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GATCHAMAN Crowds – 12 (END)

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「Collage」

I’ve see a lot of “what the hell” remarks about how confusing this ending was, but to me, it wasn’t so much that the episode was utterly incomprehensible. In fact, the only real moment where the show completely lost me was at the very end, with how Hajime incorporated Katze into her heart, soul, or whatever it was that I saw. I’m still scratching my head about it, but the popular theory floating around seems reasonable: In a very early pre-air excerpt, her Gatcha powers were explained to have the ability to alter reality according to her will, but you wouldn’t have known that since the show never actually talked about their Gatcha powers much. With that in mind coupled with that last phone call Hajime made about how she’ll remain herself regardless, and it becomes very likely that she had forcibly bonded herself with Katze to contain him, in a very Hajime-esque act to resolve things as peacefully as she could.

But no, as abrupt as those last moments were, that wasn’t what I didn’t like about the ending. I had already expected (and somewhat dreaded) the climax to be involved in turning over the power of the Crowds to the masses, allowing them the freedom to do what they can do, and the belief that people are inherently good-natured and “just want to have fun”. That the anarchy and chaos Katze saw in humans wasn’t the entire truth. I’d even allow that this was probably the ending they had always intended. But it’s clear that script composer Toshiya Ono was struggling with how exactly he was going to arrive at such an ending, given that the series never rose beyond its mess of ideas about the internet and notions of heroism, and never built them into the encompassing narrative thread in more than just superficial manners. This is the core of why I was so discontent with this unsatisfying ending; I didn’t like that they ended it without giving it the credence it necessitated; no real implication shown of opening the Crowds powers publicly beyond a remark about crime rates, no afterword on the remainder of team gatcha, and the cheap political angle at populist democracy. Without reasonable build-up and consequences, it makes this conclusion a simple, routine answer about trusting the human nature (about the closest Rui will ever get to his ideal) all which ends up being nothing if not more diametrical to Gatchaman‘s central themes of bridging the traditional with modernism. (Most clear in how the show frequently tackled the notion of heroism.) And it’s a shame, because what Gatchaman broached upon was truly inspiring in places; and the answer we got to end it all wasn’t quite an answer to it at all.

Let’s not get started on how the titular Gatchamans got shafted in the very final episode for the Crowds. Only O.D. gets to really strut around after being out of the picture for much of the series, and he takes down Katze to retrieve Rui’s NOTE to start the Crowds revolution. It’s an epic showdown with action on a level I had wished to see more of from the show, but alas, that’s the remainder that we’re ever going to get. There are a couple of other things I want to nitpick about the ending – the generally rushed pacing, along with my typical complain about the scattershot direction – but I guess it really boils down to the point that this still remained a very Gatchaman Crowds ending; ambitious, but too vague about what it needed to do to reach that potential.

Epilogue:

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Final Impressions

It probably isn’t much of an exaggeration to call Gatchaman Crowds the most “modern” TV anime ever; the concept of what it set out to do was sound, make no mistake about that. Throughout the series, it tried to address and challenge themes of interpersonal communication, and how it has changed with the advent of the internet, social media, and anonymity. In these ways, Gatchaman Crowds made for a much more grounded series than its fantastical nature belies, and it consistently talked with a deep reverence for our modern-day lifestyles –for its possibilities, the conveniences, and the new age problems- more so than any other anime show I can ever remember. Its ambitious storyline tried to fit in all that, and then broadly used this context to frame a story of two generations: of society, of heroes both super and normal, and of their stories; all this with the message that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So it’s really a shame that Gatchaman Crowds remained from what it started out as to it’s very end; an inspiring mess of potential. Perhaps my greatest dismay was that the many explorations into modern day social interactions, of the internet and of the adaptation of generations, never did touch the story in much more than superficial manners, and never did provoke the kind of strong intellectual challenges naturally in its storytelling.

The characters whom you’d expect to carry these themes turn out a mixed bag; they all have their unique baggages to their histories, but these are often marginalized (prominently with O.D.) to great extents, with the show more keen to boast its themes than develop its characters. And Hajime, good lord, Hajime; I can now finally understand what kind of a role she was meant to play in the series, but it was risky decision on the writer’s part to have this unadulterated force of nature push the key developments in the story. It’s a toss-up on how much of a plot device she was by the end, but we can all agree that she was one of the key aspects that made or broke this show for many viewers. Thankfully, she never did get grating on me, but I can appreciate how this was another of the show’s major flaws for a large camp out there.

