Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #11 -

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Mania Grade: B

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  • 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
  • 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. #11

By Chris Beveridge     May 08, 2006
Release Date: April 18, 2006

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #11
© 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!

Contains episodes 61-66.

The Review!
Keeping to the shorter standalone tales that spreads the fun among the various team members, Gatchaman provides for some amusing and strange tales for this volume.

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 another spot on the cover with a really nice angled shot from below of him with the bright yellow and green background. Like similar shots, it really pushes a powerful and almost iconic feel to the design and the way the character carries himself that's very appealing. 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 the voice actors for Kim Praise and Luci Christian.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Similar to the previous volume which had a good mix of short stories and a bit more that allowed the various characters to get some screen time, this installment is generally in the same style though it's less character focused beyond Ken and more team based. That's not to say some of the cast get to work alone for a bit and have some fun but for the most part it feels much more like an ensemble piece than previous volumes did.

The mixture of the stories is generally pretty good as they alternate between something fairly serious and straightforward " at least as much as this show can be at times " while also doing some wacky stuff that you know is supposed to be funny but they do it with a straight face. The opening episode for example is one that brings the Red Impulse back into play as Ken discovers him alive by accident. His return to the scene is of course rather welcome considering his sacrifice before but he's not quite who he used to be and Ken's extra sense about him is really going off like an alarm at times just because of some of the various character tics that are or are not happening. It's a good episode that shows Galactor trying some new tricks to take down Gatchaman but it also continues to show that the foot soldier level of the organization is made up of buffoons.

Another episode that's actually serious but has such a great element of comedy to it is the "Massacre of the Mecha Curve Ball" which has a focus around baseball players and an actual game where Galactor has been messing with a particular park as there've been instances of weird things happening there when the lights go off suddenly. But it's also far more dangerous because there's a hydrogen bomb tied to a certain kind of hit being scored which will cause plenty of destruction. It's got a serious angle to it and all but it's just hard to take it seriously when they have things like zombie-looking baseball players being involved and the usual kinds of jokes and puns, particularly in the dub which does a good job of keeping to the time frame.

The best episode on the disc is episode sixty-four, "A Christ Present of Death." The show focuses around a country that's celebrating the one year anniversary of having thrown off the yoke of war when it exiled the former leader, a brutish man named General Somley. Things have changed considerably in that country since he was tossed out and the people have embraced peace, business is picking up and everyone has a very positive feeling to their lives. All of them except for Somley who has managed to infiltrate part of the government and is about to overthrow them and in turn become a main sponsor of Galactor by supplying them with weapons and more. While the story does have more of a focus on the kids that Jinpei comes across that end up stumbling onto Galactor, it's got a really nice flow to the story and there's plenty of obvious bad guys running around here. That and seeing an ice sculptor/reindeer shaped Galactor mecha made it all worthwhile.

In Summary:
Gatchaman continues to be a fun show and it does a great job overall of moving between serious pieces and intentional comedy through the setups or mecha that's involved. You know that they're just trying to make you laugh when there's instances of roller-skating involved, right? That said, the only thing that at times brings the show down is just something that comes from having so much of it at once in that it can be a bit overwhelming. The releases through the box sets are great and it's so well priced but it's a show that can definitely use being spread out as opposed to six episode straight runs. This volume has a lot of good stuff in it and even as dated as a lot of it gets at times it's just having so much fun that it's contagious, turning the whole thing into a good experience. If you've been watching till now, nothing here will make you regret it. If not, I can't imagine an eleventh volume will sway you any more than the previous ten but we're now just under seventy episode in and it's still doing great. Definitely recommended, especially if today's series just seem like they're missing something.

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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