Gatchaman Crowds Insight – 08

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Nice milk jugs…I mean jug.

Gatchaman? What’s that? It sounds vaguely familiar, let me think for a moment…Ah right, I have to blog Gatchaman now that I’m back from my trip and the hiatus is over. I haven’t written about this show for so long that it almost slipped out of my memory. Skylion graciously covered the show while I was away (thanks!), and during that period of not being able to write about it, my feelings about the show changed quite a bit. Brace yourselves.

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Ready for it? Okay. I no longer enjoy watching Gatchaman Crowds. There, I said it. This just isn’t fun anymore. It’s become bogged down with politics (and not the Game of Thrones kinds where people get their heads chopped off), the eternally grating Tsubasa, messy writing, and the addition of Kuu-sama. I was looking forward to a season that pushed aside alien vs Gatcha superhero conflict to take a look at something more modern and tech-oriented. I was excited for a story debating whether Crowds could exist without people abusing it, or an exploration of current-day superheroes using twitter and livestreams on a daily basis. These are all routes I’d be interested in given the technologically advanced setting that was presented to us. It feels like I fell for some poor joke the way I was baited with the show talking about Crowds and Rizumu before replacing it with POLITICS POLITICS AND MORE POLITICS.

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And I thought American politics were crazy

I’ve been able to stomach most of the political drama because it does manage to incorporate some interesting tech ideas, like using smartphones for democratic voting. But it’s become difficult to take seriously when the mistakes Gel and Tsubasa make are so blatantly wrong. I can tell with every decision they make, they’re poking a ticking time bomb that’s getting closer and closer to exploding. Even on a smaller scale, these two say and do the most infuriatingly harebrained things. I cannot fathom how Tsubasa honestly doesn’t notice that Gel has bloated to at least 3x his size. If she noticed him change from a kid to an adult via upward growth, she should be able to see some sideways growth too. Jesus, I shouldn’t even be explaining why it’s obvious because it’s so obvious!

Gel I can give a conditional pass because he’s an alien. Tsubasa has no excuses. She didn’t even have much screentime this week and used all of it acting like someone shoved a stick up her ass. I know her whole schtick is that she’s simple-minded and misses the point, but it’s just too much. I don’t want Tsubasa to be this dumb, feisty girl that I have to hate so much I rant about her in a blog post. Her biggest problem this episode is that she fails to realize what it means to accept someone who is different. Take her conversation with Hajime for example. Now, it goes sour real fast as she was on high alert defense mode even though Hajime wasn’t intending for it to be an argument. She erroneously blames Hajime’s “love of conflict” (which is also a misinterpretation of her words) on Berg-Katze’s influence.  Hajime and Berg Katze have completely different views…and yet they are one. Tsubasa and Gel will have to eventually realize that “being one” doesn’t mean 100% similarity, but accepting and embracing the uniqueness of other people. That is how Hajime is able to live with Berg-Katze. No speech bubble colour-matching necessary!

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By trying to make everyone become one with his colourful bubbles, Gel has created unnecessary conflict. People are so desperate to achieve this goal of becoming one that Gel has set that they become livid when someone gets in the way of that goal. Since you can easily see who doesn’t fit in with a quick glance above their head, discrimination is easy. It’s almost like a freaky racism where you exclude those with a different bubble colour. The sad thing is, I don’t think these people know exactly what it means to become one. They’re trying to do what Gel is telling them simply because he said it would be good, and that something bad would happen if they don’t. But what bad thing would happen if they didn’t? They don’t answer Hajime when she asks this. What’s so great about becoming one? People are going to such extremes to exclude others and they don’t even seem to know why they’re doing it. Truly, they have become apes.

