Sentai Filmworks is releasing Gatchaman Crowds Insight which is an animated series from Houston-based anime distributor Section23 Films. On the cover it states “Gatchaman Crowds Insight – Complete Collection” but that is a bit of a misnomer because technically it is season 2 of the Gatchaman Crowds series. Season One is available in a separate release. This release covers 13 episodes (apparently they number them 0 – 12 on the 2 Blu-ray discs). At the suggested retail price of $69.98 ($50 new and used as low as $40 on Amazon) you get around 320 minutes of entertainment.
Plot Synopsis (from the back of the case):
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 my opinion series one of Gatchaman Crowds was pretty straightforward and had your typical bad guys and good guys fighting each other. This series takes a bit of a different approach and introduces characters debating what to do with only occasional appearances by the super heroes. I am not sure how this went over with the fans of the first series but it is a noticeable departure and could be disappointing. I found elements of the show to be interesting but the character development was underutilized. Plus if you’ve ever read any of the American comic books deconstructing super hero myths you won’t find much new said here.
This seems to be a fairly lighthearted anime but I am certainly no expert, I’ve only seen a handful of films and very little in the way of television programs. It’s typically not my cup of tea. So keep that in mind that I might be grading this on more of a curve than a fan would. I think the animation looks pretty well done but some of the added CG looked a little off to me. It’s slick in production and there are lots of fun colorization techniques used but it’s all fairly surface in quality.
This is a 1080p release at 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This release contains both English audio in DTS Master 2.0 and Japanese audio with English Subtitles.
Clean opening and closing animations
Gatchaman Crowds Insight Final Thoughts:
It’s hard to recommend this series to anyone except people who are already big fans. Even then, the structure and story telling devices deviate enough from that first season that all fans may not approve of the new direction. The art style seems decent and some of the conceptual groundwork in the story is interesting to discuss with your friends. I think my main complaint is that the story seems more like a side quest in a video game than an actual fully fleshed out story. Perhaps a second season wasn’t needed of this show?
The other negatives hanging over this release is the fact that there are basically no special features and the price seems really high for the content contained on the discs. My personal opinion is that this series can be skipped without remorse unless you just happen to be a fan of the creative team or a completionist of the series.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.