First Impressions – Gatchaman Crowds Insight

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I’ve been getting terribly, terribly hyped for Gatchaman since the release of episode zero. I couldn’t even wait for the subs. I don’t know why because the last season ended with a whimper moreso than a bang. But here I am, doe-eyed and smiling like a dork at the thought of more Gatchaman.


 Its time for the super happy utopia friendly good vibes show!  What, you disagree with the world view of perfect super being Hajime?!?  You unholy monster!


Bird, go! Ah, Gatchaman Crowds was an unbelievably cute show, and I’m glad I get to see more Hajime running around and solving problems. The OVA pointed towards new issues happening in the world too, so it should be interesting how they cover the vast topic of people disagreeing about things.


Alien InVAPEsion

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Overcooled // Ah, Gatchaman. This is a whacky show combining a cast of characters with incredibly strong personalities, aliens, and the strengths and weaknesses of social media. Season 1 seemed torn between “look at all the cool things Magic Twitter can do!” and “shounen alien adventure battles.” Season 2 seems to be playing things a little closer to the human side of things, asking us what it’s like to exist in a world where our lives are intricately tied up in social media and technology. A guy won’t move away from a dangerous, crashed spaceship because he’s taking photos of it for his blog (or friends, cat, mom, whatever). You can vote with an app on your phone. You have to rely on Gatchannel to know what the only alien-powered superheroes in the world are up to. Crowds is still an all-powerful accident waiting to happen that grants immense power to people through the use TV-head avatars. There are aliens thrown in there for good measure, but they seem more like an addition now instead of the main problem. Our planet doesn’t need aliens to invade for there to be destruction and chaos. Humans do that to themselves just fine on their own.

Episode 1 is very much just a tasting course, showing us all the new characters and reminding us of how the old ones are doing. But it really does look like we’ve got a promising season on our hands. VAPE, the rebel group that is most likely a bunch of stoner kids who couldn’t think up a good name, feels like a potentially cool enemy force for the Gatcha team. I predict we’ll see some interesting reasoning from VAPE about why they’re not so keen on Crowds. Our society really is obsessed with smart phones and what they can do, so I’m sure it’s meant to be a critique of the future we’re barreling towards at a frightening pace. Not that such a future is frightening. I already feel naked when I leave my phone at home and I think it’s pretty neat we can share whatever we’re doing at any one time with billions of people – instantly. I’d be SO down for living in a world with the same system as Gatchaman Crowds! Minus the VAPE people ruining everything for everyone, of course. And maybe minus some of the more evil aliens too. But you know what I mean!

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But where’s Gel’s emoticon bubble?

I really hope we see more of the human aspects of technology this season, because there’s just not enough episodes to make a comment on society, technology AND have a dramatic alien invasion plot complete with power-ups and friendship speeches and the whole shebang. That latter portion shouldn’t be in the forefront at the very least. With Berg Katze (mostly) under control within the safety of Hajime’s bosom and the newest alien addition being a total softie, we should be safe. In fact, Gel’s power to show emotions just highlights the more “human” aspects of the show. The emoticon bubbles change in colour and shape based on mood, with warm colours tending towards more positive emotions and cooler colours representing distress.

Hajime and the old guy are the only ones with grey colours, representing neutrality and resistance to being influenced by outside factors. Although for Hajime, it could be more of a light and dark/black and white thing now that she’s taken in Berg Katze into her body. Will that change at some point? Will Gel realize that everyone is going to have different coloured bubbles regardless of how hard she tries to unite everyone? Will Utsutsu ever have an emotion other than sleepy/gloomy??? The whole emotion thing is a very welcome feature to the Gatchaman thing. There’s a lot of new stuff to keep track of and a lot to say but I’ll leave the rest to my Metanorn teammates to cover since I’ll be blogging this (surprise surprise!) in the future.

It’s My Way or The Hajime

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Samsura // Before I go into my interpretation of what Gatchaman Crowds is, lets just talk nuts and bolts.  I love the look, character design and sound of Gatchaman.

