Blu-ray Review: Gatchaman Crowds – The Complete Collection
17/04/2015 2 Comments
We Gatcha’ourselves Animatsu’s debut Blu-ray release to find out what lies ahead for the crowds; so is it plain sailing or do we need a hero? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Gatchaman Crowds – The Complete Collection.
Beneath the tranquil surface of daily life in Tachikawa, a secret war is waged against alien invaders by heroes who are considered an urban legend: the Gatchaman!
With the powers of their alien G-suits, these super-powered super heroes are the unknowing citizens’ only line of defense – or so they think until the mysterious LOAD and his online network appear. But when a sinister enemy emerges, it will be up to the Gatchaman’s oddball recruit, Hajime, to help them join forces and save the day…!
Gatchaman Crowds is one of those shows that suggests to offer one thing but instead gives you something completely different. I expected nothing and yet I was still deceived by the plot that unfolded; did I enjoy it? Yes I did; but things could have been better. The disappointment lies mostly with how the show ends; but upon discovering that a second season is in the works you soon realise that things left-off could be explored next-time.
So what’s Gatchaman Crowds all about? Well it follows the story of the not-so-average highschool girl Hajime Ichinose who, after encountering a mysterious man atop of the school, becomes a member of the undercover team Gatchaman Crowds; an elite group of heroes who protect the city from alien invaders. The premise here is that Hajime, who is often referred to as the rookie by her peers, and the rest of the Gatchaman Crowds team are there to protect the citizens of earth from the aliens known as MESS; a bunch of square-looking-aliens that are currently absorbing humans for an unknown purporse. However by the third episode this ‘storyline’ is completely abolished- thanks to the unique personality of Hajime – and a new focus-point for the series is created; one that is much-more sinister and entertaining to watch.
The new focus-point of the story from here out is the online social service known as GALAX, a service that allows people to connect, chat and engage with each other both in the real-world and online through various means; the story here is that its creator, Rui Ninomiya, is using one hundred carefully selective members to change the world to his peaceful desire. This all sounds well and good but when his sponsor, which turns out to be an alien from another planet, decides to take control of GALAX that’s when things start to go wrong. With Rui no-longer in control the alien, which at this point is revealed as Katze, begins to use GALAX in order to unleash chaos and destruction upon the planet; at which point the members of Team Gatchaman arrive to put a stop-to-it; which is alot easier than it sounds.
The series moves along at a swift-but-steady pace and while the storyline is both engaging and entertaining its actually the cast of colourful characters that make it worthwhile. For instance Pai-Pai is the leader of the Gatchaman team yet he is often scared of making deceisions and going into battle; Utsu-Tsu on the other hand is a shy timid girl and is afraid to make contact with anyone – that is until Hajime appears on the scene with her insanely unique personality. Hajime can be considered the oddball of the show as not only does she act upon her own according, and completely ignore the rules, but she seems more mysterious than Katze and Rui combined; she looks like she has no clue on what she is doing – when in reality she knows exactly what she is doing and why – which makes for one interesting viewing experience when combined with the rest of the show.
Animatsu’s first anime release continues the trend set by recent MVM Entertainment releases, whereby the only additional bonus features are clean opening and closing songs and trailers for other anime shows – majority of which have yet to be licensed for a UK release.
Although you may not notice it Gatchaman Crowds features six different openining animations; with each other revealing a new ‘transformed’ state of the Gatchaman Crowds team – the main concept of the opening is pretty much the same throughout; so its kind of a “blink and you’ll miss it moment” – but its nice that all of them have been included here in the extras. The textless ending animation on the otherhand is the same throughout; but yet again thats included here.
As seen in the screenshot above the trailers included on this Blu-ray Disc are Medaka Box, Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl, Majestic Prine and Devil Survivor 2; all of which, with the exception of Devil Survivor 2, are currently not available in the UK.
Media: BD50 & BD25
Running Time: 3:46:03 (Disc 1) 1:15:21 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
The story of Gatchaman Crowds sees Hajime recruited by a mysterious man known as J.J to be a member of the Gatchaman Crowds group, an elite group of heroes that protect the world from alien invaders known as MESS; but as the story progresses the focus-point changes from stopping aliens known as MESS and rescuing humans trapped inside them to defeating a stronger opponent who has control of an online social service with mysterious powers.It’s different from the norm and blends traditional ‘superhero’ content of good vs bad with new updated topics such as social media and online interaction. The strangest aspect of this show however is found with the colourful cast of characters, some of which you’ll find completely bat-shizz-insane, but it all adds to the atmosphere and the charm of the show.
When it comes to Animatsu’s first anime release then this Blu-ray of Gatchaman Crowds is of top-quality; with visuals, audio and subtitle quality all being of high-standard and not to mention even the English Dub by Sentai Filmworks is pretty decent, although I once again deferred back to the Japanese Audio for a more enjoyable experience.. While, in general, I have praise for the way this release has been handled I do have some doubts surrounding the subtitles themselves; majority of which are just personal concerns and preferences that i’ve become fond of from other Sentai Filmwork shows.
For starters all of the subtitles included with this release are completely white and as a result they can sometimes easily blend in with the background, additionally reading subtitles can become confusing when 1) multiple people are talking as there is no reference or indication as to whose talking 2) Characters often speak dialogue that is written down; so as a result you’ll have the same text appearing twice on screen – one as translated text in the middle of the screen and the other as subtitles at the bottem; and 3) Subtitles can briefly jump-in-and-out on the screen due to the fast-paced nature of the translations appearing on screen. Basically the subtitles are a bit of a mine-field and it often reminds me of the Monogatari franchise; but personally I would have preferred Yellow subtitles and White translated text as well as an indication, such as “–“, when multiple characters are talking. The final worthwhile mention is that subtitles and audio options locked; with the only way of changing them being from the main menu or pop-up menu which does become a bit annoying when you want to quickly change audio tracks.
In my eyes Gatchaman Crowds seems to be the result of Power Rangers and Tiger & Bunny being combined together; with its transformations, CGI characters and premises of good vs evil on a global scale; it’s all good fun and it doesn’t get old anytime soon. The same can be said for this Blu-ray release by Animatsu; it’s a solid release and a well worth addition to your anime collection; especially if you enjoy shows like Tiger & Bunny, Battle of the Planets and so forth.
Gatchaman Crowds – The Complete Collection will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 27th April 2015.