Gatchaman CROWDS

Gatchaman CROWDS

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Life is normal for most in Tachikawa City, but deep in its core there’s war. Whilst citizens get on with their lives, they are unknowingly under attack by aliens and crime organisations wanting to conquer, enslave and destroy. And so a covert council quietly selects individuals to protect and serve the masses. Wearing armour that amplifies latent spiritual powers, these fighters are ready to act at a moments notice. There’s a lot to learn: stealth, power, skill, bravery and the knowledge that you are humanity’s greatest line of defence.


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Hajime Ichinose is a perky, bubble-headed high-school student who lives in Tachikawa and has an unhealthy affection for cute notebooks. One day at school she is confronted by a strange man who tells her she has what it takes to be a Gatchaman. He reaches inside her chest and pulls out a notebook, telling her that it is the key to her power and it will lead her in the right direction. This all sounds fascinating to Hajime, but primarily because she now has another cute new notebook.

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As a Gatchaman, Hajime gains access to the team’s secret lair and is allowed to join in their missions. There’s just one problem: the Gatchaman are tasked with hunting, killing or imprisoning aliens, using their tailor-made powers granted by the notebooks, before they can cause problems to humanity. But Hajime abhors fighting and refuses to kill, preferring to be friends with everybody instead. And her nature is such that, of course, her methods of befriending the aliens essentially puts the Gatchaman out of work (as they realise they’ve been approaching the problems in the wrong way all this time).

On top all off that, the new social network known as GALAX is bringing people together in a way that enables problems to be solved by normal people long before the Gatchaman can help, and the team can’t help but feel that the age of the superhero is coming to an end. But when it becomes clear that someone, or something, is manipulating GALAX for their own destructive purposes, it’s Gatchamen to the rescue.

IMG_3710.PNGGatchaman Crowds essentially focuses on two characters: Hajime and her journey of becoming a Gatchaman and Berg-Katze, the eccentric alien determined to destroy Earth. The plot, whilst it took me a few episodes to get my head around, was a great concept. We have superheroes with special abilities but we also have a revolutionary social media platform that technically enables all its users to become superheroes in their own right. From doctors to housewives, everyone has their skills called upon in order to help society.

IMG_3721.PNGHowever, I’m not sure that it made complete sense – a couple of leaps in logic and a lack of explanation prevented it from being an entirely cohesive story. But that’s not to say the plot is a write-off – no way, since there are some incredible ideas and themes that are not often addressed in this type of anime: talking to the enemy instead of fighting, social empowerment and the power of social media. Plus, the relationship between Hajime and Berg-Katze was so compelling that I could forgive a few measly plot holes in favour of the strangely innocent-yet-mature dialogue the two would always have.

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There’s one thing about the Gatchaman franchise that captured my interest from the very beginning: the artwork. Everything from the detailed transformations to the sprawling cityscapes, the colours are bright with a welcome pastoral quality. There’s no washout or muting, which makes for an interesting and unique colour palette, especially when combined with the shading and crosshatching techniques used to boost the quirky character and alien designs. Overall, it’s a very pretty anime with a slightly subversive overtone.

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Gatchaman Crowds is an anime that I started to watch thinking that it was going to be a certain genre, but ended up being something very different – and enjoyed it all the more because of it. Some very compelling characters that quickly establish themselves as funny, individual and very real. A real joy to watch – superhero themes with a generous dollop of sci-fi digital media. I’m looking forward to seeing what Gatchaman Crowds Insight has to offer.