OK, time to get into the real stuff.  The first season of Crowds had a very specific message and goal: to create what I would describe as a hell on earth.  Maybe that is a bit harsh.  I haven’t seen season one in a while, so my recollection of exact events and messages are a bit vague.  My general memory of the show is watching events transpire and thinking “Man, the world of Hajime is not a world I want to live in.”  And since the world of Hajime is the world of Gatchaman, I do not want to live in that world at all.

The thing is that Hajime isn’t a person nor even a character.  I define characters as fictional people with limited traits and qualities, often with shared tropes that replace development or complex emotions.  People are when characters are given motivations and traits, which are then developed and expanded upon until you get someone with a unique identity that cannot be 100% replicated somewhere else.  Hajime doesn’t even qualify as a character for me, she is an IDEAL.  The idea of Hajime is that she is a perfect being who cannot be faulted, whose every step gains the adoration of the world, whose singular outlook on life is the solution to everything that’s seemingly impossible.  Incidentally, every single person who has ever shown dissent for the gospel of Hajime is a monster out to destroy the world.  Plus, she has the biggest internet troll ever living in her tits.  (I know that Berg-Katze, the hammiest Mamoru Miyano may ever have been, doesn’t actually live inside in her huge tits, but the camera really loves zooming right in on them.)  I’ll mention Toshiya Ono here as the main writer for Crowds seasons 1 and 2.  I can only imagine he lives in a room wall to wall with pictures of Hajime.

Now just to be clear: being an ideal is not a bad thing in it of its self.  When the ideal is something I would call unobtainable and plain foolish, that’s when I start to take issue.  Lets look at some choice lines of dialogue from this episode.  “Half the people disagree with the status quo.”  “So now almost half are revolutionaries.”  So disagreeing with the IDEAL makes you a revolutionary?  Again, doesn’t help that everyone ever shown to disagree with Hajime is either literally or figuratively a monster.

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Even aliens who don’t know Earth customs know how to be moe

I almost forgot to mention the other super big development in this episode: the uniformity in peoples emotions.  When the super adorable cute omg isn’t she the greatest thing ever Gel-chan give me a hug kawaii shows up, she has the ability to basically make a real time emoticon appear over peoples heads.  “Everyone’s scattered all over the place.  I don’t like it.  I want everyone to be united.”  “Did you hear that everyone?  Super happy fun time starts now, so lets all be happy fun smiley!”

Well I guess I’m just a fucking terrorist aren’t I?!?  Gatchaman posits that a world were everyone has access to their own super powered internet monster, can see the literal embodiment of their emotions and there is also a team of super heroes saving the day is the way to create a utopia.  And the only people who even slightly dissent belong to an organization called Violent Ape, who you know are pure evil because they were skull face masks and have a read color instead of blue.  I just love how this show makes it so that my distaste for the MESSAGE MAKES ME AUTOMATICALLY EVIL!!!  “Not everyone is the same.  Because there are some Monkeys among us, this nation hasn’t been able to produce a civilized society.”  YOUR GODDAMN CELLPHONES SUMMON ENERGY MONSTERS TO DO YOUR BIDDING!  OH, AND GAY RIGHTS CLEARLY ISN’T AN ISSUE, BECAUSE OD, WHO I SWORE DIED LAST SEASON, CAN BE ON NATIONAL TV AND BE A WALKING GAY STEREOTYPE AND EVERYONE IS TOTALLY COOL WITH THAT!!!  ALSO, WE CAN NOW ELECT POLITICIANS THROUGH FUCKING TWITTER, BUT THAT ISN’T ENOUGH FOR YOU!?!  THAT ISN’T CIVILIZED?!?  WHY DON’T I JUST GO SIT DOWN IN THE FUCKING RE-EDUCATION FACILITY AND CLOCKWORK ORANGE MY EYEBALLS TILL I GET A FUCKING HAJIME TRAMP STAMP!!!  LETS MAKE AN APP WERE EVERY TIME YOU CONVINCE SOMEONE TO ADOPT THE HAJIME LIFE VIEW YOU GET POINTS, CAUSE THAT’S WHAT THEY DID LAST TIME, ACHIEVEMENT POINTS ARE THE ONLY THING THAT CAN SAVE HUMANITY!!

