Entry #2: Gatchaman Crowds (SoA 2016)

gatchaman crowds 1

I’ve had this series on my radar for a long while. It may not have ever appeared on my Plan to Watch list, but it was a series that intrigued me, as it had that sort of “appeal” to it that makes it both intrinsically interesting and hard to ignore. I hadn’t heard a lot of bad things about it, either, so I went into it with mixed expectations. Upon finishing both its first and second seasons, that mix of expectations evolved and slanted to one side, as all of you reading will soon find out.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, a few little fun tidbits about this anime that I found intriguing while watching it:

  • It has one of the simplest and most effective ways of tackling cyber-bullying I have ever seen. If you’d like a little clarity on this, go and watch the first thirty seconds of episode seven of the first season. Even without any knowledge of the series, it’s worth a quick peek. And it’s funny. (They also do it again in episode ten, I believe.)
  • The main cast of Tsuritama appear in one of the later episodes of the second season. They don’t do anything and only their backsides are shown, but I recognized them immediately. GoGoAnime.com’s comment section didn’t seem to notice.

Now that I got that out of my system, let’s move on with the anime analysis.

Season 1:


Sorry. I don’t know what came over me. Still, the rage banner above is my honest impressions. I wanted to drop this series really badly upon trying to trek through the atrocity of the first few episodes. My pride wouldn’t allow it, as this is only the second title of the Summer. Fortunately, the anime began to pick up a little when the plot started to get off the ground. Quite frankly, the plot of Gatchaman Crowds is the only thing that keeps the entire experience watchable. It has a lot of deeper meaning and underlying political undertones that encourage deeper thought and meaning, which I appreciate. I kinda wish they began to incorporate it a little earlier, but what’s done is done.

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I’m not kidding about the plot being the only thing keeping this series afloat, either. In terms of characters, I like exactly zero of them. None are likable, most are annoying in some way, and while they get a little development as the story continues, it’s cluttered together awkwardly with trying to keep up the suspense of the plot and the dazzle of the fight scenes. The MVP award goes to the main pair of busts herself: Hajime, for most obnoxiously one-dimensional (and almost blatant self-insert) character of the entire bunch. She single-handedly brings the group together by… being weird and optimistic, has the most ear-grating voice of the entire cast (and she never shuts up), is almost so contrarian that she has to be self-aware of how the script is going to play out, like a Goddess of some sort, and the characters play her up as the second-coming of Christ. I’m not joking. Half of episode eleven is literally recaps of the events that happened up to that point with each other member of the Gatchaman organization talking about how she changed their lives for the better. What. The. Fuck.

But it’s called Gatchaman Crowds and not Hajime Praise for a reason. A secret organization called the “Gatchaman” are a group of crime-fighters who are tasked by the mysterious prophet, JJ, to protect Earth (or seeing as there’s only one setting in this series: Japan) from any otherworldly threat. JJ doesn’t do shit but provide cryptic riddles for the members of Gatchaman to solve, which they use to guide their actions. The Gatchaman are comprised of six members: Hajime, Jou, Utsutsu, OD, Paiman, and Sugane. One will primarily see Hajime and Sugane doing all the work because… something, while the others go on stand-by and only aid in certain situations.

Each of these characters receive some tidbits of development—primarily through Hajime, but whatever—but by that point, it seems to slip through one ear and right out the other. The characters don’t seem important in terms of the scale of the plot points that arise throughout the series. To top it off, these characters, to put it bluntly, are boring. None of the characters really stand out except for Hajime, who is intentionally painted to stand out and be special. Sugane is inexperienced and follows a strict code of honor. Jou is Sugane’s role-model, but is self-conscious of his own worth and dreams of world peace. Utsutsu is a standard kuudere. OD is gay. Paiman has a self-righteous ego and is quick to anger, but struggles under pressure. Despite this, he proclaims himself the “leader” of the group. There are two more characters that appear later on that become major characters as well: Berg-Katze and Rui. Berg-Katze serves as the main antagonist and is a stereotype “troll,” or whatever people who don’t understand the term think one is. lololololol. Rui also serves as a major plot focus as well, and is probably the most thought-provoking character, but is otherwise just a young kid who wants to change the world to something better. When the characters that make up a series aren’t giving any reason to care, it makes it harder to even care what happens in the story, which is a shame, because I feel the story genuinely tries to be interesting.

