|Title||Science Ninja Team Gatchaman|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi|
NB: This is a review that has been ported over from the old blog for posterity purposes. The original publish date of this review was 7th April, 2013. The writing style and depth of detail may have changed a lot since this time, and a revisit is always possible.
Alright, here’s the first of my old school anime reviews! I grew up enjoying the Americanised edit of this show (known as Battle of the Planets) on ABC in the mornings before school. While I really enjoyed it, I later came to know of the original Japanese version which blew it away. As sometimes happens the English edit removed much of the fighting, violence and general darker themes of the show. The good news is that in more recent years subs and a good English dub of the original have become available and that original show is what I a reviewing here.
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (translates to ‘birdman’ but that sounds ridiculous in English) centers around a group of 5 highly trained youths working for the International Science Organisation. Trained in a unique style of martial arts and employing a variety of technological weaponry and vehicles, the are tasked with opposing a group of technologically advanced terrorists known as Galactor from capturing or controlling Earth’s natural resources. While this show has some environmentalist concepts it is far from the tree hugging of later shows such as Captain Planet and these resources are mostly used for energy or manipulation of an area and are important plot points rather than trying to tell you to recycle.
Each of the 5 team members has a particular bird motif that they can transmute into a super hero style outfit from their civilian ‘disguise’ as well their own preferred weapon. Additionally they each have a vehicle that also has a more mundane mode and can enter a more powerful battle mode. Four of these vehicles are able to dock with the fifth much larger air craft known as the God Phoenix which the team use to get around in most of the time. This craft is quite powerful with a large supply of missiles and is able to enter a ‘fire bird’ mode where it resembles the mythological phoenix, losing any resemblance of a vehicle and becoming a mass of fire, at a cost to the occupants though.
Now a lot of this may remind you of a show called Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and for good reason. Power Rangers is a re-edit of the Japanese series Super Sentai (starting from it’s 16th season) which was heavily influenced by Gatchaman.
I rank this as one of my all time favourite animes and not only because I grew up with it. In fact it is often ranked among the best in opinion polls. So if you are looking for something which plenty of action that is a bit different from more recent offerings then this show should entertain you as well as introduce you to an important bit of anime history.