Gatchaman Crowds Insight – 03

gatchaman crowds insight 3003

Just another day for whacky ‘ol Japan, right? Right? Okay, maybe not this time…

I don’t know if it’s the crazy humidity or spending too much time on the computer at work, but I’ve been getting some wicked headaches. Hopefully I’m not too off my game this week because I have another stellar Gatchaman episode to talk about with you guys. Maybe my aspirin will kick in by the end of the post…

Tsubasa and Gel’s debut as idols superheroes continues as they appear on a talk show to try and get more fans. Gel’s ability to show bubbles is quickly becoming a popular parlour trick instead of some ominous, alien power. She’s growing to be just as well-liked as Tsubasa, with netizens even nicknaming her Bubble-sama. The clearly rehearsed manzai comedy routine Tsubasa and Gel flaunt on the show prove how much the duo are trying to get on the public’s good side. When you’re part of the Gatchaman team, being popular is actually important. Paiman complains that all everyone does is puff up their feathers in front of cameras, but that’s what partially allowed them to earn the trust of millions of civilians.

That being said, this episode actually shifted more towards the crime-fighting superhero aspect of the Gatchaman team. Rizumu’s plans are clearly working. He has a highly organized team of terrorists that is showing how the Crowds system can be exploited. VAPE is hard for regular Crowds members to fight against because they’re not as organized or elite. With the advent of even normal Crowds users starting to mimic VAPE and cause crimes, it’s clear that they’re having a huge effect on others.

gatchaman crowds insight 3006

Rui does his best to try and stop Rizumu by trusting in him. This is like Rui reaching out to his past self – a person who also had a dedicated Crowds army (the Hundreds, I believe it was called) and didn’t trust anyone else to use this power. Rui used to be cold, calculating, and tormented by the gravity of the power Berg Katze bestowed upon him. He has come a long way since then. At this point in his life, not trusting Rizumu would mean betraying about everything he has ever learned from Hajime about trust and love. I think Rui knew that offering up his Note would likely end in death. But that was something worth risking if it meant upholding his ideals – which are just as important as his own existence.

Hajime and OD understand that when Rui says to not come any closer that he means it. Tsubasa, however, charges in despite multiple warnings. Now, you would think that saving someone who made a really stupid move for emotional reasons would be a good call. In most other shows, this would be what the hero would do. They would save the person against their wishes and then eventually be thanked for it. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with wanting to save a life. But here, it came across to me that Tsubasa was in the wrong. No one else came to Rui’s rescue, as they understood the importance of having ideals so integral to one’s personality, that not upholding them would be the same as dying. But Tsubasa, who Jou calls very realistic instead of idealistic, does not operate on the same framework as everyone else.

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She’s a real firecracker, that one

Tsubasa basically does whatever she wants and refuses to listen to anyone. She is easily angered by outside events and people, but rarely stops to understand why. When a reporter pushes over a kid by accident, she doesn’t stop and explain to the what the issue is…she just flares up. When OD tries to explain why she shouldn’t save Rui, she doesn’t really seem interested in processing the information. So although Tsubasa is very reactive to surroundings, she is never anything more than that. Reactions. She never processes information given to her in a meaningful way to try and interpret it.

When Jou asks her to give her opinion, it becomes clear that she doesn’t actually have one – she is just singlemindedly trying to be a hero and there’s no room in her head for any other thoughts. She fails to pick up nuances in other people’s personality, feelings, social cues, or even GIANT MONSTERS WITH GAPING MOUTHS TRYING TO KILL HER AS SHE OBLIVIOUSLY RUNS THROUGH THEM. I think this is supposed to be another contrast to Gel, who listens intently to thousands of people at once and takes their advice to heart. So far, our alien girl hasn’t been problematic like Tsubasa, but I can see how down the road she can find out that the majority isn’t always right and sometimes you need to make your own decisions.

gatchaman crowds insight 3009

Some real masochists must be out there, because I see some rounded yellow bubbles…

It’s weird. I felt nothing but anger towards Tsubasa even though I can’t really say what’s so bad about saving Rui other than the fact it goes against his wishes. Her go-getter, hero attitude shouldn’t be so odd but it sticks out like a red thumb in Gatchaman Crowds. In an exmaple that may only be relevant to me since it’s my area of study, let me state it another way. Tsubasa uses bottom-down neural processing: she simply reacts to outside stimuli. Almost everyone else uses top-down processing: they use their pre-determined knowledge, ideals and morals to interpret the world around them and decide how to react. If Tsubasa’s behaviour worries even Hajime, the most carefree girl ever, then you know you’ve got a problem child on your hands.

