GATCHAMAN Crowds – 11
In a series full of odd directorial and narrative choices, the extended character monotage/monologue sequence feels like another one of these. But it’s not like there’s anything wrong with it per se; in fact, I greatly relish any chance we get to see the characters being…well, characters, as opposed to being akin to narrative devices.
The montage is a by-the-by recount of the development seen by team Gatcha since Hajime’s induction into the Gatchaman. For some like Joe and Pai-Pai, it’s what we’ve seen succinctly summarized. For others, the characters who have been hard to get a read on (Utsutsu and O.D. in particular for me) more of a voice is finally given to them to speak to me. In both cases though, as each character reflected on how Hajime has brought new perspective/joy/hope in their lives, I had a greater sense of their characterization than I did the entire series, which for me is saying something; be it due to the direction or writing, the changes and development in characters (while noticeable) always had some kind of a disconnect. (But could just be me)
Is it a little heavy-handed? Definitely, no questions about it, especially when the recycled footage clocks in at little more than half the episode’s runtime, and near the end started to tire me out. Halfway through I was wondering if it was some kind of plan to mitigate the production troubles, which Gatchaman has been suffering from throughout its run.
Funnily enough though, the second half of the episode does look a shine better than what I typically recall of Gatchaman. There’s plenty of interesting shots, like Joe’s phoenix dive attack, and some very dynamic transitions between scenes; the one I recall best was when Pai-Pai was barking orders at team Gatcha and the focus was shifting very naturally between them.
We’re back into whole Crowds situation, and it’s par the course for the finale-fitting climax of the show. For a moment, it almost seems like everything was going too well; the Gatchamans are finally working together as an ass-kicking team, the civil institutions working together with them to get the situation under control, and even Rui wrested control of X back from Katze. The network is regained, and the prime minister (who was an absolute laugh in the episode) declares a state of emergency in Tachikawa and, in accordance with Hajime’s plan, orders smart phones to be distributed to everyone, and that they should all register on GALAX.
I admittedly got confused by the message here; haven’t we seen enough of the network’s flaws to know just how much can go wrong? And true enough, a last minute twist has Katze enabling everyone on GALAX to access the Crowds power, pretty much destroying the control we saw established.
Unless, of course, this was all Hajime’s…or rather, the writer’s plan. Hajime and Katze are two very similar personalities with a fundamental difference in idealogy, and what better way to ascertain a victory than by turning the Crowds power on its creator? To prove that Katze’s chaotic ideal isn’t the entire truth? Her consistent message rings in parallel; everyone’s gotta do what they can. With the Crowds power in the hand of every average joe and jane, I wonder if we’ll see just that in the climax.