This would have been an interesting change for the worse if the story had stuck to people persecuting others based on speech bubbles. Instead, they had to throw in giant plushie alien monsters as well. I think the addition of Kuu-sama is the worst idea the Gatchaman franchise has ever had…maybe even worse than Tsubasa’s existence. The point is essentially supposed to be that by becoming one, you actually create more divisions. Those that love Kuu-sama now see those who don’t love Kuu-sama as outsiders to the main group. These minorities are shunned and…eaten. But did we really need some creepy plushies to be the vehicles for that? Couldn’t the speech bubbles have just eaten those who refused to accept Gel? Or you could have civilians attack those who didn’t belong. Why do we need to add a whole hoard of insanely annoying mascots to the mix when it just complicates things? If you asked me the main message of the show, I don’t think I could tell you. Much like season 1, it feels like director Kenji Nakamura brainstormed a list of ideas and decided to just include them all. I was hoping season 2 would learn to be less ADHD in its endeavors, but it seems to be more messy than before.

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That feeling when you tell a good joke and no one laughs

There is one thing Kuu-sama succeed in, and that is being really fucking creepy. It’s the way they talk in baby voices and tell you to relax in a borderline condescending tone. It sounds nice at first, but then that green tongue just lolls about as they loom over you expecting a hug. Then they ask you to become one, which sounds terrifying compared to when Gel says it in his relaxed tone. This fear was before I even saw them eat Alan. I already wanted to burn them and scatter the ashes in the farthest reaches of the Antarctic, and that was just from seeing them hug people. There’s such a thing as being so nice it’s just unsettling. Plus, yeah, they murder anyone not in their gang, so there’s also that.

All in all, I’m not happy with the direction things are going in. Hajime is getting pushed out of the way in favour of literally the worst characters ever and the story has gone to the dogs. The way Kuu-sama took over like lightning caught me so off guard I couldn’t believe they were really running with that as a main plot point. To be clear, I don’t HATE the show…but I am thoroughly disappointed that this second season is such a flop. Season 1 was much, much better.

I may have cooled down a bit on Gatchaman, but I was still in fangirl mode when I was in Japan. I found an entire Gatchaman stand in Akihabara filled with goodies, with the Gatchaman transformation song blaring on the PA system. I regret not buying the NOTE since I’m considering cosplaying as Hajime for the next anime convention (my wardrobe just happens to contain her regular clothes hehe). So I got a random keychain that ended up being BK and a Rui-themed nail art set. I had no idea anime nail art was a thing until now. I’m not complaining though.

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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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41 Responses to “Gatchaman Crowds Insight – 08”

  1. skylion says:

    Skylion graciously covered the show while I was away (thanks!)

    You are welcome. It was interesting, I dropped covering Chaos Dragon right about the same time I picked up the two episodes of Insight. Now I’m looking for a third show to cover and coming up with nothing much.

    But, oh I understand your bristly bristly against politics. I have to deal with it in Classroom Crisis. And I get some of the same feelings you do, but with a different focus.

    In both CC and Insight, I wouldn’t mind the politics so much, as long as they are well written. In both cases, I don’t think they are badly done, just overly-broad. At this point, Insight is chocking on it’s own metaphor…or the whole set of ’em. So yeah, I agree with all these gripes.

    You know, part of me is envious of dem nails of yers…

    • Overcooled says:

      That’s convenient timing! Ah, sorry you couldn’t find anything new to replace Chaos Dragon. I could not imagine having to blog that to the end…

      That is true, politics when done right can be interesting in anime. And I agree that both Insight and Classroom Crisis (I dropped it as soon as the union got involved) fall flat in that.

      Anime nail art is apparently a big thing! You should buy some and just do it lol

      • zztop says:

        …Classroom Crisis (I dropped it as soon as the union got involved).

        You dropped Crisis? But the best part’s just getting started! Nagisa’s already gotten his revenge on 1 brother, and now he’s got to battle the other slyer, smarter brother!

        • BlackBriar says:

          Nagisa’s already gotten his revenge on 1 brother

          Haha!! That was glorious!! Seeing that weasel bastard broken and going through a psychotic episode knowing he’s been screwed was beyond satisfying. He deserved every bit of what came to him.