Will Rui survive? If so, will he be grateful or furious? Rui is probably the favourite target of beatings, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen him get savagely beaten. I don’t think this is the kind of show where someone straight-up dies. I’ll be curious to see how Rui recovers from this though. This will be quite the blow on his ego in terms of being betrayed by Rizumu, saved by Tsubasa, and detested by Crowds users for letting this happen.

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Rui in the light and Tsubasa in the shadows…But nothing is ever just black or white here.


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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33 Responses to “Gatchaman Crowds Insight – 03”

  1. skylion says:

    Well, unlike the last episode, VAPE is actually a force to be reckoned with; I guess the speculation that the previous raid was a test has come up positive.

    It’s very high minded to die before giving up on ideals; a romantic notion to be sure. But one of my favorite sayings is, “You’d be surprised with what you can live through”. Life always brings hope, so I can’t come down to hard on Tsubasa. I agree with your assessment of her, however.

    But death, dishonor…all these pale in comparison to your second screenshot….Yui has thighs to die for. Goodness….

    • Overcooled says:

      They figured out how to be proper villains and not just pose with mannequins…

      I wonder if dying for ideals is also a cultural thing. Is it more acceptable to make sacrifices for your ideals in Japan versus the West? Personally, I’m not sure if I’d ever risk my life for an ideal like Rui did because I’d much, much rather to live.

      Rui always looks so sexual when he gets beaten up, it’s very confusing.

  2. zztop says:

    Tsubasa, however, charges in despite multiple warnings.

    Impulsive as she is, I’d still support Tsubasa interfering here.
    Because unless Rui’s got another idealism trump card up his sleeve, the only immediate outcome I see is him dying a dog’s death at Suzuki’s hands and a violent overthrow of the CROWDS system.
    Just hope nothing bad happens from her intervention.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I have to agree here. As a heroine, her job is save lives. Not save ideals. Everyday heroes do it all the time. Does a firefighter stop to ask if the guy on the second floor wants to be there because of some cause? No. He saves the guy, everything else can be dealt with later.

      • skylion says:

        Yep, when the Avengers saved NYC they saved all the jerks, too. Thanks RDJ!

        • IreneSharda says:

          Yes, did discriminate on who they saved in Sokovia when Ultron wanted to turn it into the world’s largest missle? They didn’t even ask the people if they wanted to be saved. Heck, Scarlet Witch literally just manipulated people’s minds and had them leave! There’s no time for debate here!

      • Di Gi Kazune says:

        As a heroine, her job is save lives. Not save ideals.

        GARcher err…
        It was supposed to be GARcher agrees but reading it again, GARcher would completely disagree with both. When you become A Hero of Justice, things get complicated. A lot.

    • Overcooled says:

      That’s what I find interesting about the show. It’s the right thing to do to try and save the life of someone in danger. But the show frames it like this is a bad thing to do because some ideals are so important that if Tsubasa saved Rui at this point it would be worse than death. So even though I think Tsubasa is doing the right thing as well, I can’t help but get mad at her because it doesn’t fit in with the way the show prioritizes things.

      …But in real life I REALLY hope someone would jump in a save me if my life notebook got stabbed by a crazy terrorist.

  3. HannoX says:

    I have to agree with Tsubasa’s actions here. Yes, there are ideals worth dying for. However, Rui dying here will do nothing to advance his ideals because Rizumu is convinced he’s right and cannot be persuaded to change. So Rui’s death here would be meaningless. OTOH, if he lives he can take action to help his ideals come to pass. And maybe find a way to get Rizumu to change.

    But I do have to agree that Tsubasa is too headstrong and I think there will be negative consequences to her actions here. She needs to learn some restraint and learn from her seniors. Which sounds pretty odd given that Hajime is someone else who ignored her seniors and just went ahead doing what she felt was right. Perhaps there’s a difference because Tsubasa is hot-headed and Hajime is anything but hot-headed? Plus, so far Hajime has always been right.

    • Krono says:

      I have to agree with this assessment. My view on our main villain is that he is a troll that just need to be stomped. Bad apples are bound to pop up from time to time and I do not think that allowing them to use crowds helps anyone. I know that goes against Rui’s policy, but it is the most realistic approach to actually dealing with with what are essentially extremists and trolls.

