I grew up watching the original Gatchaman series. It was never very deep or that good; just a dark and usually depressing Power Rangers variant. It was still a fine action series for the time it came out, with exciting battles, huge monsters and oozing idealism. I was content with what it was.
And now we got the remake… Oh Gods…
The first thing anyone will notice is that THERE IS CLOSE TO NO RESEMBLENCE with the original. The insignia and the name are the same (and maybe the lone wolf member too) but besides that this has nothing to remind you of the show you grew up with. In fact it is closer to other shows like Symphogear or Sacred Seven. And that makes it lame. If they are trying to sell based on nostalgia, as somebody who grew up with the original I found it to be almost of an insult. Sure, it was never Shakespeare but it retained a level of seriousness even if it was campy as hell. The characters there CARED for the roles they had to fulfill. There was drama, comedy, tension, and even horror at points. The remake throws all that out the window and just makes a prank of it all. It feels far less important for not taking itself seriously. Even in Madoka Magica, despite all its problems it still tried to build up some drama. Over there, when the girls found out their souls were snatched from their bodies, they had a mental breakdown. Over here, that stupid loli is just yelling HOW COOL after seeing her soul turning into a cell phone. I mean, come on! Even the whole world threat is not taken seriously as the villains kidnap but never kill them, or just do silly pranks to hook them into videogames as an excuse for vandalism. Oh my, how scary…
Now you may say that the show is not aimed at old timers like me but rather at a new generation. And this is why the setting got an update and now everybody is using smart phones to communicate and transform. Yeah, the typical transformation devises are not that cool anymore. Of course the heroes NEED to be students or it’s the end of the world. And of course we need videogames, obligatory moe, and fan service because it needs to sell. I can’t blame the producers for heading that way after complete failures such as Saint Seiya Omega or Devil Survivor 2, TRIED to be serious but ended up being unwatchable abominations.
All that may be nice on paper yet they still fail to make something really likable. Take the heroine for example. SHE DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN! While the original version had a blunt shonen lead with the personality of a wooden plank, this one here is an aloof girl who doesn’t take anything seriously. No matter what happens, she reacts by laughing, yelling stuff like HOW CUTE or COOL and in generally thinks everything is a joke and the world is full of unicorns and rainbows.
… Meaning she is a total retard.
And it doesn’t stop there. Her skirt is ridiculously wide, her smile is a lame V, she has a sexual fetish for notebooks, and skips school anytime she feels like it because it’s fun. And no, nobody around her minds that. Some may find her adorable for that, plus very intelligent and mature for questioning why the hell she needs to fight aliens and not just have a barbeque party for the lulz. Yeah, whatever. I still find her obnoxious to the point I want to choke her to death with barbed wire… Slowly. Girl, you were turned against your will into a super fighter with the task of protecting the world from alien invaders who plan to wipe out humanity. You could AT LEAST show you care a bit instead of just thinking this is a playground.
Sadly, the show doesn’t have only her being the only one who acts like a fish out of water. Pretty much everything is a joke. The other Gatchaman members are also not taking their roles seriously, even when they really try to. One of them is a feminine blonde dude, who despite trying to act all serious, he ends up being a stuck up idiot. Another one is a gay who takes the stereotype to such extremes, that it makes all real gay people to cringe their teeth. Then we have a practically naked emotionless girl who is there as nothing but fapping material. And finally we have the leader of the team, a tiny talking space panda which pulls out huge stuff from its pants, pretending to be serious when it’s an annoying mascot, and spits bubbles every time it feels weird. Their leader is some sort of samurai god who after you touch his penis, he sticks his hands in your boobs, pulls out your soul, turns it to a smart phone, and tells you to go fight aliens anytime he feels like writing a cryptic babbling.
… And I am not making this up.
So yeah, they made it as stupid as possible since it would be too hard to take silly dressed heroes, whose personality is described in 5 words, protecting the world from aliens with a serious face. After all, who can take the Power Rangers seriously anymore? An idealistic lead in a show about silly dressed superheroes fighting silly looking monsters just doesn’t appeal anymore. They might as well present the whole show as the silly superpower action flick it was all along. So is it working? As a braindead show, I guess it does.
Heck, they are even attempting to make it seem mature by throwing in social-political themes! You heard me right; they literally deal all the time with some social reconstruction based on motivating the population to take action through a videogame. The concept is cool and I have found some people in forums making a big fuss out of it as it deals with stuff no other anime attempted so far. But by the end of the day it is still presented in a silly way just like everything else in it. I can only call it wasted potential since the ending of the show barely does anything with it.
But it’s not like there is nothing I liked in it. The budget is good enough to make the whole thing look eye-catchy enough, with pop-art animation, videogame-like visual effects during battles, a funky soundtrack, a most over the top arch-villain, and a feeling of HAHA THIS IS SO STUPID I ACTUALLY LIKE IT. So if you go in it expecting nothing else other than pop-corn entertainment, you will actually like what you will find in it.
Of course when the feeling of stupidity shakes off, you still realize it is still a crap show done for giggles. Personally I am more interested in watching the live action remake, which as campy as it looks is still very close to the original. And no, I am not being a stuck up prick who wants to see things stay the same despite the world moving forward. If they want to make a remake of something, they should keep more things the same than just the name and the insignia. Space Battleship Yamato is an awesome remake, and so are Hunter X Hunter and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. They are very close to their original versions and just updated the visuals and the plot mechanics. Gatchaman Crowds doesn’t do that; it feels more like a spoof done by drunken college students, or a social study that half-way through completion the professor just gave up and gave his 5 year old son to fill in the rest. This is why it will never be anything more than a time waster and a disappointment for old and new fans alike.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 9/10
General Artwork 2/2 (artsy)
Character Figures 1/2 (eccentric and annoying but their transformations are quite cool)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 2/2 (lively)
Visual Effects 2/2 (artsy)
SOUND SECTION: 8/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (annoying but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 4/4 (great)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 1/2 (ridiculous and interesting at the same time)
Pacing 1/2 (uneven)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (messy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Presence 0/2 (ridiculous)
Personality 2/2 (stupid but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too much randomness)
Memorability 3/4 (visuals, music, and themes make it quite peculiar to remember)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10
Art 1/1 (looks artsy)
Sound 1/2 (great music, not so great dialogues)
Story 1/3 (good concept but presented lazily)
Characters 2/4 (eccentric and annoying at the same time)