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The art is something to note, too. It has a strange style of blending similar colors together to make a “dreamy” effect of sorts. It makes the characters look intriguing, but I think it all sort of blends together to make a goopy mess. Nothing really stands out except for the bright hues of certain characters’ hair colors, such as Sugane’s or Berg-Katze’s. Though, I will say that the supernatural effects of the show are done wonderfully. I found myself enamored with the design of the CROWDS, a system Rui created to embody the consciousness of individual people into physical form. I also thought the fight scenes were pretty intense, and suited the razzle-dazzle that the show aimed to create. The only major complaint I have is with the Gatchaman transformations. CGI is CGI. It looks gross to me and doesn’t blend well with the hand-drawn imagery all around them. I will admit that Jou’s transformation looks pretty cool, but aside from him, everyone else’s looked like a mess of colors, metal, and the intention of making everyone as pretty as possible; especially the women’s transformations. Hajime’s and Utsutsu’s in particular. They just look off to me. Do I even need to mention sound? Hajime’s voice is annoying. That’s the only sound that ever stuck out to me. A lot of people say that the soundtrack to this anime is awesome, but all I remember is some autotune rendition of people going “GAT-CHA-MAAAAAAAAAAAN!

In short, I didn’t care for it. It was a chore to watch the first half, while the second half was little more than trying to pick apart the plot for fun. It’s certainly not something I’d recommend, but it has fun little tidbits here and there. If anything, I’d recommend watching thirty-second clips of the show on Youtube or something. That’s really all the series is worth. And now there’s a whole ‘nother season to watch! Oh boy!

Season Two:


<Spoilers ahead>

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Every issue I had with this series in the first season is still present in season two. But somehow, SOMEHOW, they made those problems worse! They made Hajime less of a focus in this one, which is nice to see other characters getting some screentime, but instead of showing her, they show… Tsubasa and Gelsadra, two new characters exclusive to this season. And man, are they pretty dumb.

Tsubasa is a silver-haired vixen who is enamored with justice and bringing aid to everyone around her. Great, fantastic, wonderful. She’s basically Hajime without being hyper-exaggerated. I can work with this! For the first couple episodes, they work on giving her some background and giving her some character traits. Good, good! This, in turn, lets JJ come out of nowhere and make her a new Gatchaman. But wait, she can’t transform at will! What a twist! In all seriousness, the development they give her is standard, but at least it’s something. Unfortunately, that’s only the first few episodes of the season, because as the series goes on, it gets worse, and worse, and worse.

Gelsadra is a red-skinned alien who can basically do anything possible because whatever and can read the thoughts and desires of everyone around… it. I say it because it’s a girl at one point, then turns into a boy, then… back into a girl. I don’t know, it! They call it a “her” near the beginning of the series but… eh. It. Anyway, it decides it wants to make everyone happy, so it runs for prime minister of Japan and wins, then tries to make everyone think the exact same way as everyone else, while Tsubasa follows suit because she just loves it oh, so much! It eliminates taxes, gives free healthcare to anyone, gives leniency to alcohol and drug use… DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND REALLY FEASIBLE TO YOU? ‘CAUSE IT SURE DOESN’T TO ME. All in the process of making everyone happy! And if you don’t agree with this?

Fuck you.

I just wrapped up the entire plot of the second season. Someone tries to make everyone happy. Not everyone becomes happy. So they try to force them to all think alike to achieve that happy “atmosphere.” It blows up in their face. The moral of the story: think for yourself. Don’t go with the flow. Be yourself. Following trends are bad. Individualism! However, there’s one little problem with this feel good, happy ending mindset that the series seems to believe that it’s accomplished in wrapping up the season:

If people want to follow trends, that’s their own, individual decision to make.

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I can understand that people may not find it to be their own decision, since the decision is being made for them by the hive mind, but for those who acknowledge that they’d rather be with the hive mind for the comfort of themselves, why oppose it? As someone who enjoys individual thought, I can understand that we can’t let it get to the point where the majority are so stupid as to think that blowing up Canada would be a good idea or anything. However, the series seems to believe that if one cannot achieve that individual thought for themselves, they’re wrong. They’re wrong and they’re “part of the problem.” Wouldn’t this, in turn, create a hive mind of its own? To have the constant back-and-forth between hive minds going at each other? Is this a happy ending? What the fuck?!

