchaman engaged in battle made it really hard to take the threat seriously.

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Once again, Berg Katze copies Hajime’s peace-scissor gesture as well as her manner of speaking

Although her conversations with Berg Katze are interesting, they’re still far too playful instead of ominous given the current standings. Hajime is optimistic, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be incapable of showing fear or anxiety. As much as I like how she’s always right, I dislike how she’s sometimes cheery in the face of danger. The fact that BK is invisible should be very alarming, but she’s so nonplussed about it that I almost forgot completely about it until I went to take screencaps. Does BK really exist then? Or is he simply a concept brought to life by parasitically infecting others? We’re missing something important here.

Hajime aside, I’m not too pleased with how they resolved Paiman’s terrible leadership and Jou’s depression either. These were complex issues that were resolved a bit too simply and conveniently for my liking. While I liked the idea of Paiman chatting with the Prime Minister, the conversation went downhill very quickly. It repeated the same point over and over. At one point OD accuses the Prime Minister of being scared and the camera cuts to Paiman looking shocked…and stays there. It’s as if they’re saying “DO YOU GET IT? DO YOU MAKE THE CONNECTION? HOW ABOUT NOW? DO YOU GET IT?!” which doesn’t allow you to draw any conclusions yourself. It’s just shoved down your throat. The kindergarten thing was also an incredibly cheesy way to end that poorly-written conversation.

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Jou’s issues weren’t resolved much better. The notebook ever so perfectly blowing in the wind made me roll my eyes until I could see my brain floating around in my skull. I’m glad he recovered quickly but, uhhh, will they ever explain why he wanted to commit suicide? That’s kind of a big deal, you know. I was so worried about him and then all he does is read a page of sappy words and BOOM, he’s ready to hop over fences and fly around like superman. His exit was simultaneously the dorkiest thing ever and somehow kind of cool, mostly because of the music. The music is really what turns those corny moments into something so fun that you can just accept it. Sugane spouted some particularly geeky catchphrases about justice, but with that sweet music in the background – could you blame him?

I wasn’t a big fan of this episode because it really felt like a kid’s show, and that’s not good after they spent all this time developing adult ideas. I wanted to get into the fights, but for the most part they felt inconsequential. No one was worried at all, so I didn’t feel like I had to worry either. It was just robots bopping little TV-heads on their noggin and harvesting their cube-shaped husks. It lacked excitement for the most part. Even Utsutsu-chan’s transformation didn’t do it for me. Not only is her mecha ugly as sin, but she has the exact same powers as she does when she’s just running around in a bikini. She used her death arm only once, despite the fact that it is the coolest weapon ever. All you have to do is touch someone. How have they not formulated a plan to just throw her onto Berg Katze so she touches him and he dies?

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Speaking of Burger King, his scenes were really the life of this week’s episode. I still think he’s a horrible person and can’t wait to see him die, but he’s always interesting. I loved seeing him ever so slightly stir the pot and then watch from the sidelines as his little prompts invoked ultimate mayhem. It’s the little things he does that ruin people. I especially liked the way he released Umeda’s personal info and basically let him know he was used, just like Rui. It’s more dark concepts like these that I think this show needs – not devolving into some super sentai finale where the power of ~love and friendship~ saves everyone. Berg Katze single-handedly made it so this guy is a wanted terrorist. Although, to be fair, he is kind of a dick. In fact, the whole Neo-100 are even worse than I imagined.

The Neo-100 are not misguided souls blindly listening to Umeda’s demands. They are all scumbags who delight in abducting celebrities and molesting high schoolers on the subway. The lowest of the low. They are willing to kill the Prime Minister in order to get a power upgrade so they can continue using CROWDS for selfish things like that aforementioned subway skirt-flipping. It’s more believable than everyone obeying Umeda all the time, and 100x more despicable. I really hope X smartens up soon. There have been a lot of hints that X is beginning to catch onto Berg Katze’s trick, and I think Rui might try to reach out to his digital friend. If he can regain control of X, he should be able to stop Berg Katze from using GALAX to mass distribute his power. Once they stop the Neo-100, there’s still the issue of defeating the end boss…Big Daddy BK himself.

