High schooler Ichinose Hajime has her “NOTE”, the manifestation of her soul, extracted by the godlike JJ and becomes a Gatchaman. After watching her classmate and fellow G-man Tachibana Sugane dispatch the enemy, known as a “MESS”, Sugane takes her to the underground Gatchaman base, where she meets her peers: Hibiki Joe, O.D., Utsusu, and Paiman, their miniscule alien leader. Their mission is to eradicate alien criminals and and other anomalies that have infiltrated Earth. Hajime joins Sugane for her first official mission, in which the MESS has taken the form of a bus.
The cool, slick, quick, fun, and fashionable Gatchaman Crowds arrives fashionably late this Summer, but it was worth the wait: this was the coolest-looking first episode of anything that preceded it. It introduces its characters and scenario with blinding speed, and Hajime is our avatar as the newbie who is also seeing everything for the first time, getting swept up in it all, and going with the flow. She can be a bit bubbly and grating at times, but we liked her spunk, positive attitude, and just how game she was about joining the Gatchaman crowd. And a colorful crowd it is, hanging in colorful, abstract digs and fighting colorful abstract enemies.
We really dug the character design (by the same guy who did the excellent Macross Frontier), and C’s director also brought along Iwasaki Taku, one of our favorite current anime composers, who adds great atmosphere to the proceedings. The CGI Gatchaman suits remind us a bit of Tiger & Bunny, though possibly better integrated with the traditional animation; things moved so fast it was hard to gauge, but that’s not a bad thing. This was a super-caffeinated start to an addictively series that so far is complex in visuals but mercifully simple in concept (transform; beat the bad guys; don’t get noticed by ordinary people), and we can’t wait for the next dose.
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Speaking of caffeine Uchida Maaya, whom we’ve come to know for far quieter roles like Rea and Rikka, must’ve downed a couple of Red Bulls for her super-perky performance.
- We’d have KILLED to wear school uniforms like the ones Sugane and Hajime sport. So classy.
- Tachibana Sugane reminded us a lot of Tsubaki from Sket Dance; the uptight hall monitor who speaks and acts formally; the perfect foil for Hajime.
- The “MESS” baddies resemble very colorful Silver Pictures logos, though that’s probably a coincidence.
- The OP was awesome, and does what all great OPs should do: get you fired up for what’s to come!
- We like how when a character is in his Gatchaman suit, his/her voice is muffled. Nice touch.
- Paiman is voiced by none other than Hirano Aya…who wouldn’t have been a bad choice for Hajime. In fact, Uchida seems to be channeling a little of Haruhi’s carefree spiritedness.
- Isn’t Utsusu cold in that skimpy get-up?