ADV Films // 1972 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky (Retired) // January 19th, 2006
"It's just one damn thing after another." -- Jinpei
Berg Katse sighed as he looked over the chrome and plastic behemoth steaming in its oil bath. The contorted body of some minion (was it Gary? They all looked alike) gave off the last of its heat over in the corner. Didn't I tell him that lip gloss had too much mauve? Fashion-impaired twerp. Katse fingered the receipt in his pocket. This meant an extra trip to the Super Target to return that lip gloss before going forward with the plan. Precious minutes lost.
The oil bath bubbled. Ah, yes, thought Katse. This plan is certain to work He looked over the disc chronicling his failures of the past few weeks, the one marked Gatchaman Volume 7. That pathetic dragon that fired solar beams? A wash. Those Science Dorks stopped it with the help of a St. Bernard. Turning that "pollution-free city" into a primeval jungle? We couldn't even beat that whiny bitch Ken after he lost his Gatchaman bracelet. And what hippie came up with killer flowers? The least he could have done was teach them to sing show tunes. No, Galactor's only success so far was in tagging Jinpei with the nickname "Swallow." That got everyone giggling like mad and made for wonderful bathroom graffiti.
But Katse knew that this latest plan would work. The Science Ninja Team was doomed. Yes, show tunes. That would be their undoing. Katse smiled malevolently as he looked at the gigantic mech rising slowly out of the oil bath. It smiled -- a wide, frightening, toothy smile. A smile...just like Carol Channing.
I offer this piece of bad fanfic, because really, after so many volumes of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, it is hard to know what to say any longer. We are up to Collection 4, nearly halfway through the series. You are certainly not going to start watching the show at this point, although you still might be tempted to run back to the beginning. You are welcome to do so. Volume 7 in the series does prove that while Berg Katse has long ago reached the point of creative bankruptcy, Gatchaman has not. Just check out the psychedelic freakout of the world's greatest rock back, The Demon Five, in one of the weirdest installments of the series yet, "Murder Music." You can also listen to commentary by Berg Katse himself -- or at least voice actor Edwin Neal (who knows his evil: he was the hitchhiker in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Neal camps around, doing silly voices, while Katse tries out yet another futile plan for conquering the world.
By Volume 8 in the series, Leader X is getting pissed off at Berg Katse's ten straight months of abject failure. Galactor's effort to kidnap young lovers Julia and Romina (get it?) in order to plunge their respective countries into war unravels. Another diabolical scheme is undone with the aid of sea lions. It is a wonder Galactor goons don't trip over their own untied shoelaces. Yet, these middle episodes in the series do show that Gatchaman has some interesting tricks up its sleeve, particularly in their focus on the fussy relationship between Eagle Ken and Red Impulse (who, as you know by now, is secretly Ken's father). Ken even gets a solo adventure in one episode. Volume 8 also features the usual extras: clean credit sequences, episode karaoke, and a commentary track. Having exhausted the regular cast, ADV turns to the crew now for commentary. First up: lead translator Sarah Lindholm, offering what may be the best commentary track in the series thus far. Her toughest translation problem? Making sense of the show's pseudoscience. Her biggest frustration? Having to run monster names by Sandy Frank. Wait -- what is Sandy Frank still doing meddling with this show?
The two latest volumes of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, per ADV's usual plan, are available separately or in a boxed set with a bonus disc. Today's spotlight character is Jinpei the Swallow. The little scamp is featured in sketches, an interview with voice actress Luci Christian (again, repeating a lot of what was said in the performer's earlier commentary track back in Volume 3), and audition footage that gives you a chance to see how other actors might have played Jinpei. ADV also includes an entire issue of the original Gatchaman manga, a guided tour of Battle of the Planets comics and coloring books, and some behind-the-scenes footage of Kira Vincent-Davis singing lead vocals for the Demon Five dub. Were those lyrics an ode to Battle of the Planets?
Once again treading that fine line between action and absurdity, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman marches on. Berg Katse still has plenty of bird-brained schemes left to unleash upon the world. And you can bet Eagle Ken and the rest of the crew of the God Phoenix will be there to stop him. Will you?
Review content copyright © 2006 Mike Pinsky; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary Tracks
* Swallow Jinpei Profile
* Interview with Luci Christian
* Audition Footage
* Manga Issue
* Publishing Gallery
* Sketch Galleries
* Clean Closing Animation
* Karaoke-Style Soundtrack
* IMDb: Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
* Gatchaman Fan Site
* Gatchaman Fan Site
* DVD Verdict: Gatchaman: Volumes 1-4
* DVD Verdict: Gatchaman: Collection 3