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In 1972, Battle of the Planets hit the screens, an animated show about a group of young fighters battling alien incursions. The show was popular and spread through different media, I even remember owning some of the die cast vehicles. Given its popularity it is surprising that only a little over one hundred episodes were ever made, barely a scratch on shows like Naruto and Bleach.
Gatachaman Crowds (2013) sees the show return, albeit in a different form. In truth this show is only tangentially related to the original. The new show was produced by Tatsunoko Productions and directed by Kenji Nakamura.
This time around the show introduces us to the bubbly Hajime Ichinose, who has an obsession with collecting stationary. Not really sure why this particular peculiarity should make her ideal material for an alien fighter, but there you go, internal logic was never a strong point of anime.
It’s a brightly colourful show, which spends more time on the group’s social life than you would want, with an emphasis on social media. Rui Ninomiya is a rather clever chap who invent GALAX, an app designed to help anyone in trouble, unfortunately he has fallen under the spell of the show's big bad, Berg Katse, who uses it to spread chaos.
Hajime is not the only odd ball in this group of human transformers, although her innate pacifism seems to make her ill-suited to saving the world. The eclectic mix includes a gay guy, students, an office worker and an alien, pretty much guaranteed to cover all the demographic bases.
The show is presented with an aspect ratio of 16:9 - 1.78:1, with audio options for an English dub or the original Japanese. Both can be viewed with or without song and sign captions. The only extras are on disc two of this two disc DVD set. This include the clean opening and closing sequences as well as a bunch of trailers.
The set contains all of the twelve episodes of the show's first season, but not the OVA.
Overall, it's an ok show with average animation. The script lacks some cohesion and a lot of the audience will end the run scratching their heads at the loose plot strands which are never resolved. On the other hand the show is quirky enough to keep your attention.
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