Gatchaman Crowds 02 – Updating the World

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Gatchaman Crowds is as unpredictable as its protagonist.

Hajime’s introduction sets off a lot of changes for the Gatchaman team. At one point things get really meta and O.D is amused at Hajime questioning the premise of Gatchaman itself. This episode shows a different side to the newest recruit, a person who seems more like a force of uncontrollable chaos turns out to be more insightful and compassionate than she looks.

The thing that makes Hajime so important to the team is her perspective on things, she’s more than willing to take her time and understand the problem. She questions how things are done because she’s bringing in a fresher outlook to things. That causes some friction between her and Sugane, who is too focused on his task of eliminating aliens.

This episode is titled “Asymmetry”. In art and design, symmetry is where both sides are completely the same and reflected off each other, thus creating an image of perfect balance by mirroring one another. Asymmetry is the direct opposite of this, where the elements are vastly different from one another that it shows an obvious contrast in the image. However, it is not impossible to achieve harmony with asymmetry. If you place the elements in your image well enough and even out the “weight” , your composition will attain “informal balance”. A simple example of this is having a few small elements outnumbering a larger element on the opposite side. 

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Informal balance in the composition of Gatchaman: Hajime’s huge presence in the frame is offset by Sugane and the “G” logo.

The fact that Gatchaman Crowds can paint a more believable picture of modern Japan and social media in one episode dissipates my earlier doubts, Kenji Nakamura is more about the presentation of themes. He knows well enough not to color the series with any particular bias and this is evident when he successfully paints the way the internet (or in this case, GALAX) has changed lives. Kenji Nakamura doesn’t deny the importance of the internet in our lives but as it stands it’s a tool that brings out the best and the worst in people. Hajime uses it to bring together people who want to encourage people struck by the “disaster” but at the same time people have grown over reliant on GALAX and nasty rumors spread on the internet force a young idol to end her life. There’s also the cynical “congratulations” that happens when Jou’s friend uses GALAX to help out three injured people, even rewarding him with the appropriate number of points. 

Nowadays, some person puts up something on tumblr and it’s probably something they did out of good will, that person gets likes and reblogs. The higher it gets, the more it becomes widespread news. Nakamura and Oono don’t shy away from the fact that yes, you did a good deed but some of us feel that gratification of praise through the internet to the point where it gets addictive.

The point here is that not everything has to be the same to be balanced, “Everyone’s different.” as Hajime says. It’s just a question of how we can use our differences to create a better world and how we can use GALAX. It’s inevitable that it’ll be used for the wrong reasons, the question is if we can utilize it more for good than the other way around.

Rui is an appropriate foil to Hajime. GALAX’s motto is “It’s not heroes who update the world, it’s us.” Perhaps a jab at the dated notions of Sugane and Paiman. Like Hajime he’s “starving”, but it’s not simply on a physical sense.

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It’s possible that they were both seeking out change, but their paths are leading them to clash with one another sooner or later.

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  1. I’m not sure if Galax giving out points is meant to be cynical, or a statement of how people become more involved if the rewards are more tangible and traceable.

    I think this TED video is relevant

    It’s also interesting to see the contrast between Hajime and Sugane’s mindset

    Hajime: This one seems different. Let’s try talking to it.
    Sugane: Kill it before claims more victims

    Idol Suicide
    Hajime: She was probably suffering from a lot of stress
    Sugane: She didn’t value her life

    Hajime: It’s possible those people didn’t give up their seat because they’re very tired or ill.
    Sugane: It’s your duty to give up your seat to an elder person.

    Additionally. I’m not sure if idol suicide can be blamed on Galax, or simply because well.. the idol industry being a really crappy place. Seriously, that’s the reason why I can’t get into real idols. it’s just.. heart-wrenching.

  2. I’m conflicted about this show at the moment. I didn’t care for how the characters were presented in this episode, but it’s possible the events shown here are meant to establish a few points before getting into the major arc of the series. I am at least intrigued by the themes you mentioned here though, particularly in regards to how social media has affected the population at large (presumably this is where the Crowds comes in for the title).

    The dichotomy of Hajime and Sugane really bothers me at the moment. I get that it’s good to be positive and enthusiastic and all, but this episode sure seemed to pound in this concept of being constantly cheerful and giddy, and everyone will be your friend–even the diabolical aliens out on their regular killing sprees aren’t immune to this, incredulously. If only a Gatchaman had just said good afternoon to the aliens?! x_x
    It’s possible this was done for a less apparent purpose that will become more clear in episodes to come, but I can’t help but feel a bit hesitant at the moment. Perhaps once the setting becomes more clear it will be easier to analyze the events in a more proper context.

  3. Finally watched this. I usually like characters like Hajime, so I’m interested to see where this is going. But I really hope they stick to the idea that “everyone is different” and their different perspectives are all worthwhile. Right now, it’s a little too unbalanced in favor of Hajime. Basically, she’s always right and Sugane is always wrong, it feels like. Obviously, this is only the second episode, so that might change in the future.

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