Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie – OMG, WHAT?

I seem to like running events and having my own projects a little too much on this blog. Something something, projects keep me focused and innovative, something something. There was this small idea I had about having a TV anime movie week randomly in the summer sometime. I decided at some point that would be too much and I will just post reviews of those movies throughout the spring and summer whenever I felt like it. The Black Jack Movie would have been a part of this event, but it felt like a better idea just to post the review when I did. This movie would also have been a part of that, but once again, going to post it now. It seems like I had a great time with each of them for different reasons. Not a bad experience to have either way honesty.

The plot of Gatchaman: The Movie starts with the appearance of the Sosai X traveling millions of miles in space to reach the Earth. From that appearance comes the bad guy and mutant by the name of Berg Katze. Time skip to thirty years into the future and Berg Katze is now the leader of the villain group Galactor and is on a mission to conqueror the world. You know, classic villain stuff from the 1970’s and such. With the gigantic robotic monster “Turtle King” threatening the world, five teenagers stepped out of the shadows to help them. They are Gatchaman who dress up in super hero bird costumes and fly around in the spaceship “God Phoenix” to save the world!

Our Heroes, the Gatchaman!

Casting wise, we have the evil mutant by the name of Berge Katze trying to take over the world with insane plans and then we have the science ninja team themselves. Ken the Eagle is the leader of this group when he is present and his bird of choice is the eagle. Obviously. Joe the Condor is the second in command. Jun the Swan is the demolition expert and knows her stuff well. Jinpei the Swallow is a young kid good at reconnaissance. Finally, Ryu the Owl is the pilot of the crew here. All of them lead by Dr. Kozaburo Nambu who provides each of them with technology, costumes, and shelter. There isn’t a lot of characterization in this series for all of them because of the short running time of this plot here. Just with Ken with his missing father and missing in general and Joe with his own issues. Otherwise, each character just played a role and that’s it honestly.

Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie is a compilation movie of the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman TV Series. Over fifty or so episodes in key events and at least two arcs put into this interesting movie that shouldn’t really exist. Or at least taken seriously. If anything, the TV Series should have been cut into three movies to make it at least feel fleshed out a little more. But instead, we just got this film. It kind of makes me want to watch the series to see what I missed so job accomplished there. Still, the tone of this series (I’m assuming it isn’t super serious) combined with the strange way the film was edited didn’t do this film any favors at all. In the best, bad sort of way. I’m not going to hide how bad this film was because it was the good and entertaining kind of bad.

Berge Katze

Let’s talk about how this film was edited for instance. The film was cut out so key moments at least had some sense of exploration and grounding for things that happen afterwards, right? Well, that didn’t work as well as one would think. For instance, there is a scene of a random character breaking into a room that hasn’t been established before followed by one of our Gatchaman members chasing them, and then the context of what that person did in that room came quite a bit later. Like, you find out whose room that was and what was stolen. If only we had some time to establish what that room or whose room it was and why it was important beforehand? Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. You have these awkward moments one after another that just can’t help but keep you in the dark from how vague they are.

Then there is the general goofiness of the series itself too. Once again, that’s an assumption but I am just going to roll with it. We can just talk about how the Galaxor faceless soldiers just didn’t know anything about shooting. Like, worse than storm troopers because at least you can write off Storm Troopers with shooting at the hip because Luke and his gang always ducked in and out of hallways in Star Wars. In this movie, you can literally stand motionless five feet away from Galaxor soldiers and they would never hit you. EVER. And a little bit of a spoiler, but threatening the world with an unfinished product like a missile is one of the funniest things I’ve ever watched. That wasn’t editing, that was the story telling leading to the one of the fastest and funniest dramatic exit scenes ever. The death of the father who our main character met one minute before. Yeah, that’s a spoiler. At the same time, do you care?

One thing I do have to mention was how great the animation and art are regardless of how old it is? I’m sure the upgrade from the tv series to a movie helped it because that usually involves cleaning up animation to make it more presentable, but I am just going to say that must be the case. The mechanical animation was really cool and I am just love watching these older mechanical monsters and the God Phoenix flying around each other, firing missiles, and everything. I’ve really been getting into older, mechanical designs recently and this was more food for me. Of course, the movements of the Gatchaman in the air, walking and running with their capes behind them, and their abilities were awesome. Same with the villains with their outfits, techniques, and things they used. Just a great piece of older animation.

If this was just a bad movie, then I would have just given it a bad rating. I can’t really do that here because there is enough entertainment value in this movie to raise it to an ok. I say that for the most wrong reasons possible of course. As long as you like so bad it’s good material, of course. Otherwise, it’s just bad. There really is a great merging of bad ideas and execution of the story combined with the goofiness of it all that just elevated the movie itself in a way you wouldn’t expect. I am going to say this right now, I haven’t watched a lot of anime series or films that have done this on any level. Mostly because I just don’t watch so good it’s bad things most. I say that the Appleseed Franchise is my guilty pleasure and it is, but I think I found a new one for me to enjoy from time to time. You know, if you think guilty pleasures exist. I do.


  1. Showing my age here but I used to watch this as a kid via the butchered US remix version re-titled “Battle Of The Planets” and have always wanted to see the original uncut Japanese language version. Unknowingly, this would be my first experience of anime. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve seen Gatchaman, but only under the edited versions of G-Force and Eagle Riders during my childhood. Eagle Riders used to come on some syndicated Saban-based block on UPN way back when and it’s mind blowing to me that it was on the same block as Dragon Ball Z when it first came out in the pre-Toonami days. It would be interesting to see it in it’s original Japanese.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dad called it Battle for the Planets? Did it have all those names?

      The weirdest part of this is that this is dubbed with the japanese names used and everything. I guess that’s just weird.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Battle of the Planets was the first dub of Gatchaman. I found out Eagle Riders was an edited dub fusing Gatchaman II and Fighter together in the 90s. G-Force was the 80s adaptation minus the added stuff in Battle of the Planets and a more accurate translated script.

        Okay. I think it’s because ADV originally got the rights to the unedited show back in the 00s and used the original character’s names kind of like how they used to have the rights to the uncut Saint Seiya while collaborating with Dic for the edited version (Knights of the Zodiac). Sentai has the rights to it now which makes sense since they have a lot of the original ADV staff in that company.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s