Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (June 2013)|
|Science Ninja Team Gatchaman|
(Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman)
|Genre||Adventure, science fiction, mecha|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hisayuki Toriumi|
|Produced by||Ippei Kuri|
|Written by||Jinzo Toriumi|
|Music by||Bob Sakuma|
|Original run||October 1, 1972 – September 29, 1974|
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (科学忍者隊ガッチャマン Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman ) is a 5-member superhero team that is composed of the main characters in several Japanese anime created by Tatsuo Yoshida and originally produced in Japan by Tatsunoko Productions and later adapted into several English-language versions. It is also known by the abbreviated name Gatchaman.
The original series, produced in 1972, was eponymously named Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman and is most well known to the English-speaking world as the adaptation titled Battle of the Planets. The title is unofficially called G-Force (not to be confused with the subsequent 1980s English-language adaptation of Gatchaman, known as G-Force: Guardians of Space). Tatsunoko also uses the official translation Science Commando Gatchaman, as shown in numerous related products and media.
The original 1972 Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman series was followed by an animated film, two sequel series, Gatchaman II (1978), and Gatchaman Fighter (1979). In the 90's, episodes from both series were dubbed into English by Saban as Eagle Riders. In 1994, the original series was remade as a condensed OVA series (see Gatchaman (OVA)). Additionally, the original and sequel series were adapted and translated into several English-language versions, with the most well known being Battle of the Planets. Because the English-language versions are notoriously inconsistent not only with one another but also with the original Japanese series, viewers most familiar with the English versions often experience some confusion upon re-examining the series after a long hiatus.
The first feature film was released in 1978. A second feature film version of Gatchaman had been in production by Imagi Animation Studios for release in 2012, but was ultimately canceled due to the studio's financial problems.
Created in the wake of the hugely successful Henshin boom started by Shotaro Ishinomori's Kamen Rider in 1971, Gatchaman was conceived as a blending of ninja adventure with science fiction elements. It was also notable as being one of the most successful anime attempts to emulate the American superhero genre with many of its conventions such as colorful costumes. Gatchaman helped establish the convention of the five member hero team that has been emulated in later series, most notably the successful tokusatsu Super Sentai franchise (a genre exemplified by the English series adaptation of the Power Rangers franchise many years later); in fact, the Sentai series Chōjin Sentai Jetman was in many ways a homage to Gatchaman.
Best described as a science fiction action anime, recurring themes of Gatchaman involve conservation of nature, environmentalism, and responsible use of technology for progress and advancement. The series is centered around five young superhero ninja in the employ of Dr. Kōzaburō Nambu of the fictitious International Science Organization to oppose an international terrorist organization of technologically advanced villains, known as Galactor, from trying to take control of the Earth's natural resources. The operational leader of Galactor is an androgynous masked antagonist named Berg Kattse, who is later revealed to be a shape-shifting mutant hermaphrodite who acts on the orders of an alien superior, Sosai X. The most common recurring plot involved the Gatchaman team opposing giant monster mecha dispatched by Galactor to steal or control various natural resources (water, oil, sugar, uranium, etc.). These mechas were often animal-based. The Science Ninja Team is often aided by a mysterious squadron of combat pilots led by the enigmatic Red Impulse, who is later revealed to be Ken's father.
Most of the team were in their late teens, apart from Jinpei who was about ten or eleven. They included Ken Washio, the team leader and tactical expert; Jō Asakura, his second-in-command marksman and weapons expert; Jun, the team's electronics and demolitions expert; Jinpei, the youngest and reconnaissance expert, and adopted brother of Jun; and Ryū Nakanishi, the ship's pilot. The main characters featured always wore either teen fashions with numbered T-shirts showing their rank in the team or caped battle uniforms styled after various birds.
The Gatchaman team employed a unique style of highly violent and effective martial arts, developed by Dr. Nambu, that drew from their physical abilities to enable them to perform superhuman feats, akin to their avian namesakes, such as high-speed run and flight, high jumping, silent movement-attack and the like. This fighting system was known as "Science Ninja Technique" (科学忍法 Kagaku Ninpō ), and it is mentioned in the original Japanese lyrics of the Gatchaman theme song. The team members also used various signature weapons and mecha-style vehicles; each had a more mundane-looking disguised form. To change modes, each member is equipped with a special wrist device that, aside from being a communicator and tracking device, enabled the change when the proper gesture and voice command "Bird, Go!" was given. Their vehicles were docked in the team's main vehicle, the God Phoenix, a supersonic plane capable of underwater travel and minor space flight as necessary. The God Phoenix was armed with an unspecified but large (roughly 30+) number of Bird Missiles that were fired from a rack system mounted atop the center section. After the original God Phoenix was destroyed by an octopus-based mecha, an improved version carried a pair of Super Bird Missiles in twin drop-down pods from the bottom center section, which could be fitted with either a warhead for attack or a manned capsule to carry a passenger for a boarding operation when it successfully impacted into an enemy vessel. The ship also could have an energy-beam weapon that was deployed by sliding, which opened the nose doors for the weapon apparatus that was mounted on the same frame holding Joe's car, but its solar power source was unreliable because of its sensitivity to any interfering cloud cover. In addition, when necessary, the plane was able to temporarily transform into a massive bird of flame like the legendary Phoenix to escape danger or as a powerful attack, although the process itself endangered the team because of the extreme pressure felt in the passenger cabin.
