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Science Ninja Team Gatchaman – music by Bob Sakuma

Science Ninja Team Gatchaman soundtrackNever heard of Gatchaman? Oh, yes you have. Gatchaman is the story of five highly-trained young people, given state-of-the-art equipment and Earth’s most advanced spacecraft, the God Phoenix. Their mission is to employ their dual skills – ninja fighting and scientific knowledge – to defeat the evil Sosai X, who endlessly conjures up elaborate schemes in an effort to conquer Earth. It’s just possible that this early 70s anime’ series was the birth of the five-kids-in-spandex genre that later gave rise to such godawful live-action train wrecks as Power Rangers and VR Troopers. It’s also just possible that you remember the English dubbed version from the early 80s, retitled Battle of the Planets.

Bob Sakuma’s oft-recycled music accompanied both the Gatchaman team and their American counterparts (a.k.a. “G-Force”), and anyone who spent any time with the show will recognize the melodies and cues lined up on this survey of the show’s music.

I’ll be up-front and advise you to steer clear of this if you are not a Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets fan. This album is loaded with really, really short cues, all crammed into longer tracks. Some of the pieces on this selection of background music are over in all of three seconds – such is the brevity of music composed for animation. Some of the music is really a bit dated too – one doesn’t hear quite so much Hammond organ in science fiction (or, for that matter, animation) these days.

That said, there is a lot of very interesting music here, and some of it stands up quite well. This, along with the Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers) soundtrack, may be enough to help you journey back to those post-grade-school afternoons of your youth.

It’s also worth noting that your favorite pieces of music from Battle Of The Planets might not be present here; the Americanized version of the series had music added by U.S. composer Hoyt Curtin, and Curtin’s music – including the Battle Of The Planets theme song – is not represented on this CD. (The original Gatchaman theme, 3 out of 4however, is almost disturbing – its title translates to “Destroy Gallactor!” and it is cheerfully sung by a children’s choir.)

Almost all of the non-vocal music from the Gatchaman soundtrack was recently included on a semi-official Battle Of The Planets CD, though this album remains the only place to find the vocal tracks.

Order this CD

  1. Prologue (1:27)
    1. Science Ninja Team (0:10)
    2. Gatchaman main theme – Destroy Gallactor! (1:17)
      performed by Columbia Cradle Club
  2. Emblem G (3:16)
    1. The White Shadow (0:04)
    2. International Science Organization (0:38)
    3. Birdstyle (0:45)
    4. Scramble (0:53)
    5. Gather God Phoenix (0:53)
  3. Gallactor Versions (3:56)
    1. Dangerous (0:47)
    2. Zero Angle (1:38)
    3. Sniper (0:33)
    4. Death Clash (0:30)
    5. Iron Beast (0:21)
  4. Fighting Phoenix (3:28)
    1. Snack Jun (0:16)
    2. Gatchaman Attack (1:28)
    3. Birdmissile (0:29)
    4. And Then…Victory (0:40)
    5. Return To The Sunrise (0:33)
  5. Coral Reef (0:28)
  6. Crescent Moon (3:24)
    1. Good Morning Phoenix (0:52)
    2. Morning Service (0:33)
    3. Croissant (0:21)
    4. At Dusk (0:42)
    5. Goodnight Seahorse (0:49)
  7. Behind Shaded Eyes (3:46)
    1. Shadow Of Gallactor (0:26)
    2. Burning City (0:30)
    3. Into Dark Depths (0:35)
    4. The Hidden Devil (0:24)
    5. A Night Of Unrest (0:53)
    6. Devastation Of The Earth (0:45)
  8. Katse, The Helmet Strap Tightens (0:33)
  9. Gatchaman (0:05)
  10. Fighter G (4:00)
    1. Invasion Assault (0:38)
    2. Army Corps (0:34)
    3. Capture (0:41)
    4. Pursuit (0:33)
    5. A Sudden Change (0:16)
    6. Violent Force (0:10)
  11. Red Illusion (4:40)
    1. Red Wing (0:06)
    2. Red Partner (2:17)
    3. Red Memory (1:00)
    4. Red Impulse (1:11)
  12. Alone On The Earth (0:52)
  13. A Pledge To The Open Sky (3:13)
    1. Surrender To Fate (1:16)
    2. Strong Flapping Wings (0:43)
    3. Stable, Lifting Wings (1:10)
  14. 0002 (3:48)
    1. Unknown Figure (0:29)
    2. Mutant (0:50)
    3. Cross Karakorum (0:47)
    4. A Living Island (0:34)
    5. Target X (0:16)
    6. Rushing In (0:39)
  15. The Phoenix Can (3:30)
    1. Visiting Tomorrow (0:23)
    2. We Are The Flock… (1:06)
    3. Daybreak (0:42)
    4. The Immortal Ninja Team (1:10)
  16. Epilogue (1:28)
    1. Ending Theme Song: Gatchaman’s Song (1:28)
      performed by Masato Shimon & The Columbia Cradle Club

Released by: Columbia Nippon
Release date: 1981 (re-released on CD in 1995)
Total running time: 42:59