Hajime 2.0

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Alright, let me just stab you real quick and you’ll be a superhero. Promise!

Karakuri // Rui has had his main problems solved in the last season, so now it looks live they’ve added more characters for there to be problems with. There weren’t many problems with either character yet, but considering how everyone else had kind of a character arc with their main personal issues addressed in the last season, adding more characters implies that time will be spent on developing them. But anyways, Gel and Tsubasa have appeared and the focus seems to be on Tsubasa for the most part. Already from her reaction to the press bothering her, she seems rather hot headed. But at the same time, her cheery disposition is a lot like Hajime’s. So she’s kind of like a Hajime with a bit more to her character that prevents her from being too perfect, which is fine since Hajime is more like the leading idea of the show. I stick with my idea that Rui was the hero/ine of the last season, so this season I assume Tsubasa will take up that position.

Though maybe they commented on Hajime’s perfection in the episode since her thoughts didn’t change at all. Plus compared to everyone’s brightly coloured thoughts, Hajime’s were a dull grey. Maybe it’s just because she’s so hard to read (the great grandfather was also thinking pretty grey for his part of the episode), or maybe they’re addressing how Hajime’s thoughts just don’t change that much. Or it was a side effect of Katze’s current residence in her bosom, but either way, maybe this is a sign that they’ll do more with Hajime’s character this season other than have her solve everything.

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As for Gel, I get the surface idea of how she wanted everyone to be on the same page, but underneath it seemed… off somehow. Like yeah, let’s all be happy together and build a productive society where no one feels sad! Yay! I’m all for world peace. But at the same time, being upset because people don’t feel the exact same way you do about things is like forcing ideals on to people, which is more dystopian than utopian. What happens to the people who can’t believe in this and are they “wrong” just because they don’t fit in? Though then again, what even is world peace and how is it achievable? People fight wars because of conflict of ideals and it’s impossible to make absolutely everyone content. It’s pretty impossible for peace to happen as the world and people’s dispositions in general are now. So this seems like an experiment and imagining an ideal world where everyone can be happy with the same things. Seeing how it came from Hajime’s side, Gel’s idea is going to end up as the “correct” one, so why not run with it? The message might be wrong in our world, but Crowds is all about idealism and optimism. This kind of thing fits in here better than it ever would in real life, so while I personally disagree, I can still watch people believe in it and walk away feeling good and optimistic inside.


Final Thoughts

I’m really happy this show is back! I know season 2 can pick up where season 1 failed! I already have a lot of good feelings about this set-up and I think the real deal is going to start by episode 2. There’s already so much I know I’m going to want to say about the show, the imagery, and ideals, Hajime, and Crowds. I already set my ringtone to the GATCHAMAAAAN part of the song so yeah…I’m way beyond rational thought at this point as I’ve dove completely into a pool of endless optimism and excitement. This is going to be more focused and more about the people coming together to save the world. Episode 1 starts in Niigata, which I heard (thanks for the cool factoid, AJ!) is undergoing a real life revitalization project themed around inspiring citizens to be proactive and involved in their community so that they can make it a better place. If that doesn’t tell you this will be about people furiously tapping at their smartphones to use Crowds to save the world, I don’t know what else would.


I kinda like Gatchaman.  Its fun and funky on the outside, absolutely intolerable on the inside.  My condemnation of the philosophy of this show is not a condemnation of the show itself.  Some shows sell you on one thing, then disappoint you by being something else.  Some shows fail in the execution of their goals and become a drawn out mess of bad ideas and poor pacing.  Gatchaman is nothing like that, instead being a well done execution of ideals and messages that make me physically shudder.  Characters like new girl Tsubasa and Gel, returning characters like Pai Pai and Sugane are fun enough.  I can’t get enough of the soundtrack.  I can almost fool myself into liking Gatchaman, then I hear the MESSAGE and my ire rises.  I will totally watch this show, and if I can’t blog it I’ll do my darnedest to analyze the shit out of what ever kooky message comes from this season. 