But I remember at the start of all this how much I loved this explosion of ideas, and while not as unreservedly now I still do hold that same adoration. There was so much ambition and unadulterated creativity in what we were seeing. So much color to the show, and life to its quirky, sympathetic and unique cast of characters, as per the usual Nakamura flair. Gatchaman might be a mess, but its an inspiring one; posing a lot of interesting questions into the very topical issues of the online interaction, keeping its unique outlook consistent, and above all showing us narrative and thematic avenues that really hasn’t been explored in any other anime I can remember. Like another of Nakamura’s anime, [C], it’s brilliant on its premise and explorations alone even if fundamentally flawed in other aspects. For that alone, I’d definitely say that this series is well worth your 6 or so hours.

Author’s Notes

To the people who’ve been following the Gatchaman posts faithfully, I can’t apologize enough for the erratic updates for the series, and my lack of feedback. It’s really been a busy few weeks for me starting up postgrad studies, and I really want to thank you for sticking with my inconsistency throughout.

October 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm
29 comments »
  • October 4, 2013 at 6:18 pmSteve

    Word has it that this wasn’t the full end. It sounds like the montage that took up the first half of Episode 11 wasn’t going to be there, and the second half would be the beginning of Episode 11. That would make the first half of Episode 12 (up until Show Spoiler ▼

    )

    Therefore, with the second half of Episode 12 being actually the first half, we’re one half short. If it’s true, it may explain the abruptness of the ending.

    • October 4, 2013 at 6:51 pmxerocs

      yep, I read this too. This would mean we lost the second half of episode 12 and a potentially more satisfying ending. Maybe they’ll do an extra for the Blu-ray and DVD.
      I agree on most of the critique but I still liked the show very much. Even though there was no progression I loved Hajime’s antics and way of speaking. (How do you even call the Japanese ‘su’ suffix?)

    • October 5, 2013 at 4:55 amKF

      There’s hope people. It’s not yet done. You should have seen the dogeza the manager did as an apology.

      TQ

      • October 5, 2013 at 8:58 pmkite

        more
        please tell

  • October 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm†sooɹC†

    I don’t get it.
    This is my last impression on this anime.

    • October 4, 2013 at 10:16 pmpetitorenji

      Yeah… At first I thought I was not following due to my ignorance in PoliSci. Now I know I just didn’t understand this series. And look at all of the pretty thumb downs following the comments that explained their confusion with the series…

      Sometimes I wonder if just being “fun” will make the cut

  • October 4, 2013 at 6:44 pmKurisu Vi Britannia

    I actually thought this was going to turn out really good until I realized it was 12 episodes.

    A bit of tragedy like death would’ve made this anime more interesting.

  • October 4, 2013 at 6:57 pmsoulji

    I missed the epilogue, so i didn’t even know the series was over till i read your article.

    • October 4, 2013 at 7:02 pmsoulji

      I didn’t even know Katze was defeated. I just assumed there was going to be an episode 13.

  • October 4, 2013 at 7:04 pmMagoiichi

    Hajime was actually Berg Katze all along!!!

    OD was actually a Shin Megami Tensei character, omg plot twist!

    12 episodes was waaaay too short, I needed mooooore! Nice ending though.

  • October 4, 2013 at 7:19 pmShadow74

    I had fun with “Gatchaman crowds”. Like any series was not perfect, but if it was good. The episode 12 had their details, but I hope we find what was missing to be a more satisfying end in Bray.

    Hajime was great, I love her. All the characters were nice. The story was fun despite its faults, it is normal because it was something new, but it’s a start. The music was also great.

    I had fun with your post Asobi. I wish you the best of luck with your studies, work hard \(^o^)/

  • October 4, 2013 at 8:18 pmKlyne

    So, can anyone explain to me what happened between Hajime and Katze? Did she take him into herself or something?

  • October 4, 2013 at 8:20 pmDurga

    I actually liked the resolution, sure it was rushed but displayed Nakamura’s thoughts and optimism about the situation which is better than generic cynical show we get so many nowadays. Maybe because Rui’s development was effective and perfect enough to deliver this.

  • October 4, 2013 at 8:46 pminanis

    sooo.. what happened?

    • October 5, 2013 at 2:04 amAnanas

      They forgot about the Gatchaman part of the title and only the Crowds remained.

      • October 5, 2013 at 1:55 pmDurga

        Gatchaman Crowds. It’s in the title: Rui has a Gatchaman note with the Crowds power.

