Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #13 -

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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. #13

By Chris Beveridge     July 20, 2006
Release Date: June 20, 2006

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #13
© 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 73-78.

The Review!
Only in the old days could you get away with a giant wall statue of Jesus Christ that could shoot laser beams from its eyes.

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.

Joe takes this cover for his own with a close-up shot of his face in the mask with the perfect hue of dark green lighting him so that he looks quite malevolent, something that fits with this volume as his renegade nature starts to show more and more. 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. 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 who play the roles of the various small time minions and bad guys.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Almost at eighty episodes, Gatchaman goes through another batch of standalone episodes as well as what's considered the team's real first defeat at the hands of Galactor. Whether that's really true or not is hard to say since some of these tales end in such ambiguous ways but that defeat fits in with some of the themes of frustration evident in these episodes.

Even when the series is episodic there are some pieces to it that deal with an arc of sorts and this volume pushes that a good bit. One of the episodes has a piece where Jun loses her shoe in an almost Cinderella like experience that causes the Galactor folks to keep all the women that they've got in regular human mode under surveillance while they figure it out. What becomes more important at this point is that Galactor is actively studying ways to defeat the Gatchaman team without having to use real force. They're now pinning their hopes and plans on their ability to detect the time and place that the Gatchaman transform into their Bird Style versions. This transformation sequence seems to give off a specific burst of activity on a wavelength that can be tracked. It's almost ignored for a bit until an entire episode is built around it.

One of the smaller but wealthy countries that's likely to be harassed by Galactor calls in the team for help in securing their gold, diamonds and other precious jewels. Having been burned in the past by a public welcome, Ken has the team sneak in after an initial fly-over and then to begin the operation. In their meeting with government officials and the president though, they seem to be put through an odd series of tests that are more like traps than anything else, which is why it isn't a surprise when they discover that the upper levels of the government has already been subverted by the Black Birds. The city then becomes a larger trap for the team as Galactor has really laid out a nice plan here that involves brainwashing everyone, swiping the jewels and attempting to kill the Gatchaman with no regard to their own sides lives. For a stunning first defeat, it's done pretty well, though Katse is of course a classic villain in revealing things far too early.

In terms of the various characters, there are some good things to be found in this volume as several of them are explored nicely, if not in too much detail. Ryu has some of his background explored when he finds out that his father was involved in an accident caused by Galactor that causes his ship to be sunk. We get to see some of Ryu's younger brother and the way that Ryu grew up not living up to what his father thought he should be, particularly since when Ryu takes his downtime as a member of Gatchaman he just wants to sleep and unwind. Of course, he ends up participating in the rescue and it's highly amusing that his father badmouths Ryu without realizing his son is right there.

Joe gets a fair bit of background in this volume as well as going through some slight changes in personality. He's always had the harder edge and that leads to him being incredibly frustrated with Ryu when they're on a mission and Ryu aborts an attempt to catch Katse due to there being a bunch of animals in the way. Joe wouldn't blink at killing them to get to Katse but he's got Ryu on his mind and as happens in any team, everyone influences each other in some way. Another episode on the disc has Ken and Joe doing some deep sea diving which leads to plenty of time to talk and Joe finds that he's having a lot of flashbacks to his youth when he was involved in a situation that left him wondering if he killed a woman or not, and why she didn't kill him instead. The building blocks of his personality are nicely laid bare in part here and we start to really see why he is the way he is.

In Summary:
The episodes in this particular volume are well varied and even now it doesn't feel like we're really repeating anything. The good guys still offer up surprises in terms of who they are since it hasn't been heavily explored for everyone yet and the action only gets better done as it progresses. Nostalgia certainly kicked in at the start of this series release but as it's gone along, there is a lot more to the show than just that. Even when it's getting preachy or simplistic, it still has a good solid style to it and doesn't play out like it's going to be completely obvious. Simply put, Gatchaman continues to be a lot of fun and a great bang for the buck.

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, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray 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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