  2. Di Gi Kazune says:

    I like milk. Fresh.

  3. JPNIgor says:

    The worst part is that not only Hajime is getting pushed out for idiotic characters, but everybody else is, as well. It’s like they are fading out in all of this peaceful world.

    And God, was I creeped with Kuu-sama the whole episode. Specially with Rui and his Kuu-sama army and the looming danger in their words “something very bad would have happened”…

    Yeah, it’s getting annoying yet intriguing to watch Insight. I just can’t wait for someone to take action.

    And those nails, they are awesome.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yes, the Gatchaman team are all great characters and we haven’t seen them do much of anything…I’d rather see more of them than the Kuu-sama (who really are unsettling…).

      Thanks! It was a good buy even though my nails only lasted a few days.

      • zztop says:

        I think the team’ll get involved soon. Right now the story’s still building up to the unavoidable flashpoint.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    I’m neutral where the storytelling is concerned as I don’t have the slightest idea where it’s going. Same policy put into effect last season. So it’s enjoying the ride until the destination is reached.

    My biggest gripe is how clueless and naïve Tsubasa becomes with every passing episode and watching that happen in the process is tedious. She’s basically the poster girl for the masses who are letting themselves become sheep who can’t think for themselves. I know there are some Hajime haters out there but at this point, they can’t deny Tsubasa’s blunders and ignorance are making Hajime look better in comparison. Gelsadra gets leniency since he’s an alien who doesn’t know how Earth ticks.

    Second place goes to Pai Pai who isn’t taking the time to analyze anything and quickly wants to write things off. How he managed to remain commanding officer of the Gatchamen is beyond me.

    Like everyone else, I was real creeped out watching the swarm of Kuu-sama taking over the town. I couldn’t trust them one bit and knew they’d do something. So anyone who doesn’t conform to their terms gets singled out and eaten. Very nice… That’s dictatorship in the making. If even Rui has gotten subdued by them, then they’re all definitely in deep shit.

    • Overcooled says:

      I find it funny how a lot of people disliked Hajime…and now she’s been replaced with an even more annoying character! It’s getting bad enough that Tsubasa is ruining my enjoyment of the show.

      The Kuu-sama were way too creepy for me to let my guard down, even though they were acting nice. Seeing Rui give in was a shock and I hope he snaps out of it soon. Otherwise things are going to get real bad real fast

  5. zztop says:

    I don’t want Tsubasa to be this dumb, feisty girl that I have to hate so much I rant about her in a blog post.

    As a counterpoint to Overcooled’s understandable anger, I’d like to share this blogger’s essay analyzing why Tsubasa’s behaviour & actions are actually VITAL to the anime’s narrative.

    Her weekly analysis of each Gatchaman:Insight episode is also highly informative, especially how the content relates to social marketing and how it impacts sociopolitics. It also help that she really loves this season.

    • Overcooled says:

      I actually really love AJ’s posts and have been following them throughout the season! I know absolutely nothing about marketing so I could never make those connections on my own, making her readings very informative. I definitely second that y’all should read her posts because I wish I could enjoy season 2 as much as she does.

      • zztop says:

        I think they’ll get involved soon. Right now the story’s still building up to the unavoidable flashpoint.

  6. Namaewoinai says:

    When i was watch the last part of that episode…i yell something like…



    Anyways, i was thinking that those “Kuu Thugs” is kinda bit resembling to…ahem…NOISE, but far too less destructive but humorously annoying!

  7. zztop says:

    By trying to make everyone become one with his colourful bubbles, Gel has created unnecessary conflict.

    What’s sadder is that Gel’s too naive and innocent to even realize he’s gone way over his head. In many ways he’s just as childlike as Berg, in that he’s missing the nuance required to see that not all conflict can be removed or that his ideal unity will cause social stagnation and laziness in the long-term.

    But it also speaks levels about alien civilisation, that the peoples which Gel united may be less nuanced and diverse in their thinking compared to humankind. Otherwise, Gel wouldn’t be having this problem right now.

