Episode 02


Episode 03

「 Futurism」

I think this is the fastest I’ve seen the actions of a superteam get called out on. If the first episode was meant to be a homage to the campy, frenetic energy of classic superhero shows, it’s one heck of a false start. From the way they were breaking tradition at every moment, the two episodes that followed felt like the antithesis to those classic ways. With Nakamura-san at the helm, you’d always figure something different like this was in the cards, except the card in question got played far more quickly than the average anime would have me think.

For a 30 year old series that was only revived as one part of a larger marketing push (and mainly for the movie) I think it’s definitely intended on Nakamura’s part that Gatchaman Crowds feels perfectly analogous to how the storytelling in the medium has evolved since those times. The core of the narrative has grown complex, painted with the shades of grey and the brand of social cynicism that has held a tight grasp on modern literature. There’s the highly relevant theme of the ambiguous but influential effect social networks been having on the societal structure in the world. Rui isn’t the one of those Sunday morning cartoon villains that used to serve as the conflict in the original series, and neither are his methods decidedly antagonistic. The MESS aren’t quite the clear-cut evil as the classic enemy organizations used to be, and within these first few episodes have already been shown to be misdirection, albeit their purpose still unclear. The goal of the Gatchamans and J.J. are murky and possibly not entirely good, a far cry from the unquestionable ideal of justice that these superhero teams used to represent. Joe even makes a snarky comment about how the “old” Gatchamans used to have it better. “Who is the true enemy” is no longer a question that the heroes or even the “antagonist” can truly define.

Like I previously said, it’s not the first time we’re seeing a storyline attempting to address this meta-theme of how these old ideals and concepts have radically evolved. The recent 009 movie was did the same to a degree, putting to question the relevance of old ideals in a world grown complicated by a breadth of fundamentalist and existential interests. The world’s not so much black-and-white as it is painted in greys, and it’s grown to be something in our world that the average person can no longer stay ignorant about as before. As Rui succinctly sums up, the world’s grown so complicated that excellent leaders are no longer enough to turn things around. Gatchaman Crowds looks to be addressing a similar point with the current digitalization trend and the societal order introduced by the connected online network.

Maybe it’s not anything new, and it’s not like these stories are a new breed in literature, but there’s a certain poignancy in how Nakamura chooses to address it in the context of GALAX- and by extension Rui. This is definitely one of the most interesting interpretations of digital advancement I’ve seen; In fact many of its elements: The trending, hub world, contextual-linking, and a Siri-esque A.I. in X, are scattered about in current tech. It’s something that could possibly be a reality in our not so far-fetched future, and that believability is a strong thing Gatchaman Crowds has going for it. On one hand, we’ve greatly seen the benefits of the system; bringing together a community in Hajime’s offline meetup, pairing job seekers with their appropriate employment, and revealing the scandals of cabinet ministers in the government. As we see from the diary milk incident, fairness through the transparency of society is no longer just an ideal with the network, but these trends in Crowds are incredibly reminiscent of the headlines made by Wikileaks and Anonymous. Crowds is noticeably aware of the double-edged effect GALAX has and the real dangers it poses; Hajime points out problems of overreliance if GALAX ever stops working, and many implicit hints are made about the dangers of the network, its lack of tangible accountability and the cascading consequences that could result. And if we’re talking about ill omens, Galaxters repeatedly trivialize things into games (no thanks to the “update” points) and Rui even activates the Crowds (most probably his specially selected Galaxters) with the keywords “Play the game”.

I’m not quite sure what to make of Rui at this point (and not just about his whole cross-dressing deal) except to say that pinning the antagonist badge on him would be premature. There’s a certain idealism to the actions he has taken, and I don’t think he is ignorant of the dangers GALAX presents. He certainly seems to understand the causes for the resentment of the network, citing trust issues that hit very close to home, but think the risks are a necessary evil to “update the world”. It’s also hard to say if he’s being puppeteered by Berg Katze at this point and just part of some larger scheme; there appears to be some distrust between the two, going by the way Rui seems reluctant to put to use the power of the note and the Crowds. (Which I’m assuming was granted to him by the flamboyant alien.)

But then, I haven’t quite talked about the story yet, have I? And to be honest, I’m not quite sure what to talk about. It’s still a mixed bag on this front, and it doesn’t help that so many of the anime’s more intriguing aspects are mainly of the themes and topics that Gatchaman Crowds want to address. As a study, it’s potentially a fascinating one, but I’m still confused about how the story is supposed to be coming together. We’ve got the MESS, the 100 Galaxters and the Crowds, the Gatchamans, and this colorful, detailed world that the show is setting up. Except I have next to no clue on how they fit together, and still the story continues to go at its frenetic, twitchy and random pace, jumping from one situation in the world to the next.

