Comic Books Magazine

Notes of Gatchaman Crowds Episode 1

Posted on the 17 July 2013 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG
Oh boy! I wonder if this band of misfits is really going to save the world!

Oh boy! I wonder if this band of misfits is really going to save the world!

  • Summary of Ep 1: In the not-so-distant future of 2015, a blonde haired high school student steps out from his house, gets informed that “…the newbie’s starting today.” He then proceeds to make his way to a mall while in search of somebody where he enthusiastically draws a katana. Cut to a high school where everybody seems to be intoxicated on the supposed myth of a being known as “Gatchaman”. Enter Hajime, an energetic girl whose mind wanders all throughout her day until she comes across a threatening being who she, instead of question its existence or being, decides to play hide-and-seek with. This being is known as J.J. Robinson, and he goes on to pull an object from Hajime’s body, which is a reader that contains her soul. She eventually meets the blonde haired student from earlier, Sugane, who unenthusiastically learns that Hajime is the “newbie” mentioned from before, and he is a Gatchaman. From there on, Hajime is a Gatchaman, a sworn protector of the earth from foreign invaders, especially an entity knows as “MESS”. Now, Hajime must learn the ways of the Gatchaman to help protect the Earth with her new, unique Gatchaman colleagues.
I'm the exact same way with my vinyl records.

I’m the exact same way with my vinyl records.

  • My Take: Going into this show, I didn’t really know what to expect. I liked the “Sci-Fi” and “Adventure” tags bestowed upon the show enough to evolve my general interest into actual anticipation. However, what I saw in the first episode of Gatchaman Crowds, I can safely say, was not even close to what I had envisioned it to be. I don’t remember what I was thinking it would be, but I never would have guessed “specially-evolved-humans-piloting-robots fight off alien baddies and save the world Men in Black style”. Although I can’t be too judgmental on a series after only one episode, I can at least voice some strong opinions that go on both ends of the critical spectrum.
  • The first thing I noticed in the aptly titled episode “Avant-Garde” was that I found Hajime, who presumably is our central protagonist, to be a pretty weak character. The majority of her dialog consists of intrigued “ooo’s” and “aaaaaa’s”, and she seems to be totally oblivious to the world around her, making her the classic “ditzy protagonist”. She literally is the answer to the question “What if we gave incredible powers to an absent-minded person instead of much more deserving people?” My only guess is that for the first couple of episodes, she’ll continue to be the loveable little screw-up who makes life a living hell for her colleagues until she eventually learns the ropes and becomes an effective member of the team (past experiences in similar plots have all been that). I can’t convey how much I hope that I’m wrong, though. I hope the writers have given more thought to her character than that. However, if they do go that route we’ve seen oh-so-many times before, they should at least make it more interesting.
I don't know if neon is in this season.

I don’t know if neon is in this season.

  • The concept is passable, but not really exciting. Basically, random people on Earth are chosen by some entity to protect the planet. But unlike other shows that keep you guessing on the mechanics of their universe, Gatchaman Crowds is so ambiguous in its explanations that I just shuddered in disbelief instead of speculating and trying to put the pieces together. Some of my questions right now are, “Why are these specific people chosen?” and “out of all the people on Earth, why would you chose Hajime?!” They beg an explanation, and no solid one is given.
Taste the sparkly, logo infested rainbow.

Taste the sparkly, logo infested rainbow.

  • On the flip side, I can safely say that I absolutely love this art style. It seems to possess a certain “retro-without-being-retro” feel to it with a bright splash of radiant colors. Even in the intro credits, there were some impressive visual displays that impressed me. Speaking of the intros, usually I tend to skip intro and end credits (I’m a hardcore music man, and I’ve never been a big fan of Japanese pop/rock), but I found myself enjoying not only the visuals, but also the music present in the intro and end credits. So congratulations, guys; you made this hipster like your tunes.
I knew that one day, small, highly-intelligent pandas would take over the humans!

I knew that one day, small, highly-intelligent pandas would take over the humans!

  • Character design and character traits are quite archetypal here (we have the quiet loner, the loudmouth, the “cool smoking guy”, etc), but for some reason, I found myself really enjoying the dialog between these people. Even the design of some of the Gatchamen (is that the plural of Gatchaman? I don’t know…) was pretty unique. I especially liked the leader, Paiman, who is just a tiny panda-ish creature which I speculate will never be explained as to why it’s a real entity. Most impressive of all, instead of being countless exposition, the dialog feels smooth and natural.
  • In short, the first episode of Gatchaman Crowds is a real mixed bag for me. Basically my impression from this episode is that it is visually pleasing, but a little dry in the writing. It’s not an impressive debut, but I’d rather be underwhelmed with a first episode than having it overwhelming and set my expectations too high.

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