What makes a hero?
|I still can’t believe Gatchaman Crowds is already over. It felt so short! There was a lot packed into those 12 episodes, and the finale is no exception. There’s a lot to talk about. So it makes sense that we form a Meta-Gatchaman team to cover all the angles, right? Biiiiiird GO!|
|Hooray for tags! And with another finale in the history books, I’m happy to join OC and Karakuri for this look at Gatchaman Crowds. Thanks for the opportunity!|
|Gatcha~. …That saying really is catchy, isn’t it. Anyways, I’m here with OC and Highway to express my thoughts on this rather interesting show and it’s equally interesting finale. (Thanks, OC. ✿)|
Light vs Dark: Balancing the Ideals of Hajime and Berg Katze
Visual metaphors. Visual metaphors everywhere.
Karakuri // After the flashbacks in episode 11, it became more clear to me that Hajime was more like an ideal instead of an actual character. Her role in the plot was a catalyst for all of the other characters to be inspired by and then change for the better. Everyone who meets her is influenced by her, and always in a positive way. …Er, well, everyone minus Berg Katze, but he seems to be the epitome of the “bad” in society. What he does isn’t constructive in any way (minus things like Galax, which he constructed for the purpose of eventually destroying more things), and in the end, he acted more like a troll than anything. Meanwhile, Hajime has always been the epitome of the better side of people. Empathizing with others despite being complete strangers, thinking of things from other people’s perspectives, using creativity/sideways thinking to work out large problems, and encouraging collaboration; people can do a lot when they work together “Hajime-style”. Even if people aren’t as altruistic (…or energetic) as she was, her influence was always a step in the right direction for the other characters. I definitely see her more as the embodiment of an idea as opposed to an actual character.
…Which maybe accounts for most of the reasons people had problems with her. Hajime was just this unstoppable force that ripped through the plot without ever really slowing down. She would have been way more realistic if she stumbled once in a while, but I can respect her for not doing so. The way I see it, she’s supposed to be overpowered with seemingly no flaws, if she’s the embodiment of an ideal society (which is what I assume the solution here was going for, since the conflict ended with everyone playing games and getting along as opposed to the world going up in flames and Rui failing).
Hell, Rui seemed more like the heroine (hero, whatever) of the story than Hajime did, since he actually had character development. Actually, this whole plot felt more like Rui was the protagonist than anything. Maybe not so much at the beginning, since that was more of Hajime’s introduction and how she changed everyone’s worlds, but the ending was his struggle and fixing his mistakes. Hajime was just a guiding light for Rui towards that. The very end of this episode, the solution to the struggle against CROWDS was Hajime’s suggestion, but it was Rui who implemented the plan and who learnt something from it in the long run.
As for that ambiguous ending, I interpret it as this: after Berg Katze eventually went to Hajime’s “date”, she somehow absorbed him (to stop him) and he’s now trapped inside her heart. …Because apparently Hajime can do that. Plus, I can’t think of any other reason why her cleavage would suddenly start complaining to her. Maybe this is supposed to be some deep metaphor for the good of society encompassing the bad (Hajime being the good in people and Berg Katze being the bad; “you can’t really destroy the bad things in life, but only overcome them” type of thing), but I definitely didn’t mind it’s ambiguity. After all that we’ve seen from this anime, is it really that surprising that they wouldn’t explain absolutely everything?
Highway // One of the themes of this series was the incompatibility of Rui’s view that the world needs to get rid of heroes with Hajime’s insistence that she wouldn’t give up being a Gatchaman. A lot of people have thought that Hajime was simple or naive throughout the show, but I think in this instance, it was Rui that was the one who was being stubborn and naive. A lot of that was born from his desire to change the world in a crowdsourced manner, but I think that the main issue was that he just didn’t understand the magnitude of the problems that could come up. And even having the power of Crowds, I think he misplaces what that power actually is. He says he doesn’t want heroes, but then he has the Hundred, with Crowds, to be heroes. Maybe he thinks that it’s fine because they don’t want publicity or credit. But how is that different from the Gatchaman? They don’t want credit either, in fact, they’ve been so secret that they’re only a rumor.
And it’s Rui’s faith in this idea that ultimately pulls Galax apart from him. It must have been tough for him to see B-K take over X, and give the neo-Hundred the Crowds power, especially to do selfish things with. But what’s the ultimate fix? Giving the Crowds ability to everyone on Galax. And what convinces them to use it? They get more X (-Box 😉 ) points. People want to be heroes, and people want rewards. It’s a basic motivation. Of course, I loved seeing this put in, because it meshes so well with one of my viewpoints: All people act in their own self-interest all the time. Even “altruistic” acts are done for self-interest, in that it either makes the person feel better (or perhaps less worse), or puts them in a better position farther down the line. Sure, this is a very Heinlein-influenced view, but I have yet to see it be contradicted (although it’s easy to not be contradicted when it has so many possible conditions, I’ll admit). And if people were to embrace the truth of this, it would be easier to deal with people: “If tempted by something that feels “altruistic,” examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!”
So ultimately, Rui does realize the error of his prior viewpoint. I think. At least he gave up on limiting the Crowds. And that’s important. It’s better to figure out how to use such a power than it is to keep a lid on it. And I think that’s the same thing that Hajime thought when she went public with the Gatchannel. But then, Hajime was far past everyone all the time, wasn’t she
A Kinder Way to Counter an Alien Invasion
The Real Housewives of Gatchaman Crowds
Overcooled // The city is in absolute shambles. People are using the CROWDS ability to wring each other’s necks and go on rampages, which is hurting more than it is helping. The solution could have been for Hajime and her crew to mob them like mad in a huge fighting montage. However, instead of turning the finale into a “last boss fight” affair, Rui solves the problem by giving CROWDS to even more people. Technically it’s still people fighting each other, but it has such a feel-good aura surrounding it that it hardly feels like a nail-biting fight for the sake of watching brutality. This finale is very different from something like, say, the Attack on Titan finale. I like the non-traditional route Gatchaman Crowds takes in choosing to compromise instead of just annihilating the other side. The end solution is not to destroy evil, but to simply accept it.
