Yeah, that’ll work splendidly.
Final showdown initiated! Interesting that it’s basically a big brawl to start, though I suppose Hajime never indicated she was totally against battle (that I remember, anyway). She’s still more of a help and understanding type, and her battle plan is in line with these — stun the Crowds so that the users are harmed as little as possible. Not totally sure how I feel about that weakness suddenly coming up. (Unless, of course, it was foreshadowed in a way that I’m forgetting, which is always possible.) It seemed to me that the episode indicates that the Almighty Katze is a bit nonchalant about the makeup of the Crowds as long as they cause destruction. The first version tired out the users, and this second version can be taken out with a precise stun. This is probably what happens when you don’t have time for thorough beta testing. That’s what you get for skimping on the QA, Berg!
That said, from a pure action standpoint, it’s quite the fun episode. We’ve got Hajime taking charge (her “nah, we’ve got that handled” remark to Berg is pretty cool), a more confident Sugane, and Utsutsu jumping into the fray with her crazy Gatchaman outfit. (How long has she been holding in that loud battle scream?!) We’ve got the return of the Big-Smalls, who have probably been sitting on their asses for however long it’s been since the Gatchaman crew has backed off from the MESS. By the way, unsurprisingly, I totally forgot about those guys; I initially thought they were related to OD’s power since he stands in the middle of them and such. (I was also confused by the later scene of the Big-Small disappearing with one of the Crowds and the prime minister getting all suspicious, but now I realize he was probably baffled by weird powers being used against weird powers and subsequently tried to get some standing back by being stubborn.)
I remembered who the Big-Smalls were solely because for once I decided to not be a lazy shit and read what other people thought they were, and later to go back and watch the first episode, which is where they initially appear. That is probably more sentences than they deserved (particularly since they’re dressing like ghosts instead of wearing suits, which is a total downgrade), but I thought you all might like me not embarrassing myself with my poor memory for once.
Hot-blooded transformations, however, are deserving of several sentences. Joe just can’t resist a call to help, and, more importantly, a call to be totally fucking awesome. Gatchaman Crowds is all about nonviolent resistance and understanding and whatnot, and I’m about that, too, but shit, I pumped my fist like crazy when Joe did this. You can be hot-blooded about nonviolent resistance. It just makes it cooler — it makes anything cooler, really. Wouldn’t you get pumped about helping out in the community if some badass completely transformed, walked out all confident and such and then worked giving food to the needy all day? (Side note: This would also make series with an environmentally friendly message much better. Who wouldn’t get excited about recycling if Simon from Gurren Lagann were all about a green world?) Love the reaction of Joe’s coworkers, too: “Wow, that boring, stuffy dude is one of those cool Gatchaman people?!?!”
And Pai-Pai getting some redemption! It helps that Pai-Pai isn’t going face-to-face with the Bergman, but who wouldn’t be a bit braver in those circumstances? Those kindergartners also struck me as the rare fictional children who aren’t totally awful and annoying. They just want to screw around with the cool panda bear. Also, Pai-Pai literally shitting out the Crowds from his Gatchamass is kind of hilarious. No wonder the kids love Pai-Pai so much — kids are suckers for poop jokes. Good on Pai-Pai for playing to the crowd.
I’m interested to see where everything goes from here. The nonviolent violent resistance is nice, but I’m not totally sure that’s how everything will be resolved. Also, lol Berg burning bridges everywhere. That’s what happens when you throw your lot in with malevolent aliens.