Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #18 -

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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: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gatchaman

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #18

By Chris Beveridge     October 24, 2006
Release Date: October 17, 2006

Gatchaman: Collectors Edition Vol. #18
© ADV Films

What They Say
n 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 101-105.

The Review!
Bringing the series to a close, Gatchaman provides a storyline that runs through all five episodes and comes to a rousing if tragic conclusion, earning itself a reputation that has lasted for nearly thirty years.

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.

Taking one of the classic images from the opening sequence and looking at it from below as the group swirls down from the sky, the cover is perfectly accented with images of key characters mixed in around them along with a fairly dark and ominous look overall. This is the perfect cover to end the series with as it's wonderfully detailed and very well laid out even as busy as it is. It takes everything that is iconic and blends it together just right. 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. The commentary track for this volume brings us back with the lead voice actor for Ken along with ADR director Charles Campbell to talk about the entire experience.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It's hard to believe we're at the end of the series here and have spent so much time, yet so little in the grand scheme of things, watching one of the real legends of the anime world. The show was huge in Japan and though it was modified fairly heavily for its US release back in the day, it still managed to earn a legion of fans that are still strong today. The release of the series in an unmodified form with a proper dub " one that definitely enjoys itself but still sticks to its material very well " has added another true gem to the library of shows that ADV Films has.

These last episodes play over a couple of themes, themes we've seen growing in the last couple of volumes in general, but they have the sense of urgency to them that pulls it all together as one solid and cohesive story, albeit split into five episodes. We've seen the storyline that's been running in the last few volumes about how close the Science Ninja Team is getting to finding Galactor but we've also started to see some areas where Joe's illness is really becoming problematic. He's had seizures that have put the others at risk and Ken is now trying to find out exactly what's going on with his teammate but Joe is naturally tight-lipped. While he doesn't know how bad his situation is, he's convinced that revealing any aspect of it will have him removed from the team. His need for revenge and unstated thirst for violence won't allow him to do that.

Joe's arc is one that stands out over time and is one that was repeated in different ways in a number of series that followed in the early eighties where characters didn't quite have that impervious nature and had some serious repercussions. With what's going on with him, Joe's even more reckless than usual and it leads him to getting into far more trouble on his own. But it also starts him on the road to getting closer to discovering the secrets of Galactor. Through his own methods and because of how he's kept things from his teammates, he's able to become the closest to discovering Katse's identity as well as the main headquarters of Galactor. His efforts are key to bringing things towards its ending and it certainly but it's not without its price.

While there is a great deal of action through these episodes both on an individual character level and on the giant mecha level, what I was most afraid of was that there would be little revelation about the truths behind Katse and Leader X. Leader X comes out the weakest here as we don't really get to understand what he was really after and what motivates him or his kind, but Katse is where the real treasure is. There has been some real teasing about who he really is and the origin story that they give him is just plain bizarre and amusing. They come up with a really creative way of explaining his dual nature without making him a hermaphrodite but also one that explains both his genius and absolutely absurdity of personality. It also provides an explanation for his attire. I really have to wonder what the original reaction to it was since it had me laughing out loud and giggling for hours afterwards.

That said, the end to the series is spot on perfect for this show. It's been building up for awhile and it doesn't end on a quick note like a lot of long running series do, where suddenly the series is simply over. They knew what they were building up to and worked it out well enough in advance so that it doesn't feel rushed. The action is good, the characters are highly fun to watch and the pure silliness of some of the giant mecha makes it all worthwhile. My memories of the original US run are pretty hazy these days and what little I remember is of the awful stuff that was added to fluff it out due to the edits. This has helped to erase just about all other memories of it.

In Summary:
Gatchaman's closing volume hits just about every mark right and gives the viewer exactly what they want. While the show had some animation quality dips along the way, hardly unexpected for a show this long, these last episodes are some of the best looking of the series. The tension is high, the drama is solid and the angst very much fitting the show. The dub for the show is equally as perfect with everything just falling right into place with the right cast for it. While you know they're working hard, they're also loving every minute of being able to pull off roles like this and just running with it. All of this has been wrapped up in some of the best looking cover art to come out in the last few years and ADV now has the mission of putting together a high quality coffee table book with all of the pieces. These eighteen volumes are a real jewel in the crown of quality titles that ADV has released since their start and will be one of the brightest ones for quite some time to come.

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, Panasonic DMP-BD10 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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jnager 3/13/2012 6:06:50 PM

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