The Many Lessons of Gatchaman Crowds

New essay time! Jeez, I’ve been spoiling you guys lately. There was a bit of a lull when I was getting used to managing my time for ANN, but now you’re getting articles on idols, articles on classic OVAs, and now an article on Gatchaman Crowds. I wrote about Gatchaman’s first season way back when it ended (jeez, that was two years now), but I think I’ve gotten a little bit better at consolidating my points since then. This isn’t a breakdown of every single thing that happens – this is a condensing of the core themes that emerge in different ways across both seasons. I hope you enjoy it, and may our lady Hajime shine upon you!

The Many Lessons of Gatchaman Crowds

Gatchaman Crowds

Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 12

G-G-G-GATCHAMANNNNN is over 🙁

I can’t really feel that sad, though. This was an excellent conclusion to an excellent series, tying up the show’s existing ideas and character journeys well while giving us a few final standout conversations to remember it by. That melancholy conversation between Tsubasa and Gelsadra in the first half had to be one of my favorite sequences of either season, and the actual battle with Hajime wasn’t far behind. The show really pulled out all the visual stops for that one – Hajime finally got to have a Big Damn Hero moment, and it was glorious. insight has challenged the messages of the first season and swept in more ideas besides, and its thoughts on group culture could not be more relevant to our modern world. Even if this show is aimed specifically at Japanese culture, anyone who uses the internet could probably learn something from this show’s example. HURRAY FOR LEARNING AND EMPATHY AND STUFF.

Anyway, you can check out my huge-ass review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 11

AW SHIT THIS EPISODE FUUUUUUU. I was a little worried about where insight would be going at the end of last week/beginning of this one, but man, this was a brutal answer. It’s an answer I’m surprised Hajime would come up with, since it requires an acknowledgment of many of the cynical elements of this season that I figure she’d want to reject. But Hajime’s not stupid, she’s just very reserved with her thoughts, so I guess it’d make sense that she could play this game as well.

Anyway, I already wrote up a storm about this one in my review and notes, so let’s get to it! My review is thataway, my notes are below!

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Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 10

Gatchaman Crowds pulled a bunch of threads together this week in an episode that I felt had maybe the season’s first real missteps. The main issue was the handling of Rui’s arc – having X just talk Rui into feeling motivated again just felt way too simple, and Rui’s story felt poorly integrated with everything else that was going on. It made me think the story just kind of didn’t know what to do with Rui for a while, which is a disappointing thought. But there was also a whole bunch of great stuff in this episode, with my favorite parts concentrated in Millione and Rizumu’s choices. The two of them actually seem pretty alike in their assessment of humanity, but Millione embraces going with the flow for ratings, while Rizumu just uses it to make himself feel powerful. Cool guys, cool guys.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 9

SHIT IS FUCKED. Things are a total mess in Gatchamanland, and it will take more than Hajime wearing cute pigtails to sort all of this out. This was another solid episode in a very impressive sequel, and one that made me feel frankly a little awkward to cover, considering how charged the topics it’s dealing with are. Gatchaman is hot-off-the-presses commentary, its thoughts on the dangers of groupthink in more harmony-focused Japan equally relevant to modern online discourse. These conversations have essentially been turned radioactive by recent controversies – there are people looking to start witch hunts all over, and gamergate lurking in the background, eager to either pounce on targets or seize on comments as vindication of their pet issues. It is awesome that Gatchaman Crowds is so relevant to what’s going on this very second, but I sure hope writing these posts doesn’t get me killed.

You can check out my megasized writeup over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Gatchaman Crowds Insight – Episode 8

Things sure aren’t looking good for our heroes now. Gelsadra reigns supreme, Tsubasa refuses to listen to anyone, Rui has given up hope, and Hajime is still holding off on taking action. It’s depressing, frankly – this season’s overall been much heavier than the first one, and this was the heaviest episode yet. It was also a really good one, of course, and gave me plenty to talk about, but man. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing our heroes have fun again, hopefully, eventually? I guess we’ll have to see.

You can check out my full writeup over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 7

Welp, Tsubasa and Gelsadra seem to be “getting their wish,” and by that I mean holy shit this nightmare world could they possibly have conceived of a worse reality. Those shots of upbeat Gel-citizens politely inquiring as to why you weren’t feeling exactly the way they were feeling definitely took the creepy-cake. I also really loved seeing all the Gatchaman basically on the verge of murdering Tsubasa – Rui kinda effortlessly mocking her words, OD shaking his head, and Hajime actually getting up in the rookie’s face. Tsubasa is definitely a trial.

You can check out my full post over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Gatchaman Crowds insight – Episode 6

Welp, we’ve entered Local Girl and Alien Ruin Everything territory. Tsubasa’s a child, Gelsadra’s a terrifying force of faux-unity, and together they’re doing a pretty great job of making Japan the most fragile country imaginable. This episode basically hung around those two the entire time, as they attempted to put their plan of “making everyone happy” into action. Jou can’t be feeling good about this situation – CROWDS may be gone, but replacing the diet with constant popular votes is actually a far more dangerous system of forced horizontal engagement. I imagine things will begin falling apart more or less immediately.

You can check out my full post over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Summer 2015 – Week 5 in Review

Nearing the halfway point again! And once again, I’m gonna keep things loose and flowing here for the week in review. When I’ve only got a couple episodes worth actually talking about, and I’m already covering one of them in great essay-sized blocks for ANN, I gotta do what I can to fill your Wednesdays with criticism and joy. So let’s run down all the random crap I’ve been watching, starting at the top with G-G-GATCHAMANNNN.

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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!

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