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GATCHAMAN Crowds – 06

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「Originality」

It’s great that the Gatchamans –or I should rather say, the characters of the show- finally got something of an episode to themselves. Of course, there’s the thematic angle of what happens now that the Gatchamans have turned from myth to fact. And by doing so, that the contention of the concept of heroism is brought out into the open between Rui idealized world and the symbolic position of the Gatchamans. Yet so much more of the episode was on the reactionary force to Hajime’s game-changing public reveal of the Gatchamans, and their first contact with Rui. I’ve been moaning that the Gatchamans, each a very interesting character in their own right, needed more time in the spotlight. And it was great to see the show acknowledge the distinct, individual reactions to these events, and to flesh out the volatility of the Gatchaman team.

It worked great, especially with every character other than Hajime and Rui getting more time to strut their stuff. (Although they still hold on to a fair share of the focus.) Paimon (always a joy to watch) having stuck to the old ways for so long, believed and trusted in them, is now left a hilariously confused mess, who subsequently takes Joe’s advice of a stopgap for the team to lie low and let the heat die down. Joe then takes the opportunity to seemingly return to his original ideals of heroism, striking out on his own to chase after Katze. Sugane as we’ve seen has been stuck at a crossroads between his ironclad beliefs, but was warming up to the radical nature of Hajime. Here, we see him choose to stay by her side despite his contradictory beliefs, a small hint of him opening up his perspectives, to see where Hajime’s nature could lead. And it wasn’t just Sugune that Hajime’s influencing. Utsutsu was showed here begging for permission to helped the injured people with her powers –apparently, at the cost of her life- and for the first time as well, showed to openly have fun with Hajime as they played along with Rui’s game.

In contrast to this all was Hajime. Thing is, I’ve been in the camp on Hajime’s side all this while; the juxtaposition of her happy-go-lucky attitude and a deep wisdom that she has hidden underneath has become a point of contention in the likability of the character. I find she’s a refreshing change of pace from what been seen out of a character in ages, a twist on a familiar archtype of the genki yet smart, and one that feels appealingly original. The mix of unorthodox humor and intellect she brings to the table makes the anime brighter for it; A familiar stance taken by her supporters, and one that I share in.

Come to this episode though, that characterization was taken awfully for granted. Her astute remarks towards Sugawa and Rui, as well as the radical actions of revealing her identity, tends to speak more of instinctual awareness than a weighty intellect, or at the very least some combination of the two. But the show seems to portray her as conscious of every action, that she “will not do something that irresponsible” as acting on gut feelings. But even with that statement, what we see of her more often than not feel contradictory. Perhaps what I’m jilted by is that this conscious awareness feels far too all-encompassing for a character like Hajime, who’s only but a girl of 15. This especially so when you consider how greatly she is influencing the rest of the cast in characterization, most of all Sugane and Utsutsu. I like her radical attitude, as well as her ability to cut through all the fluff and hypocrisy that the show like to make a point out of. Yet I’m also starting to understand some of what the opposing camp sees; An overbearing narrative dominance. An odd juxtaposition in intentional and unintentional characterization that seemed it was never meant to go together, and makes each part lesser for it. I loathe to use the phrase “too mary sue” for the incredibly general connotations such a phrase brings with it. But at least one of those connotations is close to what I’m starting to feel for the odd combinations in her personality and action., albeit in a small quantity.

This was the first Gatchaman episode i’m feeling mixed about, and not just because the production quality just seemed to taken on hell of a nose dive.(Still a psychedelic fest though) But make no mistake, this shift towards the characters of the show was definitely more of what I wanted to see. Yet it’s not enough when Gatchaman wants to be the ensemble piece colored with sharp and modern themes. Sure, we’ve got the themes nailed down, but I still think we’re not seeing enough, or deeply enough, of the supporting cast compared to Hajime and Rui.

August 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm
13 comments »
  • August 22, 2013 at 2:53 pmjimmy

    I have a feeling that Hajime is on her way to something tragic happening. Now that she has broken one of the top rules for being a super hero, don’t reveal your identity, I get the feeling that something bad is going to happen to prove that she is not always right, since so far the show has gone out of it’s way to show that everything she does is right.

