What’s it about ?
Cooler-than-thou sentai show.
(This is a revival from a long-lived franchise, but it doesn’t look like you need to know anything about previous incarnations of it.)
Hajime, the latest inductee into the Gatchaman program, a secret underground corps that protects Earth (and apparently some other planets) from otherworldly menace. Technically she’s the audience-surrogate who gets told all the exposition, but she’s so downright loopy she’s a bit hard to identify with. She’s a joy to watch as she bulldozes through any attempt by the other characters to keep things serious, though.
Sugane, the “proper” Gatchaman main field agent, who does his best to do things by the book and contain the unrelenting enthusiasm of his new junior. He just so happens to attend the same high school as her. (And there’s an entrance to the underground Gatchaman base in the park next door. Hmmm…)
Paiman, the inevitable
mascot panda-like alien who gives orders from the base and tries to keep discipline up. Well, at least until the middle of the episode where it just kinda gives up in the face of Hajime.
Wait, no. The real mastermind behind Gatchaman is “JJ”, the tall mysterious dude who inducted Hajime (in what’s totally not a rape metaphor) and gives orders through riddles transmitted by magic notebooks.
There are three other members to this team (with the implication that there are lots of other teams elsewhere) : the sullen brooding dude who makes the least effort possible, the awful-gay-stereotype guy, and the nearly-mute small swimsuit girl. None of them appear to be doing much in the field, and gay-stereotype-guy outright mention that he can’t transform into powered armor.
Our heroes fight otherworldly abominations that look like giant rubik’s cubes when they aren’t camouflaged as stuff or absorbing people. There’s also a creepy dude who shows up for three seconds at the very end, just to be delighted about seeing Gatchaman are real.
Awesome. I love this show’s aesthetics, with colorful crazyness creeping into the edges of a relatively normal setting until it erupts into full-blown futuristic nonsense like the Gatchaman base. I’m less fond of the bizarre shading in people’s hair, but it does help them stand out. Overall, this is very nicely animated, with tons of attention to body language (which is half of Hajime’s craziness).
Also, the score is pretty kickass, never afraid of featuring zany “Gatcha!” choruses.
Downright the most stylish show this season, doing it best to dust off the sentai genre. On that level, it works : it’s very entertaining, and it’s delicious to look at. Additional points for featuring a quirky girl as its central character.
Now, the big question is : is there any substance in here ? Well, jury’s still out, although there’s some interesting use of social media throughout. I like the idea that Sugane is participating in what looks like a “good Samaritan” social app, which is a fun concept in its own right.
There are some false notes here and there (the gay-stereotype-dude, and JJ being a bit too creepy for the show’s own good), but this is a promising start. Let’s hope the show builds upon it.