I hope the ending doesn’t suddenly simplify all of these wonderful concepts into FRIEEEEENDDDDSHIIIIPPP and the like. There are only 2 episodes left, so it can’t all be mindless fist fights with dramatic catchphrases being yelled all the time. Let’s hope for the best, just like Hajime would. Gatcha~

Bonus Screenshots:Show ▼

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“This is chickenshit, you totally said we’d get ice cream. FUCK YOU, DAD.”

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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19 Responses to “Gatchaman Crowds – 10”

  1. Irenesharda says:

    Well, this most recent episode was okay, better than last week, yet somehow still fell flat for me. I love all the “Yay, Gatchaman!” team spirit stuff. However, I would have actually have felt better if I had actually felt there was tension there and that important things were on the line. You ever have those storylines, where the build up was fantastic, but the pay-off was lacking? This is kind of what these last few episodes feel like.

    Despite all the proposed danger and destruction, I never once really felt any tension or any danger about the town, and I almost felt a bit bored with what was going on. No stakes, no danger, not even the bad guys are getting hurt here. I was just watching characters go through the motions and do exactly as a normal cliche plot would expect. The good guys fight, the public helps, no one’s hurt, depressed team member returns after peptalk and everyone’s going to do their best to save the town. Plotpoint A leads to Plotpoint B, rinse and repeat.

    You pointed out a lot of the things I couldn’t quite put into words about this episode in your review. The plot seems to be getting over-simplified in these last couple of episodes, which was one of the problems I had when this show first started. I’m not one for social media, but I enjoyed the plot basis and underlying commentary. I loved that while this show had the trappings of a standard hero story, it wasn’t afraid to go dark and show murder, violence, and blood and wasn’t afraid of harsher themes. Yet, this episode seems to take a large step backward from that. As you said, it’s beginning to seem more and more like a “Saturday morning cartoon” and not a good one. I feel cheated in a way, disappointed at how easily and boringly everything is getting resolved.

    Even Utsutsu’s first time transforming was boring! This girl literally has the power of life and death in her hands, but she’s been reduced to the role of healer mage, where her “death hand” just puts you to sleep (cube form) and her “life hand” heals you. The kept us in suspense of seeing her for this long, only for her to transform in seconds, and not do much in battle.
    I’m beginning to kind of get the same feeling with this series as I did with Gargantia. It feels as if there were several independent writers on this show, that wanted to take the plot in different directions and they never came together to make sure everything worked in unison. So the overall plot of the story ends up seeming jilted and a little disjointed. If that’s true, it would explain a lot, such as the weird changes and shifts in tone, the underdeveloped character threads, plot holes, and what the heck happened to the MESS?!

    Honestly, I’m waiting and waiting for Berg Katze to finally play his hand and put a monkey wrench and a huge damper on the Gatchaman’s plans and triumphant rescue. His parts are the best parts of the episode and the series, as short as his scenes are. I loved the scene where Umeda asks him if he’s the devil, and he simply answers: “No, I am you.”

    He’s one of the coolest villains I’ve seen in anime this year, and I really hope that the ending to of this show has a good pay-off if only for the sake of this awesome character. It’s not that I really want him to destroy everything, but if that’s what it takes for this show to become serious again and not so “cartoon-y”, then I’m perfectly happy with him causing some violence, mayhem, destruction, and even some character deaths.

    I give this episode a 6.5/10. It was better than last week, but still not worthy of the potential this show had going for it.

    • Overcooled says:

      It could have used a lot more tension. I totally agree the build-up was great, but the pay-off so far has been rather lacklustre. Everything just went too well for the good guys, to the point where I just don’t feel like the battle has any stakes. Compare this to Attack on Titan (which I happen to be blogging) or even Game of Thrones, which makes you fear for the life of every single character so even the smallest of scuffles gets your heart racing.

      Even if ignore the part about death since this isn’t really a dark enough show for gory deaths, this week still made things far too simple. Maybe Kenji Nakamura just got distracted halfway through? Sometimes he has too many ideas and just can’t seem to bring them together. He’s a messy one. Speaking of which, I really wonder if the MESS were a throwaway alien that will never come back again…

      At least Katze is cool. I love how he’s waging war, and the horrible things he’s done to people. Rui especially.

