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.
Where there's trouble, we need a hero, someone who we can depend on to ensure the public's safety. Who better than Gatchaman?
Don't be fooled by just the title. Gatchaman does exist and in the near future, they are legendary heroes who stands in with the crowds to protect the public. They're not just heroes but beings with supernatural abilities that allows them to fend off threats and criminals. In any city, there's crime. Luckily, Gatchaman is there to put it to end. They're not just wannabees but people who are capable of making a difference.
Gatchaman Crowds is an anime series produced by Tatsunoko Production. It
is actually a reboot of the original series. Directed by Kenji Nakamura (C: Control, The Big O, Tsuritama) makes its hot summer debut as one series that can be stunningly entertaining. I'm not referring to just the action or its style of execution. Rather, Gatchaman Crowds takes on the hero theme and presents it in a way that is extravagant for viewers whom are into a distinctive series of recent years.
Adapting a series based on heroes isn't entirely new to the anime industry. At the same though, it's not a hugely popular trend. In recent years, series such as Tiger & Bunny and Star Driver have followed such a pattern. In these series, characters become heroes of justice and vows to protect what they treasure. The part where Gatchaman Crowds shine though is that the main action character happens to be a girl. Usually, we are more used to seeing a guy playing the knight in shining armor. However, here we have a girl named Hajime who is infused with hyperactive energy. Instead of being a helpless girl in distress who needs a knight in shining armor, she becomes the sword the knight holds itself. With her super outgoing personality, Hajime Ichinose is the mascot as well as the girl that can make a difference. There are many times though where we see her more of a normal girl with that hyperactive personality. She is like the professor of energy because the many things he does puts viewers at awe of her attentiveness. There's is also a puzzling factor regarding the way she speaks that sometimes comes out as riddles. In a way, viewers might not 100% understand her purpose or way of what she is trying to convey. But hey, that's the fun part.
Of course, Hajime isn't the only character in the show with all the power. If that was the case, her responsibility would be greater than anyone can imagine. Luckily, she does have allies as part of the Gatchaman Crew (aka the G-Crew). These include a variety of characters including Sugane Tachibana, Joe Hibiki, O.D., Utsu-tsu, and Pai-man. Despite his rather peculiar appearance, Pai-man acts as the leader although his appearances makes him a bit weak as compared to the others. Needless to say though, he is capable of leading and is able to unify the group together to take on dangerous criminals, beings with supernatural abilities that threatens the existence of others.
Out of all the characters, we can see that there are a lot of interactions between the various members of the G-Crew. In particular, Hajime and Utsu-tsu has a peculiar relationship as they exist on almost entirely opposite of each others' personalities. Hajime is the energetic girl while Utsu-tsu is the stoic one. She often murmurs the phrase, “I'm dreamy” as if she is setting herself away from reality. However, Hajime at many times brings her closer to reality itself through their relationship.
Other characters in the show also makes prominence, in particular Rui Ninomiya, a cross-dresser with beliefs of his own. In his mind, there's a need to improve and perhaps even change the world for the better. This in a way puts him on the opposite side of Gatchaman as his beliefs leads up the suggestion that Gatchaman would be nonexistent in a world of future. In many ways, he thinks that people would not solve problems on their own but rather become overreliant on Gatchaman. At the same time, there's no doubt that Rui needs help of his own especially when confronted with a dangerous criminal.
The criminals in Gatchaman are distinctive and looks peculiar. There's no surprise that some of these designs might be familiar for those who have seen Kenji's Nakamura's other directed works such as [C]. But besides that point, one particular villain in the show is shrouded in mystery not only by the way he kills but also his way to create a new world – destruction.
Because Gatchaman Crowds is set in a futuristic world (2015), expect some high level technology to come on the screen. Perhaps the most interesting of existing technology that exists in the Gatchaman world would be the GALAX. This interesting tool is a useful piece of technology for communication especially when trouble arises and there's a need for help. And who are you going to call help for in a city of dangerous criminals? Gatchaman of course!
The show also offers plentiful chances for action. Most often, this involves Gatchaman dealing with folks causing trouble and disturbing the peace of the public. Other times though, Gatchaman stands as a symbol of hope and peace. Rui does seem to agree with this but there are many who still looks up to Gatchaman. The action itself is solid with fast pacing moment and characters performing inhuman feats. More than ever though, we can tell that Gatchaman are not just your every day average superheroes. They are packed with explosiveness beyond just those catchy transformation sequences. Additionally, the team itself consists of a group that specializes in all sorts of skills when a trouble arises.