    I regret not buying the NOTE since I’m considering cosplaying as Hajime for the next anime convention.

    That was a missed opportunity. Did you get your other goods from Akiba or Ikebukuro? Overall, which do you think gave the better price?

    • Overcooled says:

      I was pretty light on critiquing Gel, but yes, he definitely has a childish and strange way of thinking. And that’s part of what gets him into this whole mess. His desire to unite everyone is so strong, and yet he doesn’t fully understand the people he is trying to unite. He only just learned what a prime minister was…how he is supposed to know what it means for all of humanity to be at peace?

      I’m assuming Gel is a different race from BK, but there’s an overall theme of aliens just not understanding people properly. I’d love to see what life is like on their home planets. Is everyone “one” where Gel comes from?

      And yeah…now I’ll have to either make my own NOTE or just go with dual scissors as my prop. In terms of anime goods, I got most of my cheap finds in Akihabara. Although just so you know, my anime goods aren’t manga, figurines, or Blurays…They’re clothes, plushies, and keychains lol.

  8. HannoX says:

    I’m enjoying Insight even though most of the Gatchamen are missing in action. And I do wish Hajime especially had more screen time.

    I think we have to consider the roles Tsubasa’s character is probably playing in this show. First, she’s a warning to the audience that what would normally be considered a good thing, harmony and an absence of conflict, can be an evil if taken to an extreme. Especially if you’re just blindly following an ideal and not thinking about the consequences if it’s taken too far.

    Then there’s the way the citizens in Insight are abrogating one of the most important duties of a citizen in a democracy by not engaging in the political process and decision making by leaving everything up to Gel. In other words, don’t leave everything up to the politicians. Don’t just vote them in and then leave it all up to them–let them know what you think on major issues.

    Finally, Tsubasa’s attitude and actions regarding how everyone should be on the same page might be a criticism of the emphasis, even over-emphasis, Japanese society places on conformity. Such criticism probably can’t be openly stated; rather it must be implied through fiction such as this show.

    • Overcooled says:

      I agree that Tsubasa does a great job at getting the message across. She clings to the ideal of a peaceful world without ever stopping to think about the implications, because it’s too “complicated.” This need for everyone being one ironically leads to conflict and we then realize that Tsubasa’s innocent desire for peace was misguided.

      But the way she gets the audience to this point is through making glaring mistakes, heavy denial, and pettiness. Basically they made her character completely unlikeable to me just to deliver a message. And while this is very, very good at pointing out issues in society, it’s not so suitable for making an interesting show. Tsubasa just feels like a tool to present a faulty ideal.

      • zztop says:

        Tsubasa just feels like a tool to present a faulty ideal.

        That’s exactly it. The cast members are just tools; vehicles to present certain ideals in service of the plot’s greater social narrative. They’re not personas that grow and change over time.

  9. Highway says:

    My biggest issue with the show is actually that Gel is co conveniently a moron. He can figure out budgets and politics, but can’t figure out that the reason he can’t inhale is because he has turned into the Gelsadra Blimp? It’s just so stupid.

    • Overcooled says:

      I’ve been pretty lenient on Gel, but he’s worse than Tsubasa in certain ways. It doesn’t make sense that he’s clueless to some things and other things he picks up right away.

  10. TheVoid says:

    Lets not forget the incredible source of wisdom Berg Katze has mentioned meeting Gel before, while Gel acts like they haven’t. He even points out how the Kuu-samas are shittier than him as if he’s met them before.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, what’s up with them recognizing BK but saying they’ve never met him? How could they conveniently forget such a thing?

  11. HannoX says:

    We may be missing something major here. Let’s remember that an anime is made for a Japanese audience and if foreigners like it that’s just icing on the cake. Some of the things we criticize may be things a Japanese audience wants. With all the subtly and “reading the air” they have in their lives, maybe sometimes they want a show where the message is as plain as a pikestaff and they don’t have to read between the lines.

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