      If you cannot tell I do not find these kind of villains entertaining or compelling.

      • Overcooled says:

        It doesn’t look like Rui will die here (Gatchaman never kills anyone) so I wonder just how he’s going to stop Rizumu when he’s so opposed to restricting Crowd usage. If the only way out is to change Rizumu’s mind, that’s going to be extremely tough.

        I’m definitely not a Rizumu fan either, so I’m looking forward to seeing him get wrecked

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      Yes, there are ideals worth dying for.

      Emiya Shirou’s. Even the great GARcher cannot kill him. 😛

      • Krono says:

        I feel you cannot really adequately compare them since Shirou had a very compelling reason from “survivors guilt” that he had to protect everyone for the sake of those that he could not save before.

        • Di Gi Kazune says:

          GARcher would take that argument apart. We all know what happened to Kiritsugu’s idealism and how it finally broke. 🙁

  4. IreneSharda says:

    But here, it came across to me that Tsubasa was in the wrong. No one else came to Rui’s rescue, as they understood the importance of having ideals so integral to one’s personality, that not upholding them would be the same as dying. But Tsubasa, who Jou calls very realistic instead of idealistic, does not operate on the same framework as everyone else.

    Again, I guess I come from the opposite end of the argument. To me, it was Tsubasa who was in the right, and every one else in the wrong. Though to correct a point. The only person who didn’t at least try to help Rui was OD and perhaps Hajime. Pai-Pai and Utstsu were struck fighting. Jou and the blond kid whose name starts with an S (can’t remember right now. 😛 ) were actually trying to get to him but got taken down by the red CROWDS. Now, I understand OD’s hesitance, from what you were saying, as well as the fact that he’s had to stand back from a fight on many occasions and has seen many a friend die because the nature of his Gatchaman power is so devastating that he can only use it in the most dire of situations. Yet, despite the fact that I understand, I have to disagree with him.

    Honestly, I had forgotten about Rui’s extreme idealism from last season until this episode. I thought he had matured beyond that. There’s a difference between having ideals and employing wisdom. You can have faith in humanity if you want, but that doesn’t mean you should go blindly down a dark alley in the roughest part of town, expecting everyone to live up to some hidden potential. He was incredibly foolish here. He hardly knows this guy, and knows that he means to harm others to get his point across. To say that he believes in him because underneath all of that anger, the man has the right ideals, and just hand him what is essentially his life in book form, was pretty dumb. Sure, perhaps under there the guy is not so bad. But he’s got to reach that point before you start trusting him with your life.

    And what happens if he just kills you? Well now you’re dead and your ideals with you. What use is that to anyone? And I’m sorry OD and others, you’re just as at fault for not going in there and helping. You’re job is like that of police and EMTs, to save lives, even if that person is being a suicidal idiot.

    • Highway says:

      I wonder why you think that idealism is ‘immature’. When I think of humans that will abandon principles for convenience or whim, I think of children more than anyone. It’s true that most adults don’t adhere to principles, but I attribute that, again, to convenience and desired outcomes more than a realization that ‘maturity’ means abandoning principles. That’s assuming, a very dubious assumption even, that most people even have principles. Most people just have, as I say, a set of desired outcomes, and will more likely rationalize away their principle in favor of their desired outcome. But I certainly wouldn’t confuse that for ‘maturity’.

      I think Rui knows that he will die if he hands over his Note. He does it anyway, because he wants to be wrong (on that particular point), and is willing to show that he will make a sacrifice to show that people can evolve.

      • IreneSharda says:

        I wouldn’t say that idealism itself is immature. Many people will tell you I’m a idealistic and slightly naive person myself. However, I do believe that your idealism does have to balance out with realism. I do think that while there might be some good in everyone, that I’m not going to trust everyone in the same degrees. I think that as a person matures and becomes more experienced in life, hopefully their wisdom also grows and they can temper their ideals to a certain degree. I think that Rui has extremely high ideals that are not realistic, like a kid who believes that one day everyone is the world will get along and there will never be any conflict ever. It’s okay that a kid thinks that way, but you as an adult know that life is more complicated that that, even eventually that kid will temper his thinking. That’s what I think of as maturing in that area.
        My example still stands that while you might want to think the best of humanity, you still don’t walk down some dark unknown alley in the worst part of town without a care in the world. And you don’t give your enemy your heart and soul. And the fact that if Rui knew he was going to die, then he really is stupid. As others and myself have pointed out, his death would accomplish nothing. In fact, it would probably lead to exactly what he doesn’t want, and the enemy would not change at all but simply think of him as he is, a naive and foolish idiot.

