Back in the summer of 2013, I followed quite a few shows on Crunchyroll as they simulcast. One of those shows, Gatchaman Crowds, was a show that I absolutely adored, and yet, somehow, managed to promptly forget about. Earlier this week, though, the amazing blogger and friend of mine Plyasm announced that he had found one of the songs from the Gatchaman Crowds soundtrack, and had fallen in love. I challenged him to marathon it along with me, and, well, here we are.
Here’s what MAL has to say about the series:
Hajime Ichinose’s ordinary life is in for a change when a transcendent being named J.J Robinson hands her a small book called NOTE—a device which transforms her into one of the Gatchaman, the legendary protectors of Tachikawa City. Stressing that the existence of their group must remain a secret, fellow Gatchaman Sugane Tachibana takes Hajime to their base of operations, where Paiman, the panda-like alien leader of the Gatchaman, reveals their purpose: to eliminate aliens that pose a danger to humanity. These existential threats, called MESS, are becoming increasingly dangerous, destroying everything they touch. Now it’s up to the Gatchaman and their new recruit to stop them before the world is engulfed in chaos.
And Wikipedia has some other info to give:
A “second metropolis” of Tokyo, Tachikawa is protected by the Gatchaman, warriors who fight in special reinforced suits powered by the manifestation of their spiritual powers called NOTE. Following the introduction of their newest member, the energetic and cheerful Hajime Ichinose, the Gatchaman must deal with Berg Katze, an enigmatic alien creature bent on destroying Earth just like it did with several other planets in the past.
Sadly, neither of these descriptions really tells us what the series is really about. While on the outside, Gatchaman Crowds might look like an off-brand Power Rangers, the show has so much more depth to it than you could possibly imagine.
Hajime, the main character, is one of my favorite main characters, well, EVER. Her oddball attitude might be a turn-off to some, at first, but we quickly discover that Hajime is one of the most broad-minded, quick-witted, and observant protagonists you’ll ever see. Initially introducing us to Sugane Tachibana, a kind-hearted doer-of-justice and a character who, in a typical Superhero show, would make an excellent main character, we soon see his character traits through Hajime’s lenses.
Hajime, you see, is a foil for Sugane, pointing out the faults in his way of thinking, pushing him to look at things from beyond his justice-soaked, one-dimensional character POV. The show does an incredible job showing that not everyone who breaks the law or does something wrong is necessarily at fault; someone speeding on a road might be rushing a pregnant wife to the hospital, or someone not giving up their seat for an elderly woman might have an injury, or be coming home from a long shift at work.
These introspective viewpoints are definitely not all that Gatchaman has to offer, though. With a wide, interesting, and well-written cast of characters, Gatchaman offers them all plenty of growth and development through its 12-episode run. The story borders on absolute brilliance, giving us one of the most interesting and polarizing antagonists i’ve ever seen in an Anime, Berg-Katze, and showing us his thoughts and motivations, building him up into a truly stellar villain.
Gatchaman is also great to look at. With a Studio Trigger-esque color pallette and character designs, the show has a very unique and fresh feel to it. The background art is gorgeous, the animation fluid, and the CGI is some of the best i’ve ever seen, honestly rivalling Land of the Lustrous in execution, precision, and fluidity. Nothing ever feels out of place or clunky, and the visuals as a whole are top notch.
If your eyes love Gatchaman, your ears will love it even more. From the very start of the show, the soundtrack is incredible, easily making it onto my Top 10 anime soundtracks. It’s musical perfection taken to an extreme, not only perfectly fitting the show and adding depth and emotion to every single scene, but every moment, every song is so memorable and wonderful.
While Season 2 isn’t nearly as good as the absolute work of art that is Season 1, there are still some fun and interesting moments, and a good story if you look deep enough. We only watched Season 1 this week, though.
Ultimately, though, Gatchaman is a tale of humanity. It shows us what humans are capable of when backed into a corner. It shows what shallow, selfish, destructive creatures we can be. However, it also shows the good that exists in the human heart, the love and fellowship we can show to the rest of humankind and, above all else, that everyone, no matter who they are, what they do, ow what their circumstances are, can be a Hero. Maybe there are some problems that need a superpowered guy in a suit to solve, but if you have the courage and the heart to assist your fellow men in a time of need, you are a hero indeed.
Now for some words from Plyasm who marathonned the show with me:
Well, to be completely honest, if you look at it carefully, Gatchaman is just another superhero story. But. The execution is amazing, the great soundtrack helps to bring out the hype perfectly(especially the brainwashing theme song) and the 3DCGI they used for the gatchaman themselves are really good looking.
Furthermore, the story is actually really deep and engaging, unlike other more bullsh*ttery type of superpowers such as the original superman’s powers from the sun. And the idea of Gatchaman being people who are actually normal people just takes it one step further. They are people too, and they have their own problems, their weaknesses, and they are not invincible, unlike superman’s invincibility unless exposed to kryptonite(which is really bs)
And finally, the characters themselves are great. From the main character all the way to supporting characters and even the main villain, they all seem very interesting and have their own stories to tell. Hajime is a very refreshing lead, and she is not your average “oh I believe we will pull through with the power of FRIENDSHIP” type of lead.
Overall, in terms of entertainment Gatchaman is top notch. Finally, to end off… GATCHA!
Ply and I both had an awesome time, him seeing the show for the first time, and me revisiting the show. I’m really struggling to understand why the show has such low ratings, to be honest, with a MAL score of only 7.43 (Not that MAL is the most reliable source.) I think a lot of people get turned off by how different it is from the norm and don’t really give the show a chance to really tell the incredible story it has to offer. It’s a major case of a great show being passed by due to mob mentality and sh*t taste on an enormous scale.
But this is the whole point of the Pocket Picks series! To showcase shows just like this one, ones that get overlooked and tossed aside, and nobody hears from them ever again. But Gatchaman Crowds needs to finally let its voice be heard!!!
And with a show like Gatchaman Crowds, there’s only one truly fitting way to do that. Please let me know what you guys think of the show, and please enjoy the song below. GATCHAMAAAAAAAAN!!!