Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #08 (of 18) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, December 29, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, December 20, 2005
What They Say
First in volume 8, witness "A Romance Destroyed by Evil!" Romina and Julia plan to marry in order to make peace between their two warring countries. But Galactor has other horrifying plans for them.
Then, the Mysterious Red Impulse gives special training to the Science Ninja Team in order to meet "Galactor's Challenge!" Next, a fog-shrouded island hides awesome power and Gatchaman must stop Galactor from obtaining it. With the help of a sea lion, the team just might succeed!
In a solo episode for G-1, Ken is forced to pilot a plane by a mysterious gunman. Bullets fly and Ken crashes! Who will survive in "Gatchaman in the Valley of Death"? Later, while transporting a top secret I.S.O. computer component, Director Anderson's plane is hijacked! Can The Science Ninja Team save him from "The Devils Airline"?
And finally, no one is smiling when "The Camera Iron Beast, Shutterkiller" sets out to steal I.S.O. secrets and exploit their weaknesses!
Contains episodes 43-48.
Gatchaman continues the fight against Galactor across a number of familiar venues as Leader X continues to employ the worst leader. Ever.
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.
Gatchaman goes psychedelic with this cover as it features a good darkened face shot of Ken holding up his wrist communicator and having the very 70's style colored bars emanate from there. It's a very eye-catching piece to be sure and uses lots of the strong colors from the shows characters. 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 senior translator Sarah Alys Lindholm.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The latest installment of the Gatchaman series, which brings us to just under episode fifty, has a weak feel to a number of the episodes as the stories don't quite excite nearly as much or have all that much memorable to it. Out of the six though there are some things that are worth checking out however that makes it a worthwhile volume.
The release felt a bit weak from the start with the romance episode since the romantic aspect of any anime series from this time just has such an accelerated feel to it and a bit too overly dramatic to really make it feel like it works well. They can do some very good character relationships though and the one that does that well is episode forty-six where a defector from Galactor steals some juicy information and is on the run. He ends up coming across an airfield where Ken happens to be working on his plane so he forces Ken into taking him into the air so that he can escape. Ken's completely unaware of who he is though and when in the air he puts the plane into a spin and starts beating the crap out of the guy. They actually end up working together once Ken finds out what the guy is really up to so we get some amusing action as Galactor comes to recapture the defector at long last but the entire incident really paints a human face on Galactor for Ken, not that he doesn't still go around smacking or killing foot soldiers as necessary.
Another episode that was really good and had the whole team involved was the last one here where, with most modern technology, Berg Katse unleashes his latest flying creation in the form of the Shutterkiller. This is basically a giant floating camera that's designed so that the ship can fly to a particular target, say something like an ISO "peacekeeper" missile field, take a picture of it which captures all of its data, and then the flash causes the place to destruct. Katse has it going around to numerous sites of the ISO's so they can acquire various energy technologies and start building them (extremely quickly) in an underground site so they can launch a satellite version of the Shutterkiller, thereby controlling the world. The entire team gets involved in taking down the base which is a lot of fun since even Ryu gets some good action scenes here.
One of the things that continue to make me smile across this set of episodes is the interactions between Leader X and Berg Katse. Katse has so far screwed up so effectively and so many times that you wonder how Leader X could keep him around. While he does indeed keep around at least for now, Leader X is very comical in how he constantly berates and threatens Katse which has Katse on edge and trying harder to do what he has to do. Each new defeat he suffers doesn't seem to change his position but the grief Katse gets makes it all worthwhile from an audience perspective.
While this volume didn't quite have the best of material it did have some good moments here and there and the continuing events are still very much present. Team harmony does work better this volume though as everyone works together for the most part and there aren't any feelings of abandonment among them so some of the typical drama is cut back some. With six episodes though there's always bound to be some good to be found depending on the kinds of stories you like, be it giant monsters, weird mechanical creations of actual character stories and Gatchaman continues to deliver strongly in that regard.
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