        • Di Gi Kazune says:

          Heh. Sounds like someone I know…

          The block of life called reality tends to do that to people. I’m reminded of a person I know whot was once a young idealistic person. That person believed in exactly what you describe. The harsh reality slowly turned them into a cynic. Yes, the idealism still lives in that person, but its no longer that pure innocent when it was young…

          I talk too much.

          • IreneSharda says:

            It’s kind of funny, that my youngest brother is a complete realist, and he makes fun of the fact that I’m more idealist. We are actually the two extremes, I always see the cup has half full and him the opposite. And we take after our parents, with my mom being the realist and my dad being the idealist. However, as the saying goes opposites attract.

            And it’s often that plans that my brother and I cooperate on together that end up being the best. A mix of idealism and realism is usually the most affable.

        • Highway says:

          I think you aren’t giving Rui nearly enough credit for his ideals, nor his fortitude in sticking to them. That same kid you talk about that wants everyone to get along will abandon that idea in an instant when faced with a situation where they don’t get what they want. That’s not an ideal, that’s just a platitude, devoid of conviction or belief.

          One can call it ‘realism’, but that’s again, just giving up on what you believe for a convenience, this time saving your own bacon. As the old joke goes, “now you’re just haggling over price.” I have no problem with Rui judging that the price he’s willing to pay to prove a point is his life, even if the rest of the people don’t agree.

          • skylion says:

            ::pops popcorn::

          • IreneSharda says:

            I see no difference between the two other than that Rui is even worse in that he’s keeping with his ideal despite evidence to the contrary. And rather than adapt his ideals into a new model in light of the “evidence” of life, he keeps with his same theory and ignores the evidence. It’s like continuing to think that the Sun revolves around the Earth, despite the evidence, rather than be willing to adapt your ideals around the new evidence to form a new model of your ideal. It’s not about about convictions, it’s more about blind stubbornness.

            I had thought that after his stubbornness in not adapting his ideals almost destroyed everything last season, Rui would have learned to shift and adapt, but I guess not.

            • skylion says:

            • Highway says:

              But what’s the ‘evidence’ that Rui is wrong? That Rizumu exists? That Berg-Katze was able to manipulate him into having a system that was then subverted? That doesn’t mean he’s wrong. And I don’t think that puts any onus on Rui to give up on what he believes.

              I’ve thought that Rizumu is pretty much a big jerk. His argument has entirely been “nuh uh!” and “I’m just opposing you for the sake of opposing you.” And then he essentially goads his followers into murder. What else is he doing if not threatening to murder the people trapped by the Red Crowds? He tries to make this be some thing that Rui is prideful about, but I think that Rui shows that it’s not just pride but honest belief that people can and will change. He believes people *need* to change, and is willing to pay the price for his belief. Giving up would be worse than death to him, what would he get out of it: A life of regret that he gave up.

            • skylion says:

              So, is Rizmu a reflection of something we see in real life? Part of the interest in the original Crowds was in it’s verisimilitude. That would be compelling…

            • Di Gi Kazune says:

              *agrees with skylion*

              *passes skylion the potechi*

            • IreneSharda says:

              I would say that the evidence is life in general, but this is a series that is a little more fantastical than real life, where many of the characters are actually considering world peace to be a doable thing in their lifetimes, so you have to adapt your idea to what evidence life would give in this world.

              It’s not about Rui believing that people can change that gets me. I believe in that myself. My problem comes in that he doesn’t temper his ideals with reality, and use wisdom to guide his actions. Your actions should not be dependent on your ideals alone, no more than they should be guided by emotions or plain logic. His ideal is that everyone can be better and everyone can change. However, the reality is that even if he believes that Rizumu has good inside him, doesn’t make it a reality. And even if it can one day become a reality, doesn’t mean you should dictate your actions by that belief in the present. Even if Rui has these lofty ideals about humanity, doesn’t change what humanity currently is now, and so he should adapt his actions for the situation at hand and not what he wishes it to be.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Since I’m late, I’ll say this: Rui was stupidly and unbelievably naïve. Proof that he doesn’t spend enough time around people to know he’s going to get stabbed in the back. Tsubasa made the right call going to the rescue despite his stubbornness.

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