Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman IIIn the Pacific Ocean, a glowing ball of energy from space slices through a cruise ship, sinking it and killing all aboard. A little girl is saved from drowning by a mechanical pod, which accelerates her growth and introduces mutations designed by the malevolent entity Sosai X. The girl, now imbued with terrifying powers and an insane devotion to her “savior,” becomes Gel Sadra.

The abduction of a leading scientist gets the immediate attention of the International Science Organization, and Dr. Nambu deduces that Sosai X is preparing to attack again. He calls the Gatchaman team out of semi-retirement and back into action, stunning them with his decision to replace the deceased Joe with a cocky new team member, Getz. The evidence points toward an ancient temple as the source of renewed Galactor activity, and Getz joins the team on his first mission, but his attitude doesn’t endear him to Ken or the others. When Gel Sadra springs her first trap for Gatchaman, they can’t even be sure where Getz’s loyalty lies.

written by Satoshi Suyama and Jinzo Toriumi
directed by Koichi Mashimo
music by Hiroshi Tsutsui / additional music by Bob Sakuma

Voice Cast: Katsuji Mori (Ken Washio), Masayuki Ibu (Getz), Kazuko Sugiyama (Jun), Yoku Shioya (Jinpei), Shingo Kanemoto (Ryu), Toru Ohira (Kozaburo Nambu), Masaru Ikeda (Gel Sadra), Nobuo Tanaka (Sosai X), Teiji Omiya (Director Anderson), Yo Inoue (Pilma)

GatchamanNote: Gatchaman II was translated for English-speaking audiences as part of the dubbed Saban Entertainment series Eagle Riders, though most of the ongoing story threads were lost in that ’90s translation. Eagle Riders’ greatest claim to fame is that it featured the voice talent of actor Bryan Cranston over a decade before he became the star of Breaking Bad.

In addition to a new ship (named the New God Phoenix) and a new crew member, we’re also introduced to new signature weapons for each of the Gatchaman team, though all of them are now seen to be carrying pistols as well. Where the first Gatchaman series always showed Ryu aboard the God Phoenix, here he has his own individual vehicle like his teammates. But who’s flying the New God Phoenix if Ryu’s not on board? The New God Phoenix also has an autopilot robot aboard, named Pilma (apparently designed by Ryu and Jinpei); if only Battle Of The Planets Gatchamancould have carried on into Gatchaman II, 7-Zark-7 could’ve had a pen pal aboard the Phoenix! (Technically speaking, Gatchaman II and Battle Of The Planets were both in production at the same time, and aired almost simultaneously on opposite sides of the world.)

Very strangely, sound effects from Star Wars can be heard here. Pilma is activated with a distinct R2-D2 sound effect, while numerous guns and scientist-kidnapping tractor beams seem to use the lightsaber activation sound effect.

LogBook entry by Earl Green