  2. Highway says:

    Well, I’m not as blood seeking as others, so I thought this was fine, and completely in character with Hajime, who I still think is tremendous. Her needling Sugane about being too rough was fun, the Little Bunny Foo-Foo fighting a good twist for me.

    There’s definitely an expectation gap showing. I feel that not everything has to be dark and challenging. I don’t think the show’s ever changed what the character of the show is, from the very beginning when Hajime refused to ‘kill’ the MESS to now. This was further reinforced when it was pointed out that the Hundred weren’t killed when their avatars were massacred by BK. Maybe if they had been killed, the expectations of things getting very dark could be justified. But since they didn’t, I think it would be far more of a jarring shift if people suddenly started getting killed now.

    I think it’s a fun hero show, with a very fun lead character. It’s been that since the beginning, and I hope it will continue to be.

    And everyone writes the introduction last. I tried to write it first for a while, but it’s by far the hardest part of the post to write. :)

    • Irenesharda says:

      Once again, we are opposites. 😀 I always write the intro first, and find it the easiest to write since it sets up everything else thereafter, and I kind of just follow the path.

      I’m not bloodthirsty per say, but you have to admit that this show has had some pretty graphic scenes here and there, and was dealing with some tense issues. And yet, here they can’t even hurt the terrorists, and Hajime berates Sugane for injuring one too badly? She does realize that these people know exactly what they were doing and were willing to kill thousands for selfish gain?

      But again, we both see this series differently, I think it is going into decline, and you think it’s going steady. It’s all personal preference really.

      • Highway says:

        But they don’t hurt the people because they don’t need to, and because to do so diminishes them as people and heroes. I am fully on board with that philosophy. Yes, people are selfish gits, and quite a few people are completely reprehensible. But that doesn’t mean that destroying them is the right thing to do. They have been neutralized with no physical harm. Plus, as Rui learned (and I’m sure Hajime knows), there are many other people who are affected by secondary effects, who would also be innocent victims if they did more lasting harm to those people.

  3. q says:

    One thing – although I didn’t enjoy the peptalk scene, it made sense to me. Jou has one goal in life: to become a hero and protect people. He wants to die because he believes it’s out of his reach, unlike other people who in his opinion could’ve done a good job. So he gets a confidence boost from the boy he saved and made into a hero. Of course his self-doubt and the suicidal thoughts he has because of it only gets moved to the back burner as I doubt such issues ever completely disappear, another situation where he feels useless like his fight with Berg Katze and they’ll be back. Well, that’s how I see Jou’s situation. Not much else they could do about it in 3 episodes unless they focused completely on him.

    Utsutsu vs Berg Katze is a brilliant idea by the way 😀 Although Hajime’s inability to see him makes me wonder if Utsutsu could reach him…

    • Overcooled says:

      Sugane is the only person who could ever pull him out of his misery and that makes perfect sense. It’s just kind of odd that after everyone quite literally ignored him for so long that he takes no convincing at all to get over his trauma. Sugane never tries very hard to connect with Jou except for that one little note, and it strikes me as odd that Jou would snap out of it so easily…especially from something as impersonal as words on a piece of paper, when he was ready to hightail it out of there as he saw his friends fighting. Anyways, I guess what I wanted was for Sugane to talk to him in person and have an actual dialogue with him instead of just magically coaxing him back with a few lines. It’s a lovely showing of the bond between the two, but it made Jou’s depression seem trivial.

      Hard to attack something you can’t see, that is very true…Let’s just throw her around and hope she lands on him, yeah?

  4. BlackBriar says:

    A lot of destruction and chaos but far less bloodletting than I’d hoped for compared to episode 7. Hajime and Berg Katze are a couple of well organized fruitcakes playing their personal games with people in the mix. Not to mention she speaks to him in a casual and friendly manner. One would think they aren’t enemies at all. I think Hajime’s attitude to the whole situation… well her overall character for that matter is that she enjoys anything as long as it excites her; she gives the feel of a pleasure seeker. Like Katze, she probably gets bored if nothing is set in motion and a citywide crisis may be the biggest thing in motion she’s ever going to get. The world is her playground no matter how screwed up it is.

