Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #07 (of 18) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, December 20, 2005
What They Say
First, frozen lakes, solar power, and unmasking of Katse?! Then, what dangers await the Science Ninja Team as they venture into a sinister mechanized jungle with ramapaging dinosaurs and tentacle freaks?
Next, in another 2-part special, a Devilstar ship has unleashed upon the Earth horrible and ancient flesh-eating plants - and Jun is on the menu! Later, as Jinpei mourns the apparent death of Jun, Red Impulse returns, beats the hell out of Ken, and rallies the Science Ninja Team to not give up the fight!
Then, crank up your amps and jam along with the Demon 5 as Galactor uses the power of Rock and Roll to bring people to their knees and building to their foundations! You don't know ANYONE with a sound system this loud!
Finally, Ryu gets caught up in a Galactor-inspired prison riot at an isolated facility full of hardened criminals and murderers! It's up to Ken to go undercover as a Galactor Commander and save him!
Contains episodes 37-42.
Holy flying Saint Bernard's!
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its original language of Japanese. Having never been able to hear it like this before it's an obvious draw for us and it's quite enjoyable. The mix for it is rather low though in comparison to other DVD releases out there, including ADV's own releases, but once kicked up a few notches it's still very clean and clear all things told for its age. There isn't much to really expect from this mix overall but it fills the forward soundstage nicely and it gets across the show as it was originally presented. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback though it does get a bit muffled during some of the louder scenes when played higher in volume.
Originally airing back in 1972, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With this show being as old as it is, the transfer for it looks pretty much amazing. It's not problem free but it's something where I never expected the materials to look this good. There's a layer of grain to it that causes a lot of the solid color areas to look a bit alive but it was only noticeable when sitting about three feet away on my 23" widescreen set. When watching on the primary setup at a nine foot distance, it just looks all smooth and good looking. There are some visible areas of print deterioration and scratches along the way but these are fairly minimal overall and simply a part of the show. For something that as of this writing is thirty-three years old and who knows how badly stored over the decades, this is fantastic.
Jinpei gets a cover to himself and something of a rather evil look to his face accented by the green glow that surrounds him as he rises up through the flames. It's a very bright yet dark and almost malevolent feeling cover but it really imbues the character with a sense of power and ability.. The back cover is nicely laid out with several shots from the show and character artwork and the obvious plugs of its US relation to Battle of the Planets and G-Force. The summary covers the basics and a good clean listing of the extras. I was amused that their listing of the cover art included the world "famed" for Alex Ross though. The rest of the cover is rounded out with the technical information and production material. No insert was included with this release.
Done up in a very 60's/70's-ish layout of multiple boxes with animation and various imagery of the show playing throughout them, the menu invokes the period and feel of the show nicely while giving it a mixture of a more modern taste as it has CG logos, sketches and new artwork mixed in while the opening song vocal piece plays through for its brief thirty second loop. The layout is easy to use with one small box containing instant access to all six episodes as well as the standard subsections. The disc also correctly read our players' language presets without issue and played accordingly.
The extras mirror the previous volumes pretty closely. The opening and closing sequences are provided in a clean format once again and another episode is opened up for fans to do their own karaoke/fandub for. Also included in this release is an episode with a commentary track by voice actor Edwin Neal who has the fun role of Berg Katse.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gatchaman's seventh installment, taking us through the remainder of the thirties and into the early forties, has a good set of episodes to it and even includes another two part adventure that places the fate of womankind in peril. The show continues to have a good bit of camp to it as well as some plain laughable moments all while retaining the spirit of the seventies in both its dubbed version and in the kinds of characters that inhabit the world the team resides in.
Gatchaman has me laughing right from the start of the volume as the first involves a scientist who has figured out a way to utilize a frozen lake to produce massive amounts of solar energy, more than a nuclear reactor can. The problem is that the lake hasn't frozen this year so foul play is suspected and he and his faithful dog Taro go out to investigate it. They run afoul of Galactor along the way and the good scientist gives his dog the camera with the pictures of what he's taken of what Galactor is up to and launches the Saint Bernard out from the helicopter. Flying Saint Bernard's indeed! The dog is able to survive the fall and subsequent gunfire and finds his way to the Gatchaman HQ where Dr. Nambu quickly understands what's happened and sends the team up there to save the doctor before Galactor can find a way to power their massive "Renzilla" flying monster bird. Galactor figures well enough into it but it's the dog that takes the show, especially when they put a device in his head that can resurrect him should he die. Morbidly amusing…
Breaking up the stand alone episodes, there is a really fun two part adventure that gives Jun some focus. Galactor has discovered a flower that once likely ruled the planet ages ago and have given it a second lease on life. The plant grows massive after taking some time in the dark and becomes a fair bit larger than humans. It's enough to disrupt any city that it gets into but what's really evil about the plant is that it hunts only one particular kind of prey; women! It simply loves to kill them and will stop at nothing. With the female half of the race at stake, Jun ends up trying to take the battle into her own hands with a device she gets from Dr. Nambu but heads out on her own only to be captured by one of the plants and kept secured away. Everyone else thinks she's dead and falls into a funk where they wonder why they're fighting and dying for everyone else while Dr. Nambu just goes on with his usual business, oblivious to how bad of a real leader he's being. Not that Ken does all that great here either but the team's lack of harmony is a fun recurring theme in the show and this two part storyline really plays it up well.
By far the most hilarious episode on the release is the Murder Music episode. In this absolutely brilliant piece, Team Gatchaman takes a break so that Jun and Junpei can enjoy the musical stylings of world rockers Demon Five, the best rock n' roll band out there. Joe and Ken tag along but just don't get into it much while Ryu can't figure any of it, but they're all shocked when Galactor shows up and beams up the band and forces them to play a number of songs composed by Galactor himself. They're kept from hearing the notes and the words are just garbling but the end result is that the music is deadly and Galactor's ship, which is really just a flying church organ, wreaks havoc all over until the Gatchaman guys can figure out how to stop it. The band members are priceless as they're pure 70's in their look and phrases. This episode is also the one done with the commentary track and for a good part of it the interviewer tries to play the part of Wolfman Jack as he talks with Edwin Neal. The whole episode is just perfect and symbolizes some of the best camp of the show yet.
Gatchaman hasn't changed too much across the last few volumes but it does maintain the same level of quality and comedy that we've been seeing. This volume gives us more of the same with some amusing storylines and some pretty good straightforward pieces though there is naturally plenty of camp and amusement to be found in all of them. The six episodes here cover a good range of plots by Galactor as well as showing the continuing discord and lack of team harmony among the Gatchaman that helps give it an edge of many more current shows in a similar vein. This simply continues to be good enjoyable anime.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing Animation,Episode Commentary,Gatchaman Karaoke
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 150
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2