The drill that will pierce the drywall.
This episode of Gatchaman Crowds has me a bit more worried than the first episode, mostly because of how Hajime is used. I’m totally fine with her her running doing goofy shit whenever — the part at the beginning of the episode where she gives her attacks all those “cool”-sounding foreign names had me in stitches. Hajime is basically an unchecked Rikka from Chuunibyou. The above scene amused me, too, because it seemed as if the show made a sharp turn into a weird superhero sitcom, albeit one with some sinister stuff going on underneath the surface. That’s a direction I definitely wouldn’t mind.
But Hajime as a more serious agent of change? That’s a bit tougher to swallow.
I saw the ol’ “manic pixie dream girl” moniker tossed about a few times on Twitter and elsewhere, and it’s not entirely inaccurate, at least regarding how this episode progresses Hajime’s character. There’s a couple of problems with the MPDG from where I stand: 1) It reduces a character purely to a catalyst, someone who exists mainly to change others and 2) The people the MPDG changes are mainly bland, boring turds. The first problem isn’t insurmountable; if you’ll recall Flowers of Evil, Nakamura has more than a little MPDG in her, but the way she goes about her business is at least a somehwat fresh spin on the concept. The story also takes some care to humanize her and make her more than a catalyst and a concept. Who knows where the show will go with Hajime?
The second problem, though . . . yeah. The first episode solidly establishes Sugane’s type: He’s the one who takes his heroics seriously. He wears his sword like a samurai bound by a code of honor, and he bristles when some rude youngster won’t give up his seat to an older woman. When Hajime does her thing, Sugane gets huffy because she’s putting everyone in danger and doesn’t take saving lives seriously and blah blah blah. If Sugane were a capable straight man for Hajime’s antics, then he wouldn’t be quite so lame. But the story of his relation with Hajime is for now swinging in the direction of her insanity teaching him to loosen up and enjoy the beauty and wonder of life and everything else these types teach the soulful, lonely men whose lives they fall into.
Hey, it’s a nice message. Loosening up a bit is nice. Taking life too seriously when it’s unwarranted can be a drag. But in a show with alien Rubik’s Cubes, evil cell phone games/Twitter, scissor weapons and wacky superhero sitcom hijinks, that isn’t a particularly interesting thing to watch. That said, maybe it will be more about Sugane questioning his own heroism than getting all upbeat and such? That was really the other main point about Hajime’s bouncy antics — she’s approaching the whole superhero business differently than her peers by getting all buddy buddy with the Rubik’s Cubes and making collages with them and following them on Evil Twitter. Not totally sold on this direction yet, but it’s still early, so what the fuck do I know?
The GALAX business is the most interesting part of the episode to me. Who knows what the ultimate plan for it is? For now it’s like half-Zynga game where you get points for helping people out, and half-social media chat site. Helping people ain’t no reward unless you get points for it, yeah? More so if you can use those points to customize those characters and get some cute stuff for your character. I just need to witness a robbery and get the information to the cops so that I have enough points to buy this nice dress for my avatar! Our new friend Rui also has a giant supercomputer and one of those Gatchaman notebooks. So very suspicious. Anything that reminds me of Zynga can’t totally be on the up and up.
These modes of superheroism will clearly come into conflict at some point. We’ve got the traditional Gatchaman way of a group of heroes protecting the whole, this collective way of everyone keeping watch over each other, and Hajime just straight up making friends with anyone and everyone who crosses her path. Who will win? All I know is I want Rui and Hajime in the same room ASAP.