All entertainment factors aside, Gatchaman Crowds suffers somewhat in explaining itself through their origins. There's a certain lack of degree in character backgrounds with minimal flashbacks or character exploration. Additionally, there's confusion that arises occasionally regarding the purpose of our superheroes. Most of them seems to follow a moral of doing the right thing and helping the public. Then of course there's Hajime where some people will like her or others will find her a bit annoying for taking up most of the screen time. In many episodes, she explodes with energy and cheerfulness that contradicts the dangers of what the city faces. In fact, superheroes are supposed to take their jobs seriously and Hajime rarely has a serious expression on her face. In this perspective, viewers might not take her character or involvement in the plot itself very seriously. There's also a lack of diversity in terms of the villains that might lessen viewers' interests occasionally. Finally, the conclusion of this series might give some confusion to viewers with questions that needs legitimate answers. After watching this series, I had to scratch my head quite a few times asking myself various questions.
Gatchaman Crowds crafts its character artistically with their character designs. Hajime looks like a normal girl but her transformation can be described by more than just fascinating. There are the battles with CG elements added in that could have mixed results depending on your preferences. The futuristic setting also looks consistent where viewers can tell that its technology is beyond our times. Otherwise, Pai-man's character design makes him look less menacing as compared to the rest. Also, expect some a little of 'fan service' from Utsu-utu especially when she is wearing nothing but a bikini like outfit out in the open.
The soundtrack department makes sense. The OP song "Crowds" by White Ash plays on a heroic like orchestra with rock like beats. We get to see the majority of the characters in the opening sequences as well including a prominent villain of the show. Hajime herself sings the ED song and fits her style just right. Speaking of which, I give Maaya Uchida praise of her role as Hajime. Her voice mannerism fits Hajime's character quite well as a girl made of energy. OST wise, the show also makes sense through its insert with its action scenes, comedy sequences, and some of the more emotional small talks.
If science fiction is a genre you're into, Gatchaman Crowds should no doubt be on your PTW. I'm not talking about a science fiction where aliens drops from the sky and starts an invasion against humanity. Instead, I'm talking about a science fiction with heroes like you've never seen before. Hajime is one of those characters where you may end up liking or hating her. Other superheroes in the show or rather Gatchaman can also be fun to get used to. Superhero theme shows aren't very common to make it on the screen in recent years but for this show, it definitely is more than just uncommon. It's unique. It's explosive. And it's that damn awesome.
Kenji Nakamura, known for his iconic works like Mononoke and Tsuritama, and Tatsunoko Productions packed this and some other questions into a new original story loosely based on the old Gatchaman series way back in the 70s. The delivered product transcends that and provides a fresh story appropriate to our current timeline and technological advance. The first episode of this series could determine whether you'll be packed by the sheer amount and intensity of the conversations or irritated by the whole concept and drop it. Be sure you'll miss something if dropping, but this anime isn't made for everybody. In fact
it's a glimpse into an impossible future, another dimension to mankind.
The story and premise look very common. A show featuring main characters who're able to transform themselves into super heroes with special suits and then fighting evil objects threatening the citizens of Tachikawa City and even the city ifself. This foundation is the only common thing, because something rather new is created on many other levels. The story starts with the selection of the main heroine Hajime as a Gatchaman. She brings up a new wind into the existing team with her extraordinary personality and different perspectives, but later more on that. Before she joined Leader Paiman and his crew, they were much more one-sided and executed every step by the rules. It seems like they never thought about what it actually means to have the responsibility of being such an entity.
After Hajime joined, the story begins to unfold and question many main aspects of society and cooperation between human beings. In this world a program called GALAX exists and it connects people from all over the city and world via internet on their smartphones. Its main use consists of helping people in need by providing support from plain citizens like you and me. At first it might seem random and fetched, but you'll have to delve into the course of action to understand the way the characters think and act. Inevitably you'll start to question those aspects, to question your way of living and to question the concept of society itself. This story brings a lot with it and one can only profit from watching as well as understanding the plot.
I'll jump right to the characters to make this more more fluid. To start right off the bat, Hajime's a really controversial protagonist. She's one of the most genki-themed characters ever made and this is one of the main reasons you'll either like or dislike her and the whole anime. There're enough people that agree that no one needs a protagonist who is happy 24/7 is a pain in the ass. The crazy thing is it still works out on the base of the story, because Hajime is not acting inconsiderate or rash, but thinks about the situation and tries to change it to the better in her own way. The insane I'll throw rainbow unicorns into your face way. Still the liking'll stand or fall depending on the light Hajime is seen in.