  • October 4, 2013 at 10:54 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    cant belive they were still battling this Retarded enemy “no offense to retards” generic transgender “voiced by that guy” crazy guy…….boring….but i watched it all…so whos the BIGGEST loser?…thats right kids……ME

  • October 4, 2013 at 11:03 pmMedipack

    I get the feeling Hajime used her scissors to cut Katze down to size and turned him into her scarf…pretty much sentencing him to a Fate Worse Than Death; life as an accessory.

    After all, while Hajime did say she wasn’t going to kill him, she didn’t say what the alternative was. Berg Katze seem to feed on chaos and attention, when people stopped feeding the troll and started ignoring his antics his powers probably took a nosedive.

    • October 5, 2013 at 2:07 amAnanas

      Hajime probably used her power, power they never talked about in the anime but explained on the official site, to somehow merge with Katse. Quality writing.

  • October 4, 2013 at 11:10 pmAnon

    BIRDO GO

  • October 5, 2013 at 12:14 amthedarktower

    ED was a bit bizarre. first, we didn’t get to see Hajime face to face with Kazte.
    second, what the hell happened to Katze – did he become part of hajime’s scarf or bobies?:S
    last – what about OD? :(

    yet, I enjoyed the series. it was indeed “modern” and refreshing. it gave a different feeling. despite the course of events was expected almost from the beginning, the caracters did succeeded bringing this somehow to an intresting anime.
    I liked the animation and the character design.

    thanks for blogging Asobi (:

  • October 5, 2013 at 2:03 amAnanas

    Boobs of evil.

    http://i.imgur.com/QJet0fi.jpg

  • October 5, 2013 at 5:37 amflamerounin

    what the hell happened? nuff said.

  • October 5, 2013 at 6:01 amiron2000

    “GATCHA!”

    Hajime’s note is the “Designer’s Note”.
    Her power has the possibility to “design anything”.
    I kind of see that in the beginning in the short “MESS” arc.

    So maybe in the end Katze got “designed” by Hajime to some accessory or something?

    Fresh, fun, cute and wacky at times.
    Utsutsu’s “utsuutsu shimasu” and Hajime’s hyperactive behaviour left an impression.
    In all a nice watch.

    In the end JJ is still so very mysterious, was hoping he could be an original Gatchaman.

    I don’t know the original Gatchaman but CROWDS could well stand on its own without the Gatchaman branding.
    Though this new Gatchaman reminds me of the Green Lantern Corps.

  • October 5, 2013 at 10:35 amigniteous

    Sorry, but, that may have been an ending but it is another example of deliberate loose ends. No explanation given. Granted, a lot of the show was like that. But going from I’m going to confront the bad guy to next having the bad guy defeated with no explanation as to how it was done was one HELL of a loose end. I’m getting irritated with these deliberate loose ends. I did love the show, especially Hajime. And the walkthrough episode of everyone’s feelings toward Hajime put a catch in my throat. But… then we had the last episode.

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:38 amayasawada

    Agree with everything you wrote Asobi. I’ll take a messy but inspiring and ambitious show like this over 20 generic shows.

    And a shout out for the outstanding OST. As colourful and innovative as the animation and ideas.

  • October 8, 2013 at 11:41 amBoozerX

    Hajime was the main reason to watch this series.
    Great character.

    • October 24, 2013 at 3:26 amReverseTales

      Agreed. I don’t really see her as much of a Mary Sue. Rather, it’s more like she’s plot savvy instead. I mean, with other stories, stuff happens, people make bad decisions, tragedy ensues, the heroes fall into dispair, etc. But if you look closely at her actions, you’ll see that she’s managed to avoid most, if not all of that. True, her actions gave the show a shallow feeling, but that’s only on the outside. But in my opinion, Gatchaman Crowds has achieved the closest plausible method to the “no one dies, everyone is saved” shounen hero ideology. Which is nice.

  • October 26, 2013 at 7:03 amthedarktower

    well..never say never.
    Gatchaman Crowds gets season 2:
    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2013-10-26/gatchaman-crowds-anime-gets-2nd-season

    I am kinda surprised and mixed about the news.
    on the one hand, I liked the series and the refreshing scent it had, even when it was predicted, it was executed pretty well.
    on the other hand…the series has a closed ending. bizarre as it may be (Katze?OD?) but it was kinda closed one. so.. I hope S2 won’t recycle ideas and won’t deteriorate the feeling of the Gatchaman Crowds due to the “shadow” of S1.

    that way or another it’s indeed good news. but it’s not S1 anymore, so there will be higher expectations this time.