MESSy Methods of Communication

crowds, gatchaman crowds, gatchaman, gatchaman crowds op, white ash- CROWDS, MESS

The words you wove is, “We are not alone.”
Instead of retreating in fear, go! Together like birds,
I have to fight them and go to the distance.
Towards the grinding sound
You go there, we fly there,
The words you wove is, “We are not alone.”
Weak yet strong, we are all ourselves in this world.
I have to fight them and go to the distance.
These feelings free me,
You go there, where they call,
go! The crowds are calling my name.

-White Ash, “Crowds,” Gatchaman Crowds opening song.

Gatchaman Crowds continues its focus on how different forms of communication influence our ability to organize ourselves into varying structures of power. The two primary organizations vieing for our attention, and control over the masses, in Gatchaman Crowds are the traditional vertical structure of established government – additionally, established superheroes like the G-Crew – and the diffused crowd-sourcing methods of GALAX. While others have touched upon this from a more technical standpoint, I’m going to focus a bit on the social and personal.

Human beings certainly have problems communicating with each other, don’t they? We have a myriad of methods that allow us to understand each other, but all too often, we still can’t get it right.

Presumably, what Hajime Ichinose believes in is not the structure of a traditional vertical society, nor the democratized power of crowd-sourcing, but the “good” found in human nature. She takes pride in the people in her city, and although she has made some powerful friends by social standards, she doesn’t trust in them because of the positions they have been given – in fact, one could say that she rarely sees position at all – instead, choosing to believe in the intangible quality of “doing what’s right.” When she asks her friend the fire chief whether he would save the world, she trusts that he would, not because of his position as fire chief, but the fact that she believes him to be a good person.

Therefore, it’s also telling that Hajime is unconcerned with the idea of a murderous alien but rather what he says: the destruction of the world will be their fault. While Jou Hibiki immediately wants to jump back into fighting him, and Sugune Tachibana would gladly follow Jou, his senior, Hajime’s thoughts stall not on the alien’s presence, but rather his words. Believing in the good in others, she is most worried by the fact that the alien ultimately attributes humanity’s impending destruction to humanity itself. To her, this is the key to overcoming whatever problem they may face, not the specific words of “Go up in a big, red, blaze.” as O.D. and Paiman are focusing on.

Hajime’s problem is that she’s unable to communicate what she feels or thinks at any given time. While emotionally insightful, she lacks the ability to make others understand exactly what she is trying to say. This is demonstrated beautifully in the fourth episode, during her conversation with Utsutsu. It’s obvious that she picks up on Utsutsu’s frustration at being unable to touch others for fear of injuring them – to the point where Hajime is shown sympathizing with the fact that it would make Utsutsu so frustrated that she would think on hurting others – however, Hajime is unable to communicate without using imprecise language like, “I’m happy no matter what!” and, “It’s all okay!” Utsutsu, who would be less-inclined to believe Hajime regardless, presumably due to her past experiences with others, completely walls herself off from Hajime following Hajime’s words, in spite of the fact that she is later shown to be affected by them.

Often, Hajime is shown repeating what others have just recently said. Rather than a verbal tic, or an expression of how simple of a character she is, this exemplifies her inability to express herself. Additionally, she is shown as someone who relies on visual aids or actions to communicate her thoughts. When trying to become closer to Utsutsu, Hajime likens her to a streetlight and Utsutsu is unable to understand. In the second episode, she walks across what appears to be nothing, in order to position herself closer to J.J. She jumps around, throws her arms up in the air, and wildly gesticulates, and uses visual props all in the hopes that someone will be able to discern her actions.

hajime ichinose, MESS, gatchaman crowds episode 2, hajime, gatchaman crowds

Parallel to Hajime, is MESS. The MESS are easily forgotten when one introduces Berg Katse into the mix; however, they could potentially hold a key to solving the mystery behind the sudden menace of Berg. If anything, they demonstrate that an attempt to communicate, any attempt, is worth a great deal. The MESS have also been shown to respond visually to what is going on around them – shapeshifting anxiously before Jou enters to inform the rest of the G-Crew of Berg’s appearance and his subsequent fight with him – and presumably share information with each other instantly, through an internal social network.

Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than simply getting to know the reasons behind Berg’s actions in order to stop them, although it is interesting that he pinpoints the human heart – the very thing that Hajime believes in above all else – as the trigger necessary in order to destroy humanity. Countering Hajime’s optimism is Rui’s cynicism, which could explain why Berg specifically chose Rui to lay the groundwork for him through the development of GALAX. Under the guise of updating the world, or forming a new human revolution, GALAX sets the battleground with the vertical structure of tradition in one corner and diffused commodification of good behavior in the other. When both sides become too entrenched in fighting each other instead of trying to communicate, or understand, each other, they will destroy the world with a helping hand from Berg. Although we are unaware of Berg’s intentions, he appears preoccupied with this idea of internal destruction. Rui refuses to believe in others, but still wants them to do good to one another, designing GALAX as a means for this.

When surveying the every day actions of any given human being, the results are muddied in emotional bursts that are incredibly difficult to explain or duplicate, with no concrete way of translating them to another. For an example, the series gives us a mother and child in episode four. Fed up with her daughter’s actions, the mother leaves her child to cry while she turns to run the remainder of her errands. Following Berg’s intervention and 17 deaths, all witnesses remember about the woman is that she was yelling at her daughter.

Hajime can translate others’ actions for herself, as she has been shown to have an ability to see things from varying perspectives, but she has yet to be able to translate them well to other people. Her faith in others, above all else, is what is most pertinent for others to not only begin to understand, but empathize with, if they’re going to stand a chance against Berg. Rather than relying on heroes, like the G-Crew, or social media systems, like GALAX, to save them, the people in Gatchaman Crowds will have to learn to trust in and communicate with each other.

11 comments

    1. Oh, I now know that. These lyrics were taken from a YouTube video of the OP where a fan translated them. I have not changed them in this post, as I am in the process of writing another communication post based on a survey I did. If you’re interested, check back sometime next week, if not, thanks for the comment. ^ ^

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