It’s incredibly fallible, to say the least. The intrigue of the plot is gone, replaced with a single, far too dragged out focus that doesn’t really paint anyone or anything in a good light. With that gone, we have the charact—oh. They’re all still shit. Good. Not only that, but they hardly focus on them anymore. Paiman and Sugane may as well not even exist with how little they’re shown in important situations. It’s essentially the Hajime, Tsubasa, and Gelsadra show for a good majority of it, with a cute little attempt at another main antagonist within the first few episodes that only serves to foreshadow future events. Art’s the same. Characters are worse. Plot is worse. Enjoyability is about the same, somewhat surprisingly. Even so, there wasn’t a lot there to begin with.

I apologize if the second season’s analysis is so all over the place, my feelings for the entire series is all over the place, though most notably planted on the “I really should’ve dropped this” feeling. It’s a mess of a series that I can’t help but feel has a superiority complex. Not in the sense that it thinks it’s all high and mighty, but that it feels it has to be 2deep4u and overly-complicated in order to feel good about itself. This is more apparent in the second season, where everything begins to truly fall apart, but with the sense that Hajime could be a self-insert, it gives vibes showing that it may have been there all along. But I’m losing myself in my own mental rambling. Gatchaman Crowds wants to be a powerful, thought-provoking story, and I appreciate its effort, but the lack of any attention given to the characters or anything else makes it hard to swallow. And when one tries too hard to make something, the stress of living up to one’s own standards can ruin the reality of one’s ambitious efforts.

Personal Score: D+

Critical Score: D+

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

The Pampered Cat

Another one of my dumb stories. Enjoy.

We arrive at the motel out in the middle of nowhere with more space in the back of the truck than I can imagine. My mother, a woman in her mid-forties with the face of youth and the heart of Christ, looks to me with anticipation, marred with a subtle semblance of irritation.

“Ready to go?” she asks, mockingly sweet.


We find ourselves out of the truck and into the rural void that we’d planted ourselves into. In the distance one can see small forests and a tiny assortment of a lining of a town. Presently, a compact parking lot stood at our feet, with a few vehicles parked within or slightly outside the lines predicating the proper parking placement. The pavement is a dull gray that seems to sink into the Earth with every passing step; within time, it may disappear entirely. The motel stares back at me with the same vigor with which I carry unto its front passageway. The sun barely shines past a thick layer of clouds lounging across the sky.

Mother leads the way into the building where we’re taken in by a decrepit sight of basic, floral designs on the walls and the floors alike. Shades of green protruding the foundation of the walls give the impression that we’ve stepped forth into a jungle of unmanned chaos. The lack of traveling bodies leaves me uncomfortably calm. Within a few moments of our intrusion, a sizable woman stood up from behind a desk counter.

“Hello. Can I help you?” she asks robotically kind, both in voice and in appearance.

“Uh, yes,” Mother starts, “we’re here to purchase a bed from you.” Mother offers a graceful half-smile while the attendant translates her words into reality. Before long, another woman comes in, overhearing Mother’s words, and offers to take us to the room with the purchasable bed. She was a slender figure, one overcome by age as the wrinkles and pores made residence plentifully down her cinnamon-powdered face. Her hair was as dark as the Devil’s tongue, and her words had an aura of hesitation to them. Perhaps she was not so acquainted with English as we were.

We’re led up various flights of stairs in a small, pyramid-like maze of hallways. Before long, the habitual greens that garner around each corner turn to a more faded patch of emerald. The rips and tears become more evident the more we travel away from the motel’s center. At one point, the slender woman stops and directs our attention to a room to the left closest to the end of the hall, where a giant window allows for a picture of cloudy monotony to intrude upon one’s sight.

“This iz the room,” she says. Mother and I enter to find a plain room with nothing more than a single bed with its sheets already torn off and its basic parts clumped together in a fluffy pile. The room itself was picturesque of how little care was put into the design; white walls, creaking, wooden floorboards, and a single bathroom too dark to make out. But none of that was important.

Mother took a look at the bed and was likely less overwhelmed by its size than I was. I couldn’t help but stare at the hulk of comfort that I’d have to drag out of the building and into the truck. Not just that, but find a way to strap it down with the hour’s trip back on the interstate and across the bridge. The more it dawned on me, the more unwelcoming my mind became. I began to feel unruly and cynical. My insides were starting to rot and my mind already so, but I never let it show aside from a distinguishable grimace planted on my face.

Mother pulled out her wallet and gave the slender woman what looked to be sixty dollars. After trivial banter between the two about how much of the bed we’d be taking and otherwise, Mother claps her hands together and rubs them at an exaggeratively high speed. “Okay! Let’s get this thing out of here.”

“You better appreciate this,” I think to myself.

