Gatchaman Crowds: Episode 1 – “Avant-garde”

Gatchaman Crowds is based on the 1972 anime series, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. The anime is produced by Tatsunoko Productions and is directed by Kenji Nakamura. Gatchaman Crowds is being streamed on Crunchyroll on Fridays.

This series is set in the oh-so-distant future of 2015 in the city of Tachikawa, Japan. There are a few people in the city who are Gatchaman, warriors who fight in special reinforced suits that are powered by NOTE, the manifestation of the spiritual power of living beings. However, the Gatchaman need to keep their identities secret, because the general public does not know of their existence; when the Gatchaman fight the mysterious entity called MESS, they create the Amnesia Effect so humans don’t know that Gatchaman are saving the planet.

At the start of the series, Hajime Ichinose is a 16-year-old high school girl with a strange obsession with stationery and planners. She’s also kind of flighty and bit a ditzy. One day, as she goes outside at school, she is approached by a weird man who ends up extracting her NOTE and turning her into a Gatchaman.

OK, I will say right now that the sequence where the man extracts her NOTE is both trippy and creepy. Considering where he has to reach into in order to extract her soul, it really looks like an old lecher is trying to take advantage of a large-chested 16-year-old girl. Creepy!

After Hajime realizes she’s become a Gatchaman, she goes to a nearby location where Sugane Tachibana, another Gatchaman, is pursuing a MESS. After his battle, Hajime approaches him and says she just became a Gatchaman. Later in the episode, Sugane takes Hajime to the underground base and introduces her to the other Gatchaman: Utsu-tsu, O.D., and Joe. Utsu-tsu wears a bikini, Joe is the older aloof member, and O.D. is a moody and effeminate man. What was up with O.D.’s yellow lipstick? Ugh, that looked awful.

Hajime also meets Paiman, the leader of the Gatchaman. He’s an alien who resembles a panda, but does not like being referred to or compared with pandas. After being summoned by JJ, the man who extracted the NOTEs from Hajime and all the Gatchaman, they are sent on a mission to find more MESS. The episode ends with Sugane and Hajime finding a MESS, and Hajime figuring out how to transform into her Gatchaman form.

Overall, I have to say that I wasn’t terribly impressed with this first episode of Gatchaman Crowds. I really couldn’t stand Hajime, and she’s the main protagonist of the series. I also didn’t find any reason to truly care about any of the characters by the end of the first episode.

Also, a couple of times when characters changed into their Gatchaman form, this song played in the background where the only lyrics were “Gatchaman”; honestly, I thought this sounded rather cheesy. This was also a bit of a turn-off for me. Also, when a MESS is defeated, it looks like some weirdly designed Rubik’s Cube. Combining all of these negative aspects, the show came across to me as rather weird and I couldn’t enjoy it. In fact, I was rather underwhelmed with what I saw.

With that said, I will go ahead and watch a second episode of Gatchaman Crowds just to see if there’s any improvement. However, I’m not going to hold my breath that it will.

Additional post about Gatchaman Crowds:

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