Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • 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
  • MSRP: 14.98
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gatchaman

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #03

By Chris Beveridge     September 18, 2005
Release Date: August 16, 2005

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #03
© ADV Films

What They Say
Get ready for the third uncut action-packed volume of Gatchaman!! Originally re-cut and released in the 70's and 80's as "G-Force" and "Battle of the Planets," Gatchaman is an anime Legend!! Now for the first time ever see it totally uncut!
In this volume Science Ninja Team Gatchaman goes head to head with Galactor and travels all over the world in six more unforgettable episodes.
First, The Science Ninja Team heads to an ancient desert town in Africa to discover the secret and amazing power of "The Mysterious Red Sand! "
Then, in episode fourteen, Gatchaman is off to the North Pole to discover why nuclear powered vessels are disappearing and to battle "The Fearsome Ice-Kander!"
In "The Fearsome Jellyfish Lens," our heroes search a deadly polluted ghost town only to find Galactor and its latest hideous creation! Next Gatchaman is up against an ever illusive and extremely dangerous chameleon-like monster piloted by Berg Katse himself in "The Indestructable Machine Mechanika!"
And then, just when they thought it was safe to let the children play outside, sinister Stag Beetles are unleashed to kidnap them and steal their brains!
In Volume three's grand finale, a giant whale is attacking harbors and Gatchaman must go to the Arctic Circle to thwart Galactors evil plans in "Revenge! The Whale Operation."
See what all the talk is about and don't miss a single astonishing episode!!

The Review!
Moving swiftly through the teen episodes, Gatchaman plays up its campy side but also a bit of heavy handed environmentalism.

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.

Going with another strong group shot, Alex Ross' piece for this cover has an upward looking view of the characters reaching out while the God Phoenix is above them with explosions in the sky. Amusingly we even get a panty shot for Jun. This is just another winning entry in the artwork Ross is doing for this series - they need to release a full on coffee table artbook after all of this is said and done. 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 closing sequence is provided in a clean format once again and another episode is opened up for fans to do their own karaoke/fandub for. Providing it's legal, I really hope ADV encourages people to send in some fandubs for the show and find a way of putting a winning entry out as an extra. Also included in this release is an episode with a commentary track by the series ADR director Charles Campbell and voice actress Luci Christian who is playing Jinpei.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
ADV's release of Gatchaman provides another six episodes of the classic series that's surprisingly faithful in how the new dub is done but at the same time seemingly much cooler and accurate for the kinds of slang used in the US at the time. The subtitle track continues to have a fair bit of slang and phrases to it but the new dub, which I still think is simply fantastic all around, punches it up a bit with extra groovy and cool replacements or extended words for lip flap reasons. Sometimes they tone it up a bit and sometimes they tone it down as well, though for the most part the show is still relatively all ages appropriate.

The mix of episodes is once again pretty varied and fun. There are some serious episodes, a bit of character exploration and then some wonderfully campy pieces that just make you laugh and wonder just what they were all smoking at the time. You really sit there with some of this and wonder what the writing sessions were like and whether they were daring each other to come up with something more outlandish and silly and yet still get it approved. The character exploration for this volume tends to focus on Jinpei which isn't surprising since he's not only the youngest member of the group but the one that's consistently trying to prove himself to the others.

He ends up in a number of situations where he's laughed at by others, usually just Joe but Joe laughs at everyone, as his sense of humor is the kind that people don't find appropriate in more serious situations. During one episode where a giant indestructible mecha named Mechanica disappears while they're chasing it, he heads off alone and tracks it down while everyone else can't find it and then go back to the base and just worry about him. Another episode has him being captured in the middle of the night and held hostage by Galactor so they can use him to occupy the Gatchaman force while their true evil intent goes on. Even better, Jinpei ends up helping to cause trouble for the entire team when he can't help but take care of a baby whale whose mother had died during a Galactor attack. While I don't think Jinpei really comes off any better after all of this he at least feels a little less annoying.

The overly serious material is pretty interesting and while it's not exactly ahead of its time it isn't something you really saw in animation on general back in 1972. The Galactor folks have taken up an underground residence in what's called a ghost city that was abandoned due to the heavy pollution that filled it up. Nothing could live there but the ISO has found that something is going on there. A research time ends up disappearing from radar during the initial sweep so the Gatchaman team is sent in. They discover pretty quickly that Galactor is there and find themselves targeted by them. The pollution has allowed Berg Katse to come up with an interesting new creature called the Jellyfish Lens. It's basically a big blob of eyes that reflect sunlight at a thousand times its power and lays waste to its targets. What's interesting with the episode as the group tries to figure out how to deal with it is just how against pollution and environmentally aware they all are. It's a bit heavy handed but it isn't the main focus of the episode but a prominent part of it.

The campy... oh, it's ever so campy. The last episode has Galactor with yet another new and creative plan to destroy and conquer the world and this time they're going to use giant robotic whales to sneak up to port cities and then cause mayhem. The problem for the ISO is that their satellite technology doesn't let them determine if they're real or robot whales when they find them so they can't just outright blow them away. So when the gang is out trying to figure out exactly what's going on, they come across one of the mechanical whales and start to follow it. But when it crashes into a herd of living whales it ends up killing all of them except for a baby whale which they feel they have to stop to help. Nambu completely humiliates them over this and their failure to follow the right whale which has cost a lot of damage and loss of face for the ISO. There's a lot more whale adventures that follow and the baby whale continues to be involved, including having a massive tracking device stuck to his forehead which is simply hilarious.

In Summary:
Having expressed my enjoyment of the show in all its forms from the first two volumes there's little surprise that I enjoyed this one just as much. What I can't take is a lot of episodes in one sitting which means the double disc sets sort of keep me afraid from starting it up. But once that first disc kicks in it's just fun with the classics but at the same time with a fresh and surprisingly fun and enjoyable dub script. This set of episodes doesn't have anything huge in it but it's a lot of fun from when it's serious to campy and everything in between.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean 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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