Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #14 -

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. #14

By Chris Beveridge     August 09, 2006
Release Date: June 20, 2006

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #14
© 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 79-84.

The Review!
Gatchaman's days seem to be getting numbered as Katse is being forced into a corner in regards to finishing them off.

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.

One of the hardest characters to really come up with a good cover for without having him looking like the "Doctor that saves the world" motif, Nambu takes the stage here with mostly a headshot that really looks great with the detail in the hair and sideburns while laying a number of blueprint style images of his inventions around him. 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 actor for Director Anderson and the ADR director.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In looking back at the previous thirteen volumes of the series and realizing that yes, it's been thirteen volumes, you can see how the show does make progress slowly in moving forward with the larger battle against Galactor and that has you looking a bit more closely at this volume where it deals with that necessary evil as well as the way the characters have been growing a bit. Well, in emotion and character if not height since Jinpei doesn't seem to be getting any taller.

This volume brings us up through episode eighty-four with the six that are on here and it's a rather good mix of standalone pieces. One of the early episodes has the Galactor side trying to find a way to draw the Science Ninja Team into their trap while also dealing with the prime minister of a country they want to take advantage of. Utilizing the high tech nature of peacocks, they build some interesting mechanical ones that are equipped with the delirium ray. Using this to cause the citizenry to turn into an unruly mob that almost seem like zombies with the way they attack, there's a general uprising against the government that does draw the team in. Watching them trying to figure out where the delirium beam is coming from and protecting the prime minister, this is a fairly good action episode with some amusing creativity.

Another episode that shows just how far the tendrils of Galactor runs takes us to BC island where Joe had grown up. He'd come back to revisit his past some and a friend of his from many years ago only to see that just about everyone there is under the thumb of Galactor. His friend has turned to religion since the two of them parted ways many years ago and is the only priest on the island that seems to provide some solace against the overwhelming evil of Galactor but even that point of light dims when it comes to Joe since he doesn't want Joe to take up against Galactor and mess with the status quo. With a mutual loss to their past, there's some interesting history to the two men and it's good to see that there are things that Joe truly cares about as well as finding out that events in his own past as a member of the team have caused heartache to normal people, regardless of the good that they do perform.

There is a fairly good amount of action throughout these episodes as well, but I have to give a serious nod to episode eighty-two. With the team on break, or at least out of uniform and living their normal lives for a bit, each of them run into various forms of Galactor causing trouble by using mecha that have been defeated in the past. They're surprised when no call to arms is made but when they all do get together they realize that Galactor has launched its entire fleet of mecha to try and overwhelm the team and to achieve its real goal, that of finding out the location of the Crescent underwater base. This actually works and it sets the show into an interesting angle in that they have to keep moving now and it also makes episodes afterward all the more believable as plans by Galactor are in motion to discover the secret identities of everyone on the team.

A good deal of the past, particularly from Dr. Nambu, comes to light from this as his ties are strong with many people who have been forced or chosen to be on opposing sides with him. He has some interesting scenes that place him in harms way which doesn't happen much, such as the episode where an old friend isn't quite who he seems and may have photographic evidence of who is behind the masks. This is also touched upon in another way earlier in the volume as there is an intriguing conversation between Leader X and Berg Katse about how Katse isn't quite living up to what he should be doing and they both make innuendos about how they each know the secret of who the other is. I really hope this gets discovered before the series is over and there's some sort of resolution.

In Summary:
Fourteen volumes in and I can't help but to sing along to parts of the opening sequence still. This volume has a few key sequences to it where things change fairly dramatically for each side, from Joe's past and his friendship being put to the test, the discovery of the Crescent base or the identities of the team being discovered. Between the English and Japanese tracks, there's a lot of great acting and performances here and the English cast in particular really sound like they're getting very into it. With only a few more volumes to go, there's a lot of room to still grow and go with all of it and it feels just as exciting as it does during the first volumes.

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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