September 20th, 2013.
Recap Half-Episode Feeling Fresh / The Prime Minister Tries His Best
Well, soon we’ll have to fight Katze again, and people will have to “Calm down their berserking hearts.” – in other words, it’s time to kick some ass and then have a nice conversation over tea about it.
1) OD having a flashback-filled monologue, right after the OP, without us getting the context for it is so weird, in internet-lingo it’s either his death-flag before he goes all out or hers after she dies. But, it’s also reminiscent of Sugane’s note to Jou before, a message, a note directly from his soul, which she might actually be able to read afterwards?
Also, this monologue, like many before it in anime, is the authors helping those of us who really hadn’t been paying attention, get a glimpse for Hajime’s personality. But considering how often they hammered it into us, I wonder how anyone could’ve missed it. If anything, I was most appreciative when they had her explain to Sugane that she doesn’t have to say something in order to think it if it’s obvious – twice in one episode (Episode 6 discussion).
2) And now Utsutsu giving the Hajime-related monologue? :O Either Hajime is dying or she just ascended, Stargate SG-1, into the next J.J. :O Well, I don’t have much to say about the Utsutsu sequence other than it making me tear up. Sometimes being understated is the best way to undescore something.
Well, if I still had to pick something – that is Hajime’s message, we’re always just ourselves, because the masks we don become us – but even if you don’t believe it, like Hajime doesn’t seem to, then the message is – you don’t need a mask, because no matter who you are underneath, it’s alright. Utsutsu x Hajime forever? Well, Hajime is a bit All-Loving, which might be a problem, but that’s also why you like her, don’t you?
3) Pai-Pai explaining why Hajime wasn’t disappointed in him – well, aside from her accepting people as they are (I’ve discussed before why Hajime isn’t judgmental – it’s not productive, why dwell on judging people rather than seeing how you can advance?) – she also understood him from the beginning – then again, such monologues that sound as if someone had died often embellish things and make it seem like understanding was always there. Pai-Pai was disappointed in Hajime because he has an ironclad expectation of the way things should be, of the way Gatchaman should be, rather than accept those who come for what they are, who they are. Also, it means questioning your God, JJ, and not trusting in his decisions, when you try to change the ones he had picked.
It’s about who you are, who you want to be, what do you want to do, rather than what you can do, or allow yourself to do, which is also the point for the Prime Minister. This is sort of “Believe in the you who wants to be himself!” sort of message, to allow yourself the courage and the will to do as you wish.
4) “A big red blaze” is a phrase that keeps ringing around this show, from as early as asking the fire chief in episode 3 or so if he’d keep doing his job, even if the world went down in a big red blaze. The same message by heroes and so-called ordinary people, by the villain and the hero-team. Berserking hearts? Flaming hearts? That’s why Hajime is stumped, she said it’s all about having fun, but sometimes me having fun and you having fun contradicts one another’s ability to have fun. How do you sort it out, Hajime-chan?
5) “We had a huge fight afterwards.” – you know how people say Bakemonogatari/Nisemonogatari is narrated and shown us through Araragi’s point of view and thus all the erotic shots, and how when Hanekawa is the storyteller then things appear quite different? Maybe this show is given to us through Hajime’s point of view, and the world isn’t so pastel and full of vibrant colours? I’m saying this because the so called “huge fight” seemed like nothing when we’ve seen it, and that might have only angered Sugane more – that he was so serious and Hajime was so carefree and “This isn’t a big deal” – the argument seemed like a child throwing a tantrum at a brick wall for a few seconds before understanding the futility of its actions.
6) “Senpai, aren’t there times you take action without really thinking about it? The time is now.” – but next episode she revealed that to be false, meaning she only said this for his sake – why/where did she say it’s false? When Sugane asked/accused her why she had revealed her identity to Rui, and she said it wasn’t just because she felt like it, but that revealing herself and speaking face-to-face was of utmost importance. Of course, what the statementalso referred to was the same thing Utsutsu had done – the desire to help others, even if it might put you in a predicament.
7) And finally, new content. I have several points regarding all of the above:
- I don’t think it’s a death flag, if anything, she is going to ascend, or at least recognition of her as their spiritual leader.
- I would’ve liked to see Berg-Katze and J.J.’s opinions of Hajime. You guys know you wanted that as well.
- I wonder if they are going to really go all out with animation in the remaining 1.5 episodes and used this as a way to get more time to put the effort they think the remaining time of the show deserves.
8) “I can’t bring any change as the Prime Minister. No one listens to me. They all look down on me as the Prime Minister.” – “So why don’t you quit?” – you know, she’s got a point. Either put up, or shut up. Either you’re the Prime Minister and it has a meaning, or you can quit being the Prime Minister, if it’s so utterly meaningless. No one’s forcing you.
