Anime: Gatchaman Crowds

What makes a hero?
"What the world needs from now on aren't stand-alone heroes... but the entire human race turned into heroes!"
Rui Ninomiya

The year is 2015. The city of Tachikawa has become home to special fighters known as the Gatchaman Crew (G-Crew), assigned by a council to protect the Earth against criminals with their superpowers. But a mysterious entity known as the MESS proves to be an escalating threat, leaving the G-Crew to have to fight it off. A young artist named Hajime Ichinose is the latest recruit to the G-Crew, and her impulsive personality sets major changes in motion.

Gatchaman Crowds is a 12-episode Continuity Reboot of the 1970s anime Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. However, it is a radical departure from the concepts of the original, with the team receiving their powers from a source known as "NOTE" and no longer wearing suits themed after birds, with their suits instead reflecting their special abilities.

It started airing on NTV on July 12, 2013, and is directed by Kenji Nakamura (Tsuritama). It has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks, who also currently hold the license for the original Gatchaman. Gatchaman Crowds is one of the most requested titles from Sentai Filmworks for airing on Toonami.

The Blu-Ray release included Gatchaman Crowds: Embrace, a "director's cut" of the last episode.note 

Check out the Characters page!

A second season was released in Summer 2015, titled Gatchaman Crowds insight.