    Does BK really exist then? Or is he simply a concept brought to life by parasitically infecting others?

    Oh, he should exist otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to give everyone that severe ass kicking a few episodes back. That wasn’t a pretty sight. If anything, he’s using his powers to suppress his presence, like a stronger version of Amnesia Effect. One the Gatchamen themselves can’t detect.

    Multiple Gatchaman transformations mean things are getting serious. Utsutsu’s long awaited form was odd to me but displays the thin line between life and death well. Their pose at the end was awesome though it would’ve been better if OD showed up. I’m very eager to see what his form is that Paiman keeps restricting him. Geez, is it strange that I find Rui far more normal cross-dressing than when he’s in male clothing? Seeing him like that has the norm in this show.

    Katze is such a manipulative psychopath. What’s amazing is how well he exploits the negativity of human nature. It’s unbelievable how far the Neo Hundred members are willing to go just to gain something as superficial as an upgraded CROWD avatar and at the expense of another human’s life, no less. Humans are their own worst enemy and it shows they have no regard for others if it means getting what they want at any cost. Greed and vanity are mankind’s greatest and dangerous weakness.

    Umeda got his in the end. Like Rui before him, he made a deal with the devil trying to gain power and now look at what’s done for him, he loses everything. He dug his own grave but expects others to bail him out. You reap what you sow, dude. And if he survives, he’ll be branded for life for all the destruction. Katze fixed him good but I hope his wife and daughter don’t have to suffer for his stupidity.

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s so bizarre that she talks to him that casually! In a way it’s cool that she has the guts to do it (and it’s getting her very important info too) but I still can’t shake the feeling she’s being far too happy considering how chaotic things are. Buildings are being blown up, girl. This ain’t time to party!

      Okay, yeah, true he has to exist. What I mean is that maybe he exists as simply an idea and he’s been just stealing bodies. Maybe his “original” body isn’t even his.

      I like how we see both types of leaders – conservatives like Rui and extremists like Umeda – get punished. You can’t win by going to either extreme. It just doesn’t work. That, or never trust aliens to give you leadership in the first place.

  5. HannoX says:

    I had no problem with the Gatchaman not killing the Neo Hundred or with Hajime scolding Sugane for being too rough. The Neo Hundred may be terrible excuses for human beings, but they are still people and no more force than necessary should be used to stop them. The Gatchaman are not members of the justice system; let the courts deal with punishing the Neo Hundred for their criminal activities. Besides, would you want to be the one who orphaned Umeda’s cute little daughter?

    OTOH, I do think the Neo Hundred were dealt with too easily. One good bop and they turned into cubes. No dramatic tension there at all. And speaking of cubes, the MESS consisted of cubes. Is this just a coincidence or is there a connection?

    I have no problem with Hajime being cheerful even during a battle to save the world. We know she’s insanely cheerful so it is in character. And during a battle against a vicious, extremely powerful alien out to destroy the world good morale is vital for those battling him–they have to think it’s possible to win or they’ll all be like Jou during his fit of depression. As de facto leader it’s part of Hajime’s job to keep up the morale of her troops. Her cheerfulness would be infectious and help the others feel things are not hopeless. Not that Hajime probably has thought that through–she just instinctively knows it. Of course, she’d probably be cheerful if she found herself in the depths of Hell. Like I said, she’s insanely cheerful. And that’s one of the things I like most about her.

    As for how well the ordinary people were acting (Prime Minister excepted), let’s remember many of them shown are members of the JSDF and firefighters, people trained to deal with crises. Much the same goes for the civilians. Japan is a very unstable country geologically and the population is the best prepared and drilled in the world to deal with disasters. And there’s the social aspect where being a bother to others is considered shameful. Sure, a minority would act badly and when the actual disaster catches up to them, many would panic. But I think the Japanese people would act better in such a situation than any other people. And let’s remember, most of the population has not been directly threatened yet, so they would still be calm.

    But I do hope they ramp up the sense of tension and the battle in the final two episodes. We need a really good knock down, drag out fight against Berg Katze for a pay off. Unless Hajime comes up with a weirdly wonderful way to stop him.