As much as I disagree with some points, it’s nice that Crowds experiments with messages. It adds substance at least, and I’d rather watch Hajime run around spreading her philosophy than just watching characters do cute things without much else going on behind it. …Just kidding I’d watch both shows, but I’d much rather watch Crowds. The new characters seem cute, Katze is still there to give them an excuse to zoom in on Hajime’s boobs, and it looks like there will be plenty of action with VAPE running around. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough Rui, but it seems like he’ll be showing up more in the future.


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40 Responses to “First Impressions – Gatchaman Crowds Insight”

  1. IreneSharda says:

    Well, Gatchaman is back. It’s been a while and all I can really remember from the first season was how awesome Katze was, that it had some good action, that the pacing towards the end was poor, and the finale was badly done. Also, that I couldn’t stand Hajime or her ideals.

    Now with time, my impressions have worn off, and I remembered Gatchaman being fun, so I checked this out.

    Annnnddd, I was reminded all over again why this show grated on my nerves so much. Hajime and this weird utopian “everyone let’s get together and be the same” ideal, was right back there again. Once again, it will be up to the villains, who seem interesting, to entertain me. And one can only hope that the new Tsubasa takes over as main characters and takes all of Hajime’s screen time.

    • BlackBriar says:

      And one can only hope that the new Tsubasa takes over as main characters and takes all of Hajime’s screen time.

      Come on, now. We all know that’s not going to happen. Even with a new recruit, Hajime’s going to run the show. Even the production art of the Gatchaman Crowds Insight MAL page has Tsubasa sharing the center spot with her. If anything, the screen time will be split evenly in two between them. As much indicated in the OP’s visuals. Personally, it makes them look like sisters.

      • IreneSharda says:

        If that’s true, I might have to end up dropping this thing. I don’t think I can take another season of Hajime as main character. And with Berg Katze basically muzzled, I honestly don’t really have any reason to stay.

        Maybe VAPE will be an interesting element? I’ll give it the three episode try just to see if something interesting comes up. I’ll be hopeful, but not deluded. -_-

        • Overcooled says:

          Hajime is a huge part of the show and I think she’s not gonna step down. So if you don’t like Hajime, this will be tough to sit through. Hope you like it though!

  2. skylion says:

    I think what I love best about Gatchaman is that it just chucks you right in and tells you “Sort it out on your own”. Yeah, Hajime is bring and bouncy, and not at all dark like Samsura points out. But she’s encouraging people to do and be better. It would be one thing if she used her powers to be the authority, but she does it by pure action.

    inspiring citizens to be proactive and involved in their community so that they can make it a better place. If that doesn’t tell you this will be about people furiously tapping at their smartphones to use Crowds to save the world, I don’t know what else would.

    Good words there, OC! I couldn’t agree more.

    As it is, this episode is pure set up. These new characters will take time to evolve on their own. Yeah, Nan’s head balloons and her initial thoughts on them are a bit…creepy in their own way. But that too, is an evolution. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    • Overcooled says:

      Episode 0 was the recap, so I’m totally fine with episode 1 diving right in. It does require your full attention though, because things moved very quickly – a new alien and a new Gatchaman all within those brief 20 minutes.

      Yes, this was largely set-up to show us the playing field and the players on it. Now we get to watch them play! Episode 2 is gonna be great!

  3. HannoX says:

    GATCHAMAAAN! I love having Hajime and the other Gatchaman back and Tsubasa looks like a good addition to the cast. You may not agree with the ideas Crowds espoused, but at least it has ideas and explores them. I was generally onboard with the ideas that I thought Season One reached at the end–individual initiative does matter, ordinary people working together can do amazing things, but at the same time there have to be leaders and organizers to direct those efforts. That’s not 1984 or Brave New World–that’s a civilized society.

    However, the alien Gel wanting everybody to be in tune with each other and have the same emotion, that is tending towards 1984 and Brave New World territory. We’ll see how far Season Two goes in that direction.

