With the summer season of anime at its near peak, I suppose it’s finally time for me to come out of my cave and write up some articles. This season of anime has been particularly lackluster for a mecha / adventure lover such as myself, but overall, I can say it has turned out better than I first expected. There are a few hidden gems this season that, as the season has progressed, have turned into shining stars. For now though, let’s jump straight into one of my favorite shows of the season: Gatchaman Crowds. As a quick note, I have tried to keep spoilers to a minimum, but proceed at your own risk.
Gatchaman Crowds started off the season with what I consider to be a rather rocky start. Rather than giving us a real introduction too many of the characters within the show, Gatchaman instead decided to throw the viewer directly into the mix with main character. While this aspect of the show does fall in line with the main characters attitude of taking the world as it comes, it does leave a lot of questions for the viewer. Who are the Gatchaman really? Why are they there? Have they always been there? These are a few questions that the show pushes to the side and allows the viewer to discover later on about halfway through the season. As this is not the main focus of the show, it is not a very large problem, but it does create a sense of confusion as one tries to piece together the layout of the Gatchaman. Even some aspects of the show that appear within the first episode are never mentioned again, including the Gatchaman helpers and the other aliens who come to Earth.
Seriously, where in the world did these guys go.
Even though the show does appear to have this vague setting issue, it becomes a rather moot point by the third or fourth episode. Rather than focusing on what makes the Gatchaman work, the show shifts directly to its true plot or main focus. Introducing the mysterious characters of Rui-Rui and X, the show slowly builds up to the current conflict taking place between the Gatchaman and Berg-Katze. This epic conflict that the show has been building up to is one of, in my opinion, one of the most anticipated events of the season. Where other shows typically focus on a few smaller conflicts, the writers of Gatchaman have done an amazing job of using numerous small events to build up to the point it is at now.
Looking not only at the pacing of the show early on, but also at the main character, one can see an apparent rocky start. Having a main character such as the one within Gatchaman Crowds is a very big risk for any story. From the very beginning, Hajime appears to be this ditz of a girl who has what many have taken to call “brain problems.” While she does appear to be this stupid and silly girl for the first few episodes, we quickly discover that there is actually a lot more taking place within her mind than many would expect. Hajime’s character quickly moves away from the stupid girl to the thought provoking hero of the story. Where every other character within the show appears to have no idea what is going on, she seems to always have a plan or idea of what is going on no matter what the situation, and even if she doesn’t her sincerity and simplicity carry the show over almost every other aspect.
If you didn’t pick up on it, I love her.
Not only are the characters and plot of Gatchaman well developed, but the animation of Gatchaman is both unique and creative. With a plethora of colors splashed across the screen at all times, Gatchaman is a breathtaking example of excellent animation. Where other shows maintain a very simple and structured animation, Gatchaman breaks out of this shell and creates an animation that is very unique to itself and keeps the viewer constantly interested. The MESS which appear early in the show are so uniquely colored that I personally had trouble keeping my eyes off of them when they appeared.
Don’t try to tell me that’s not beautiful.
Gatchaman Crowds is one of the strongest shows of the season. Having not only a well done plot, but also excellent animation and character development, there is never a dull moment while watching it. The characters are constantly changing and growing, becoming more and more relatable as the series progresses. Where some shows can only be watched one episode at a time before they become a chore or annoying, Gatchaman, can be viewed straight through without any hindrance. While this season of anime may have not been as strong as I would have liked, just having Gatchaman Crowds makes it an excellent one in my books .