Opting Out: Gatchaman Crowds insight Episode 9

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Previously, Gatchaman Crowds insight covered outbound marketing through the arrival of the Kuu. To review, they were a product that was automatically shipped and delivered to Gel Sadra’s constituents – without his own knowledge – and their intoxicating auras along with their happy personalities immediately ingratiated them to the Japanese people. Like more traditional examples of outbound marketing like junk mail and cold calls, the Kuu necessitate an action. The general populace must choose to opt out in order to rid themselves of this particularly virulent strain.

Unfortunately, this also requires standing up to the prevailing atmosphere, something that the Kuu actively make difficult.

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“I just wanted to make a peaceful world where no one got hurt.”

-Tsubasa Misudachi, Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 9

No one in Gatchaman Crowds insight has embodied the prevailing atmosphere quite like Tsubasa. Impetuous and hot-headed, Tsubasa is driven by her ideals and what she believes to be the right thing to do. The problem is that “the right thing to do” varies from person to person and is often based on their own personal context. If the words “personal context” ring a bell, it’s because that’s what the entire first season of Gatchaman Crowds focused on: the relationship between one’s actions physically in public or digitally on social media networks and their personal lives.

Tsubasa reaches a breaking point in insight‘s ninth episode where she can no longer reconcile the actions taken by the Kuu in the name of becoming one. Naturally, Gel Sadra doesn’t understand this, and why should he? As previously made apparent by the series, Gel knows next to nothing of what people want because sorting through that noxious stew of feelings takes both time and understanding. He can read the thoughts of others all he wants, but he’ll never actually understand the why or how behind those thoughts. This is precisely what makes him so dangerous.

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Taking the simple route is Jou Hibiki. Jou can understand the complexity of others; however, his own personal actions are quite simple. Citing Gel Sadra as the root of the Kuu conflict, he straightforwardly goes on the attack. Like Tsubasa, he takes action when he feels that it’s the right thing to do or, in the specific case of Gel Sadra, it’s something for which he must take responsibility. That’s when he opts out. The parallels between Tsubasa and Jou are apparent, but the latter is infinitely more well-informed. Jou accepts that his own willingness to take certain actions – like getting Gel Sadra elected – if he thinks that those actions correspond with what he believes to be the greater good.

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“Hajime, don’t be so serious. Become one with us and relax.”

Relax, hunh? That means everyone is worried, right?”

-a conversation between Kuu and Hajime Ichinose, Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 9

It would be easier if Gel Sadra had forcibly created the Kuu; however, they’re not his minions as much as a simple way out of citizens’ individual fears. Attacking Gel is pointless because he’s not the root cause of the problem. When questioned by Hajime, the Kuu are unconcerned with what they’re doing or who they are – similar to Gel Sadra himself – they just want everyone to relax and become one, eliminating troublesome thought. A carefully crafted, painfully human drug, the Kuu are escapism manifest in creepy, marshmallow, red white and blue bodies.

The very presence of the Kuu mean that the average in-universe human of insight is incredibly worried about something specific to them. This worry could be regarding something wide in scope, but the reasons behind the concern are likely deeply personal. Becoming one does nothing for this worry as reasoning changes. Worries themselves change. People will inevitably find themselves wanting to do different things and desiring unique circumstances for themselves. Ultimately, this is why the Kuu are bound to fail in the long run, even with their seductive siren’s song luring people in. It’s all a matter of when people choose to opt out.

One comment

  1. I think I see where this is going. Since the Kuus can’t be defeated by conventional means, a social opposition force is needed to provide a flashpoint for the rest to fully reject their calls for unity. And that’s where cynical Suzuki and his VAPEs come in…

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