Every other member of the gatchaman crew possesses a unique personality to contribute to the advance and pace of the story. Especially the thoughts of the sweet pandaman leader Paiman're emphasised throughout the course. Likewise the more supporting characters like O.D. or Utsutsu share their contribution and determination to help fight the bad guys. One interesting point is the question whether those guys or things are really bad and evil. Initially those are fought, but Hajime trys to convince them of other ways of fighting. Every character undergoes his and her own development regarding the real purpose of gatchaman. Something like this is amazing on different levels.
The animation and art has a nice and clean quality and the character designs are lovely to watch. Personally I really like the hair designs, because this provides the extra eye candy and highlights of the faces. Each gatchaman battle suit has its own design and acts singular in comparison to the others. The action scenes're well animated and various passages with a calm or tense feel evoke that exact emotion. The colours're vibrant and always nice to look at. An anime worth watching on that level.
Nearly the best thing about this show's the sound, though. The OP and ED songs're iconic which makes up for a great start. My bias side says that the OST in this series's extremely awesome. A mix of opera and new vibes of dubstep merged together. How cool is that ? Always resounding at the right time and place. All along the atmosphere changes with the music and you may find yourself sympathizing with the happenings just because of the tone of the music. Along with the music, the voice acting's tremendously memorable and the actors're killing the performance. Special props to Mamoru Miyano. Nearly everyone's giving their everything to portray the characters so realistically so you would most likely get lost in this superior magnificence.
Gatchaman Crowds is an anime to love and to hate. The enjoyment is based on how much the characters are appealing to the audience and to what extent they find the story either motivating and interesting. Plenty of matters're attempted to work out. And it works. Some of these matters may remain unsolved and are left to decide for the viewer, but maybe this could be too much mystery so don't expect everything to be chewed and answered for you. Make up your mind and think for yourself. You don't have a brain for nothing. After you've finished watching you'll probably either love or hate it, or even both at the same time. Gatchaman Crowds remains memorable and clearly recognisable for the perseverance of telling this kind of a story. Even if you come to dislike it, you'll have been thinking enough to come to this conclusion. Mission achieved.
Since I recently finished this series (and the director's cut), I feel like I should explain why I loved this series as much as I did. Also, I have not seen the original Gatchaman, but the story is very different in Crowds, so you don't need to worry about watching anything before it. Now, for the review. Bird, go!
Story (8): Gatchaman Crowds is both a deconstruction and homage to the traditional "Hero saving the Earth" story. We have a group of heroes who protect the world from the shadows and have to conceal their identities. However, when a girl named Hajime joins their group, they
begin to realize that the way they used to do things might not apply to the modern world. Technology, social issues, and even the villains have all changed. The series feels surprisingly relevant, showing us that heroes don't need to have special powers, but they just have to care about the world they live in. I like the fact that, in the end, heroes and villains are all just people. Even with the "aliens", I have to question whether or not they are just the ugly parts of ourselves, considering what Hajime says in the director's cut.
However, some people might not enjoy the lack of action for a hero series, or the relatively easy way in which certain conflicts are resolved. Either way, I think the series is worth watching for how unique it is, as an anime that questions what it means to be a "hero" in everyday life.
Art (8): The art is very colorful, which makes the character designs stand out. However, the use of CG was a bit jarring at times, but it never stayed CG long enough for me to care that much.
Sound (9): First of all, the opening and ending songs were really good, but not outstanding. For the most part, the OST was the same, good without being great. However, when the series wanted you to be pumped, it delivered. I found myself tapping my foot to the beat every time.
Character (9): I feel like the characters are where Gatchaman Crowds really shines. At first, I thought Hajime was not only weird, but not a character I would end up liking. However, I found myself drawn to her more and more as the series went on. She is a character with hidden depths, who isn't just hyperactive and weird, but thoughtful and caring. Each of the heroes changes in some way by the end, and while I liked some characters more than others, they all had decent development.
Enjoyment/Overall (9): Have you ever wondered why they don't just do a certain thing in many hero anime (Didn't they have Google? Why didn't they use their cellphone?). Gatchaman Crowds tries to tackle these issues. It prefers conflict resolution in the way of changing people themselves, instead of having the main characters power up to beat the final boss. In that way, I enjoyed the series. It was different, it was upbeat, and I liked Hajime's character a lot by the end.
Before you hate on me, I'd like to tell you that I actually go by the description of the rating and unlike many people, my rating system doesn't go from 7 to 10. This show is "Fair".
Gatchaman Crowds is more of a fun kind of series with bright and pretty colors to catch your eye, but otherwise it has few good traits. The story was mish-mashed though sometimes interesting, the characters were mostly shallow and unoriginal (with one of them blatantly ripped off) but made to appeal and it had a little bit of your usual humor that no longer makes me laugh put in.
It also lacked the flash that something intending on simply being fun and amazing would have thus the series simply failed to deliver anything. The end was seriously unsatisfactory and anticlimactic.
