Blu-ray Review: Gatchaman Crowds Insight – The Complete Collection

It’s been several years since Animatsu Entertainment released Gatchaman Crowds onto DVD and Blu-ray and now the second season, known as Gatchaman Crowds Insight, will be released within the UK; but does it manage to hold up as good as the first season? Well let’s take a look in our Blu-ray review of Gatchaman Crowds Insight.

Synopsis:

You can’t keep a good Gatchaman down, especially when a new organization called VAPE (short for Violent Ape) starts hijacking CROWDS technology.

The ensuing wave of “Red CROWDS” incidents targeting high profile targets like the Prime Minister make it clear that the good team needs to start recruiting; fast. Fortunately, help arrives quickly, and with a rather… loud entrance. The alien Gelsadra’s ship crashes in a rice paddy in Nijima! Besides being generally peaceful, Gelsadra has a unique power involving comic-book-like speech bubbles that display a person’s inner feelings, rather like an emoji.

There’s also the fireworks enthusiast, Tsubasa, whose life becomes the focus of millions of viewers when she’s chosen as the newest Gatchaman – on nationwide live television! As if that wasn’t enough pressure for a teenage girl to handle, she’s also assigned Hajime as her mentor!

Will she survive? Will the world survive? Things are about to get really wild and crazy in GATCHAMAN CROWDS INSIGHT!

Our View:

*NOTE* Screenshots shown are from Gatchaman Crowds and not Gatchaman Crowds Insight.

It has been two years since Animatsu Entertainment released their debut title Gatchaman Crowds within the UK and now Animatsu Entertainment returns with its second season, known as Gatchaman Crowds Insight, in order to keep the story going for loyal fans of the series. Unfortunately despite this ‘positive’ nature of release – as it is getting both a Blu-ray and DVD treatment within the UK – Gatchaman Crowds Insight is nothing short of a political game gone mad with a few superhero styled fights thrown in for good measure.

Taking place shortly after the events of the first season, which if you recall saw the Gatchaman defeat Katze – with Hajime absorbing Katze’s personality into her own body – and the use of CROWDS becoming mainstream amongst the Japanese public, we now find ourselves watching the Gatchaman rescue the Japanese Prime Minister from being attacked by RED CROWDS. It is an interesting prelude to the start of a new season, and one that introduces the possibility of another long-standing enemy that wishes to use the CROWDS for their own twisted desire; but alas that is not to be. Instead viewers are treated to a story that sees a new alien life-form known as Gelsadra, as well as his new gatchaman sideback Tsubasa, rule over the nation by majority vote in hopes of creating a peaceful nation.

Love it or loathe it Gatchaman Crowds Insight definitely has its own quirky storyline and what started off as engaging and entertaining experience soon becomes a dreary insightful story about politics and the way of the people. The real story is not about the impending threats from the organisation VAPE, who in turn control the RED CROWDS; but it is the story surrounding Gelsadra and his agendas for the country and the unique ability that he brings with it that sees human emotion become demonic creatures with their own ideals. Its a unique story for sure but it is a far cry from the previous season and nothing like its inital setup suggested; which is a real shame considering the high quality animation Gatchaman Crowds Insight has to offer.

This is another issue I found with Gatchaman Crowds Insight; everything that was built up in the previous season, such as the characters and their personalities, are thrown aside so that it can focus on the two new characters Gelsadra and Tsubasa; both of whom I find to be unlikeable. For starters both Gelsadra and Tsubasa have their own type of catchphrase and by the third episode it becomes incredibly tiresome. Additionally as so much time is spent on these two characters (both of whom i’ve grown to dislike at this point) we never get to see the other characters personalities develop on screen; for instance Tsu Tsu hardly gets any screen time let alone any dialogue and the same can be said for other notable characters that were rather dominant in the first season. Its a drastic change and for those looking to spend more time with the familiar characters then its sure to be a disappointing experience – and thats before you even consider the story and its progression.

Extras:

Once again Animatsu Entertainment chooses to use disc assets originally authored by Sentai Filmworks and as a result we receive another ‘barebones’ release with the only bonus features being a selection of trailers for other ‘Sentai Filmwork licensed shows’ and the textless opening and closing animations.

Previously for me the highlights are the opening and closing animations as they feature some ‘unique’ animation choices; especially the opening which features real-life locations with CGI or card standees. The trailers on the other hand feature two titles from Animatsu Entertainment (namely Wish Upon the Pleiades and When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace) an MVM Entertainment release (which is Log Horizon 2) and a title that’s yet to receive a UK release; namely RIN-NE; so a mixed bunch indeed.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:41:27 (Disc 1), 1:42:28 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Gatchaman Crowds Insight is a series that starts off strong, ends well and has a whole lot of disappointing banter within the middle. Sure enough the characters and animation are great, with the exception of newcomers Gelsadra and Tsubasa who I find be a bit annoying, but it is the overall story that let me down in enjoying the series to its fullest.

It starts with a surprise battle with the RED CROWDS, and in turn the introduction of the organisation known as VAPE, causes the Gatchaman to call to stop an impending threat; but when newcomer Gelsadra listens to the peoples wishes of becoming a united nation he takes it in to his own mands to ‘read the mood’ and create a peaceful world. Unfortunately this attempt soon backfires with the emotional mood attacking those who disagree with the ‘majority opinion’ and in turn the Gatchaman are called to action in order to put a stop it. So where does this leave us? An ending which started in the exact same place with questions still left unanswered from the first season with more being raised on the purpose of this second season.

Disregarding the storyline for moment Gatchaman Crowds Insight offers some improvement from its previous season release as this time subtitles are presented in the ‘traditional’ Sentai Filmworks yellow with on-screen translations left to white text. This means that all text is clearly readable throughout the series which is a good thing considering that the English Dub is extremely mediocre if not barely watchable. All of the voice characters from the first season return, most of which I had no issues with; but alas as this second season focuses on a different set of characters – for the most part – the voice actors are different and in turn don’t feel natural to the characters they are supposed to portray; which is a common thing amongst Sentai Filmwork produced releases.

Overall Gatcahman Crowds Insight is a great product with its high quality production (animation wise) and competent release formula with readable subtitles and minimalistic bonus features; but it is just a shame that the content of the series and its progression is not up to the standards of the first season and as a result it fails to impress and entertain me.  Sure enough Gatchaman Crowds Insight is going to appeal to others; but my recommendation would be to just end it with the first season as you aren’t going to miss much by avoiding this second season.

Score: review-stars-3

Gatchaman Crowds Insight – The Complete Collection will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 15th May 2017.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked on ZOMGPlay and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita or Xbox One.

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