Gatchaman Crowds Insight

It pisses me off how easy Gatchaman Crowds Insight makes the writing seem. Ono Toshiya’s script develops as if you had a Michelin-starred chef cook up a masterful five-course meal while distractedly gossiping on the phone, at the same time you do your best not to burn an eggie-in-the-basket.

After the online culture omnibus of Gatchaman Crowds, I had expected that they had already blown their thematic load and would take it easier on the second season. It starts off both sillier and more hero-show-traditional than the first one, and for a moment it seems like they’re going to rest on their laurels… but then gets more focused and political than even Crowds was.

In fact, it promptly plants its feet, turns around to look you in the eye, points over its shoulder at the first season’s rosy-colored view of online communal action and self-organizing crowds, and states “Let me tell you why that’s bullshit”.

From there it goes to themes of privacy, idealism, mankind’s social insecurities and gun control, with a radical pacifist who wants to make a point about how we can’t trust people with weapons by showing us how he can pose a danger if given one. All before getting to the worst threat the Gatchaman have ever faced: the Ultimate Populist.

It’s fitting that after twelve episodes extolling community action, we’d get an entire season devoted to the dangers of groupthink.

And listen, I could continue rhapsodizing about it. I could go on for hours about how Hajime, the ultra-peppy and optimistic newbie from last season, is able to provide a moral center precisely because she gives zero fucks what others think of her; or how it’s the first series where I’ve seen characters aware of the Streisand effect; or how it doesn’t let you forget that you might not be OP’s personal army, but as long as you are an army, you are someone’s. But at this point you should know if it’s for you or not, and if it is, you should be watching it instead of reading this.

Me? I don’t think I have seen another series before that’s as well plotted and self-critical as this one.

Plus, where else are you going to find any other show where two super-powered guys fly around hurling named special attacks at each other, while discussing the plus and cons of conformism?

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