In Defense of Tsubasa Misudachi

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When Hajime Ichinose was chosen as a member of the new G-Crew, her viewpoint wasn’t initially welcomed – both by the in-universe cast and members of the viewing audience. She was enigmatic, communicated poorly with her teammates, and – for some – appeared to represent an all-encompassing love of modernization and social media to the detriment of tradition. While insight has shown that the latter is not the case, Hajime purposeful tackling of the dusty cobwebbed corners of superherodom introduced many of the G-Crew to the modern age. Through the simple use of social media, she tore down many societal preconceptions, allowing gatchamen and the average human to work side-by-side for a greater cause.

Tsubasa Misudachi was chosen for a completely different, but equally important, reason.

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Tsubasa is, above all else, simple. She fully admits this, and even embraces this fact. Emotionally volatile, Tsubasa acts long before her brain has a chance to catch up, embodying the traditional Red Ranger superhero archetype. Because she doesn’t often pause to think about what she’s doing, Tsubasa naturally cuts corners and easily jumps to conclusions. Her emotions constantly shift and dictate her course of action.

When Tsubasa is first introduced, she is every bit the typical harried teenager protagonist. With a cheery and optimistic outlook, Tsubasa also rushes through everything, fervently wishing for maturity and a place within her family’s fireworks business. She introduces her great-grandfather proudly as a Nagaoka celebrity before professing her desire to become just like him. This dream proves to be, if not false, without depth or thought.

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“I just don’t want to see anyone feel sad anymore.”

-Tsubasa Misudachi, Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 6

Perhaps Tsubasa honestly does want to become a pyrotechnician – the series hints at this by making one of her abilities a pathway of fireworks – but her attachment to that goal in the beginning of the series speaks more of how she goes along with the flow rather than thinking and coming to her own conclusion. She respects her great-grandfather and loves what he does, so naturally she wants to make fireworks just like him.

Following Tsubasa’s path since her Nagaoka debut reveals a Tsubasa who is so easily influenced by others that her dream changes throughout the series. Upon her initial gatchaman transformation, Tsubasa is swept up in becoming an ideal hero, and travels back to Tachikawa with the rest of the G-Crew. Later on in the series, when her great-grandfather still refuses to teach her how to create fireworks, Tsubasa angrily claims that her purpose has changed. Now, she wishes to make the world a better place using Gel Sadra’s vision. None of these dreams are bad, and Tsubasa’s intentions are always good; however, without considering wider consequences, others’ personal contexts, and what she herself genuinely thinks, all of her actions ultimately lack meaning.

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“Are you talking about something difficult again? I don’t really understand difficult stuff, but I think the world right now is a much better world than when CROWDS were in it!”

– Tsubasa Misudachi, Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 7

It’s effortless to point at Tsubasa and identify the many ways that her good intentions go sour, but ultimately where Tsubasa makes her mark is in her emotional resonance with the viewing audience. Tsubasa is remarkably easy to relate to because she’s so incorrigibly human. She conflates knowledge of a fact with understanding.  She vacillates wildly between agreeing and disagreeing with others, depending on the current social mood. And most abhorrently – but empathetically – she mentally shuts down by saying things are too complicated to avoid conflict.

The hint that Tsubasa, subconsciously, knows that blocking out all conflict is wrong lies in her inability to transform without significant emotional stimuli. Tsubasa says a lot of things, and does a lot of things, in the name of being a hero or becoming a gatchaman without truly believing in them.

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“Lately, people are all ‘meh,’ but you’re ‘bam!’ You know? That’s why we really need you right now.”

– Hajime Ichinose, Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 4

The great irony of Tsubasa’s character is that she incorrectly equates peace with a world devoid of conflict, dedicates her life to creating this ideal world, and is also the character who creates the most conflict within the G-Crew’s ranks. Those asking why Tsubasa was chosen as a gatchaman need look no further than this fact. Her mere presence facilitates discussion because she constantly presses others.

Like Hajime’s odd forms of communication, Tsubasa’s natural tendency to be a catalyst is a double-edged sword. Where Hajime deliberates and asks questions, mining information from every facet of the discussion, Tsubasa – for better or for worse – jumps. Both are equally necessary for the Gatchaman Crowds insight narrative.

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