Gatchaman Crowds – Episode 12

And here we are. No idea how they’re gonna tie up all these loose ends – obviously there are a number of ways they could resolve the overt plot, but that was never really the point with this one. Can the show even take a coherent stance on all the issues it’s raised? Hajime’s philosophy of transparency and “if the internet’s being a jerk, just turn it off” sort of works… until you actually need the internet, in which case you hand out smartphones to everyone, and then Berg Katze gives everybody Crowds and you’re screwed all over again. Fortunately, the actual character journeys are pretty much done at this point – last episode cleared out any doubts of that. At this point, it’s pretty purely ideology versus ideology, so I guess we’ll just have to see what stands when the dust clears.

Episode 12

0:02 – Not sure how this show makes its mix of art styles work 

0:56 – Finally.  But again, it would be pretty meaningless if OD just “defeated” Berg Katze. You can’t “defeat” the fact that people will use anonymity for selfish and mean-spiritedly playful aims

2:40 – Plot device or not , I’m gonna miss her

3:06 – Man, it’s all so good.  Sure, the internet allows for immediate, collective action, but if it’s all scattered madness like this, what good does that do? It even points to the internet age also being synonymous with the death of expertise

3:41 – Still love this guy 

4:39 – That lighting 

4:45 – And she crosses into his world 

5:04 – And she crosses to the other side, undeterred by him mocking her tools 

5:44 – It’s all coming together 

6:04 – What a fantastic shot . Still playing with the lighting – Katze all in shadow, blocking out the sun

6:57 – Now that’s a suit 

7:08 – Katze’s Gatcha suit fights with a giant horn-guitar.  Amazing

9:28 – Nice shot . I’ll have to wait to the end to see if this resolution works

10:03 – Alright, here we go 

10:09 – And there’s that piece.  The gamification isn’t good or evil, it’s just powerful

11:14 – Another piece.  He’s given up on controlling the use of Crowds altogether. A pretty significant leap of faith

12:00 – “Fun” 

Hm. So this is all very interesting. Katze first created an opponent by offering Crowds to everyone who already wanted to “change the world” – to the unsatisfied, to the trolls. Then, when that wasn’t enough, he offered Crowds to those oppressed by that first group – to the frightened and defensive people, to the victims. Now Rui is trying resolve the situation by offering Crowds to everyone – by banking on the aggregate of humankind being a positive force. That’s… pretty excellent, I think. It’s true that the internet is made dangerous by a minority of users, and it’s true that the internet as it currently exists isn’t truly democratic – certain savvy people have far more power than others. But Rei is truly equalizing it – his original philosophy of a completely horizontal society is finally being matched by his actions

13:29 – When everyone has Crowds, it’s like standard GALAX again 

13:50 – Hah! Nice detail . Everything you make becomes bigger than you on the internet

14:35 – Fantastic 

15:18 – So many great images 

15:43 – Really liking this . It’s interesting how “civic duty” just doesn’t seem to work – so far, the Crowds have either been motivated by personal desire, fear, or a sense of fun and point-scoring

15:59 – Excellent.  This is pretty much the crux of why Rui’s initial plan failed, and why Hajime is more of a symbol than an example. Sure, the world does have its share of Ruis or police/fire chiefs, who are legitimately motivated by a deep-tissue desire to make the world better – but you can’t base your new world order on assuming the average person is willing or able to think in terms like that. Unless you can sell a better future to them on terms they’re already amenable towards, you’re doomed from the start.

I really didn’t think the show would pull together so direct of a perspective. It’s very gratifying to see

16:31 – Early Rui would have cursed them for this 

16:46 – Yesss Prime Minister #1 

16:59 – Our hero 

17:54 – This show is pretty honest 

19:21 – That angry voice will always be there . But the legitimate communal fun is more powerful

20:15 – Mirror of the shot from the OP 

21:15 – Oh man this show doesn’t let anything go 

21:36 – It’s funny that in this show,  the fantasy element added to highlight the central theme actually makes resolving that theme more complicated, not less. The supplementing of the standard internet with something as powerful and dangerous as Crowds basically serves as a stress test of the “all people should be given equal power” philosophy

22:20 – She says, standing in a scattered mix of light and shadow 

And Done

Whew! So what, Hajime decided to become personal caretaker for the internet’s grumpiest troll? Well, if anyone can do it…

Man, I really didn’t think this show could do it. I figured it was juggling far too many balls, and that something was bound to give – they’d simplify the conflict, they’d jury-rig an escape route, they’d focus on only a couple of the ambiguities they’d raised. But I think they nailed it. They might not have settled on an immediately practical, or possibly even feasible philosophy, but they pulled the ideas together and stood their ground on a single thematic resolution. The internet is powerful and dangerous, and most people will not naturally act in a way conducive to the most harmonious society, but given equal power and the guiding force of “social/societal fun”, great progress can be made. This doesn’t remove the necessity of leaders – people of true passion, skill, and high-mindedness will always be valuable and necessary. This also doesn’t remove the responsibility of leadership – crowdsourcing and horizontal power are no excuse for abandoning what you yourself have the power to do. But the internet’s power can really be used to update the world.