Gatchaman Crowds provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: O.D. actually says the NOTES are these when the Gatchaman are transformed. At worst, a Gatchaman could die if their note is destroyed.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Galactor has been re-imagined as GALAX, a social network that's dedicated to helping people. The show's version of Leader X is an artificial intelligence that manages the network and provides information to GALAX users. Subverted when certain elements of GALAX turn into a terrorist group, even wearing mask that resemble Galactor soldiers from the original series.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Almost as if to apologize for the sexism of the original, Hajime is the polar opposite of practically every Damsel in Distress Anime Heroine of the 1970's in terms of intelligence, competence, courage and strength.
  • Alternate Reality Game: In-universe; in episode 6 Rui sets one up to help save Hajime from some paparazzi.
  • Anticlimax Cut: Just before the end credits of episode 12 Hajime calls her mother on the phone at the place she said she would meet Berg Katze. It seems like there will be some kind of showdown between them, but in The Stinger Berg Katze has suddenly become Sealed Evil In Hajime. The director's cut version of episode 12 confirms this and shows their showdown.
  • Arc Number: 100 and numbers around it come up a lot.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Why hold a press conference at a preschool? So the press could be asked if their behavior was more immature the young children near them.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: This occurs at the end of episode 10 with Hajime, Utsutsu, Joe, Sugane, and Pai in a circle.
  • Badass Bystander: When something bad happens, people around the scene can help in a whim, thanks to GALAX.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Zigzagged, while Rui gets beaten up very badly by Katze and still has numerous bloody wounds, none of them are on his face.
  • Befriending the Enemy: This is Hajime's solution to a lot of problems. At the beginning of the show after Hajime became a Gatchaman she befriends one of the "MESS". An alien, enemy the Gatchamen are fighting who absorb humans and cause them to disappear. Immediately after Hajime befriends one of them the entire species of MESS stop acting antagonistic towards the Gatchamen and they return all the humans they absorbed safe and unharmed. The other Gatchamen are utterly shocked after seeing how well it worked.
  • Bland-Name Product: Hajime's cell provider is Wheremo.
    • GALAX itself is something of an amalgamation of popular social media sites, though taken Up to Eleven.
    • The default search engine on phones seems to be Gaogle.
  • Break Them by Talking: Hajime to Rui in Episode 6. It's very subtle, as she's playing fool during the whole conversation.
  • Brick Joke: In episode 7, Hajme is asked if she knows when a planet has the prettiest shine. She claims it's around 5AM in the morning, which was a wrong answer from the questioner's perpective. The joke comes at the end of the episode when she draws up a window curtain to see the sunrise. She says it's pretty and shining bright, which implies the time is 5AM.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Bird, go!"
  • The Cameo: Yuki, Haru, Natsuki and Akira from Tsuritama make an appereance in episode 6 of insight.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Hajime is not too concerned with the powers of the MESS. She'd rather play with them.
  • Call Back: In the director's cut of the final episode, after Hajime seals Berg Katze within her, Sugane comes rushing to her and hugs her so tight, she complains that she can't breathe. In the final episode of Insight, after Hajime wakes up from her coma, Tsubasa hugs her tightly and Hajime responds the same way.
  • Catch Phrase: Utsutsu's "utsuutsu shimasu" ("I'm gloomy"), which Crunchyroll sometimes mistakes for "utsutsu shimasu" ("I'm dreamy"), even though the catchphrase is stated in the series' website.
  • Character Development: Utsutsu starts off fairly introverted and aloof, but gradually warms up after developing a friendship with Hajime.
    • It really happens to everyone, as Episode 11 indicates since it has each of the Gatchamen explain how Hajime has caused them to change as a person. Obviously Hajime herself doesn't get one though, since she is the catalyst here and none of her teammates have had much of an impact on her yet.
  • Chest Insignia: The armored uniforms bear a redesigned version of the original Science Ninja Team "bird arrow" logo.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: MESS was introduced as the Big Bad in episode 1, but by episode 4 they were barely a background character. By episode 5 they had disappeared altogether, replaced by Berg-Katze.
  • Clip Show: The first part of episode 11 is this, with voice overs of all the other Gatchaman thanking Hajime for what she did for them.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The G-Crew receive different powers when inside their armor. Hajime has the ability to generate whatever objects she can imagine, Joe utilizes fire, and Sugane has infinite reach, a power that sort of teleports his sword's attacks.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Subverted: The others in the team consider Hajime to be this, but she does very little without logical consideration, and in fact points out reasonable flaws in other people's arguments. "The white-winged bird is not among you because it is lost."
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each Gatchaman has a different theme color, shown in their NOTE devices:
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The Kuus start enforcing this in Insight. But in their case, the complainer is not only wrong, (s)he gets eaten.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Berg Katze vs. the CROWDS; he easily destroys them in just seconds. Then he does the same thing to Joe.
  • Digital Avatar: Used two different ways. First, the regular way in GALAX, then in the physical world (the CROWDS), thanks to Katze's power.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Rui in the shower in Episode 9. The scene plays as if he were an abuse victim. And then the dialogue with Utsutsu goes to another territory:
    Utsutsu: Did it hurt?
    Rui: No... Thank you. I feel much better. Please keep going, Utsutsu.
