Gatchaman Collection (of 1) (Mania.com)

Review Date: Tuesday, February 05, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2001



What They Say
This popular three volume mini series continues the story from the original hit U.S. television series ("Battle of the Planets" and "G–Force") and ends with the ultimate confrontation between the Alien Galactors and the Human Race. Now get all three volumes in 1 collection dvd!

Contains:
Gatchaman: Volume I - The Turtle King
The International Technology Commission’s project "The Mantel Plan" is a system for the unification of the World’s energy resources. This revolutionary plan is targeted for annihilation by an alien race known as the Galactor.

The malevolent Galactor is behind a wave of global destruction using a monstrous ship that has already decimated a city on its path to systematically destroy the project. The Gatchaman team and their prized ship, the Phoenix, must rise to the rescue! To save the planet, it’s five against thousands – odds only one team of specialists can handle - The Gatchaman!

Gatchaman: Volume II – The Red Specter
The secret undersea Galactor headquarters has been discovered, giving the Gatchaman team the chance to cripple the enemy by destroying the base. New forces led by a mysterious warrior in red will join the Gatchaman team in defeating the Galactor this time around – but are these new forces allies or potential foes? The fate of the world depends on the Gatchaman.

Gatchaman: Volume III – The Final Countdown
Operation codename: Phoenix. The ultimate battle between the human race and the Gallacter is at hand! The Gatchaman team will have to be careful when they embark on their most perilous mission yet! One move determines if humanity lives or dies. It is a brutal fight to the death and when the battlefield clears, both Gatchaman and the Red Specter will pay the ultimate price.

The Review!
As the conclusion to the "G-Force" series, these OVAs are a great trip down memory lane for older viewers. The visuals and character designs are so much better than the original series that character development seems a foregone conclusion, but don't expect too much on the plot side- this is still predictable G-Force good versus galactic evil.

Audio:
For my primary review, I listened to this disk in Japanese. The audio is clear, if uncomplicated. There's not much directional work, but the two pop songs are catchy. Overall, there are no major glitches in the audio transfer. The voice-acting is average. The only real issue was the dub version, in which the background music sometimes overwhelmed the voices, so you had to strain to hear what some characters were saying.

Video:
This is where the disk gets strange. Unlike the original, the characters are three-dimensional and nice to look at, but the original costumes are kept, making an odd contrast. The backgrounds range from grainy and flat to nice pan shots.

Two types of weirdness occur in the video quality, both deliberate. To show that the characters are watching an image on television, the animators run horizontal lines across the picture, as though you were looking at a computer screen through a video camera. The second problem is that the ultimate evil, known as "X", is completely CGI. The transitions back and forth to normal animation are a bit odd. Without these drawbacks, the visuals would have been simple but very nice, with bright colors and rapid, clear fight scenes.

Packaging:
The cover is just the Superman-style "G". The back cover shows 3 pictures of the team, concentrating on Ken and Jo. The inside contains a "G" sticker and an insert with OVA descriptions, chapter names, and ads for other UV products. The disk itself just says "Gatchaman Collection DVD". I found the packaging hard to open- the top tape was stuck to the back cover, and the disk holder required two hands- but maybe that's just me.

Menus:
The main menu shows the team, allows you to play any one or all three OVAs, and is generally quite easy to navigate. The submenus are also convenient, since the non-playing ones allow you to play without going back to the top. There are also several chapter breaks. A nice design overall.

Extras:
What extras? Trailers and web connect do not extras make. There is, however, a hidden music video at the end of the third OVA (after the credits), and it's quite funny.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ah, G-Force. How long has it been? Once again, we have Mr. Perfect (Ken), the angsty bishounen (Jo), some pretty fanservice (Jun), the loud-mouthed runt (Jinpei), and poor Ryu, who never gets any lines. This time, they're all in three dimensions (at least visually).
The first OVA introduces us to Dr. Nanbu and lots of exposition about the withdrawal of the nation of Hontworl from the UN. Predictably, the G-Force team is called in when a city is blown up. Who would do such a thing...?

The plot is fairly predictable here. We get re-introduced to the characters and their relationships (Jun likes Ken, Ken and Jo fight, Jinpei teases Jun, etc.) and to the storyline (Galactor wants to take over the Earth). Nothing much surprising happens here.

The second OVA explores Ken's past and the origins of Galactor. The Jupiter Ninja Corps appears to fight G-Force, and the leader of Red Impulse saves Ken. The great part about this OVA is the humorous way the fights happen. The bad guys, as usual, have no clue who they are up against, and G-Force almost laughs as they blast through. The violence is bloody, but due to the animation style, it's not gross. This part is mindless, but entertaining enough.

Fanservice for the women starts in OVA 3, where Jo gets his angst scenes as he infiltrates Galactor. Ken and the others let their ship be blown up so they can try that trick as well, but it backfires. Jun also gets her moment in the sun with lipstick bombs, Ken's father appears again, and even the evil Verk Katse gets a flashy scene or two as Galactor prepares to destroy the Earth's biosphere and end human civilization. If it wasn't for the sudden and cheesy ending combined with a (once again) predictable plot, this would be a great ending to the series.

This disk is all about eye candy and nostalgia. If you aren't into either one, don't bother. If you want to see the series but with better animation and music, it may be worth buying.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles


Review Equipment
25" Samsung Stereo TV, code-free Pioneer 333, Sony STR-SE391 receiver, Sony speakers, and the cables that came with the set.



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Urban Vision
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 135
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Gatchaman