Just by telling people to use CROWDS to help out in “games,” Rui successfully shifts the attention from senseless violence to organized acts of kindness. It sounds like a really risky plan, and I like how you see not everyone playing exactly by his rules. It works for the most part, but some users don’t tone down their violence at all while a huge portion of them are only being heroes so they can rack up GALAX points. Rui used to be extremely critical of people for only doing good deeds if you dangled a carrot in front of their faces, but that’s just part of human nature. It may seem greedy, but are their intentions really so bad when they’re saving hundreds and thousands of lives during a crisis? I think getting happy at a few virtual bonuses is a reasonable reward. As Karakuri and Highway have stated – Rui has grown a lot, and has learned to accept the bad aspects of humanity as being potentially beneficial in certain situations.
Everyone coming together using GALAX to save the world was exactly what I expected from this series, and it worked very well. It was exciting, although I can’t help but compare it to everyone in Summer Wars combining their internet powers in a much more dazzling array than here. I’m actually surprised they tried to throw in a final fight scene at all with OD and Berg Katze. That was the most disappointing scene of the episode. After all the build up with OD his transformation had no tension (much like Utsutsu nonchalently transforming a while back) and he didn’t even come close to destroying the world. All that ominous talk about his unfathomable powers cumulated in a fight scene that was over in a blink of an eye without posing even the littlest of threats to the surrounding area, let alone the planet. They built up all this mystery around him and totally dropped the ball. Even Berg Katze revealing that OD destroyed his own planet had no weight because it was said so suddenly and it garnered no reaction at all. Truly, I think the entire fight should have been excluded in favour of more of these more non-violent solutions because it was just terrible. Seeing BK purely ignored by all of humanity like he was an old fad was just a priceless defeat – much better than any battle would have been.
I would have preferred that they left OD as a total mystery and given us more time to see how Hajime incorporated Berg Katze into her own body. That was a real shocker, but it does make a lot of sense. Who else could balance out the world’s biggest downer than the girl who appears to constantly be on Valium and/or Speed? Hajime, that’s who! From the mayor compromising by using GALAX to Hajime just accepting the bad guy for who he is instead of defeating it, the more pacifist-oriented moments in the finale were great. The forced fights? Not so great. Still, I love the concept of the show and message it’s trying to send, even if it was a little overly optimistic and fluffy. We have to stay connected!
This wasn’t even something I was planning to watch, but I got around to it, and definitely do not regret it in the slightest. Yes, things were messy plot-wise and in execution, but I found it rather charming in a way. Normally having a story go all over the place and do things like going from the message “people seem to be overly reliant on social media, look how it’s (potentially) screwing people over” to the message “guys, social media is the greatest thing ever” (…though maybe I should have seen this coming, since Hajime completely embraced the idea of Galax) is a bit jarring, but I found it okay when combined with the erratic visuals all over the place (and that awesome OST). That made it seem more like a theme as opposed to poor planning. I’m easy to fool like that. Just give me bright colours and I can overlook a LOT of things. Anyways, Hajime was always fun to watch, as was Berg Katze (surprisingly, for the same reasons). Watching Rui and the other characters develop was great too (no matter how shallow some of that development seemed to be at times). …I definitely ended up loving this show a lot more than I thought I would.
I think everyone’s mentioning it, but the finale of this show really tripped, didn’t it? And some would say that it tripped on episode 11, with that hagiography of Hajime, and just finished falling on the finale. It’s kind of a shame that this series was so uneven. I was glad to watch it all the way through, because I thought Hajime was just great. But a lot of stuff just went nowhere, and the stuff that did go somewhere felt ultimately unsatisfying. Did O.D. die? Did he become a Daemonia or something, because it seemed that everyone just forgot about him. Did Berg-Katze turn into Hajime’s bra? Or was he the ribbon? Or is he just inside her
I think the show had some interesting themes, but ultimately was just an incohesive and unsatisfying show. I don’t know what I would have done differently, really, but something needed to be different. At times it was fun to watch, and I always found Hajime fun to watch, but that just couldn’t carry the show past its deficiencies.
Ahhh, Gatchaman was such a joy to blog. It’s far from being technically perfect (they had time for a recap episode yet the ending was still a bit rushed…) and is therefore a very messy show. If you can get over that, it’s really fun. A few of the more well-structured episodes (such as when Rui gets beaten up like crazy and the episode where Sugane realizes Hajime isn’t so derp) are very memorable and impressive. Unfortunately, it does suffer quite a few dips and lapses in focus. Kenji Nakamura is clearly still a diamond in the rough, learning from his mistakes and…sometimes not learning anything at all. I’m still a biased fangirl of his stuff, so I’m pretty fond of Gatchaman Crowds despite realizing all of its flaws.
This show has a lot of downsides and often gets in its own way, but I appreciate a lot of what it was trying to do. With a little less ADHD and a little less kookyness, this could have been a real contender for anime of the year. It’s not a 10/10 show, but man…it was a fun ride. Thanks to Highway and Karakuri for joining me on the finale to make this post wayyyyy better than I could have made it alone. And thanks to YOU, dear reader, for reading this. Until next season~
*wink wink double pistol* Gatcha, baby~