9) “Oh yeah, the show’s already on!” – Hajime-chan is so precious. Also, it’s probably had a good effect at showing the people that the Prime Minister is just a person who’s trying his best as well, now, they might have tried to go with “I must be strong and never show weakness!” message that leaders are often saddled with, but this show isreally not putting any stock with that message – it’s all about empathy, discourse as peers. Also, reading from the Hajime-note instead of a teleprompter and showing his chagrin in an unedited manner. I like it. Striking his chest and saying “Gatcha” – old man, don’t try to be cool! Snickers
10) As the prime minister is alone, shedding the image of his power, reminding everyone of his humanity – of being just a simple man, we have X, who reconnects to people, and assumes the position of power, and connects people to one another. Likewise, we don’t have people relying on the Gatchaman alone, the Gatchaman aren’t a replacement to the people, but work with them and under them. “Everyone is a hero.”
“You always want someone else to solve everything for you, but when they don’t all you do is bitch and moan,but do you think everything is so easy? You haven’t even done anything for this country, you don’t even go to elections!” – to the last line they reply with “Touche” – for everyone who missed civics class, I guess ^_^
“If you’ve got complaints, try your hand at being the Prime Minister and bring about change!” – The first half of this episode has everyone talking about adopting someone else’s messages, so now the Prime Minister is adopting Pai-Pai, who says he is only repeating Hajime’s lines. Also, he’s telling them “It’s not so easy!” while at the same time reminding himself that as the Prime Minister, he is supposed to bring about change.
11) Berg-Katze, you have to take your hat off. Give people near limitless power, and trust that they will wreak havoc – even if they are well intentioned, someone will get hurt, things will get destroyed. Also, how do you tell one CROWDS from another? And he knows that if you give the power to everyone, there’ll be a bunch of people who will get the power who aren’t going to think of others’ best interests, because that’s humanity for you – and even if you do have others’ best interests in mind, you might end up like 26 and “help” them/the situation against others’ wishes, or you’ll start out well and then someone will hurt your family so you’ll lash out at all nearby CROWDS, hurting other innocent people, and so the chain continues. Continuing with “You’re the ones who will destroy your planet!” message.
Berg-Katze, bringer of chaos and disorder. Using humanity’s tools against it, giving power to humanity. If humanity had truly been everything Rui wished for, then this wouldn’t be an issue, that it’s an issue, that Rui had to carefully limit who he gave power to, shows that you can’t just trust humanity. This also runs counter to Hajime’s message of “Just let everyone do as they wish!” – of course, she means that while everyone’s having fun, not when they’re in a state of distress.
- Hm, we’re beginning straight with the OP, meaning we don’t want some scene-change after, and it’s all going to be one non-stop ride.
- BTW, that they have machinary that connects to their soul-notes is so weird – is this technology or is it magic? What is it that J.J. is doing?
- With all the images we’ve had of them inside the suit, and her answering the phone, you’ve gotta wonder if they’re in some sort of pocket dimension inside their suits, or even if the suit is some sort of body-less robot while their body is contained within their note, their soul.
Post Episode Notes:
I don’t think Hajime is going anywhere, I suspect this was actually done for several reasons: Make sure everyone is up to date, in case they really slept through half the show or simply forgot what happened 10 weeks ago; show us Hajime’s effect on the previously morose gang, show us how one person can change us, and more importantly, repeat to us the messages about hope, belief, and changing ourselves that the show had preached via Hajime; and well, simply buying time for the animation crew which had been criticized several times already this show to animate the final sequences with all they’ve got.
This episode had been the best example of “Flashback episode” I’ve ever seen in anime – and by this I don’t mean an episode where we get to see new material that happened before the timeline of the show we’re watching, but re-used content. We all know from Naruto and other shows how such filler is usually something that drives us insane, but here we have characters telling us what they think, which we’ve got very little of in this show, and it felt fresh, so bravo.
I quite liked the Prime Minister’s melt-down, and it was nice for his character-arc, but I’m not sure I’d have appreciated it were he a real person, but I suspect were he a real person who acted this way I’d have reacted very cynically, as the early talkbacks did.
There was one other thing I was really unsure of during the show, but I’m glad the show actually addressed that – GALAX is dangerous, X is not our friend – then they get power back and everyone goes back to using this tool, this very powerful tool, that had already been subverted once. No new failsafes, no nothing – then again, it is a state of emergency. BUT, the show did deal with it, without letting this lapse in judgement go without a proper response, of Katze co-opting the heroes’, humanity’s tools once more, to have humanity destroy itself. This is important, humanity is destroying itself tools humanity had created, directed by human urges.
Additional discussion on Reddit. SohumB tries to understand what the show themes are here, I will probably reply to it, at some point, likely in the way of editorials here. And here you can read a discussion on raging in online games, anonymity and attribution error. Finally, here is someone saying Hajime is too perfect, and I write an entire mass as a reply.