At the very least, you’ve either gotten used to Hajime at this point, or you’ve stopped watching entirely. I don’t think it was any coincidence that she was made this way, especially now that we’ve gotten a better grasp of what kind of a story Crowds seems intent on telling. While her energy is bordering on mania, she certainly holds a unique, and all-too-broad mentality compared to the rest of the characters. What’s interesting to note is that she’s definitely smarter than she lets on; In the case of the MESS, she amazingly picked up on the fact that it was mimicking her scissors, hence her attempts at communication. I’ve a feeling her purpose in the storyline will reveal itself before long, and maybe that’s when we’ll be able to get a more coherent picture of the overarching story.

Author’s Note

Sorry for the multiple delays in getting this out. Been busy dashing out applications, so I’m probably going to get delayed in getting out Gatchaman 04 as well. Expect to see the post sometime on Monday.


    1. Funny enough, AniDB has the exactly same text as MAL, but with female pronouns.

      Rui is most likely a girl and not a guy. At least the name Rui written with the 累 should be an exlusively female name.

    2. I maybe should add that the original text from her character description the original website intentionally leaves out any gender related words, so his/her gender is probably supposed to stay a mystery for a while.

    1. Its just that – she isnt. She is by far the worst main character I have ever seen. So annoying that she might be able to ruin the whole show if her self-righteous attitude doesnt change soon…

    2. I think JJ actually recruited Hajime cause he knows that the enemy that they will face can’t be defeated by science and logic and Hajime has the right ability to do that. Just like the MESS incident, were fighting wasn’t the fastest option but understanding them in a different angel.
      I think Hajime can influence people just by her annoying actions.

    1. Especially because that they are informed beforehand about its effects. It proves that it needs more than Heroic BSOD’s and despair event horizons to make a series interesting.

  1. Wait… Rui’s an antagonist? (probably)?
    I totally thought he was a second heroic entity. Though I was a little uneasy with how GALAX functioned. I’m honestly surprised a system like GALAX, and its associated community, is functioning so well and meeting with mainstream success and acceptance. Not that social networking isn’t already successful, but it’s so *ambitious*, and far-reaching, that it’s really a daunting prospect.
    Anyway, this show has really thrown me for a loop. It keeps bucking my expectations, and it feels like it’s being very economical with its explanations. I would not have expected to have so few answers and so many questions, and still be looking forward to the next episode.
    And yet I am.
    I like this show.

  2. In world like these, an ally of justice won’t be needed, but how long can GALAX fare? In the real world, there is no such thing as saving everyone. You have to sacrifice the few to save the majority. GALAX is a pipe dream

  3. I can see where this is going. Either that AI goes rogue and commands everyone to wreak havoc or Galax get’s taken over by someone malicious and does the same thing. Either way it’s not a good idea to blindly follow an online program like that.

  4. (Sorry for the language I was raging when i wrote this)
    Just watched episode 4 and holy shit these people are obsessing over Galax like it’s a fucking religion. It made me sick. I hate Hajime on the other hand though. It’s like she has no problem doing whatever the fuck Galax tells her but says it’s not perfect after she’s already followed it’s instructions on the daily basis. She even trys to get Sugumo to join Galax but why the fuck are you gonna get somebody to join if you yourself don’t like it. It’s like saying “he man you should try some of this crack it’s great but don’t get addicted too it ok”. (insert troll face) And does anybody else think her always chipper attitude is not only annoying but extremely stupid. Some jackass almost runs you over but you come up with ever excuse in the book to excuse his actions. And by her logic if you can’t prove the guy didn’t give a shit and was just being an asshole by default he must have had a good reason. Seriously something is obviously wrong in Hajime’s head. Im gonna have the biggest laugh when Galax is taken over and screws over all the people who are praising this thing. Can’t wait till all hell breaks loose.

    Also Sugomo should have been the main character because he’s honestly the only bastion of critical thinking(if not overly dedicated to his job to a fault) in this anime filled with drones. It just pains me to see Hajime change him episode after episode from upright thinker to happy go lucky drone. Basically im a sucker for battle suit stuff but hajime is really ruining this anime for me. Im just waiting until reality slaps the shit out of her.

    1. Her alternative view of almost being hit by a car, is good mentality. She doesn’t deny outright that the driver is a possible jerk, but until she actually knows that, she goes for the more positive view.

      See it like this. You think he is a jerk, you get annoyed and angry and that means you just wasted several minutes if not longer being unhappy about a person/situation you know little about.

      She thinks that he might have a good reason, and she might even think that the driver might get “there in time”. She feels better, her day is not ruined like yours. She wins.

  5. I hope it doesn’t have a wake up call like Madoka since everybody is like so cheerful and all
    and it’s been mentioned destroying NOTE = possible death

    Fav anime this season, Hajime is just like totally awesome and kawaiiiiiii!!


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