Gatchaman Crowds‘ eighth episode was my personal favorite offering thus far, as it begins to weave previously solitary threads of the series together.
Once upon a time, Berg Katze wanted a revolution as well.
“Utsutsu, you’ve become a wonderful person.”
-O.D., Gatchaman Crowds, episode seven
There are a myriad of ways that one could apply Gatchaman Crowds‘ episode seven title, “Abjection,” to the series as a whole. I am going to focus specifically on Utsutsu, because of both her inherent power and emotional transformation.
Utsutsu is introduced to the viewer as a waifish, child-like girl in a bikini who only says, “I’m gloomy.” Due to her appearance and dreamy, child-like nature, Utsutsu could have certainly come off as a one note character (literally, thanks to the fact that she only speaks one phrase). However, she instead becomes the first side character, other than Rui, to receive emotional development thanks to the series’ treatment of her.
Previously, the series had not only introduced us to Rui, the prodigious youth who oversees the social network GALAX, but also established his love/hate relationship with superheroes. The main idea of his revolution, a world where humans automatically help each other without prodding, negates a need for superheroes to protect it because the people would be protecting themselves. Underlying this wish is a somewhat childish turning up of Rui’s nose at the idea of a superhero. At some point in Rui’s past, perhaps in the earthquake, he came to the realization that superheroes did not exist. After all, if they did, then why would they continuously let bad things happen to people? Rui expands upon this idea in his conversation with Hajime, Utsutsu, and Sugune in episode six, saying that if people rely on superheroes it makes them complacent, and presumably less likely to help each other, opting to wait for help to arrive instead of finding a solution themselves.
In light of recent themes addressed in Gatchaman Crowds, I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about heroes, superheroes, and their ilk, arriving at the realization that multiple anime series offer a specific personality drawn, quite literally, to dreams of being a superhero. A character who communicates more easily through visual arts than the spoken or written word all too often expresses themselves through dreams, and drawings, of heroism or saving others.
I personally love this idea – not coincidentally because it is near and dear to my heart – because it ties into ideas of how various people communicate in different ways. If one is unable to communicate properly through speaking or writing, they are often more likely to project their desires into visuals. It just so happens that, all too often, these visuals are ones of heroism or traditional superhero values. In asking the question, “Why?” it’s possible to set an interesting framework through which to view these more artistically-inclined personalities.