In the first season of Gatchaman Crowds, Rui Ninomiya had the market cornered on using social media networks as a tool for social improvement. However, it’s a new season now, and Rui must rebrand GALAX in order to stay competitive. Perhaps lessons from Gel Sadra are in order.
Entering Rui’s market is VAPE, and its orange-haired leader, Rhythm Suzuki. The easiest way to successfully penetrate an existing market is by luring away customers of one’s competitor, which is exactly what Rhythm and VAPE have been doing to Rui’s GALAX and CROWDS. One can additionally find another parallel in the ongoing election – where voters can conveniently use their smartphones and tablets to vote – as varying politicians jockey for the top position.
Framing this narrative of battling brands is Rhythm’s staple, “We aren’t so different, you and I,” speech to Rui, revealing that he too was given the power of CROWDS. Unlike Rui, he purposefully chose not to use it, because he didn’t trust humanity. Now that Rui has dispensed CROWDS with the belief that ultimately humans will use their powers for good, Rhythm has appeared to oppose him and presumably has dispensed the red CROWDS power to like-minded individuals.
This runs parallel to Rui’s initial thought processes in the first Gatchaman Crowds season, where The Hundred were a select group of people he trusted with the power. At that time, Rui was also of the belief that people would become dependent on superheroes operating within a preexisting hierarchy. Now Rui owns the existing saturated market, and Rhythm has crept in, taking away Rui’s customers.
Equally expanding her brand through far less nefarious means is Gel Sadra who charms a larger audience at an event to celebrate Tsubasa Misudachi’s recent induction into the G-Crew. Gel also shows off her ability to collect insight bubbles from people in order to get a clearer read on their emotional state and thought processes.
Unassuming and naive, Gel possesses an incredibly potent power, especially within the context of Rhythm and VAPE, Rui and CROWDS, and even the G-Crew themselves.
As of Gatchaman Crowds insight‘s second episode, Rui’s only method of gathering insight on customers is through X. Imagine instead, a Rui who could use Gel Sadra to read others’ emotions and relay back what users thought of GALAX and CROWDS. Insight makes it abundantly clear that Rui has lost some of his trust in humanity following Rhythm’s untimely appearance. Surely Rui would love a change to further monitor client preferences.
Or perhaps Jou would like to use Gel’s power in service of Prime Minister Sugiyama. As Sugiyama’s popularity declines, Gel could provide insight as to why, and additionally offer advice or a statement. Following her reading of the crowd at Tsubasa’s failure to transform, Gel immediately turned to Tsubasa, reassuring her. It’s possible that Gel could somehow translate her valuable emotional research into something that both Sugiyama and Jou could use to their advantage in the upcoming election.
Rhythm claims that he is only using his power to stop Rui, and had initially sealed his own power – unlike Rui who dispensed it to The Hundred – out of fear. Logically, it stands to reason that Rhythm wouldn’t want Gel’s power revealed to the public either, for fear of misuse. However, he would likely use it himself if it meant that he could stop Rui and the dispersion of CROWDS. Imagine what he could achieve with Gel’s insight.
From its first season, and now continuing into insight, Gatchaman Crowds has always pondered the idea of power. Who has it, what one does with it, how it should be granted, and to whom are all questions that the series continues to mull over. Where the first season was focused on who was behind the computer screen, insight is more interested in stewing over how various parties in the series will manipulate them, especially when everyone has an all-access pass to information.