To celebrate the end of the osaka arc, here is the Katou Thread lovers and haters have been waiting for.
Katou: The Past
Katou grew up watching Kurono pull crazy stunts. For him, Kurono was some kind of hero, and he always wanted to be that kind of invincible kickass guy. Things went wrong, very wrong (parents died, abusive aunt took him and his little brother in, he started rubbing with the wrong crowd) but he did not forget his dream of being a hero. Seeing that homeless dood (prinny dood XD) on the train tracks was a chance to make a step in the right direction (considering how much he was sweating, I assume it was his first time being a hero). He dragged Kurono into his mission, and they both wind up dead.
Katou: As a Gantzer.
Die Hard - Katou won't die, won't give up, won't piss his pants off. He is like Wruce Ballis, in Hie Dard. It doesn't matter if he got no legs (Nuri), no hands (Thousand arms), no suit (onion alien), Katou will always come through and do something.
Team Player - You could say this about Kurono, but Katou takes it to a completely different level. He will go out of his way to save wounded mates, take a hit to save others, and he does not hesitate to make hard decisions even there too (Kurono's leg, Buddha arc)
Stunt Man - Not as much as Kurono, but Katou does have a knack for doing unexpected, but effective stuff (e.g Tanakas, using his chopped off arm, the nuri strategy).
Jinxed - This guy just has no luck whatsoever. The first time he plays hero, he dies and gets sent to hell, everytime he tries to be nice to an alien, it backfires and shit happens, every girl who confess to him die acting as a human shield, when he finally shows a bit of coolness he gets shelved to push Kurono forward (that's twice now). Based on this, i suppose that it's safe to say that Katou has more pain to look forward to in the forseeable future.
Relatively Speaking - Katou is a very good Gantzer. However, he does not compare to Kaze/HS/Izumi in terms of pure skill/power, falls short of Kurono in terms of stunts, and has no esp/big boobs.
Katou as a Leader
Okay, the highlight. Here, i am not talking about who walks in first and goes pew pew. That's just rushing in first - Kaze/Kurono/Izumi fall under this Category, even though Kurono has "occasionally" done more in mission (The dino arc is the only i can really point towards). By leader, i mean actually organising people into sensible groups, assigning someone to cover wounded members, and building up an attack strategy. Katou does all that, time and again (Tanaka, Buddha, Osaka).
Next, let's talk about leader quality - I wrote something on this a while back, but I'll just restate it for convenience. Kurono was a substantially different leader, mainly as to why they led. Kurono led, I won't deny that, but he only gives orders and information when everybody starts cheering on him (dino arc). The chapter where he trains the others also features how useless he is off-gantz, and the smug look on his face says clearly that he does not care about his mates as much as he should, or at least the way Katou does. This is proved in the Tae/Oni arc where he cans teamwork and protects tae/goes for points (he jumps in, chops the head of an elephant, and walks off w/o asking Reika if she's fine, what happened to the noobs under her, etc). So yeah, Katou, in that sense is, or would be more of a leader on and off mission.
Katou: What he adds to the story.
Okay, i'll try to be as objective as I possibly can. I don't hate katou. Far from it. But it's just that he is a "type" i have seen so many times before that...
Let me put it this way - Popo talked about Katou finding his balance - well, yeah, interesting to watch, but I can already tell it's going to go like - he'll be less squirmish about killing, but he'll still try to reason with aliens, time and again, and that will but him and others in the frying pan time and again. He'll become even less squirmish, but he'll still hold on to his ideals and one day, it will come through and save his life, and he'll actually meet a "good alien" he does not want to kill, might end up protecting that alien from other gantzers...
see what i mean? Personally, the reason why I like Kurono is not because of his strengths, but because of his flaws. More flaws = more room for growth, and Katou doesn't have enough flaws for my tastes.
Of course, Oku may surprise us (he always does) like the "fag" incident, or by killing Ayumu, but well, on the face of it, that's what it looks like to me...
Okay, everything putting leader and gantzer together, I say Katou pars with Kurono. He may fall short of in terms of raw skill, but, he makes it up in terms of what he adds to the performance of every other team member.
The Future, or at least my take on it.
I expect Katou to remain the leader. Kurono will supply some character growth/off-mission drama, and team up with HS for boss killing, but I don't expect him to take over Katou's role as leader. The team setup we saw emerging in the mid buddha arc will dominate the rest of gantz, this time with more experienced/better members... at least until oku grows bored of Kurono/Katou again....
PS: approx. 1k words but don't get the wrong idea, I R T3H KURONO F4NBOY!!!