Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #15 (of 18) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, August 24, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
What They Say
In the 21st century, the evil organization Galactor has its sights set on global conquest. Their use of tyrannical terrorism and high-tech mayhem has the world in the clutches of fear.
The only thing standing in the way of complete global dominance is the International Science Organization (ISO) and its chief scientist, Professor Kozaburou Nambu. Dr. Nambu's primary weapon in the fight for freedom is his top secret experiment: the five kids who make up the Science Ninja Team. Bird, Go!
Contains episodes 85-90.
There's a palpable sense that things are getting closer to a true final confrontation as each side is circling each other's secret bases more and more.
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.
Ken gets a cover to himself again in a really solid action shot as he flings off his bird dagger while the background is a mix of the red from his cape and a strange but appealing style of flames. With the violent look in his face and the way the uniform looks in Ross' style, it's a very striking cover. 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. 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 actress Samantha Inoue Harte and the ADR director, Charles Campbell.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gatchaman hits up another volume of groovy fun with six more episodes that brings us all the way up to episode ninety. With only three more volumes left after this, you can get the feeling that the scripts and storylines here are angling towards some sort of final confrontation. Each side is getting closer and closer to finding the others secret base or their secret identities that you know it just can't last all that much longer without something snapping.
The back and forth on the whole secret base aspect is rather fun but you know in watching it that there are like a billion other ways of actually going about doing it. Especially with the Galactor folks since they leave so many pieces of equipment behind as well as smaller bases. One episode here has the Galactor folks working a mild plot to cause social unrest by buying up all of the Sugare in the world which will cut back on goods produced, especially chocolate bars for children, oh my! They've been hauling the purchases made through another front across the world but one of their transport planes crashed at Big Yellow Mountain and it provides a lead for the Science Ninja Team to investigate. It seems silly that Galactor would buy up all the Sugare and then bring it all back to its main headquarters but it's what the plot goes with. It's actually a fun episode since you have Jinpei dressing up as the Prince of Tuba in order to try and find out where the Sugare is being taken to and Ryu does a particularly goofy bit in his disguise.
The Science Ninja Team is also trying to lure Galactor out in one of their better plans in this volume. Jinpei actually comes up with the idea of creating a fake Crescent Island Base and using a signal on it to draw in the Galactor forces. Everyone is making fun of him or outright concerned that he's making a fool of himself but Dr. Nambu turns around and approves the plan and has the rest of the team back him up. The idea of drawing out Galactor isn't a bad one and it's something the team has done before but Jinpei and Dr. Nambu come up with the idea of using a special red dye on the attacking ships so that when they retreat eventually they can track them down. It's one of those very simple kind of plans that's actually quite effective if actually used. Why it took almost ninety episodes...
Jinpei actually makes out rather good in this volume. In addition to coming up with that particular plan to get Galactor, he has an episode where he sets out on his own to rescue an attractive fourteen year old girl who was kidnapped and does so without his costume. The rescue is actually pretty easy but it turns out that the kidnapping and ransom was a plot by Galactor to secure some extra funds, so when the story makes it up the chain, they realize that Jinpei may actually be part of the Science Ninja Team and start working towards drawing him out. Jinpei also has a sizeable role in another episode that has a series of Galactor spies making their way to Jutland to find the team and he inadvertently brings one of them back to the Snack Bar as hired help. The guy is in pure hippie mode and it's just amusing watching it in both languages.
There is a lot of things going on in this volume and that's without even touching upon an episode that seems to highlight a lot of Berg Katse's mysterious past, a past which may actually explain his penchant for purple outfits and purple lipstick. The show has a lot of life in it at this point and it's really only touched the surface of interpersonal conflict among the good guys and the bad guys. Ken and Joe have their problems but it's so light compared to what would be done with it today. Every time I get a new volume I keep expecting the show to really drop in quality in some way, but other than just having more silly mecha on the Galactor side, it really keeps up well. This volume is just as much fun as when it all started.
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, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray 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: TV PG
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