Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #05 - 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: 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. #05

By Chris Beveridge     October 25, 2005
Release Date: October 18, 2005


Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #05
© ADV Films


What They Say
A cliff carving of the face of Jesus Christ is transformed by Galactor into a rampaging magma giant! How can Gatchaman defeat this sacrilegious abomination?

Then in episode twenty-six, to the surprise of everyone in the Science Ninja Team Ryu the Owl (G-5) decides to quit and go back home! With Ryu gone, how can the team combine and still use the God Phoenix?

Next in "Galactor's Witch Racer," Joe enters the World Custom Car Endurance Race with the sexy but mysterious Lucy after she promises to reveal Galactor's headquarters. Danger lurks around every treacherous turn and someone just might not make it out alive!

In "The Invisible Devil," Children keep dissolving into thin Air! Galactor is using kid’s brainwaves to power the invisible menace Alphagila. What will the Science Ninja Team do after Alphagila secretly steals all of the ISO's secrets? And what will become of the children?!

Then we meet "Galack X, The Demon Man!" Jinpei and Ryu visit the orphanage where Jinpei grew up and help the orphans out with their kickboxing skills. Meanwhile Galactor intends to trigger an eruption in the local volcano and burn the town and the orphanage to ash!

Finally, "Kamisoral, The Guillotine Iron Beast" is attacking the Earth’s dams and water facilities. Gatchaman is worries that a nuclear power plant could be next. Kamisoral becomes a white shadow making missles and the God Phoenix useless. It is up to Dr. Nambu and the ISO's scientific expertise to devise a plan to defeat this horror!

The Review!
Sweet magma Jesus!

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:
Even though they go with the obvious mix of it being a girl so there must be pink, the cover for Jun stands out nice here with the white color of the wings and the rest of the colors of pink and red on her uniform against the background. 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:
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 Andy McAvin who has the role of Dr. Nambu.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gatchaman's latest batch of episodes continues the fun and moves the show along nicely, adding new challenges and motivations to the characters, expanding the world that they live in and in general just having a really good time with the weird things they can do with Galactor's creatures and science.

The opening episode alone is worth the price of admission. It takes place in a country called Ameris where things look a lot like America and they even have their president's faces carved into a wall of rock out in the Blue National Park. One difference, at least for now, is that there's someone working on carving in the face of Jesus next to the presidents and is going to be working on the Virgin Mary next. These plans go awry however when Galactor decides to use some of the material from that mountain to create their latest monstrosity which takes the head of Jesus from the rock range and gives it a molten magma body. Sweet magma Jesus! This creation is then causing trouble across the land as it strides about and attacks according to Galactor's whims, at least until the Gatchaman team figure out where the base is, infiltrate it and stop the scheme.

This volume also has an episode that covers something that's sorely been needed to be talked about and that's the waste of space that Ryu has been. After twenty-five episodes of sitting on his rear inside the God Phoenix, he finally gets tired of it after being chastised for making some mistakes. He finally blurts out that he's reached his limit about what he can take with the entire thing being this way and always being kept behind and quits the team. Naturally, this leads him to an adventure where he's able to be the only one to save the day from a situation nobody even knew about until the last minute so his time away from the team isn't all that long but the fact that they do cover how useless he's been so far is fun as is the way he goes about it.

Another episode that was a lot of fun involved Joe who ends up on an assignment that causes him to take part in a five day road rally race across Africa. Part of the job is to get close to a woman named Lucy who supposedly knows the location of Galactor's base and can be manipulated to reveal it providing Joe can find what will cause her to spill. The episode is fun for the rally part of it alone but it also provides for some fun with the various African animals that we get to see as well as the way that they're changed into Galactor's robotic versions as well. The story plays out simply enough and it gives Joe the highlight to really take an episode to himself but the way it ends is where it really shines, even if the narrator basically says what Joe is feeling that you can discern pretty easily. It's that information that really is the best here.

Galactor's threats in this volume do continue to have something of a real campy effect to them but they are able to provide for some rather good shows and stories to be told. The way they have fun in renaming countries and then warping them for the story is a lot of fun as well as the entire Ameris episode had me laughing for completely wrong reasons. The other part of the show that continues to surprise me based on my experience with the old Battle of the Planets version is that they don't go through the same kinds of transformation and attack scenes in every episode as I had grown up believing. There is some good variance in how they deal with the villains, though it does seem to be far too easy to sneak into a Galactor base.

In Summary:
While there aren't any series changing dramatics in this volume, it's a solid entry in the series with six episodes that are just a lot of fun to watch and do a good job of expanding on the characters. Some characters make out better than others but that's the nature of the show and the size of the cast as they try to give each of them their own time to shine without making it seem like "their" episode. By this point in the series it's easy to know whether you're liking it or not so if you've made it this far, there's plenty of enjoyment to come and still a lot of episodes that I'm looking forward to seeing both for the first time and partially again.

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