Gatchaman Crowds – 02

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Hajime interferes in Sugane’s mission, and is able to coax the MESS into taking a scissors-like form. She moves into new digs with Sugane and Paiman, and after moving all her stuff in she brings Sugane along on a collage community get-together on a monorail, arranged by the social media network GALAX. Shortly after returning to HQ, they are summoned by JJ, whom Hajime approaches directly. He sends her and Sugane to the site of the next MESS, which Hajime is able to tame. Meanwhile, some unsavory shape-shifting fellow injures several bystanders, but thanks to GALAX they are tended to quickly.

This episode was very encouraging not only for looking just as good if not better than the first, but continuing to throw a whole lot of ideas and themes around at once, piquing our interest and entertaining without explicitly nailing anything down. The straight-as-an-arrow Sugane is immediately swept up in Hajime’s vibrant life, along with many other Gatchamen (Gatchamans?). We’re relieved that while Hajime is incredibly peppy and gregarious, she never descents into annoying-ness, and this week proves quite perceptive. Unlike the others, she’s not just going to kill MESSes just because she’s told to. It may look random to Sugane and others like him, but she does live by a code, that won’t let her take action against a party without knowing that party.

The MESS, just an abstract foe to be destroyed, becomes something else entirely under Hajime’s tutelage. We have a feeling this was part of JJ’s reasoning for bringing Hajime into the fold. Add to that her use of GALAX (kind a Facebook/LinkedIn with miis) to bring together people to make collages to comfort victims of a recent unnamed disaster, and she’s a busy girl. Her and Sugane’s exploits could easily fill the episode, but we also got a sneak peek at the series’ potential villain, who seems to take pleasure in making humans suffer, and a new character who wears a disguise outdoors and may be the mastermind behind the very popular and useful GALAX. One thing’s for sure: Gatchaman offers ample bang for the buck.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • A Collage Community Chartered Monorail Ride? THAT SOUNDS AWESOME.
  • Hajime’s Collage friends include both the fire chief and mayor of Tachikana, plus many other people of all ages and walks, lending instant credibility to her skill as a networker.
  • We like how Hajime can so utterly dominate a conversation with the well-spoken Sugane. We also like how often her hand gestures resemble scissors.
  • Hajime bedazzled the physical manifestation of her soul. Sounds about right!
  • Walking across that steep drop and sitting down next to JJ, that was pretty cheeky!
  • This was the second straght episode that was so immersive we were surprised when it suddenly ended.
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Tokyo Trip Journal 7

10 June, Heisei 22 (Thurs)

This morning heralded in a clear, warm, sunny, and absolutely perfect day to visit Tokyo’s waterfront district, a reclaimed “Inner Harbor/Harbor East”-like area known as Odaiba. The ruby Uedo. line took me form Shinjuku to Shiodome, and then I only needed to hop on the Yurikamome monorail to take me across the part of Tokyo Bay to Odaiba. As I write this I am enjoying a Georgia Iced Latter (a Coca-Cola product) with the Rainbow Bridge across the bay from me, Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills visible behind it in the distance, the eccentric Fuji TV Building at my back, and, oddly enough, a third-scale but otherwise exact replica of the Statue of Liberty to the right.

Odaiba is also home to Toyota Mega Web, the largest Toyota auto salon in the country, but less stylish than the one in Ikebukuro. It is also home to a gallery of automotive history, containing some real gems I had not had a good look at in the flesh before (E-Type, De Lorean, Isetta, Spider, Mustang, Biarritz, etc., along with some notable specimens from Toyota’s storied racing history. At least at the hour I was there, I was apparently the only one interested. From Aomi I dashed to the next station to get an up-close look at Tokyo Big Sight, described as either an upside-down version of the Pyramid building from Blade Runner, or your average convention center flipped upside down and suspended on stilts. It is an insane piece of architecture, very sci-fi. Btw, each monorail station has a unique color and pattern decoration derived from Japanese art and design history. What significance this holds alludes me at this time, but its still neat, and I appreciate the attention to detail, as always.

After sightseeing in Odaiba, I finished the Yurikamome monorail loop to get my 800 yen’s worth, ending at Toyosu station on the Yurakucho line, which conveniently connected to Sakuradamon, on the side of the Imperial Palace grounds I hadn’t been to yet. First I took a quick look at the National Diet building, a handsome structure combining elements of Japanese and Art Deco architecture.

The gardens and plazas surrounding the palace moat were gorgeous and impeccably tended. I wondered what life was like up there on the raised stone ramparts, and whether the Emporer ever walked along its perimeter, gazing out onto the modern city beyond his moat. I had to wonder, because you cannot see much; the main gate was firmly closed and under heavy guard, and the one of the only good views in, while picturesque, still didn’t allow visual access to the palace residences themselves. No biggie though, it was cool just to get as close as I did.

Hungry, i went east to the modern city to find a place for lunch. I found one in “Banri”, another no-nonsense value-for-money place, where I stuffed myself on a miso-like stew with cured pork, mushrooms, bok choy, bamboo shoots and scallions, with excellent pork fried rice on the side. Portions at these restaurants tend to be huge, and people typically eat quite fast. I take my time cleaning my plate, again so as not to offend. Ometachi station was right next door, so I took the now very familiar red Marunouchi line to Shinjuku, where I decided to satisfy my curiosity regarding the “Toto Super Space” on the 27th floor of the Shinjuku L-Tower. The fixtures on display were quite slick…and expensive.

After a brief rest in my room and a shower, I head somewhere I haven’t been before – Ebisu – on the Hibiya line. Ebisu is apparently a diner’s haven; as soon as I emerged from the station I was assaulted by hundreds of places to eat. Choosing where to eat when there are so many good choices can be excrutiating, but I bit the bullet and chose somewhere. I’d eaten Japanese-style food essentially every night I was here, so I decided to switch it up and try out an Italian place called Palermo. They made a mean Margherita pizza.