Gatchaman Crowds – 10

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After destroying Kasumigaseki, the Neo Hundred are mostly dormant until Katze gives them the location of Prime Minister Sugayama in Tachikawa, and offers a bounty of an improved “Crowds 2.0” to whoever captures him. The Gatchamen work with the local government to evacutate the city’s 180,000 people, while disabling the swarming Crowds with nonlethal blows. Jou snaps out of his funk, and Paiman protects the Kindergarten. When Umeda pleads with Katze to disable the Crowds to spare his city, Katze exposes Umeda and his family online.

Umeda didn’t think things through properly. After gaining the power of Crowds, he cast away his former leader, accusing him of lacking the “backbone” to do “what was necessary” to update the world. When Katze gave Umeda back his power, he quickly used it for his little coup, without so much as a query about the price. Well, now he knows the price: even if thousands of people have Crowds, trying to organize them is like herding cats. Worse still, his rash actions have gotten him, his wife, and his daughter into mortal peril as the Crowds, eager for a reward from Katze, ransack Tachikawa. Fortunately for him there are people who don’t only care about themselves willing to protect the city and even him, despite what he’s done.

With Hajime and Sugane leading the way, the Gatchamen act selflessly and work together effectively to keep the Crowds at bay. They secure the prime minister and convince him to put resources into battling the crisis. It’s an episode in which he’s not the only one who crawls out of his safe little cave of self-doubt and rises to the occasion. Like him, Paiman fears losing everything, but doing nothing could well lead to just that; seeing the little ones in danger is the last straw, and he springs into action. Sugane, who was saved by Jou years ago, returns the favor by inspiring him to rejoin the fray rather than continue wallowing in self-pity. Katze has made a huge mess, but for the moment, it’s under control.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Gatchaman Crowds – 09

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The Gatchamen take Rui in, clean him up and heal him. As hate and doubt pervades GALAX, Katze bestows the power of Crowds on 29,533 users. Umeda quickly uses his new power to stage a coup d’état against the Japanese government. Hajime stages another PR campaign for both Rui and the Gatchamen, in which Rui apologizes vows to make things right, and Hajime urges everyone not to use Crowds. X begins to doubt Katze’s disguise. Sugane tells off JJ.

In his own chaotic, insidious way, Katze is carefully building a fire in which to burn the entire world, using its own human inhabitants are the kindling. Meanwhile Hajime, with the help of her friends (both close and digital), is filling a bucket of water big enough to douse that fire before it becomes unmanageable. She plucked Rui from the abyss and restored his confidence and determination to right the wrongs he is partially responsible for. But neither he nor Hajime and the Gatchamen are enough to keep Katze’s fire at bay, and the god-like JJ isn’t in the direct intervention business.

As Hajime says, it’s everyone’s fault that they’re in this mess, so everyone has a responsibility to fix it, and Crowds aren’t the answer. Umeda would use them as a weapon, but that’s precisely what Katze wants and what will doom mankind, as sure as a brace of nukes in the wrong hands. There’s also the last-resort of OD “spreading his wings”, but that would apparently end “everything.” No, mankind’s salvation hinges on their ability to fight the temptation to use the Crowds for any reason. If the flames don’t catch, maybe Katze will get bored, and even angry, and make a mistake.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • We’ve enjoyed Hajime’s intricate strategy of avoiding directly confronting or provoking Katze, choosing instead to “play” with him both through PR and GALAX.
  • Sugane’s decision to confront JJ and essentially tell him to piss off was no doubt inspired by Hajime’s independent spirit.
  • It’s interesting that he and the Gatchamen are choosing not to rely on a “higher power”, while Umeda and the “Neo Hundred” are totally dependent (on and thus beholden to) Katze.

Gatchaman Crowds – 05

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JJ sends the Gatchamen a strange prophecy. Rui’s ideals are questioned by Umeda, one of his chosen “Hundred” Galaxters who wish to use the CROWDS. Katze also assures Rui that one day he’ll have no choice to use them. Hajime’s GALAX Collage group has an offline bus trip to Fukushima, and the other Gatchamen accompany her. When the bus enters a tunnel it collapses. GALAX is used to coordinate emergency procedures, but they aren’t enough, so Rui summons the CROWDS again. This time, Hajime transforms to do her part…

When a large box has vanished into darkness, the broken child will finally reveal itself to us. The white bird shall bear witness.

One of the things we liked about Valvrave was watching how exactly L-elf’s prophecies came to be in the course of an episode. We’re treated to a similar situation here, where cryptic words by JJ come to pass. The large box is the bus, the darkness is the collapsed tunnel, the broken child is Rui, and the white bird is Hajime. But before that prophecy comes true, we learn more about just how difficult and unenviable a position Rui is in.

Sure, he’s smart, rich, powerful, possesses above average fashion sense, and can run in heels. But his dream for a world in which everyone looks after each other; a world that doesn’t need heroes or leaders, is under constant threat, not just from the evil alien Katze, but from his own handpicked followers who have grown disillusioned (if they were ever illusioned to begin with) and impatient with Rui’s progress in updating the world. They’d just as well conquer it using the power at his command, and don’t know why he won’t pull the trigger. With Katze in his shadow and malcontents poisoning his beloved GALAX, Rui’s enemies are everywhere – but we suspect Hajime isn’t one of them.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)