SHOGUN’S NOTE: The summer season is in swing, at last! I’ll be doing my best to watch most, if not all, of the new simulcasting pilots. As such, regular shows like ATTACK ON TITAN, ONE PIECE and, of course, DBZ will be getting a brief break in coverage to make room. Stay tuned, and don’t panic - - their eventual catch-ups will be spectacular!
Oooh boy. I bet the long-time GATCHAMAN fans were just livid over this...
Part of the fun of analyzing all these disparate, long-running adventure franchises is that you start to notice the stages of psychological development, as it were, that they inevitability run through. There are the earnest early years, then the darker and rebellious period, then the high-minded deconstruction, then the stubborn return to basics, and so on. Somewhere in all of that, you usually have a self-aware and self-ridiculing take that makes a radical departure from the franchise’s usual tone and giggles at all the kitschy parts of its mythos.
Now, I only have a general understanding of GATCHAMAN, but even with that deepest context, I can just smell this pilot taking such a departure. This isn’t a fresh start. It introduces its characters and world in a somewhat cluttered way, putting the cart before the horse in a way that only ever happens when creators presume their audience knows the gist already . Then there are things like the panda bear mentor and the magical smart-moleskins (or whatever they are) which seem like re-purposed props in a GATCHAMAN parody. I’d also question why Tatsunoko would approve of such a whimsical take on their characters that stands in clashing contrast with the more serious live-action update that they’re about to put out… but perhaps such a question is fundamentally against anime’s ethos.
On the plus side, the animation in this show is unusually stylish and crisp (I.E. the extra production money shows). I was also tickled by the basic gag of this secret superheroic society reluctantly recruiting this manic pixie with such an outrageously blithe disregard for their stoic rules of decorum. And good or bad, it is one of the more intriguing pilots I’ve seen this season. I actually am curious how badly this skeleton crew is going to work now that we’ve gotten through the (somewhat obfuscated) set-up.
What say you?
Watch this episode, "Avant-garde” here and decide for yourself.