Gatchaman Crowds is the reboot of an old superhero series that is surprising in more than one way. The show clearly demonstrates how to properly reinvent a superhero show while still be individualistic, intelligent, and modern. This article may contain a small amount of spoilers.
Four years after the creation of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972) a sequel was created called Gatchaman II. Immediately after that the series continued with Gatchaman Fighter, but went for years after that before being continued. In 1994 Gatchaman was revived in a three episode (45 minutes each) original video animation (OVA). More than 15 years later the series has undergone a complete reboot and is now known as Gatchaman Crowds. Some may be familiar with the Wii exclusive Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, this is indeed the same Tatsunoko and the same Gatchaman, but Gatchaman Crowds has no returning characters (sorry Joe the Condor) and is mostly only connected to the old show in name.
Now that you understand more about the past behind Gatchaman we can get started. Gatchaman Crowds is a modern reinvention of the classic Gatchaman series. What that means is it takes place in modern times, but represents itself very differently than past Gatchaman shows. For starters, this show has a lot of themes that are trying to say something about us as a people and how our society is changing due to the influence of technology. The Gatchaman are still superheros that fight, but they do so much more than that, in fact, some episodes have no fighting at all. This is due to the importance of the other themes at play in Gatchaman Crowds.
Let’s clarify what the Gatchaman are. They are individuals with the ability to transform into personalized superpowered suits that each hold incredible power. The Gatchaman have the simple goal of protecting the planet and the team goes about that in the normal superhero manner until they are joined by a new member, Hajime Ichinose.
What Hajime brings to the team is a new perspective. In her first real battle she does what no one else on the team would, make friends with the enemy. As the story progresses Hajime constantly goes against orders to do things her way. She is always happy in her demeanor and surprises the entire team with how differently events can occur when a different approach is taken. Her lighthearted energy becomes the change that the team and world need. She is a refreshing protagonist in the world of anime.
Now, onto the bulk of the series; the internet. As a people we can communicate like never before and this is very prominent in Gatchaman Crowds. The internet allows us to be our best and worst while remaining anonymous. With so much connection people could achieve monumental destruction or harmony. Rui Ninomiya is an individual that is trying to change the world for the better with the help of the internet, but he is constantly struggling with giving out power because he wants a bloodless revolution. He knows with his help the world could be greatly updated or degraded. Within his battle one can find the will to do what is right, but the means to do so still remain uncertain, as the majority of events in life seem to be.
Wait, this is a superhero show right? Yes! But not in the ordinary way. It is true that the protagonist is a superhero fighting to protect people, but more than that Gatchaman Crowds is about making the world a better place by proving that everyone can be a superhero. This show has certainly taken a step away from the roots it spawned from to become an enjoyable and surprising anime capable of changing an entire genre. To truly understand the progression the show has brought to the superhero genre, as well as the many themes explored, one must give Gatchaman Crowds a chance. Season one has 12 episodes but the show has been green-lit for a second season. Also, the team leader is an alcoholic space panda, don’t want to miss out on that.
By Garrett Jutte