My senpai at work noticed me let me borrow his Gatchaman Crowds BD box, so I finally got to see the final episode’s director’s cut version in its full beauty.

I enjoyed the series a lot when it was airing, and I even went to Tachikawa a few times to check out places that appear in the show. The first time I got interrupted by a sudden summer rain, but the second time I could find most spots I wanted to.

The last episode of the show was quite a letdown for me (and I think for everyone else too): Tatsunoko couldn’t keep up with their own schedule, and pretty much all that would make the final episode the finale were cut, replaced with half an episode’s worth of flashbacks. Now that I’m in the industry as well, I can see that that’s the worst possible thing that can happen, something that I (and everyone in the same position as me) must work like a madman to avoid. The original run of Bakemonogatari suffered the same (or worse, even), but being backed by the light novels’ franchise and the characteristic Shaft direction, it managed to survive. Crowds, though…

Apparently it didn’t fail near as hard as I feared it did. There is a second season announced (I can’t wait to see), which means that it must’ve sold well enough. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of Kinako‘s characters and the awesome G-suit designs. Let’s just hope that next time Tatsunoko sets a realistic production schedule, or at least manage to keep an unrealistic schedule imposed by NTV within the acceptable range.

There’s still plenty to explain too. Let’s put aside how little was made clear about the MESS in the series, and accept that they were just some random alien presence used just to introduce the cast without any further meaning. However the full version of the final episode didn’t really answer any of the questions that were left open by the hasty on-air version. What exactly happened there, and more importantly, how?

I think it’s kind of a standard plot device that the final antagonist turns out to be something completely different from what they originally seemed to be. That would be fine though, especially in the case of Crowds, where maybe the main message is that we should be open-minded about the world, and not judge anything just because it doesn’t make sense at first. However, when on multiple occasions characters talk about the past, then suddenly twisting (not even properly retconing) it into something totally different at the last moment just doesn’t work out.

I hope that the second season will clear that up, or at least offer some explanation. I’m okay with extreme stuff in-world, as long as it keeps to the rules it set. (You know, if the basic setting of your story has no magic, then Dumbledore suddenly popping up out of nowhere is not okay.)

And even if it doesn’t, it can still be just as great as the first season was, with its amazing graphics, awesome music and unique characters.