This week’s Crowds throws some interesting things into the mix, particularly where Pai-Pai is concerned. I like that while Kenji Nakamura is definitely dinking with the typical sentai setup with Hajime getting all buddy buddy with the supposed enemy, it’s not totally black and white in a “Hajime is absolutely right and everyone else is wrong” kind of way. It’s not even about “right” or “wrong”; it’s more that there are gaps to be bridged. There’s more revealed on how this whole thing is personal for Pai-Pai (and for O.D, it seems), but the extra context makes it seem as if Pai-Pai’s mission is born more of fear than malice or justice.
Pai-Pai and O.D have run into Berg-Katze before, and the results were … not so great. Berg-Katze seemingly has the power to grant those nifty Gatchaman abilities, so that makes me wonder about the nature of Pai-Pai and O.D’s initial contact with Bergs. It doesn’t seem as if they rolled with each other like best buds at any point in the past, since they speak of Berg-Katze as if it were always a demon who goes around wrecking shit. But who knows? Maybe Bergy knew J.J. way before those two did, had the Gatchaman power and then disagreements happened? Whatever the case, these two know Berg-Katze and they are scared as shit. That puts Pai-Pai’s view of the MESS into some better context, as well. It’s really unknown if they’re some benign force chilling on Earth or if they have some connection with Berg-Katze or whoever else. If there’s some sick planet-destroying force out there, then maybe a little paranoia is warranted.
I do wonder how Hajime will slot into this with her MO of having empathy for anything and everything. Rather than Rui vs. Hajime, this episode seems more like Berg-Katze vs. Hajime, with Bergles pointing toward the blackness of the human heart as the cause of anything and everything shitty in the world, while Hajime quite obviously would believe in the opposite. Who could be that happy all the time if she didn’t believe humans were ultimately good and cool and stuff? Bridging the gaps between people will be of the utmost importance to her. She doesn’t totally get why Pai and O.D are shitting their pants so much over Berg-Katze, but you can bet she’ll make an effort to understand. And I really like the point that rather than focusing on how to defeat Berg-Katze, Hajime is concerned the feelings expressed — that humans are awful and shit instead of good folks who would put out fires and rescue people even in the middle of the apocalypse.
I chuckled a bit at how overwrought this scene is, but I will admit to being surprised that the show pulled the string on this so early. I wonder if Rui will bear the pain of being granted power and being lorded over by such a dickhead for the chance of being able to change the world through the GALAX system. There doesn’t seem to be any other appealing options — from Rui’s point of view, the Gatchaman rumors are pretty much bullshit. Can’t seek another way to change the world with someone you don’t know exists! Considering how much the theme of communication permeates this series, I get the feeling Rui would get stubborn upon meeting Hajime, anyway. Hajime wouldn’t be able to properly communicate her ideas, and much like with Utsutsu in this episode, those shitty feelings running through Rui would probably cause those emotional walls to spring right up, especially with words that seem like pat, easy answers.
So, yeah, even though this seems pretty dire, I doubt Rui will abandon the GALAX plans so easily. I’d actually expect a doubling down in an effort to overcome Berg-Katze fucking with people all the time.