What They Say:
“Gatchaman” is the general term for warriors who wear special power suits called NOTE, which are manifestations of special spiritual powers possessed by living beings. The Gatchaman force on Earth consists of aliens who have been dispatched by a council and Earthlings who have been scouted for their latent abilities, all of whom work together to protect Earth’s people and resources from alien criminals who have invaded the planet in violation of the probation enforced by the council.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I have very positive memories of Gatchaman Crowds now, I’m reminded by insight that watching is a very different experience. Each episode is a tense experience, not only in watching the show set up and foreshadow awful conflicts down the line, but also in watching the show slowly tiptoe on a tightrope of important social ideas. A Gatchaman Crowds series could collapse under its own ambition at any minute, and it’s amazing to see how long it can pull it off.
What’s particularly rough about Gatchaman Crowds insight is the way the show is clearly setting Tsubasa and Gel Sadra up for causing unprecedented peril. They’re both simpler, almost shounen-esque heroes, and Tsubasa’s order-defying, no-hesitation style would serve her well in a typical action series. Unfortunately, this isn’t Tsubasa’s kind of series, and her eventual misstep is going to be painful to watch. Heck, it already is.
The episode opens with Tsubasa and Gel Sadra rescuing Rui from Rizimu. Once the tide in the battle against the Red CROWDS has turned, members of VAPE start pulling out, and eventually, Rizimu himself surrenders. He’s made his point now, and no further action on his part is even needed. He’s demonstrated CROWDS are dangerous, and the only thing standing between CROWDS and lawlessness is the goodwill of Rui Ninomiya and X. And who’s to say Rui won’t become like me, he thinks?
We don’t really get to know much about what Rui thinks about all of this, as she passes out from blood loss and is hospitalized. Before she faints, however, she tells Tsubasa that she should not have interferes, which she finds understandably upsetting. It’s not like she could have watched Rui die. Hajime suggests she might have waited longer, for Rui to ask for help, in her own enigmatic way, and Tsubasa dismisses her as cold.
Debates about what was witnessed with the Red CROWDS in Shibuya causes divisions between the Gatchaman and their friends. OD argues only Red CROWDS are at fault, and blue CROWDS are still valuable, and Millione secretly plans to drop him from the show in anticipation of changing public opinion. Tsubasa feels that protecting life is the most important thing, while Hajime wonders if ideals might not be more important to protect. Sugane wonders if the CROWDS issue should be put to a vote, and Paiman rolls his eyes at the stupidity of earthlings. Jo believes that CROWDS are a tool humans aren’t ready for. He argues that 20% of people are intelligent, 60% are just average, and 20% are foolish. Until the 60% are ready for CROWDS, they’re just far too dangerous to exist. Tsubasa objects to this classification of people: “Am I the 20% or the 60%?” she asks. Fed up with the rest of the Gatchaman thinking so hard and not acting like heroes, she returns to Shibuya to help the neighborhood association clean up rubble and debris. She’s once again joined by Gel Sadra.
Gel Sadra speaks ominously about ending conflict and getting people to work together, and naive Tsubasa is all for the idea. And when Prime Minister Sugayama resigns before the approaching popular PM election, allowing his re-election to serve as a mandate on CROWDS, Tsubasa really isn’t sure who she’ll vote for. Ultimately, she says, she’ll wait and see who looks the best when the election comes around.
The direct election of the Prime Minister is the most unrealistic thing the series has yet to come up with, as there will be no nationality restrictions on the candidates. While completely impossible in the real world, this does allow for the possibility of an alien Prime Minister, and a peaceful means for someone like Gel Sadra to take control of the government and make everyone happy. When she ultimately hears the election described to her, she decides to run. Sensing some will be skeptical about a child running for office, she transforms into an adult man, and with a tap of a finger, registers her candidacy.
Gel Sadra can read people’s thoughts, and determine what everyone agrees on. She also hates conflict and wants everyone to be happy! What could possibly go wrong? You often see calls in US politics for “third parties” and “bipartisan solutions” to end “partisan bickering” and come to magical solutions that everyone would support, for some unprecedented reason. We may now see that attempt works out in the world of CROWDS. It’s an interesting rebuttal to the claim that the first Gatchaman CROWDS wanted to impose social controls on society, as we’re now about to see that scenario acted out with potentially horrifying results.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony VAIO 20″