Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 14.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gatchaman

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #02

By Chris Beveridge     August 02, 2005
Release Date: June 14, 2005


Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #02
© ADV Films


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!

The Review!
Moving fast into the series with another six episodes, Gatchaman provides more of the same while expanding its universe nicely.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
While Gatchaman is very much a team show, I don't think any image from it represents it more to me and my memory of it than the piece used for the cover this time which is from the end of the opening sequence. It's just one of those classic images of man against the world and looking strong and ready to do what's required. With it being done by Alex Ross it takes on an even stronger appeal. 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
Similar to the first volume, there is aa good selection of extras. While no clean materials are available for the series opening, the closing gets a clean sequence here. One really fun extra for a group that's included is an entire episode done just as a music and effects track. This starts with a screen that tells you how to karaoke it as it basically lets you do a fandub. Aspiring voice actors should use this kind of thing repeatedly to try a wide range of voices and styles as well as getting an idea of timing and flap. What I'd really like to see is submissions for these to be played back, especially from a group that has a lot of beer on tap. Also included in this release, episode eleven has a commentary track by the ADR director and the voice actress for Jun, Kim Prause.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After taking in the first volume of Gatchaman, I wanted to get a bit of a break before taking in the next set of six so as to not overwhelm myself with it and turn it into something that wasn't fun to watch. The show is definitely enjoyable but it's not something that I can take in large doses, like twelve episodes in one sitting or a weekend. Spread out a bit and without seeing the constant repetition of scenes, hallmarks of shows of this era, it doesn't come across as badly as it could otherwise.

Gatchaman does continue for the most part to be really episodic at this point and there's little chance of it changing but they do a good job of building what's come before. This is mostly evident in the form of the relationships between the five members of the team as they're slowly working together better and better. They're not above some ribbing and being a bit mean with each other at times though. One episode deals with the popularity levels of the team members as told to them by a bunch of kids and it really sets Jinpei on edge since he's coming in last after "the fat guy" as well. So when a mission comes up and things go badly at one point, he takes advantage of it to try and solve things himself and heads off from the group. This actually turns into a ploy by those under Katse's command to use Jinpei to find the Gatchaman's base.

One of the best changes made during this round of episodes is that the team gets itself a new underwater base. Hidden underneath a crescent shaped coral reef, the massive base serves as the new home of the team and gives them a safe haven to retreat to. Even better, it's not stuck to one location so they avoid the problem of it being constantly actively searched for by the enemy. It was amusing watching them dive into the water with the God Phoenix to see it though since there's massive bubbles in the viewscreen and then all of a sudden it's right in front of them. So close to crashing but done in a cool manner.

The shows otherwise are fairly standard material for the most part. Galactor has some new scheme up their sleeve and launch it while Ken the Eagle and the rest of them suit up to fight it off. The team is working better together but there's still plenty of tension during some segments that keeps you wondering who will snap first, but there's also more moments of them working together tightly that provide just as good of a feeling. The Galactor folks have some amusing plots this time around, from cyber-nano ants to less than cyber sized creatures run amuck on the land. One of my favorites here is when they set up on the moon itself and start flinging moon rocks across space and raining them down on the Earth. It's like an early version of a colony drop in a sense and was very amusing, especially in how bad the science in the fiction was.

The villains that Galactor trots out are also rather amusing, from the dead looking pilot on his old style plane to Katse himself. The costumes and their manners are very much kept to an internal bible of sorts so there's a great continuity to it. I've really been enjoying the dub for this as well since the actors really get into their roles. The good guys generally keep to a fairly regular standard in their performance but the bad guys get the chance to go a bit over the top and they do it nicely. They really fit their characters just right and make watching the show all the more enjoyable.

In Summary:
Gatchaman's just as much fun as the first volume was while building upon what's come about in these episodes. It's not a show I can sit down and watch six episodes in a row, never mind twelve, but they're all very enjoyable when taken on an individual level. This volume does a good job of moving things forward a bit more between the new base and the Red Impulse segments. Character development progresses slowly as well but there's more than enough time ahead of us for a lot more of it to happen. If you liked the first volume, definitely check out this one and enjoy more of it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,clean opening and closing animation, episode commentary, Gatchaman Karaoke


Review Equipment
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.

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