Gatchaman Crowds – Episode 3

Despite being my second-favorite show of the season, I’m still not really sure what’s going on with this show. I thinkit might be intentionally skewering the self-serious conventions of its’ genre, but it also might just be trying to tell an interesting story, or talk about social networking, or something? Well, regardless of what its’ actual goals are, Hajime clearly stands at the center of them – she’s already successfully initiated diplomacy with the Gatchamans’ main adversary, and in general seems a lot smarter and more self-assured than her manic pixie exterior would lead you to guess. Let’s see what the fuck happens this week.

Episode 3

0:05 – Is it just me, or are we getting an unusual number of visually distinctive and appealing  shows this season?  My top three – Uchouten Kazoku, this, and Monogatari – all basically have an entirely distinct but uniquely beautiful visual vocabulary, which isn’t usually the case. I’ll take it!

0:22 – Defeat your enemies through arts and crafts.  What a heartwarming message

1:47 – I like how he’s reading a magazine about the latest in dart technology 

2:01 – “They might be a life form with a hive mind.” Yeah, this social networking/collective consciousness stuff is clearly going somewhere

2:23 – I wonder if she’ll  ever serve any purpose beyond looking ridiculous

3:02 – I guess that answers that 

5:06 – This OP is so perfect for this show. Stylish, silly, fun.

6:15 – “Filing a civil suit isn’t that difficult.” It’s a really interesting concept they’re playing with here, and not too far from a collection of our current internet/social media resources. Sort of a formalized integration of our LinkedIn skill sets and expertise with a broader version of Twitter that also includes the gamification companies are using with stuff like FourSquare. It’s a simple and completely believable concept, and it’s clearly at the heart of what this show will actually be about – I really, really want to see where they’re going with this

Weird to think a show this upbeat and ostensibly unserious might end up being the spiritual successor to Lain…

7:16 – Another think my top shows have in common: gender-ambiguous central characters .

7:57 – “It’s a matter of connecting job seekers with employers. If they can connect directly, why would they need a middleman?” That makes for a pretty weird parallel with the fact that a dwindling need for middlemen is gonna screw our entire economic system soon enough. Not that I think this show is actually going to discuss the onset of a post-labor economy, it’s got enough on its’ plate

9:10 – “The world’s so complicated now that even excellent leaders might not be able to turn things around.” Is this show going to be about everything?

9:57 – “Are you being stingy with your power?” So it’s looking like whoever’s empowered this guy is a being similar to the old dude powering the Gatchamen

10:45 – “What if their wife just went into labor? When you think about it that way, don’t you feel less angry?” Her philosophy’s always a bit smarter than it looks. Even though she is a naturally empathetic person, she’s not stupid enough to believe everyone has a valid reason for everything – it also just results in a better personal quality of life if you frame these things in a positive way

12:19 – So “X” illegally and intrusively monitored the production of this milk, but because of that they were able to warn people it might be unsafe. Yep, I guess we’re talking about everything

13:07 – “Isn’t it a ruse? We can’t just take stuff from the internet at face value.” This show’s getting serious on its’ ideas. I might have to switch to just recording thematic clues for sorting later at this point

13:32 – “Anyway, we should consult the principle.” Relying on older/central forms of intelligence or authority versus the collective. But of course X isn’t actually the collective, or hasn’t been portrayed as such yet

15:02 – “THE MIIIILK!” And Hajime saves the day again. She is too good at this job

16:13 – “Mission Complete!” “Is that an indication of how many people still don’t trust information from GALAX?” I wonder how long it’ll be before they complicate the worth of the collective, anonymous intelligence. This episode’s clearly pretty dedicated to showing what it can do for good and why people would want to trust it over traditional systems, but that can’t last

16:40 – “Adverse effects of a vertical society.” But that kind of runs contrary to the earlier point of smart leadership being made powerless by the modern world. So the point is then that collective action is the only source of real power, but it can still be stymied by the old systems?

17:45 – “You can’t just blindly follow the internet.” Wait, now Hajime’s even rationally admitting the counterpoint? She’s maybe a little too ahead of the game. But hey, if they can craft a compelling story around an actually intelligent, confident, extroverted, and goal-oriented protagonist, I will be all the more impressed

20:40 – And the crazy teeth lady thing once again gets someone falsely accused. Breeding distrust in strangers…

And Done

“We’ll have to use the Crowds,” huh? Pretty apt name for the kind of power he’s apparently been given.

This show just keeps getting more interesting. This episode heavily downplayed the fantasy-ish elements in favor of the much more interesting near-future social networking stuff. It poked at a lot of very interesting ideas, but it still hasn’t really raised a counterpoint to the value of its’ systems – one quarter in, it’s basically only proposed GALAX as a force for good. Additionally, as the story begins to gain more grounding, Hajime’s superhuman ability to resolve everything will swiftly become less appropriate. I’m not actually worried about either of these things – the show has demonstrated a remarkable ability to play to its strengths so far, and I’m confident the issues it’s raising will be complicated shortly. In fact, I’m only liking this show more and more.