The truck gave a short rattle driving over a bump. A sharp “ping” could be heard from the backside. Almost habitually, I check the side mirror to see if anything became unhooked, all to find the mattresses perfectly handled underneath a few lines of cords wrapped carefully around them.

“Every time I hear that sound, I think something’s fallen off!” Mother exclaims with a smile.

“I’m always checking the mirror out of fear of that,” I respond casually. We’ve been on the road for about a half an hour now. Every so often we’ll hear a squeak or bump from the back that makes both of our skin’s crawl with nervous trepidation. Mother is already driving slower than she normally is, slower than most people would be okay with, and she’s being concise with her turns. I humor myself with the thought of the mattresses acting as a bomb that would explode if we go over a certain speed limit or make too sharp a turn.

Getting the materials into the back of the truck took more trouble than I believe Mother anticipated. The gargantuan backside of the truck we’re currently driving wasn’t enough to fit every piece into, so we had to compromise by letting some fluff stick out. We had to take out each piece individually, which meant back-and-forth trips in and out of the motel each with a piece far too big or far too stiff to carry easily. Mother was even given a nightstand along with the bed. By the time we managed to place bungee cords around the remnants of the bed we took apart, neither of us felt entirely comfortable with the end result. My fingers didn’t feel entirely comfortable, either.

“And y’know, I didn’t have to do this for him,” Mother says for the hundredth time this trip.

“Yet you did anyway,” I respond for the hundredth time this trip.

“Yes, I know.” Mother pauses only for a moment. “The thing with Wallace is that he can’t manage to do anything by himself. He’s always asking buddies for rides and asking me to help him with finding a car or driving him to go see a house. It’s just ridiculous.”

“I know.”

Wallace has been a part of the family since I can remember. He is like another son to Mother and another brother to me. We had been close all throughout middle school and high school, but within the years that followed, he’s become more and more negligent of his responsibilities. His life is a constant parade of new people, new homes, and new issues to overcome. It’s come to the point where we hardly contact each other on a personal basis. Unfortunately, his contact with the house has become more on an emergency basis only.

“Wallace just needs to learn that his actions have consequences,” Mother enunciates slowly. “Sometimes he can be so stupid!”

“I know.”

“Are you even really listening to me?”

“Of course.”

Mother sighs. “He lets all his friends take advantage of him without any second thought. He’s always trying to help them and provide for them, and lets them walk all over him. Like, the whole thing with having Edward live with him! Edward didn’t have any job, didn’t have to pay any rent. He was just freeloading off of him for how long? It’s, just, ridiculous.”

I’ve seen signs of this from Wallace since long ago. The experiences he’s had with past loves and his overall look on life gives me the impression that he’s as whole-hearted as Mother is, perhaps even more. This isn’t anything new to me. I realize that he’s willing to go through obscene lengths to satisfy the people he cares about. Unfortunately, that tends to lead to his undoing, most of the time.

“Does he ever call you anymore?” Mother asks some time later.

“No, not really. We hardly talk.”

“I think he talks to me more than he does you!”

“It’s probably because I’m not as beneficial to him as you are.”

Mother laughs harder than she has all afternoon.

We arrive at Wallace’s apartment complex and begin to unload the pieces bought from the motel. Thankfully, nothing fell off during the drive there, and nothing about the truck was damaged from all the bumps and turns. Even more so, the walk from the complex’s parking space to Wallace’s room is far shorter in distance than the motel to its own parking lot.

Even with the mattress in hand, I couldn’t help but inspect each little detail about his apartment. I had never visited it before and it was a lot more spacious than apartments he’s had in the past. It was fairly dirty, as Wallace is known by our family to be a slob, with almost nothing decorated across the dark, wooden walls or the light carpet below my feet, aside from some wrappers or DVD cases. But what caught my ear as we carried each thing inside over and over was the whining of a silver-coated cat. Each time one of us entered the room, it would meow incessantly and loudly for everyone to hear. I wondered to myself if the neighbors could hear its siren-like, high-pitched bellows.

“Is this your room? And the other is your friend’s?” my mother questioned Wallace after unloading the bed into his apartment, referencing two small rooms hidden behind doors at the end of a small hallway.

“No! I’m just using this room for equipment. My bedroom’s not set up yet,” Wallace said, suddenly defensive.

