Gatchaman vs. Turtle King

Kagaku Ninjatai GatchamanAn enormous mechanical turtle rises from the ocean, attacking a uranium storage facility and stealing the radioactive material stored there. At a meeting of heads of state, Dr. Nambu of the International Science Organization reveals the identity of the culprit: the evil Galactor organization, bent on world domination. But it took the best intelligence agents in the world to discover even that morsel of information, so Nambu has assembled a team of young fighters and scientists to track down Galactor: Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Each armed with incredible powers and specialized vehicles, these young warriors are all that stand between Galactor and control of the entire Earth. Aboard their powerful aircraft, the GodPhoenix, the team is dispatched to observe the huge machine without interfering, in the hopes that it can be tracked back to Galactor’s base. Team leader Ken intends to stick to Dr. Nambu’s orders, but his hot-headed second-in-command, Joe, is enraged by the huge loss of life that he is forced to helplessly watch during this surveillance mission. Joe intends to destroy the machine – alone if he has to, whether it contravenes his orders or not.

written by Jinzo Toriumi
directed by Hisayuki Toriumi
music by Bob Sakuma

Voice Cast: Katsuji Mori (Ken Washio), Isao Sasaki (Joe Asakura), Kazuko Sugiyama (Jun), Yoku Shioya (Jinpei), Shingo Kanemoto (Ryu), Toru Ohira (Dr. Kozaburo Nambu), Mikio Terashima (Berg Katse), Nobuo Tanaka (Sosai X), Teiji Omiya (Director Anderson)

Note: This synopsis is for the original Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman episode, and appears under its original Japanese premiere date. For the corresponding episode of Battle Of The Planets, click here.

GatchamanNot really a proper “origin” story for Gatchaman, this premiere episode raises some interesting questions. It seems that no one but Nambu is aware of Galactor’s existence until he reveals that information. It’s possible that seemingly random terrorist attacks had been carried out prior to these events, but no one had attributed them to a single group. In any case, given that the Science Ninja Team has practically been raised to fight Galactor, it seems likely that Dr. Nambu has been sitting on this information for quite some time. The plot setup of this and other early episodes owes a lot to Godzilla – with just a dash of James Bond in the mad scheme to steal uranium – but the characters and their relationships would take center stage in later episodes (but not at the expense of the mayhem and destruction which Tatsunoko Studios’ animators were so adept at depicting). Near the episode’s end, during the destruction of the Turtle King, an obviously non-animated, live-action scene of colorful smoke is seen for a few seconds.

LogBook entry by Earl Green