Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #12 -

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: 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. #12

By Chris Beveridge     May 15, 2006
Release Date: April 18, 2006

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #12
© 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 67-72.

The Review!
Working the standalone formula for another set of six episodes, Gatchaman provides for some good stories that continue to build up the mythos.

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.

While it's a team cover, the focus is very much on Jun with the close-up that she gets while the others are seen through the visor. There's such a heavy focus on the white and other cool colors that it's very appealing and it helps for the others to stand out even more. Ross' work once again shines through with this pece. 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 Brian Jepson and Winston Parish.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gatchaman hits into the seventies for the episode count with this volume and it's something where it's hard to believe that we've seen this many episodes now as well as feeling like we've barely scratched the surface of what's out there. This volume hits us with six more standalone pieces that are pretty fun and surprisingly environmentalist considering its age but it also makes us pine for more multi-part stories.

One area that was nicely covered in some minor detail is what's going on with the Galactor side as the opening episode deals with a new plan by the Leader to take out the Mantle Project, a process that the worlds scientists are working on in order to find new alternative fuels so that we don't kill the world with pollution through our use of fossil fuels. Katse is surprised by his leaders intentions to actually destroy the Mantle Project instead of waiting until it's complete and take it for themselves only to get himself chewed out for basically disagreeing with the Leader. What was interesting I thought was that it's been clearly laid out that Katse is human, something I don't think we were ever completely sure of. The grunts were obviously human based on previous tales but would anyone human actually wear the outfits and colors that Katse does?

The Mantle Project episode sets up a few fun things like that as we get to see more of how Galactor operates and the promises that are made to folks like Katse. We also get to see something of a real challenge to the Science Ninja Team with this storyline as the God Phoenix and their ability to fight with it is finally challenged. Joe's rather blunt with his criticisms and it's accurate because it's been some time since they started the fight with Galactor and their weapons haven't changed, so seeing Galactor finally figure out how to defuse them and counter the team isn't a surprise. Of course, Dr. Nambu has his own opinions and commands about how the team should operate on a purely defensive nature since they don't want to actively kill but there are ways to make the two different approaches work together. The God Phoenix goes through some good changes with this volume and it's something that should have happened awhile ago.

Galactor continues to come up with some amusing and interesting methods for creating bases and how to protect them. One of them for this volume involves setting up a secret base on an island after they effectively nuke it. It's creative though in that the actual radiation zone and range of destruction is kept to the outside of the island and it forms a protective barrier that nothing can get through without bursting into flames. The actual island itself is in good condition at first glance but nobody is around and it turns out that the place is ready to crumble to the ground. The most amusing part about it is that Katse and the others figure that all of this will help keep their base secret but it instead draws everyone and everything there to investigate. There are some rather creepy moments to this episode as the team investigates the island though the show does play fast and loose with those silly things called "scientific fact."

The rest of the volume has a good mix of episodes as well that move them about the world. One has the group heading off to a middle eastern style country where Galactor is involved in some nastiness underground in the ancient tombs but the character aspect of the story deals with Jinpei and his emotions about missing his mother. Jinpei's a character that I still have the hardest time dealing with since he's goofy in general, an anime version of "Screech" from Saved by the Bell, both in how his character design is and his personality. This episode doesn't help that at all as he just longs to be a mama's boy in his own words. Another episode lets Joe get some good brooding time as he once again starts to fall for a woman who is actually part of Galactor, though she's trying to escape from it. Joe focused episodes tend to be much darker and brooding than any of the other ones but they also tend to be one of the few that dip into the romance area which isn't too surprising.

In Summary:
Gatchaman continues to be good episodic fun and this volume is essentially no different as it moves throughout its stories and locales. The series, while factually challenged at times as are many shows, is surprisingly environmentally aware at times and it keep to an amusing social conscience that at times feels a bit out of touch to today's sensibilities but at other times still ahead. Almost seventy-five episodes into the series and it really hasn't lost its touch and still provides for some exciting adventures.

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, Toshiba HD-A1 Progressive Scan HD DVD player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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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