Mother and Wallace continued their back and forth for quite some time. Mother always accusing him of some thing or another and Wallace pulling an excuse as if he were an expert at it. All the while, the silver-coated cat, whose name was revealed to be Leo, meowed and purred and rubbed along our meaty legs. I stayed quiet throughout the whole ordeal, carefully inspecting the make-up of the apartment. The entirety of it was a living area, a kitchen, and two bedrooms, presumably one that hadn’t been “set up” yet, as the door was shut tight. In the living area was a small television set that was on the main menu screen of a particular TV series I was unfamiliar with. It seems we had descended upon him at a bad time.

Leo was skittering along the floor, meowing and meowing second after second. The cries hurt my ears and drove me into a fit of internal rage that I could hardly hold back my urge to silence him myself. As if reading my thoughts, or the noise was getting to him, too, Wallace comes over and picks up Leo and sits down on a small couch sitting next to the television set. Leo no longer meowed or cried, but rather purred and rubbed his head across Wallace’s chest absent-mindedly.

“Can the neighbors hear that cat?” I ask Wallace half-mockingly.

“Why haven’t you cleaned this place up yet!?” Mother cuts in.

“I like cleaning the house when I have two people over…”

“Why?” I ask.

“So the second person can comfort Leo.” Mother and I both look at him with furrowed brows. “If no one is here to give Leo any attention, he’ll just keep meowing. He won’t ever shut up.”

“What a princess,” I retort.

“He came from a party-home, where there was always lots of people. He’s not used to being alone.”

There was a short silence before anyone else said a thing. All that could be heard was the continued purring of the ignorant cat in Wallace’s arms.

“You really need to get your act together,” Mother finally gets out. Wallace’s face turns too obviously meek. “You better appreciate this. We didn’t have to do this for you, y’know.” There was that line again.

“I do appreciate this…” Wallace said quietly. Leo’s purring becomes even louder now, loud enough for me to forget about the uncomfortable silence that follows after Wallace’s meager line of defense. Mother and Wallace stare each other down as I continue to gaze at Leo, who looks from person to person, then blinks in indifference. I couldn’t help but feel some strange connection to that cat. Not in the sense that I, myself, have anything related to which the cat exhibits, but the sense that something about him rings eerily similar. Somehow, I feel an air of familiarity with him, despite knowing his existence for a mere few minutes. It was troubling and fascinating all at once.

“Well, get to it. We’re gonna get going.” Mother gives Wallace one last glare as she opens the door to the outside hallway. I follow suit. We’re not three steps out of his home before he suddenly beckons my mother back inside. Cordially, she allows herself one last visit as I slowly make my way back into the truck’s passenger seat. Once there, I can’t help but make note of the cat’s meow, the cat’s purring, and the unusually human-like desire for any sort of attention. Leo was unlike any cat I had ever encountered before. It astounded me greatly more than perhaps it should have.

And to think, it was now within the home of a single individual that would give it all the attention it desired, without ever thinking otherwise. I couldn’t help but find such delicious irony within that tidbit. I found myself imagining, fantasizing, about the fate of the cat named Leo and what the future held for him. Whether he would break free from the natural desire for unwarranted amounts of attention and nurture, or if he would forever remain the most pampered cat.

Upcoming: 2016 Update

It’s almost here.

Here’s what to expect out of this blog during that year (assuming I’ll still have the motivation):

  • More anime reviews
  • Video Game reviews
  • More movie reviews
  • More conceptual opinion pieces (such as this one.)
  • Less novel reviews (but I’ll likely continue the Underland Chronicles)
  • More Color
  • More structure within my entries (which I’ve already started)
  • (Likely) No music reviews
  • Higher frequency of posts (without the help of weekly NFL Picks and Impressions)
  • Top Tens (of a variety of topics)
  • <Among others>

Thank you very much for reading my blog all throughout 2015. I hope you’ll continue to read through in 2016 and beyond.

Happy New Year!



I’m Done with the NFL

I’ve been considering this for the last few weeks, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s just not worth it anymore. Big game after big game, the officials seem to play a major part in the decision of the game. It’s just sickening. So for now, I’m just gonna quit watching the NFL. It likely won’t be forever, but it’s definitely possible. The NFL just needs to get their head out of their profitable ass and fix the refs, fix the rules, and fix the fuck-ups. It’s getting ridiculous.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll stop any football related posts. I’m cancelling the weekly NFL Pick ‘Ems, obviously, but I may write a few posts here and there about College Football. Who knows? And when Arena Football comes back, I’d love to blog about that. Though, it looks as though I’ll be going back to more anime and… uh… other posts for the time being. I should really get on that Axiom Verge review I’ve been wanting to do for months now.

So long, NFL. May we meet again in a better place.