- Gatchaman/ Ken, the Eagle (大鷲の健 Ōwashi no Ken )/ G-1
- Ken Washio (鷲尾 健 Washio Ken ). Ostensibly pilot, he is a leader of the Science Ninja Team. The word Gatchaman designates the leader of this Science Ninja Team. Ken's father disappeared while flying, but secretly became Red Impulse. As a result, Ken did not know his father while growing up, and was raised by Dr. Nambu.
- Jō, the Condor (コンドルのジョー Kondoru no Jō )/ G-2
- Jō Asakura (ジョー 浅倉), a Japanese-Italian. Ostensibly Car Racer, he is a subleader of the Science Ninja Team. He was born George Asakura (ジョージ 浅倉 Jōji Asakura ), as the son to Giuseppe Asakura and his wife Caterina who were members of Galactor. Mr. and Mrs. Asakura were killed by a Galactor rose bomb when they tried to escape. Dr. Nambu rescued him, named him Jō to hide him from Galactor, and raised him as his son.
- Jun, the Swan (白鳥のジュン Shiratori no Jun )/ G-3
- Jun (ジュン) is half American and half Japanese. She was raised in an orphanage and her last name is not disclosed within the anime. In her free time she enjoys riding her motorcycle and runs "Snack bar J".
- Jinpei, the Swallow (燕の甚平 Tsubakuro no Jinpei )/ G-4
- Jinpei (甚平) was an orphan but was found by Jun and grew up with her in the same orphanage. His last name is not disclosed within the anime. He lives in "Snack bar J" with Jun.
- Ryu, the Owl (みみずくの竜 Mimizuku no Ryū )/ G-5
- Ryu Nakanishi, a fisherman's son. Ostensibly a manager of the yacht harbor, he is a main pilot of God Phoenix. He is the only person having a family (parents and younger brother) among the other members.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2013)|
Other anime series
|This section requires expansion. (June 2013)|
|This section requires expansion. (June 2013)|
A 1994 series reboot, it used updated character designs and altered backgrounds.
A new series based in the Gatchaman universe is set to start airing on July 2013 on NTV. Just like the original series, it is produced by Tatsunoko. The story is set in the fictional "Tachikawa City", and some of its inhabitants were chosen to join G-team to confront a mysterious entity known as "MESS". The story follows Hajime Ichinose, a 16 year old girl who is the team's newest member.
Adaptations and changes
Gatchaman has aired in many countries with several languages.
The original series was shown in Japan. Later, it was exported to other countries. In Taiwan beginning in 1977, it was known as Ke Xue Xiao Fei Xia (「科學小飛俠」/“科学小飞侠” kēxué xiǎofēixiá, Scientific Flying Fantasy Warriors), which aired on the China TV network and was repeated several times.
Battle of the Planets
Sandy Frank teamed up with Jameson Brewer to air on American television in 1978, in heavily edited form, as Battle of the Planets (BOTP for short). Numerous scenes were cut and were replaced with new segments made by Gallerie International Films. These contained added characters 7-Zark-7 and his associates 1-Rover-1, and Susan in various space outposts. Other segments included the "Phoenix" flying in space. The quality of the new segments matched the original content and contained appearances of the "G-Force" and 7-Zark-7 together. New music was added and blended in with the original soundtrack. All 105 episodes were sourced, but 85 sporadic episodes were released. An animated TV Movie was made which combined several episodes into a new storyline. In this case, the violence was not cut.
G-Force: Guardians of Space
The series was shown again on American television in 1986 and 1995 in a newly translated form as G-Force: Guardians of Space. The adaptation consisted of 85 episodes, spanning episodes 1-87 but skipping episodes 81 and 86. Thirteen episodes aired in 1986 while the rest debuted in 1995. While this version cut out much less of the original and had a much more faithful translation, the voice acting and the background music (not to mention the Americanized names chosen for the characters) were widely panned.
