Action, action, and more action. Whether or not it’s a result of reaching the climax in the show, this kind of Gatchaman is fine too.
As expected, it really didn’t take all that long for the “revolution” of the Neo Crowds to fall apart. Ultimately with that kind of power and anonymity, there are people who are going to take advantage of the fact that great power didn’t come with great responsibility. And Gatchaman was pretty direct about this; The Neo Hundred were crashing cars, attacking people indiscriminately, and discussing the possible abduction of celebrities. When an irresponsible prime minister makes some ill-advised remarks, and the Neo Hundred were incited by a certain batshit alien, a common target (Takigawa) appeared for all the Neo Hundred to unleash their varied emotions upon. The resulting chaos is far cry from the rebirth of society that the misguided Umeda planned for, and makes for grand show of the flaws in the Hundred and GALAX system.
This pretty much kicks off Gatchaman’s climax, and the first thing on the list is to bring the team back fully together. The animation’s suitably beefed for the Gatchaman’s first wide-scale battle, and starting with Hajime and Sugene, each Gatchaman save the all-mysteriously-powerful O.D successively joined the fray. Utsutsu finally joins in proper on the fight with a badass suit that harnesses her power over life and death. Paimon and Joe also rejoin the team in purpose; I found it funny that Paimon ended up quoting Hajime in lecturing what was basically a reflection of himself in the Prime Minister. Both were too cowardly of the power they held, and ended up running away from the responsibility it entailed. But when Paimon sees the group of kids he played with in danger, he finally takes Hajime’s words to heart and goes to town with the Neo Crowds. Joe likewise got a wake-up call from Sugane in a shouenen-esque, gloriously campy motivational speech, which broke out of the stupor from his fight with Katze. It was as if the show was playing some over-glorified sentai roll call, and it evens ends with the obligatory group shot; but damn if it wasn’t satisfying to watch the Gatchamans finally kick some proper ass.
It really does seem that Gatchaman finds more success (with me) when the grand commentary on connections and communicating takes something of a backseat in the narrative, because that is largely the reason the storytelling gets so scattered. The writers, which I guess would be Machida, clearly isn’t used to exploring the extents of these intellectual discourse in a cohesive, smooth-flowing manner. Hence my criticisms in previous episodes accusing the show of shoddy storytelling. It’s not as if Gatchaman Crowds hasn’t brought out very interesting intellectual discourses. But it isn’t so much that the ideas aren’t there than it is they are so fragmented in delivering their message, as interesting as the message is. (You might not agree with me, but I’m seeing this flaw in the show’s basic storytelling capabilities.)
No surprise that I hugely enjoyed this episode, which in essence was was a classic team-rallying call to bring the whole band back together to stand against the big bad once and for all. The action’s solid and fun, the characters a joy to watch, and the writing’s come back together again when it only needs to do so much as to focus on the characters; It makes the equally cohesive directing of the episode feels much more agreeable than the scattering quality of the previous. When Gatchaman does come together, it really does so gloriously.