    Hajime is one of my favorite characters. I know many grumble she’s about as Mary Sue a character as you can get, but I like her relentlessly cheerful attitude and her irreverence towards those in power. She treats the mayor of her city and the Prime Minister just the same as anyone else. Sure, her always being right and knowing the right thing to do is unrealistic. But, come on, this is anime and you want realism? This is escapism and entertainment. And I find Hajime highly entertaining. At least it’s also taking a look at big ideas.

    So I love Hajime. And I love that Berg Katze will be mouthing off throughout Season Two. But will having him inside her have any effect on Hajime? That’s another question that may be explored.

    • skylion says:

      I see Gel swinging more towards 1984 than I do Brave New World. Her gimmick leads more to groupthink than it does to say, mood deadening drugs, and birthing weirdness…

      Plus there are so many less worthy Mary Sues or Marty Stu’s out there. This one season there’s this killer guy with a sword, and his only weakness makes him as cool as all get out….

      • zztop says:

        You mean a Hajime-ssu. ;>

      • HannoX says:

        I included Brave New World because it was another society that didn’t really leave room for individuality, unless it was for the Alphas. But yes, groupthink is definitely what Gel’s actions can lead to. And maybe that’ll be one of the major themes of this season. That Gel isn’t harmless like Paiman says, that her moe appearance hides something very dangerous even if her intentions aren’t evil. As they say, ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’

        • skylion says:

          …I’ve never liked that phrase. It always gets quoted by people that never seem to have any sort of intent…Not that I mean you, good sir. But it always works out that way in fiction….

          • HannoX says:

            I’ve always thought there was a lot of truth in that saying. Good intentions aren’t enough; you also have to consider what the results are. And if the results are turning out badly, all the good intentions in the world won’t matter. You need to change course.

          • HannoX says:

            Spammy struck.

    • Overcooled says:

      I actually don’t think Gel really wants everyone to be the same. She’s a dumb alien who is only just learning Earth’s customs and so she randomly blurted out something about being united because she thought it would be nice. Does that mean she’s going to be hellbent on making everyone’s emoticon bubble the same? I don’t know. But I don’t see anything wrong with Gel and her intentions juuust yet.

      I’m in the camp of Hajime fans too. It took me a while to like her since her speech pattern is rather shrill, but now I’m in love. People hate her because she’s perfect??? Y’ALL JUST JEALOUS.

      Good point about Katze potentially affecting Hajime. Maybe even SHE won’t be immune to the constant verbal abuse of an evil alien living inside her.

  4. zztop says:

    To really destroy the VAPEs, consider spreading rumours that all its members are also involved in henious sex crimes – after all, why join a movement that rhymes with R-A-P-E? (`ε´)/

    And yes, I am feeling very devious today.Ψ(`▽´)Ψ

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      Because it’s fun? 😉

    • BlackBriar says:

      I think they’re leaning more towards what the initials stand for and don’t care what the name itself sounds like. They’re united in some purpose yet to be elaborated.

      • zztop says:

        True that. Just a little naughty humour on my part. :>

    • Overcooled says:

      And the day is saved by a smear campaign! Go home Gatchaman, we did your job for you!

  5. Foshizzel says:

    Yep as many people know I don’t really like Hajime all that much because in season one she had her hyper mode always cranked to 10000 without any signs of stopping, but this season looks like she has calmed down some and I think Tsubasa and Gel will be the main focus for a few episodes since they are the new kids in town~

    The moe queen Hanazawa Kana as Gel is so perfect <3 omg so damn cute <3

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s alright, I get why some people don’t like Hajime. But I think she’ll get up to her usual hyper levels again soon so don’t relax yet!

      Oh man I might have to use the HanaKana virus tag then.

      • IreneSharda says:

        Hajime’s one of those characters I find that most people think in extremes about. Most people either really like her or really loathe her.

        I don’t like her because she doesn’t seem like an actual person to me and as Sam said, more like an ideal personified. And I’m not too fond of the ideal she represents either. Also, she has the same problem that Disney execs were afraid of when they created Joy in the movie Inside Out. (I know you’ve seen it, since it’s a psychologist’s dream 🙂 ) They had trouble with Joy’s character because through many of their test audiences, they found out that people take a large dislike to people that are blissfully happy all the time. They get annoyed by them. So, they had to fine tune Joy’s character several times in order to get audiences to respond to her.