ADV Films English dub
ADV Films released an uncut version of the series in the USA both with subtitles and with an all-new English-language 5.1 dub, on DVD starting on June 14, 2005. This release included all 105 episodes, with all footage left in. The dub aims to be a faithful translation, without attempts to sanitize the show for younger viewers (meaning there is profanity and utterances of the word "kill"). All violent scenes have been left in as they were in the original Japanese broadcast. The english dub used the original opening segments without translating the title to English. The "Destroy Galactor!" theme opening credits are translated only in the subtitled version. The "Gatchaman's Song" theme opening credits were translated to English, including numerous writers and directors. The closing credits (regardless of theme song) for both Tatsunoko and ADV Films were included in both the dub and the subtitles. The ADV Films English dub contains creative changes. Profanity was added, slang was added, thick (and even stereotypical) accents were added, a slight difference with the voice of Berg Katse, and a noticeable difference with the voice of Leader X.
Team variations across different versions
|Gatchaman (and sequels)||Ken Washio||Jō Asakura||Jun||Jinpei||Ryū Nakanishi|
|Battle of the Planets||Mark||Jason||Princess||Keyop||Tiny Harper|
|G-Force||Ace Goodheart||Dirk Daring||Agatha June||Pee Wee||Hoot Owl (Hooty)|
|Eagle Riders||Hunter Harris the hawk||Joe Thax the falcon||Kelly Jennar the dove||Mickey Dugan||Ollie Keeawani|
|OVA (dubbed)||Ken the Eagle||Joe the Condor||June the Swan||Jimmy the Falcon‡||Rocky the Owl|
|Bird Uniform (aka Bird Style)||Eagle||Condor||Swan||Swallow||Owl|
|Weapon||Razor Sonic boomerang||Harpoon pistol, also the shuriken||Yo-yo||Bolas||Harpoon pistol, mostly fists|
|Mecha||Airplane||Race Car||Motorcycle||Dune Buggy||God Phoenix|
|Japanese voice actor (also applies for sequels)||Katsuji Mori||Isao Sasaki||Kazuko Sugiyama||Yoku Shioya||Shingo Kanemoto|
|Japanese voice actor (OVA)||Masaya Onosaka||Kōji Ishii||Michiko Neya||Rika Matsumoto||Fumihiko Tachiki|
|English voice actor (BOTP)||Casey Kasem||Ronnie Schell||Janet Waldo||Alan Young||Alan Dinehart|
|English voice actor (G-Force)||Sam Fontana||Cam Clarke||Barbara Goodson||Jan Rabson|
|English voice actor (OVA, dubbed)||Eddie Frierson||Richard Cansino||Lara Cody||Mona Marshall||Richard Epcar|
|English voice actor (Eagle Riders)||Richard Cansino||Bryan Cranston||Heidi Noelle Lenhart||Paul Schrier|
|English voice actor (ADV dubbed)||Leraldo Anzaldua||Brian Jepson||Kim Prause||Luci Christian||Victor Carsrud|
‡Although he was obviously the Swallow, Jimmy called himself the Falcon.
Other character variations across different versions
|Gatchaman||Male scientist||President of ISO||Mystery pilot||Enemy commander (Gatchaman I)||Enemy leader||Announcer||Enemy commander (Gatchaman II)||Female scientist|
|Gatchaman||Kōzaburō Nambu-hakase||Andāson-shachō no ISO||Reddo Imparusu / Kentaro Washio||Bergu Kattse||Sōsai X||Gel Sadra||Sylvie Pandora hakase|
|Battle of the Planets||Chief Anderson||President Kane||Colonel Cronos||Zoltar||Luminous One / Great Spirit||(no appearance)||(no appearance)|
|Guardians Of Space||Dr. Benjamin Brighthead||Commander Todd/Anderson||Red Impulse/Mr. Goodheart||Galactor||Computor||(no appearance)||(no appearance)|
|Eagle Riders||Dr. Thaddeus Keane||Anderson||Harley Harris||Lukan||Cybercom||Mallanox||Dr. Francine Aikens|
|OVA (Dub)||Dr. Kōzaburō Nambu||Director Anderson||Red Specter||Solaris||Lord Zortek||(no appearance)||(no appearance)|
|English Dub||Dr. Nambu||Director Anderson||Red Impulse||Lord Berg Katse||Leader X||Gel Sadra||Dr. Sylvie Pandora|
|Japanese voice actors||Toru Ohira||Teiji Oomiya||Mikio Terashima||Nobuo Tanaka||Hideo Kinoshita
|Masaru Ikeda||Miyuka Ieda|
|English voice actors (BOTP)||Keye Luke||William Woodson (with Alan Young)|
|English voice actors (G-Force)||Bill Capizzi||Norm Prescott|
|Japanese voice actors (OVA)||Ikuya Sawaki||Kaneto Shiozawa||Nobuo Tanaka|
|English voice actors (OVA Dub)||Michael McConnohie||R. Martin Klein||Ralph Votrais|
|English voice actors (Eagle Riders)||Greg O'Neill||(character mentioned by name only)||Peter Spellos||R. Martin Klein||Lara Cody|
|Voice actor (English Dub)||Andy McAvin||Marty Fleck||John Tyson||Edwin Neal||Winston Parish||George Manley|
Other notable changes
|Variations||Gatchaman (Japanese)||Battle of the Planets||Guardians of Space||Eagle Riders||OVA (English)||Gatchaman (English)|
|Identity Change Command||Bird, Go!‡||Transmute!||G-Force, Transform!||Eagle Mode, NOW!||
|Enemy Civilization||Galactor (Originally Gyarakutā)||Spectra||Galactor||Vorak||Galactor||Galactor|
‡The original Japanese language version of Gatchaman contains a small number of words in English.