    Utsutsu (blushing): Okay.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The ending theme, INNOCENT NOTE, is sung by Hajime's VA, Maaya Uchida.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: You have to keep reminding yourself that Rui is actually a boy. It's all part of a plan to conceal his identity in public.
  • Enigmatic Empowering Entity: J.J. Robinson for the Gatchaman Crew, Berg-Katze for Galax.
  • Evolving Credits: With the exception of one montage that shows all of them, Gatchaman forms don't appear in the opening credits until they debut in the show proper.
  • Faceless Eye: The CROWDS, after a fashion; their heads are made up of one giant eyeball! Results in Eye Scream when Katze kills them.
  • Fan Disservice: Episode 8 has a lengthy and loving pan over Rui's body and bare legs after he's been cut up and there are gaping bloody wounds all over his body.
    • Similarly the scene in which Rui is naked in the shower, still all cut up.
  • Foreshadowing: Note how the MESS run away from Sugane and make no attempt to fight back when he attacks them in the first two episodes.
    • In the scene when Gatchaman are summoned by J.J., each of them is given a corresponding number. Hajime is 101. Utsutsu is 99. Joe is 89. Sugane is 96. O.D. is 12. And Paiman is 3. Both Paiman and O.D. know the identity of the apparent Big Bad. Both of them agree that O.D. transforming is a Doomsday event. And Paiman is utterly terrified of J.J. losing his cool. It shows that Paiman and O.D. are the senior members who know a lot more than others. And probably raises a question - where are the other 95?
  • From Bad to Worse: At the end of Episode 11, everyone is given the power to turn into the CROWDS, thanks to Katze's transforming into the prime minister and telling everyone to go out and fight for justice.
  • Godzilla Threshold: O.D.'s transformation is treated as such because it can apparently destroy the world.
  • Gratuitous English: The opening theme is chock-full of it. Good luck actually understanding it, though...
    • Hajime does this occasionally, such as chanting "D.I.Y.! Do it yourself!" in the second episode.
    • "Bird, Go!" and "Amnesia Effect!" whenever the Gatchaman transform, and "Play the game!" when Rui activates the Crowds.
    • Mostly Averted by O.D. and Katz, who speak reasonably good English.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Joe's hair looks as if it's meant to be black in some artwork, but is depicted as a deep green (albeit with some red hair underneath). Rui's usual color choice of wig seems to vary between being depicted as blonde or a pale pink depending on the lighting, leading to some other confusion. Katze has dark pink hair, but there are viewers that believe it's meant as a stand-in for red.
  • Heroic BSOD: Seems to happen to Paiman a lot, especially after Hajime joins the team.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Paiman is not a panda!
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is named after a style in art (Avant-garde, Futurism, Kitsch, etc.).
  • Implausible Deniability: He claims to hate pandas, yet his room is packed with stuffed pandas.
  • In Name Only: Other than Katze, Joe, Leader X (and even those three were incredibly revamped) and the "Bird, go!" transformation call, the series has little to tie it back to the original Gatchaman.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Utsutsu, when she's wearing her bikini.
  • Invisible to Normals: All the aliens, the Crowds, and the Gatchaman with "Amnesia Effect" active.
  • Irony: Rui is saved by the heroes he had previously dismissed as unnecessary.
    Rui: "How pathetic...I said we don't need heroes, and now just look at me."
  • Malicious Misnaming: Sugane almost always calls Hajime "Newbie", because he doesn't respect her as an equal. Hajime would prefer it if he called her by name.
  • Meta Casting: Katsuji Mori, a.k.a. "Ken the Eagle" in the original Gatchaman, is now the voice of J.J. Robinson.
  • Mind Screwdriver: The episode 12 director's cut explains much of the original broadcast's rushed and heavily edited ending.
  • Multicoloured Hair: Several characters have two tone hair in wide horizontal stripes, downplayed slightly as it's always shades of the same basic colour.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rui, after Katze has wiped out the CROWDS and nearly killed him as well.
  • Mythology Gag: The Neo-Hundred Mask is meant to resemble the Galactor Mooks from the original Gatchaman
  • New Media Are Evil: An aversion. The series says that social networks are a tool, and like anything else they can be used for good or bad purposes.
  • Noodle Incident: So far, the "disaster" Hajime refers to in Episode 2.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: MESS.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: It's heavily implied that Hajime fought some kind of battle with Berg Katze that leaves him Sealed Evil in a Can, with Hajime acting as the can. The Director's Cut of Episode 12 shows what occured.
  • Oh Crap!: Rui, when he discovers that Katze has copied his appearance and biometrics, and taken control of President X.
    • Sugayama in Insight episode 5 makes an offhand comment about his critics being stupid, then is informed that the camera is still running.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The close-up of Hajime's mouth and her flat, emotioneless tone as she says " It can't be helped" right before deciding to "kill" Gelsadra gives off this vibe, as does her plan directly after that.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: The series has a heavy emphasis on the internet and how it's changing the world. Unlike standard Cyberpunk, this is portrayed positively.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: This is quite an interesting team.
  • Reality Ensues: Young people are much quicker to trust messages from GALAX—the elderly, not so much. Older people's distrust of the network often slows down civilian rescues, et cetera called for by GALAX.
  • Revised Ending: The home video release included a director's cut of the last episode that explained away the original ending.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The paper birds J.J. is always messing with represent the transformed Gatchaman: white for Hajime, gray for Sugane, red for Joe, yellow for Utsutsu, pink for Paiman and green for OD. The colors in the birds are the same colors from their NOTE.
