Title: Gatchaman Crowds
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Summary: The story takes place in the early summer of 2015 and is set in the city of Tachikawa, Japan. The city is populated by people known as Gatchaman, who are warriors that fight in special reinforced suits that are powered by the manifestation of spiritual powers of living beings called NOTE. Enter Hajime Ichinose, a 16 year old energetic high school girl who is obsessed with collecting day planners and stationary. She is chosen to become a Gatchaman and tasked with the duty of fighting a mysterious alien life form known as MESS.
Review: I want to start off by saying that I never watched the original Gatchaman, though it doesn’t seem like this is a reboot more than a similar premise. For any of you who were wondering if you need to have knowledge of the first series that aired in the 70’s worry not, this one is stand alone. I have to say that the anime didn’t seem like it was going to be that great. It had a lot of cool plot points but overall it seemed rather kiddy. I think as someone grows older the idea of having hidden superheroes becomes less inspiring and more impractical. However, the anime began to grow on me because of the addictive protagonist and the depiction of a very possible future. Gatchaman Crowds still had it’s corny dialogue and childish speeches, but a part of me enjoyed being reminded what it was like to look up to someone.
The world was filled with bright and vibrant colors giving very distinct outlines of each object. To some the artwork of Gatchaman Crowds might have been simple or average at best. For the most part I would agree; the artwork didn’t have much in terms of characteristics or backgrounds, but it did have some attention to detail. One thing that most people tend to overlook are the outfits. A series like Gatchaman Crowds begs for repetitive outfits because it’s more about their transformation than their everyday wear. I was surprised by the number of different outfits the characters had when going through their daily lives, and the series not relying on transformation scenes. The most impressive artwork was the body movements of the characters. They were probably one of the most fluid of the season. The only real problem I had was the use of CG for the transformations because it took you out of the world; a world that I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the near future.
The thing that made Gatchaman Crowds so great was the highly likely scenario of the world it threw you into. Now of course I don’t mean the Gatchaman protecting the city from the forces of evil, but rather the social network known as GALAX. I thought it was probably one of the coolest ideas ever, and I’m hoping there is passionate, hardworking developer out there who thinks the same. Although I don’t think the application would be so happy-go-lucky as they made it seem, I’d like to think it would be good for a while. I’m pretty sure most people would twist and turn that application until it was another Facebook. Going back to the anime, the story itself wasn’t that intriguing and this was where I considered it to be childish. It was about a band of superheroes coming together to defeat this entity who’s sole purpose was to stir up chaos. Even the villain didn’t seem to really care about what happened; he was more like a kid in a candy store. Though instead of eating all the candy he decided to throw it on the ground and stomp on it for entertainment. But hey, everyone has their own sense of fun. Nevertheless I continued to watch because I was sucked into the new world. After a while I began to notice how entertained I was with each episode. Sure it was like a kids show and the moral of the story of working together got kind of cheesy, but I enjoyed it. It brought out the kid in me, what can I say? Hajime also ended up growing on me after a while with her positive attitude and catchy dialect. The group of Gatchaman weren’t all fun to watch however.They had the cheerful one, the by-the-books one, and even the cold brooding one. I never got my beloved character development. The characters were pretty set in stone with their personalities and didn’t offer much to the viewers. I can’t stress enough how boring an anime can get when the characters don’t change with all the environmental shifts around them. The second season has already been green lit and I plan to watch it till the end, but I have very low expectations that it will offer me anything new.
I think the reason I also wanted to give this anime a relatively high score was for the soundtrack. I haven’t heard this good of a soundtrack since Panty and Stocking. I loved the funky sounds of Gatchaman ~ In the name of love and Music Goes On. Honestly it was probably one of the best OST’s of Summer 2013 and I would suggest that everyone gives it a listen. All of the songs had me grooving in my chair and dancing around my apartment. It was kind of cool listening to a more modernized version of music in an anime, especially one that was supposed to take place in the near future.
Final statements: Sure Gatchaman Crowds wasn’t the best anime of Summer 2013, or even the second best but it’s still a preferred watch. It didn’t have the most dramatic storyline but it pulled me in. It made me feel like a kid again and the world they imagined seemed so real. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were pseudo GALAX apps already out there. Who knows maybe I’ll start developing it myself? Mixed with some good artwork and an awesome soundtrack this anime managed to stick out from the rest.