Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 5

This was a big one! Gatchaman basically crammed every idea it could think of relating its central themes to the election process into one jam-packed episode, and the result was stunning. As I say in my review, this episode could have felt busy or cynical, but the way the show made use of its characters very understandable motives to center each of their perspectives made it feel as poignant as it was dense. This is the way it is, but nobody’s happy about it. Idealists are used, pragmatists make cynical steps for the greater good, and relying on anything more than the base tides of public opinion will likely get you swept away. This was a stern dressing-down of everything Rui hoped for in the first season, and likely insight’s best episode yet.

Here’s my full review at ANN, and you can check out my notes below!

Gatchaman Crowds insight

Anyone can run in the election, but somehow every candidate aside from the two aliens is an old man

“If I become prime minister, I promise to abolish CROWDS.” So that’s what the people immediately want

Gelsadra is a “hero” trying to make everyone happy through his own power

There’s also the fact that Gelsadra’s big plan is to reverse the signature legislation of the previous administration, which people are now blaming for all their problems

Episode title: “halo effect”

Utsutsu holding a sign for Paiman. Oh boy

“Why would you abolish CROWDS?” “I’m just granting their wish. Then they’d be happy, right?” “Their wish is temporary. They’re just afraid right now. If they rely on others, they’ll never develop self-motivation.

Tsubasa: “Do they need self-motivation? Can’t the world be more simple? Help those in need, protect those who are suffering.”

“What people want isn’t an updated world!”

Jou’s decided to help Gel’s election. Jou just doesn’t believe in CROWDS, but his reasons are actually somewhat similar to Rui’s. While Gel thinks giving people what they want in general is a good policy, Jou thinks they aren’t smart/socially-minded enough to actually be able to use CROWDS, and thus need traditional heroes

“I’m voting for Sugayama-kun. Who else is there, right?”

Jou and his boss have a great little conversation

Everyone wants world peace

“Sugayama isn’t popular, but people don’t see a viable alternative. Everyone is just going with the flow.” Making Jou into Gelsadra’s strategist is a wonderful use of his character. He has all the sharp political savvy that Gel needs

Jou has Gelsadra out in the streets, doing good deeds to individuals. He doesn’t need major advertisements – social media will take care of the rest. Jou uses the fickle nature of social media, how it outsizes nonsense actions like this, to manage the election

“What will determine the election results are neither CROWDS nor political ideals.”

“Who bothers saying ‘lose’ anyway? What’s the point? I wonder if they’re dumb.” Sugayama you’re great

And of course that random gaffe will cost him, because people prefer the guy helping on the street, regardless of actual policies

Sugayama gets pinned for calling the people dumb, something Jou’s campaign relies on

More gaffes from Sugayama. These actually are important, somehow!

Meanwhile, Gelsadra charms babies and makes the people love him

And of course, Millio plays into the whole Gelsadra thing, because ratings! Hurray for the twenty four hour news cycle!

And Sugayama makes another silly gaffe

“Who cares about a 3000-yen beef stew?” The news cycles sure will!

“Primitives love to gang up on someone as soon as you give them the ‘go ahead’ sign to attack.” oh boy Katze

“this nation’s finished lol”

“I’m voting because Tsubasa-chan’s cute.” “And he can win a real fight”

Rui’s faith in the people has betrayed her

“Jou-san. Is your goal to become an ally to a privileged kind of justice?”

Hajime prods Jou on how what he’s doing is wrong. He knows it is, but is driven by the threat to the people of the Shibuya attack, and to Rui in particular. He actually shares Tsubasa’s feelings on heroes, he’s just cloaked them in years of cynicism and followed them through

“Even if the means are wrong, this will achieve my justice!”

Hajime invites Rui to join her in meeting with Rizumu

Rizumu stating the subtext of this whole episode: “Japan does not have a rational population, just people led by popular opinion.”

Love this shot of Rizumu reflected in the ominous blank television

Rizumu saying the violence committed against Sugayama could easily erupt in any direction, at any magnitude, with CROWDS’ support

6 thoughts on “Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 5

  1. Do remember that Japan once had literal thought police, the Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu (or Tokkō for short). Gelsadra’s actions and abilities do have an additional sinister resonance there.

  2. “Time and again, Gelsadra’s simple statements end up accidentally embodying everything cynical about modern politics.”

    Once again, is it really accidental ?

    He is a little to good as manipulating others to makes them the desirable color to be completeley trusted.
    And reading everyone’s heart beforehis big speech is not that different than a politician watching opinion polls before his speech (just more effective).

    And while he can makes everyone color visible (except Hajime who is as much an enigma as he is. I guess it’s Berg-Katze’s interference who makes her heart unreadable, but she may be grey even without him), and read everyone’s thought, his color is the only one we never see, and no one can see his heart.

    All we know about him/her/it is his actions that are carefully crafted to avoid any conflicts (we know he wants to avoid any conflicts, but not how he plans to do it, nor the ways he’s ready to use to accomplish his goals).

  3. “(except Hajime who is as much an enigma as he is. I guess it’s Berg-Katze’s interference who makes her heart unreadable, but she may be grey even without him)”

    I feel like Hajime would be grey even without Berg as a tag-along. After her actions and role in the first show, she is, like bob has said plenty elsewhere, more of a force than a character. So was so unassailable and faultless in S1 that most of what she said was either the the show’s truth or at least the right question. She has stayed above the election event — keeping her vote a secret, making few comments besides her usual on-point remarks to Jou — so it makes sense to me that she would stay above Gel’s power as well. Hajime talks and does the gospel truth a lot of the time, so having her either speak or be readable indicates where the show wants to go before it actually gets there. I don’t think her grey bubble indicates either that she is a mysterious person, or that Berg has some influence over that; she’s just remaining on the narrative sidelines right now so that the more dynamic characters can work through the story, rather than having Hajime show the way.

    • Good point there.
      Hajime wouldn’t work well if she was immediately readable.

      The other grey character we have already seen is Tsubasa’s grandfather. Not sure if he’s gonna have a role later.

      • I’m willing to bet that he’ll end up being the biggest support for Tsubasa later, if and when things get south. I was hoping he and Hajime would talk more, actually.

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