    • The series itself makes more sense when viewed in this way. GALAX is a social media, the CROWDS are the internet, and the Gatchamen represent the idea of heroes or people who can do great things by themselves. In the final episodes, the Gatchamen get the ball rolling, but in the end it's the ordinary humans that save the world. J.J. is inactive authority but also represents God which makes Sugane's rejection of J.J. a metaphor for rejecting religion. Finally Berg Katze is the Devil...and also an internet troll. The only way to truly defeat him is to accept the Devil's existence and ignore it.
  • Running Gag: One of Hajime's teammates will refer to her as "Newbie", and she'll immediately correct them, apparently unaware that they call her that dismissively, not because they don't know her name.
  • Screw Yourself: Berg Katze tends to copy a person's appearance while kissing them on the lips.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Berg Katze's ultimate fate at the end of the first season. It's shown in Insight that he has been reduced to calling Hajime names and suggesting she kill people in Gatchaman form before being slugged back into her subconscious
  • Senpai Kouhai: Sugane to Hajime. In Insight, Hajime becomes this to Tsubasa.
  • Shout-Out
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers! / Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The conflict between Hajime's worldview and that of the other Gatchaman. As the series goes on, her idealism proves contagious.
    • This is also part of the central conflict of Season 2, particularly between Jou and Rui.
  • Soul Jar: Each NOTE is a physical manifestation of their owner's soul. The characters don't seem to be bothered by this, even though O.D. mentions that the NOTES become an Achilles' Heel when transformed.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening shows the eyeless monsters running rampant in a real life city.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In Episode 7, Berg Katze says his "Bird, Go!" to the beat of the opening theme.
  • Transformation Trinket: By using the power of the NOTE and calling "Bird, go!", a G-Crew member is suited up into their magic armor. Said NOTE is a magical planner device extracted from the user's chest by J.J. Robinson. Additionally, the NOTES act as communication devices (anything written in one can be seen by anyone else with a NOTE).
  • Trauma Conga Line: Rui's character arcs in both seasons boils down to this.
    • Season One: Katze takes on Rui's form and starts using GALAX as a way to seed distrust and conflict among people, which we're later told is the way he destroys worlds without doing anything. Then he violently beats Rui up to near death, leaving Rui with severe scars and injuries that Utsu-tsu later heals. Then Rui gets to watch all the chaos unfold and GALAX and the CROWDS take the full blame for the actions of some of its users.
    • Season Two: Even after granting everyone who uses GALAX the CROWDS ability and receiving widespread praise for their contribution to society, the CROWDS get hijacked again for terrorist purposes by another person with the same powers as Rui, but who wishes to make people fear the CROWDS in hopes of having them eliminated for good. Then, Rui gives him a chance after being challenged about his claim of truly believing in every person's capacity for good, only to be stabbed in the NOTE and nearly killed in live television while being mocked for being such an idealistic fool, staying hospitalized with what's implied to be severe internal injuries for the next couple episodes and only clinging to life. Then, the previous villain's plan works as people in mass start criticizing the CROWDS and calling for them to be banned. Then after having it be further criticized by the public and the other gatchaman in the team, the CROWDS-supporting Prime Minister Sugayama loses the elections after having won them not a month earlier and calling for another election leaning on his support of the CROWDS, which he does right after a terrorist attack involving them, which he loses after repeatedly making a fool of himself in public, and his opponent wins primarily with an anti-CROWDS platform, being directly and publicly supported by two of the gatchaman. And all of this happens in the first four episodes. Goddamn.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: The final episode gives a date of Summer 2016.
  • The Unmasked World: In the first episode, it's commented that aliens are known to exist, but Gatchamen are an Urban Legend. Then in episode 6 Hajime unmasks while cameras are watching.
    • And in episode 12 Rui gives everyone the power of Crowds.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Rui to Sugane, and only Sugane. Played for Laughs.
  • Wham Episode
    • Episode 4, which is full of revelations and is far darker than the previous ones.
    • Episode 7, where Rui's carefully-constructed world crumbles around him.
    • Episode 3 of Insight has Rui being stabbed in the NOTE, and left near death by Rizumu.
    • Episode 11 of Insight has Hajime figuring out that the only way to stop the Kuusama's is to Kill Gelsadra so that the people will be satisfied and the "atmosphere" is dissipated. They do so on an uncomfortably brutal fashion in Live TV, only for it to later be revealed that Hajime used Katze's transformation ability to take Gelsadra's form and took the beating from everyone else, and is now lying at the brink of death in the HQ. All of this is so that the people will realize that they need to be held accountable for their actions and decisions, a major theme throughout the season.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 11 of Insight provides two:
    Hajime: "We're gonna kill Gel-chan!''
    Tsubasa: "She was right there, in the middle of the fight"
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Gatchaman Crew has a hard time accepting MESS as sentient beings that can be reasoned with. O.D. speculates that MESS probably had the same problem with humans.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The opening theme, Crowds. It has to be seen to be believed. And according to an interview, it's entirely intentional, with the singer saying that the effect they're trying to achieve is listening to a song in a foreign language where you can't make sense of the lyrics, but nevertheless you have an "image" of the song entirely based on the music. Like, "I've no idea what they're saying but they're cool."
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Utsutsu has green hair, Joe's hair has a deep layer atop a pinkish lower layer, O.D's hair is a greyish purple, and Berg Katze has magenta hair.