    • August 22, 2013 at 6:16 pmvince

      For one, Katze now knows who Hajime is. When Katze comes to deal with her, I feel that scene would be amazing. Two opposing end of spectrum but the both are very erratic and without a care.

    • August 22, 2013 at 6:31 pmNayrael

      Nah, nothing will happen to her. She is an intentional Mary Sue since ep1. She is to be treated as a plot device, not your regular character.

      Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, besides that today’s conventions prefer non-perfect characters everywhere.

      • August 22, 2013 at 8:52 pmEH2

        I dunno. Hajime seems to have a goal in all of this, and I bet that’s the reason why she was chosen by JJ. She did say she’s not doing things on a whim, and just because we don’t get her full reasoning explained doesn’t mean she’s not thinking things through (in her own logic).

        I don’t see her as a Mary Sue much… She’s only as influential and as notorious as any other main character in a show. You could compare her to Gon Freeccs or Monkey D. Luffy, to say a few examples. Is the Mary Sue tag being placed too hastily? Are perceptions of her character and her impact in the story being twisted around because she’s a female character at the helm of a tokusatsu-like show? A show that is playing with the tropes and the expectations of its genre, no less.

    • August 23, 2013 at 12:11 amKF

      I think Hajime is what Momoka Oginome would have been like had she been allowed to grow up. She’s odd, crazy, weird and we love her and hate her for it. I don’t like to see her broken maybe because I actually want to see the world that she can come up with.

      While Rui is the idealistic hero who strive for a better world using ideals as means, Hajime is the realistic hero who use reality as her way. Who’s right? Can they both be right? The search for the answer seems tastier than the answer itself.

      TQ

  • August 22, 2013 at 3:08 pmqwert

    Utsutsu keeps getting better, first the telepathic clones and now instant healing power.

    They better not follow through with anything bad happening to her after setting up that “her powers use up her life force” death flag.

  • August 22, 2013 at 4:11 pmMagoiichi

    • August 23, 2013 at 12:22 amKF

      The moe betrays you, because they belongs to me. We will drain the moe out of you and when you are in ashes, then you have my permission to die.

      TQ

  • August 22, 2013 at 6:46 pmDave Baranyi

    BTW – according to the official site (http://www.ntv.co.jp/GATCHAMAN_Crowds/index.html) Hajime is 16, Sugane is 19, Joe is 29, Utsu-tus is 15, and Rui is 18.

    • August 23, 2013 at 6:31 pmHaseo

      Why the hell is Sugane still going to high school even though he should have graduated by now?

      • August 31, 2013 at 10:11 amkamisama

        education system my friend, u fail exam, u have to repeat , or u can quit and get no certificate.

  • August 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm†Croos†

    Its really amazing how Hajime influence people with her ACTIONs alone making people realize “F*CK What I’m so stupid”

    This is how I processed Rui and Hajime’s conversation.

    Rui: “Pls stop being a gatchaman?”

    Hajime: “Nope”

    Rui: “I want to turn eveyone in humanity to turn into heroes. So Gatchaman aren’t needed.”

    Hajime let out her Gatchaman Note.

    Rui noticed that Gatchaman note Hajime is holding. He also realize that he to has one as well.

    Hajime: “LOAD(Rui) are those sparkling things in the tunnel your friends.”

    Rui: “What are you talking about?”

    Hajime stares at Rui.

    Hajime: “LOAD, you’re prettier without makeup ” (Translation: You also use and hide your powers.)
    : “You’re so pretty. It’s such a shame.” (Translation: You have awesome powers. Are you also going to abadon it? What a shame)
    : “I think you can become prettier.” (Translation: I think you can do more than just that.)

    Rui realize that even with humans becoming heroes, humans have limitation in saving people.
    That humans aren’t able to save people in a larger scale.

    Rui gets 100 hit damage from Hajime.

    Thus Rui said “No makeup, huh…… What an amazing girl.”

    • August 22, 2013 at 9:00 pmEH2

      I saw that conversation in a similar way. Hajime’s comments about makeup, once we take the context of the conversation at play (and also her noticing the truth about Rui, and he complimenting her for it), is that Hajime’s basically telling him he could try to be a little more true to himself.

      “And you’re so pretty… It’s such a shame!”

      Hajime notices Rui has potential, and basically tells him he could use it if he really wanted to.