Live-action film adaptations
Imagi film (canceled)
Imagi began development of a film in 2004. Producer Tom Gray shared that the Imagi release will have a PG-13 rating, possibly pushing toward R. When plans for a Gatchaman film were first announced in February 2006, it was with an expected 2008 release. Kevin Munroe (TMNT) was scheduled to write and direct, with Lynne Southerland (co-director of Mulan 2) as producer, and had begun initial treatment. However, in 2008, Munroe was taken off the project to direct Dylan Dog. Early script treatments were written by Paul Dini, but in fall 2007, he was released from the project. In June 2007, it was announced that Robert Mark Kamen was signed to write the screenplay in preparation for a 2008 release.
At the July 2008, Comic-Con, Imagi shared a Paul Dini-scripted trailer. In August, art director Felix Ip began posting screen-shots from the trailer. In July 2009, at the Anime Expo, Imagi shared another 45-second teaser trailer as scripted by Dini, which did not reveal much of the plot, but it acted to allow the first public look at the new 3D characterizations of the main villain Galactor and the Gatchaman team both in and out of costume. The trailer also shared the film's theme with juxtaposed text that stated, "A world in chaos, an alien evil, a lone warrior is found; Earth's last hope, five shall rise, Gatchaman." In July 2010, Imagi posted a new 1-minute teaser trailer of Gatchaman on its company Web site, with a release date stating 2011 at its conclusion.
In December 2009, auditors reported a growing concern qualification toward the half-year results posted by Imagi. The company had reported that it was on course for release of Astro Boy, but the audit firm said, "It is uncertain whether the group will have the necessary financial resources to complete [the films] Gatchaman, Tusker, and Cat Tale." Then, in January 2009, the auditing firm officially announced that the studio lacked funding to complete the release of Tusker, Cat Tale, and Gatchaman, even though Felix Ip had reported that Gatchaman's release was expected later in 2009. In June 2009, Imagi opened Gatchaman to licensing partners and announced a planned 3-D theatrical release for 2011. On December 11, 2009, Imagi's Hong Kong-based parent company Imagi International Holdings Limited laid off 100 employees, but in January 2010, it announced that the Gatchaman project would be delivered in 100% stereoscopic 3D. However, in order to safeguard working capital, it would be closing its U.S. subsidiaries. The U.S .closure was finalized in late January with the layoff of approximately 30 staffers and the retaining of a few key personnel who would continue to work as consultants as Imagi sought $30 million from investors to continue its animation projects. In February 2010, the parent company laid off another 300 employees, calling the layoffs temporary as it sought new investors.
On June 21, 2011 Imagi announced in their annual report that the Gatchaman film project is now officially cancelled.
Nikkatsu Studios is producing a live action version of Gatchaman for Japanese release in summer of 2013.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2013)|
In video games
- Kn, Jun and Berg appear as playable characters in Tatsunoko Fight.
- Ken and Jun appear as playable fighters in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes.
- Joe joins Ken and Jun in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.
- In 2000, NTT East produced two animated and two live-action television commercials for their ISDN service with a more updated version of Gatchaman, featuring members of the J-Pop boy group SMAP.
- The third episode of Sket Dance has Jun as a playable character in a re-enactment of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
- One of the characters' faces appears in episode 252 of the Gin Tama anime.
- Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series parodied Gatchaman in the issue Sonic Super Special issue 12.