    • Overcooled says:

      When there is the opportunity for mass killing in anime, I will prefer for it to be present than not. A purely personal preference that goes against morals and justice. I also wanted to see a little blood after seeing them go far enough as to show us Jou getting bloodied up and Rui’s brutal beating. If death isn’t on the menu, we at least deserve a little destruction. But in real life, of course I wouldn’t want to be the one to orphan Umeda’s daughter! That is, unless I was planning on stealing her for myself…

      Maybe they could have developed a medium where their avatars are killed, but no one falls into a coma. Also, the avatars need to be way stronger to make things interesting. Or at least gang up on them more. I did find the cube-y resemblance to the MESS to be rather ominous though. I think that might be more than a coincidence.

      It’s amazing that although I know deep down she fully understands the gravity of the situation, I can’t get over how dumb she looks being this happy in the face of danger. It is a show of good leadership to keep the morale of your comrades up. But combined with the easiness of the fight, it made things far too low tension.

      I’m not so surprised that the crisis response teams of people are calm, but moreso that all the civilians are just kind of…not very alarmed at this alien invasion. Then again, if you take culture into account, Japan is very prepared for the unexpected and has been shown in the past to act surprisingly civil in even the worst situations. Sometimes I forget it’s Japan we’re dealing with here.

      I am SO looking forward to the finale! I hope the fight is worth our while…be it a physical one or a battle of wits.

  6. HannoX says:

    I have a question for everyone and I’d like your opinions. Notice how Hajime’s dress is ALWAYS flared out and stiff and never hangs loose or in folds? Do you think she uses an insane amount of starch in it or does she wear a wire hoop under it?

  7. ☩Croos☩ says:

    Actually the girl’s uniform from Hajime and Sugane’s school are all like that.
    Reference? Ep3

  8. ☩Croos☩ says:

    I think I get that Berg Katze‘s = People egoist side.
    I think this was his plan:
    1.) recruit Rui
    2.) Rui creates Director X
    3.) Get people ego side out using the NET.
    4.) As people become patriotic they also becomes egoistic in perusing their desire.

    I am starting to get why JJ tested Hajime(refer to episode 1) before she choosen as a Gatchaman. For know I think there was a meaning to that. Probably JJ already predicted that Hajime can find Berg Katze.

    I theorize that Hajime can’t see Berg Katze is because Hajime doesn’t have an Ego.
    She would always say:
    “That person is bad but I bet their is a reason.”
    Unlike Sugane before Hajime changed him:
    >Sugane thinking to the woman in pain in episode 1 ->”Why aren’t they giving a sit to the pregnat” but didn’t pay attention to the person status who was sitting.
    AND ALSO THIS
    >Nearly got hit by a car
    >”SKJDKSDJ I got nearly hit(thinking his ownself and not why the car was running fast)

    To make my conclusion:
    People Ego is the enemy (Thats is why Bertz katze says “NO! I am you”. No military, no Science can beat that but only influence. Specially Hajime’s influence.
    Having your ego go is SWEET LIKE CANDY.

    • Overcooled says:

      BK is definitely very egoistic. He’s not doing all of this for a goal – it’s simply for his own enjoyment. He’s also a pro at bringing out the selfishness in others and using it to destroy entire planets.

      As for his plan, I’m not quite sure if patriotism was a key component but he probably needed a system for people to rely on for safety, advice etc. GALAX provided all of that, and set up an ecosystem of people dependent on it. Furthermore, the original 100 set up the stage for causing people like Umeda to grow bitter and thus set the stage for a new era group who can use these powers (which they have seen before in the original 100 and now know are legit). People will always fulfill their own desires, but with a bitter Umeda as their leader, it really pushed them in the negative direction.

      But yes, the ultimate enemy here is selfishly giving in to your own desires and not thinking about others. Even Rui is guilty of only accepting his own ideals and shrewdly being unable to understand why other people would think differently. His inability to allow for other people to speak their mind is part of what got him into so much trouble. At the end of the day, the moral is…be more like Hajime!!!

      • HannoX says:

        Yes, we should all be like Hajime–depression would be a thing of the past. Of course, there would be unintended consequences. Pharmaceutical companies would see their sales of uppers crash and their stock value decrease, many mental health professionals would be thrown out of work, etc.

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