Let's look at the art and animation first, the good part of the series. Like many others nowadays, the colors are bright and vibrant, the art is well-done and the animation is clean, smooth and up to standard. The jewels of the series are the showy Gatchaman themselves, their designs are amazing with Paiman's being especially cool in my opinion, though they are actually seldom shown off and when they are, their fight choreography is quite mediocre. The CROWDS and the MESS, both supernatural creature type of things, are weird in design and don’t look very appealing despite that the CROWDS are a very big part of the show. The human character designs are rather decent and suit their characters, I quite liked the effect of having stripes going through everyone's hair.
Next is the story, it takes several turns which can make it seem quite disconnected, but it did do a well-rounded presentation of people in general and the power of social media (shoot me for sounding like one of those boring activists). It started off like every single other shounen out there with the secret organization randomly recruiting our main character to fight bad guys, but, they spin off on a different route after the second episode, completely abandoning the original premise after the main character solving the problem the organization is trying to solve on her first outing. The MESS, the enemy they are supposed to be fighting, are completely removed from the show until the last episode where they make a random useless cameo appearance for a single scene. I don't actually mind the turn considering how generic the original plot was, but changing the focus of the story like this isn’t great for pacing. The story turns to our other main character, Rui, the crossdressing genius creator of the super-popular social networking site GALAX which promotes random acts of kindness and organises people (Though the AI that controls GALAX is extremely unrealistically powerful, I personally liked the idea of an app like GALAX), and our main villain, Katze, an alien with the motivation of having fun screwing around with people and making them destroy each other and the planet itself, a nice contrast as each tries to bring out polar opposite parts of human nature. We see a few episodes of GALAX and CROWDS, a power that the alien granted Rui, do good deeds and then it turns and focuses more on the main villain. I won’t spoil anything, but Katze causes serious havoc by manipulating people and the Gatchaman have to stop him. The story comes to an anticlimactic end as they simply rely on humanity being good and believing in humanity to solve the problems rather than any of the characters really doing anything.
The characters can be fun, but are quite shallow with unoriginal personalities and stories. Our main character, Hajime, can really get on the nerves of some people, like her or hate her, especially with her notebook fetish the moment you meet her, her jumping around as well as the typical protagonist “bad guys aren’t actually evil” moment in Episode 2, however for those who can somewhat stand her, her character becomes a bit more endearing as the series progresses when you familiarize yourself with her eccentricities and see her bright and carefree outlook on life. Another good point is that she isn’t completely stupid like her type of character usually are and the other characters end up looking up to her indomitable spirit. I cannot say I agree with a character that never shows fear and always sees the bright side of things, not even needing any sort of support, but Hajime was a fun character and even pulled off her silly poses quite well. Rui, our other main character, wasn’t too bad, he was a cross-dressing genius with no backstory, who was actually actively going out there to change the world, but the point is that he isn’t flawless despite his original outward impression, he’s naive but confident and thinks he can do things on her own, then actually fails and shows weakness, fortunately for the Gatchaman as they would’ve otherwise lost relevance. The rest of the Gatchaman or G-Team are disappointing, Sugane was there solely for contrasting with Hajime by being serious and making a fuss over her antics, Utsutsu is your fanservice character who is an emotionless loli meant to make you like her with a backstory that didn't really connect - it appeared that she felt alienated for having a special power that has no bad points and is very useful in helping people, Paiman was comedic relief and mascot who was comically put in the position of leader, Joe is a naive cool guy (think Mustang) who hopes to achieve world peace by never getting a promotion when working for the government and OD is an utter shameless rip off of Leeron from TTGL down to the make-up and hairstyle, though he is slightly more serious and less sexual. Though he is played off as being the Gatchaman's secret weapon who will destroy the world if he were to use his powers, it turns out that nothing really happens when he does and it was all talk to make things more dramatic and to keep him from instantly owning the antagonist, they simply needed a way to take care of the overpowered villain at the finale. Part of the dialogue gets somewhat annoying as OD, Hajime and the villain, Katze, speak in that happy-go-lucky tone all the time, but it really depends on your taste here.
Enjoyment-wise, the series didn’t have any impact and didn’t really have much going for it. Hajime can be sweet to those who don’t mind her, but otherwise, you may very well hate the characters. The show’s art is a big plus for it, but many shows nowadays can match that quality. Overall, Gatchaman Crowds really failed to anything amazing and is a mediocre show that can be used to kill time.
Aside from a character’s eyes and mouth, eyebrows also play an important part in the character design of an anime character. And sometimes these anime character's eyebrows are painted on pretty thick! Let’s take a look at some of these majestic eyebrows!