- A parody of Gatchaman was used in the cartoon Megas XLR as the S-Force who appeared in two episodes.
- Joe is referenced in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG card "Swift Birdman Joe".
- In 2008, Gatchaman characters appeared in two crossover segments with Yatterman. One segment contains Doronjo who is jealous of Jun's popularity. In the other segment, Boyacky serves The Science Ninja Team and Dr. Nambu in a restaurant. After they finish their soup, they intentionally leave without paying.
In 2007, Sandy Frank's long-term contract with Tatsunoko Productions (owners of the Gatchaman franchise), which gave it all domestic U.S rights to the first Gatchaman series (along with its English adaptations) lapsed, which leaves both the Battle of the Planets and G-Force adaptations in limbo, with ADV Film's uncut English dub (long since out of print) being the only one readily available on the market. In addition, ADV's sub-license with Sandy Frank that allowed them to release its uncut dub during 2005–2006 has also expired, and ADV itself ceased operations in September 2009. At Anime Boston 2013, Sentai Filmworks had announced their license to release the entire Gatchaman series (as well as the 1994 OVA) on DVD and Blu-ray, beginning in October.
- "科学忍者隊ガッチャマン サブタイトルリスト". Tatsunoko Production (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Hofius, Jason; Khoury, George (2003). G-Force: Animated: The Official Battle of the Planets Guidebook. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 7–8. ISBN 1-893905-18-7.
- "GATCHAMAN! The story of Tatsuo Yoshida and his greatest creation". Comic Book Resources. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- "New from Japan: Anime Film Reviews". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- "Tatsunoko Pro". Tatsunoko Productions. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
- "Gatchaman Collection". Mania. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
- "http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2013-06-04/maaya-uchida-stars-in-gatchaman-crowds-anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "From 'Speed' to outer space". Japan Times. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- "What’s getting made". Malaysia Star. 4 January 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Saint John, Robert (10 June 2006). "Gatchaman Returns... To The Big Screen". SciFi Japan. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "Yatterman, Gatchaman Live-Action Movies Green-Lit". Anime News Network. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Schilling, Mark (11 April 2007). "Nikkatsu draws on toons". Variety. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "Astro Boy maintenu, Gatchaman sur la corde raide" (in French). Otakia. 9 January 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- DeMott, Rick (9 June 2006). "Imagi Prepares New CG-Animated Gatchaman Feature". Animation World Network. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "Gatchaman : Robert Mark Kamen à l’écriture" (in French). Unification France. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Staff (17 December 2007). "IESB Gets a Sneak Peek at Gatchaman Plus Exclusive Images!". IESB. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "Director Signed on for 'Dylan Dog' Adaptation!". Bloody-Disgusting. 4 April 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "Paul Dini Penning Gatchaman". Superhero Hype. 21 September 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Harris, Jeffrey (11 Septemner 2009). "Interview with writer, Paul Dini". 411mania. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "Robert Mark Kamen to write new "Gatchaman" film". Active Anime. 13 June 2007. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- Kay, Jeremy (14 June 2007). "Kamen signs to write screenplay for Imagi's CG-animated Gatchaman". Screen Daily. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Goellner, Caleb (7 July 2009). "'Gatchaman' Teaser Trailer Debuts At Anime Expo". MTV. MTV.com. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "Gunpla Builders, CG Gatchaman Promo Videos Streamed". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- Frater, Patrick (29 December 2008). "Imagi has auditors' 'concern'". Variety. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Tribbey, Chris (3 June 2009). "Imagi Seeks Licensing Deals for ‘Gatchaman’". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- "CG Astro Boy's Imagi Studio Lays Off 300+ Employees". Anime News Network. February 6, 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- "Imagi Animation Studio Closes Los Angeles Office". Anime News Network. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- McLean, Thomas J. (29 January 2010). "Imagi Closes L.A. Studio". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Gediminas, J. (26 January 2010). "Imagi International Holdings Ltd (OTCBB: IINHY) Still In Talks To Raise Capital". HotStocked.com. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Green, Scott (2011-06-21). "Imagi Gatchaman CG Movie... Looked Dead... Coffin Now Nailed Shut". Crunchyroll. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- Brown, Todd (2012-10-12). "Live Action GATCHAMAN (aka BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, G-FORCE) Hits Japanese Screens Summer 2013". Twitch Films. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "GATCHAMAN!". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2006-03-05. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Sentai Filmworks Adds Gatchaman, DiGi Charat, Godanner Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "Animage Top-100 Anime Listing". Anime News Network. January 15, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman at the Internet Movie Database
- Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Transmute! Gatchaman, BotP, G-Force, and Eagle Riders