Some interesting elements caught my eye in Gasaraki–the portrayals of leadership and trust issues that occur in the series.
Yuushiro and the TA Team
I like Gasaraki not only because of the political and economic realities that it imitated, but also because of the instances of trust issues. At first some members of the experimental TA team were skeptical about Yuushiro. The fact that he was a civilian and probably never underwent rigid military training counted against him, however talented he was with handling the TA robot. At first it looks like plain discrimination, but upon closer inspection the very nature of the role of the military it would make sense. These comrades would have to trust each other’s abilities in times of real war, and Yuushiro’s on-the-spot dancing and disappearing act in Belgistan didn’t help build trust with his supposed teammates. But soon enough his mates probably warmed up to him when he stopped the wayward TA pilot in a TA experiment gone wrong1.
Lt. Col. Hayakawa and the TA Team
When the TA team decided to follow Hayakawa’s decision to aid Nishida in his mission, I thought that was ill-advised. With the lack of formal orders, they were in the position to refuse; not to mention that it was a Gowa-backed operation. However, in retrospect, that was exactly what it meant to follow a leader. For a leader in an organization, the higher up you are the more you see of the bigger picture (usually). And in a rigid structure such as the military, the emphasis is on following orders, not question them or know the real reason behind each order. There’s no other way but to follow (and trust) your leader. (Trustworthiness is another matter though.) I was skeptical about the situation but in reality, this is also how organizations work. In Gasaraki, Hayakawa makes his decision as a true leader, and his subordinates follow.
His presence constitutes the Japanese ideals that I am unable to discuss because of lack of expertise on the matter. But, it is ironic that a civilian is able to orchestrate the Japanese defense/offense in the land of consensus. From what I’ve read the Japanese are more on group decision-making–but in crucial it’s probably too slow a process. And the Prime Minister and the government don’t look like they’re in control in this anime. I wonder if this is a veiled comment about the government, considering that a lot of the events here take inspiration from modern history.
Going back to Nishida, his unique vision and good anticipation/prediction are hallmarks of a good leader. It is no wonder then that Hayakawa eventually lends him his assistance. But like a true leader, his journey ends abruptly. He must be taking a page from history, where heroes would inspire others more when they’re dead than when they were alive.
The Gowa family
The Gowa family tradition in picking the leader, it seems to me, mostly favors the most ambitious members of the family. For years the Gowa family prospered under this arrangement. Unfortunately this also aids the rise of Kazukiyo Gowa, whose interests only include himself and his obsession with Gasaraki. He was selected because his brothers were also thinking about their own vested interests (and so chose to side with him), and nothing else. I’d hate to be in a family like this, even if they’d probably be super rich.
The epitome of command responsibility. There’s been a lot of instances in this show where the commander/general/somebody would say ‘I’ll take responsibility!’ in crucial situations. Before taking responsibility for the raid in Yokota by Ataka and company, I thought he was some kind of bad guy with unsavory motives. I probably jumped to conclusions with him as in this anime some of the perceived bad guys are not totally bad guys.
1. I’d like to think that’s what I remembered.