“They all love other people having a tough time! I mean, who can listen to people going on and on about how happy they are? You can listen to them sobbing for hours though!”
-Berg Katze, Gatchaman Crowds, episode 12
People certainly are disgusting aren’t they? They go on and on about their children, marriages, university grades on social media constantly. It’s as if they’re rubbing how good they have it in our faces, taunting us.
Or at least, that’s what Berg Katze would say.
Hajime Ichinose, on the other hand, would find complete and utter joy in what others would have to share. Where Berg would declare such updates to be meaningless and self-centered, Hajime would delight in the fact that people had allowed her, and others, to be privy to their happiness.
Which would you choose? Are you a Hajime, or a Berg?
Chances are that you’re actually both, to varying degrees, at different points in time. The weight that tips the scales in either direction is personal context, which directly affects your eventual choice. Had a rough day at work? You’re more likely to be a Berg. Score higher than expected on that test? Look out, world, you’re going to be a Hajime all day. Rui Ninomiya had it wrong when he thought that he could cherry-pick those with the correct motivations to lead his bloodless revolution. As Umeda shows us, such motivations can easily change over time, and are highly dependent on one’s personal life and everyday present. Just as we all are capable of doing wonderful things, we also have the potential to be highly toxic people and Rui’s CROWDS ability, along with the internet at large, provide us with an easy opportunity to be both.
Keeping this in mind, the few answers that Gatchaman Crowds provides are not entirely optimistic as they rely on your own personal views on the human heart. The Tachikawa CROWDS game eschews the selective nature of Rui’s original plan – giving CROWDS to a specific hundred people – and instead bestows CROWDS to everyone, putting the whole of GALAX users back on a level playing field. When Berg returns to once again to wreak havoc, everyone is too caught up in their various mini-games to pay any sort of attention to the trollish machinations of Berg. Regardless of whether they are buoyed by the thought of helping others, or simply preoccupied with becoming the best in their respective game rankings, CROWDS ends up channeling the energy that otherwise would have caused the world to go up “in a big, red blaze” as Berg had predicted. Rui’s eventual application of CROWDS puts Hajime Ichinose’s character into further context, and her choices are all the more interesting in retrospect. Specifically, her choice to absorb the entity of Berg runs parallel to Rui offering the choice of CROWDS to GALAX members worldwide.
It would be incredibly hard to be someone like Hajime, always taking the personal context of others into account before reaching any sort of conclusion on a situation or passing judgement. Berg Katze’s eventual symbiotic relationship benefits Hajime more than it burdens, her. Through one simple line to Utsutsu in episode four of the series, Hajime reveals herself as one who understands lashing out at others and hurting them. She recognizes this in Utsutsu and immediately resonates with it, pushing further to try to cheer Utsutsu up. Through every obstacle, Hajime always pushed further, grasping to see every ounce of good in all that she possibly could, presumably resisting her own, incredibly human, urges to cause others pain. Berg’s presence gives her a way out of these urges simply by being his vile self, seeping into the darkest corners of self-loathing in others and turning it slowly outward into aggression. Existing in one body, Hajime and Berg cancel each other out.
“X, I was not wrong. Everyone was my partner. That was the truth.”
-Rui Ninomiya, Gatchaman Crowds, episode 12
With Hajime and Berg effectively neutralizing each other, Gatchaman Crowds leaves us with Rui, GALAX, and whatever thoughts the users of GALAX express at any given moment. They may be wonderful and helpful, or perhaps they’ll be horrid and trollish, and it all depends on the personal context of the user in question.