Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #16 -

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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. #16

By Chris Beveridge     August 28, 2006
Release Date: August 15, 2006

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #16
© 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 91-95.

The Review!
Radical changes happen in the series as we edge closer to the end and each side gets more determined to end things once and for all.

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 cover all to himself right after the last one and this time it's a close-up of his face with the helmet on. It's almost nothing you think of at first but the more you look at it and see the detail in the artwork both in the reflections and just in Ken's face itself. 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 audio engineers that worked on the series. This is actually quite a good commentary since they're some of the more consistent people working on the show and they come at it from a different angle so it's interesting to hear their perspective on the audio make-up of the show and what they've seen.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bringing the series up to the mid nineties in episode count, this volume drops us down an episode from six to five so that there's some consistency throughout the last three volumes and not an off volume. In a way, this also helps the show flow a little bit better since if you watch an entire volume at once you don't feel quite so overwhelmed by the end. Similar to the previous volume or two though, there's a lot going on here as the show is angling to bring things to a close.

The last volume had a lot of episodes where the two sides were essentially circling each other in trying to discover their secret bases since finding that would be one of the best ways to take down your enemy several notches if not outright eliminate them. The Science Ninja Team made headway after they tracked down six secret bases and put them through the paces, but this volume has it going the other way as events lead the Galactor forces to actually find out where the Crescent Base is. They manage to slip in some infiltrators into the base and hide their tracking beacons deep inside some of the core engine technology so that Katse can fire the homing missiles on it. The episode is a lot of fun since it's rare to have action inside the Crescent Base and the infiltrators are positively amusing as they get all gussied up in stolen scientists clothes and make their way through the base.

This multi-part adventure nicely spans a couple of episodes and then lets the show delve into the counter-attack episode in which the team manages to find Galactor's base and they spend their time trying to capture a tape that has the potential plans for everything on Galactor and Leader X. It's a very strong action episode that like the previous two is relatively free of hokey mecha and instead deals more with actual character battles or moments with bigger ships like the God Phoenix. There's a lot to love in this episode, from seeing Katse almost drunk in celebration to some of the minions and their reactions, especially the one that has the bloody face after Katse slams him into his console. Like other recent episodes, this one seems to have an increased budget to it as well as the fight scenes are a bit more fluid and with a larger cast of characters running around.

One episode that I thought was particularly interesting was the "Angler, the Electric Devil Beast" as it deals with Dream Island outside of Jutland City. With so much of the show at times being environmentally conscious, it was interesting to see how they deal with the obvious mounting trash issue and turn it into something that's producing completely clean burning and safe energy from it. The episode does get to have a bit more fun than just that as the ISO is using that huge incinerator to test out the ability of their new space capsule to withstand heat at the same time that Katse and Galactor are going by in their underwater craft and need to find a power plant nearby with which to recharge the ship. Katse is quite effeminate in all of this in his disdain for the trash but it's a cool episode overall in how they try to take over the plant and have to deal with the Science Ninja Team being so close by and on the scene.

In Summary:
The further the series goes along the less stable some of the elements in it have become and that's only made it more exciting. A show like this that runs as long as this has does find a comfort zone and you go with so many episodes where you don't believe they'll ever do anything radical that when it does happen it's even more fun to watch. The two sides in this global conflict are hitting some crescendos now as they've made significant attacks on both sides with their bases and understanding of just who may be involved in all of this. Gatchaman is long past the nostalgia phase and is simply a great show to watch.

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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