        Hajime, to me, is what happens when you don’t do that fine tuning. A person that has no flaws and is constantly upbeat is grating to me. But again, I’m obviously in the secondary camp. There are some who just love Hajime’s nature. I can’t see it, but I’m glad there is some character out there for you guys.

        • Foshizzel says:

          -hi5 Irene for being on anti-Hajime team-

          Shes alright I just like when she isn’t the main focus yeah I know why she is awesome and why people love her, but I will wait to see if this season changes her and I agree completely with OC that she probably won’t change much! Which that is fine just more for the fans of that character to like about her.

          • BlackBriar says:

            -hi5 Irene for being on anti-Hajime team-

            Are you trying to stir up an angry mob? You’ll have horses, ropes, torches and pitchforks on you yet. 😛

  6. Namaewoinai says:

    Those Guys are back too…? Hmph,And they got a new one well…Let’s see how this New Fella goes, So I was wondering if…

    Show ▼

    Anyways, “Like the Singing Princesses” I would like to give a pun names (Or Codenames) for these, “Techo-Birds of Prey”
    Here are the ff:

    – Hajime Ichinose – Flamingo
    – Sugane Tachibana – Eagle
    – Joe Hibiki – Firebird
    – Utsutsu Miya – Stork
    – Paiman – Ostrich
    – O.D – Griffon
    – Rui Ninimiya – Vulture
    – Tsubasa Misudachi (N) – Albatross
    – Berg Katze (AKA: Mr Burger Boy) – Garuda

  7. zztop says:

    I’m surprised the impressions didn’t mention the changes in the other characters. Like how OD’s a TV celebrity, girls are orbiting around Sugane and Joe’s trying to quit smoking/is now the Japanese PM’s personal aide.

    • Overcooled says:

      Not enough space to cover it all without forming a massive wall of text!

      I love that Sugune became a pimp though. What on Earth happened between seasons?

  8. BlackBriar says:

    Bird, go! Exactly two years since the original Gatchaman Crowds… Man, it’s been a while.

    Hajime’s back! Though a little calmer but I’m glad to see her again all the same. From episode 00 “Inbound”, it seems she’s becoming susceptible to Berg Katze’s influence. With this new organization VAPE rising, that might be an interesting subplot. One thing I can’t remember: How did Berg Katze get sealed in Hajime’s bust in the first place? That’s a pretty awkward yet lewd place to lock someone away.

    I think I’m going to easily like the new characters Tsubasa and Gel. Tsubasa is a bit like Hajime. Though the difference is you have a clue to what she thinks or feels whereas Hajime is unpredictable with her frequent smiles and that seemingly airheaded front which hides an intelligent girl beneath the surface.

    The OP “Insight” is going to need some getting to even though it’s by the same band “WHITE ASH” who did the OP “Crowds” for last season.

    • HannoX says:

      Unfortunately, the director’s cut of the final episode which presumably shows how Berg Katze got sealed in Hajime’s bust seems to be available only in Japan and without subtitles. So unless you know Japanese it wouldn’t make much sense to import it.

      Berg Katze residing where he does gives the show an excuse to zoom in on Hajime’s boobs. Since close-ups of her boobs seems to be the most fan service the series provides I’m okay with that. And I don’t think more fan servicy elements like a beach or hot spring episode would be a good fit for this show or are necessary. When I want those I’ll watch a more ecchi show.

      • zztop says:

        An independent subtitling group already translated the director’s cut episode. You can either download it from their website, or watch it on unofficial streaming sites.

      • zztop says:

        The director’s cut episode has already been translated by independent subtitle groups.

      • HannoX says:

        I really don’t like going to unofficial sites. This may be one of the few times I do.

    • Overcooled says:

      There are little differences in Hajime with Katze in her now. Like now she has a red demon backpack instead of a ducky one! Now that Katze seemingly talks to her from her boobs, I’m starting to notice how huge her chest is…

      I really like the OP – especially the visuals. We’ll see if I ever like it more than the original though. It’s hard to top old favourites.

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