Well, at least that’s what the show thinks. And I think it articulated that argument really well, and pulled in all sorts of interesting other sub-ideas along the way, and the ride was fun and colorful, and the storytelling was smart and fast-paced and never willing to let any idea stand unquestioned.

Damn. That was a really, really excellent show.

8 thoughts on “Gatchaman Crowds – Episode 12

  1. Yeah, I loved the ending too. I see that it’s causing a good deal of confusion and disappointment in the usual forums. But then, I like weird endings. And we don’t get to see the actual moment when Hajime consumes Katse (I’m assuming.) That was an unusual and interesting decision that the creators made. It’s certainly got my imagination going.

    • Yeah, I actually like that they don’t include that. It’s certainly an odd choice, but honestly, none of the overt plot decisions they made here really had the capacity to bother me – the show tying its ideas up in a satisfying way was really all I was worried about, since this show has always been more about its ideas than its plot.

  2. I loved the series and the end felt like putting everything in the mixer and speeding things up. Not very pleased with it, even though you’re right it was a show about ideas. For example, the way OD’s death was presented made me really sad. Not to mention I had some hopes that the series would deal with the lgbt characters better (that Gay-san dismayed me a lot). The reappearance of Messy-chans was lolz and we didn’t see what happened to Utsutsu or Joe.

    P.S.: It’s a bit inconvenient to have to click to so many images to get out of your page and then back in :/ And generally speaking about the blog, you put some great ideas here and I’m really glad that I found out about you, but it’d be even better with more actual images on the post to act as a visual breather. My 2 cents.
    P.S.2:Oh and what are the numbers next to links in your other posts? Just curious.

    • Wasn’t it Katze calling OD Gay-san? I wouldn’t take his perspective as the show’s own – this episode made it pretty clear he’s supposed to be representative of the ultimate internet troll, pushing any buttons he can just to get reactions out of people. And outside of Katze being a dick, I thought the show had only good things to say about lgbt characters.

      Regarding posts, yeah, I need to improve the formatting. I initially started doing posts on reddit, so bad habits from that have carried over here, and I still need to work on making best use of wordpress’s toolset instead. Formatting and graphic design are my nemeses.

      • Well, at first I thought ‘wow OD is gonna be a genderqueer character who is toned donw from all the stereotypical fabulousness”; but it’s not just Katze, since we do have kids calling him ‘queen’ and OD himself has expressed interest in ‘hot men’. Which ties again sexual orientation with gender identity in the way it’s always represented in anime. I had hopes for Rui,too, but I’m still not sure how zir is perceived. I mean is Rui a character like Kuranosuke in Kuragehime? There at least we got a clear statement of the crossdressing reasons. :/ And ofc no reaction from the people like they live in void. Perhaps I was asking too much…

  3. Pingback: Gatchaman Crowds 12 – Just Don’t Look

  4. After cruising through some more of the toxic interwebs, here are some more observations: Episode 11 was titled “Gamification.” Episode 12 was titled “Collage.” Yet the actual gamification happened in episode 12. Half of episode 11 was a recap. Jou’s bit didn’t even fit, since Sugane did far more than Hajime to pull him out of his funk. Jou had no lines in the final episode. Utsutu’s lines only appear in O.D.’s thoughts. We never see Utsutsu’s Gatchasuit clones in action. We don’t find out what really happened to O.D. and there’s no closure re. other characters’ reactions if he did die (especially from Utsutsu.) We see O.D.‘s Gatchasuit in the OP before its appearance in the story. (We also never see Hajime sans suit in the OP’s final image.) (These two points might not mean anything.) The Mess reappear and then we don’t find out what they did, if anything. Hajime devouring Katse happens off-screen. Just before the credits, we see her about to write in her note. The official website says that the power of her note is the potential to design all creation in accordance with her idiosyncratic point of view. That’s just vague enough… A photo is circulating of the director Nakamura bowing down on his hands and knees at some sort of event in deep apology. The official twitter account talks about several announcements happening in the next few days. I think it’s all adding up to something, maybe.

    • Oh, and one more thing: During the final two episodes, Hajime keeps jumping between being in her suit, being in the Gatcha-lounge with the Prime Minister and being outside by herself, talking to Katse. The chronology here feels a bit – jumpy. Honestly, it all seems to point towards some sort of drastic, last-minute re-edit, for one reason or another.

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