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Gatchaman Collection 7

ADV Films // Unrated // June 20, 2006
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted September 7, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

One of the growing trends in the anime industry today is the interest companies and fans have for classic material. Astro Boy, Ultra Man, and the upcoming Voltron release are just examples of the kind of animation coming out or on the horizon. Another such show is the very old school Gatchaman series. The show originally aired in Japan back in 1972 but it saw limited release here in America thanks to censorship and lack of interest. Back in the 80s it could be found in a drastically cut back form known as Battle of the Planets. It wasn't until ADV decided to pick up the license and give the original Gatchaman a proper treatment that the series was brought to light.

ADV started releasing these discs last year and fans of classic anime started gobbling them up. The beautiful thing about this series of discs is that the show remains uncut with all 105 episodes intact. If you do your math right you'll realize that's leading to 18 discs or so and a massive chunk of space on your DVD shelf. I have to say that it's well worth the lack of room for other series and is something that should be applauded because support for a show like Gatchaman could lead into releases for other classics (please someone release Mysterious Cities of Gold!).

The whole concept behind Gatchaman is that in the future a sinister group known as Galactor rises up to try and take over the world. It's up to Dr. Nambu and his team of five Science Ninjas to stop their diabolical plot by whatever means necessary. That is basically it. The team consists of Ken the Eagle, Joe the Condor, Jun the Swan, Ryu the Owl and Jinpei the Swallow. While there is some continuity between episodes, you don't have to catch all 105 to know what's going on in the show.

While sixteen volumes of Gatchaman have come out so far I actually was given the chance to double back and check out two that I missed with volumes thirteen and fourteen. It's really sad to think that there are only two more releases coming down the pipeline and then the glory that is Gatchaman will all be over. Granted 105 episodes is a lot of show to watch and it takes quite the dedication to a series, but like I've said in the past there is just something special about this series in particular.

In the two volumes for this review more Galactor madness and Gatchaman heroism is on the menu. Things kick off with Berg Katse on the run after his little toy was blown up by the Science Ninja Team. The only problem is that he leads them right into a trap. The forest that Katse slips into is filled with trees equipped with guns, robotic flowers and even some explosive bananas. To top it all off things end with a giant wooly mammoth taking on the God Phoenix!

The mammoth returns in the next episode and attacks an amusement park. In the ensuing chaos Jun lost one of her shoes and unfortunately Galactor got its grubby hands on it. They soon discover that the footwear is actually part of the Swan's outfit and set up a trap to ensnare the female Science Ninja. It's kind of funny because the episode has kind of an insane Cinderella tone to it as the girl with the lost slipper is located. After that Galactor unleashes a giant shrimp in the next episode then uses information from Jun's shoe to create an anti-bird weapon. Two relatively forgettable episodes put an end to the thirteenth volume, though the last one here does give us a decent look into Joe's past.

On the fourteenth volume of Gatchaman things slip back into the same old pattern for a little bit. Galactor gets a mole to infiltrate the good guys close to Dr. Nambu and then sends some peacocks after the Science Ninja Team. The next episode expands upon some more of Joe's past with stuff involving his parents. After that things get kind of goofy again with a giant beetle though some events lead to interesting happenings in the next collection in case you haven't checked it out yet.

84 episodes so far and still going strong, Gatchaman is a classic anime series to be reckoned with. It's a classic right up there with Ultraman and Speed Racer so that alone should tell you what kind of quality you can look forward to. If you're like me then this show came out before you were born and maybe you recall snippets of it from your childhood in the form of Battle of the Planets or G-Force. Reminiscing aside, this show is truly timeless and something you should definitely check out if you are open to an anime history lesson. I can't express enough how nice it is to have a classic of this caliber coming out on DVD and I applaud ADV for taking the care to put this all together for us.

The DVD:


Quite honestly, this is about as good as Gatchaman has ever looked considering the age of the show. It is presented with its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and any faults in image quality are attributed to the source material. Seeing as the show was produced in the early 70s you can expect to see a lot of grain, choppy animations, speckle, disproportionate images, lighting issues and occasional shaky image. As time has progressed since the start of the series it has become easily noticeable that the animation was constantly improving. Things get much smoother as each volume continues to be released.


Gatchaman includes a new English dubbing and the original Japanese audio tracks. These are presented with a 2.0 mix and depending what you are looking for they each provide different quality. The English features louder and cleaner sound but also some terribly good voice acting at times. There is a certain cheese factor to the way that it was handled though I guess you could say that adds some charm and humor. If you don't want to hear the characters say "groovy" and borderline make fun of what's going on you purists at least have the Japanese track to listen to. The original language features a softer sound transfer but is the most faithful to the material. I found myself enjoying the Japanese mix more, though sometimes I bounced back and forth for a laugh. Again, the overall quality for the original is decent considering the fact that it's over thirty years old.


Every single volume of Gatchaman has been a treasure trove of bonus material, though the real treats come with the two disc collections that have an extra supplemental DVD. In the two volumes present in this collection we get the clean opening and closing animations, some previews and more karaoke. There is a commentary with the "minions", Josh Grelle, Glenn Fraser, Chris Ayres, and Charles Campbell for "Mortal Combat! 5,000 Fathoms Under the Sea" on volume 13. Another commentary is included on volume 14 with Charles Campbell and Marty Fleck. Both of these are entertaining, but I thought the minions one easily won out as the most hilarious. It sounds like those guys had a blast doing the show.

The extra disc in this collection is all about Dr. Nambu. Like previous editions and characters we get a profile, some character sketches, episode sketches, another round of audition footage and an interview with his voice actor Andy McAvin. Another vintage Gatchaman Manga is presented on the disc as well, which has been one of the real treats from these DVDs.

Final Thoughts:

Gatchaman is one of those shows that's like a fine wine, it gets better with age. The earlier episodes of the series were a little rough in terms of overall quality, but as things continued the creator's obviously found their rhythm. The episodes got better thanks to overall production and some higher quality writing. What you'll find here in volumes 13 and 14 is no different. If you enjoyed Battle of the Planets or G-Force when they came out in the States, you owe it to yourself to see the uncut version of the show.

Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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