Science Ninja Team Gatchaman

Science Ninja Team Gatchaman

Infobox animanga/Header
name = Science Ninja Team Gatchaman

caption =
ja_name = 科学忍者隊ガッチャマン
ja_name_trans = Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman
genre = Adventure, Science Fiction
Infobox animanga/Anime
title =
director = Hisayuki Toriumi
writer = Jinzo Toriumi
studio = Tatsunoko Productions
licensor =
network = flagicon|Japan Fuji TV
network_other = flagicon|Philippines HERO
flagicon|Italy Canale 5, Italia 1
flagicon|Brazil Band
first = October 1, 1972
last = September 29, 1974 [ [] jp icon]
episodes = 105
episode_list = List of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman episodes

Nihongo|"Science Ninja Team Gatchaman"|科学忍者隊ガッチャマン|Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman|, is a 5-member superhero team which comprises the main characters in several anime 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 (or G-Force, not to be confused with the subsequent 1980's English adaptation of "Gatchaman", known as ).

A second feature film version of "Gatchaman" is being produced by Imagi Animation Studios for release in 2009. The first was released in 1978.


The original 1972 "Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman" series was followed by two sequel series, "Gatchaman II" (1978) and "Gatchaman F" (1979). In 1994, the original series was remade as a condensed OAV series. 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.Created in the wake of the hugely successful Henshin boom started by Shotaro Ishinomori's "Kamen Rider" in 1971, this series was 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, powers and secret identities. It also established the convention of the five member hero team that has been emulated in later series, most notably the successful tokusatsu "Super Sentai" franchise (which was adapted into English as the "Power Rangers" franchise many years later), in fact, the Sentai series "Choujin Sentai Jetman" was in many ways a homage to "Gatchaman". [ [] ] [ [ Animation World Magazine] ] [ [ Animation World Magazine] ]

Plot and character summary

Best described as a sci-fi 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. Kozaburo Nambu of the fictitious "International Science Organization" to oppose a group 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, Berg Katse, who is later revealed to be a shape-shifting intersex mutant acting on the orders of an alien superior, Leader X. The most common recurring plot involved "Gatchaman" 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 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. [ [] jp icon]

Most of the team were in their late-teens, apart from Jinpei who was about eleven. They included: Ken Washio, the team leader; Joe Asakura, his second-in-command; Jun, the team's electronics and demolitions expert; Jinpei, the youngest and reconnaissance expert; and Ryu Nakanishi, the ship's pilot. [ [ 科学忍者隊ガッチャマン] jp icon]

They also used various signature weapons and mecha style vehicles which 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!", is given. Their vehicles are docked in the team's main vehicle, the GodPhoenix, a supersonic plane capable of underwater travel and minor spaceflight as necessary. The GodPhoenix is armed with an unspecified but large (roughly 30+) number of BirdMissiles that are fired from a rack system mounted atop the center section. After the original GodPhoenix was destroyed by an octopus-based mecha, an improved version carried a pair of Super BirdMissiles in twin drop down pods from the bottom center section. In addition, when necessary, the plane can temporarily transform into a massive bird of flame like the legendary Phoenix to escape danger although the process is highly taxing to the team. [ [] jp icon]

Adaptations and changes

The original series was shown in Japan. Later, it was exported to other countries. In Taiwan beginning in 1977, it was known as "Ke Xuei Xiao Fei Xia" (Scientific Flying Fantasy Warriors), then on American television in 1978, in heavily edited form, as "Battle of the Planets (BOTP for short)". The series was shown again on American television in 1986 and 1995 in a newly translated form as ""; 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. The two sequel series, "Gatchaman II" and "Gatchaman F" were combined into one and translated as "Eagle Riders" in 1996, with yet more changes to audio and character names.

ADV Films released the uncut version of the series with an all-new English 5.1 dub, on DVD starting June 14 2005. This release includes 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.

In 2007, Sandy Frank's long term contract with Tatsunoko (owners of the "Gatchaman" franchise) for complete US rights of the first Gatch series (along with all spin-offs and dubs) elapsed, and now both BotP and "G-Force" are officially in limbo, leaving only the uncut version by ADV Films on the market. Plans are afoot for a possible live action television series of Gatchaman. [ [ Yatterman, Gatchaman Live-Action Movies Green-Lit] ]

Team variations across different versions

Gatchaman (OAV)

A series reboot, it used updated character designs and altered backgrounds.

Gatchaman Movie

In popular culture

* In 2000, NTT East produced two animated and two live-action television commercials for their ISDN service featuring a more updated version of Gatchaman, featuring members of the J-Pop boy group SMAP. [ [ ] jp icon]
* In 2003 this anime series was aired in Taiwan which the opening song was performed by famous hip pop boyband Energy.
* Gatchaman became the inspiration of Choujin Sentai Jetman in the order, except the swallow is a female in the later years, and the eagle is replaced by a hawk. Before that, it seemed to have inspired the idea of Goranger.
* The opening credits of Gatchaman began with the five heroes' silhouettes flying across the screen at high speed. At the beginning of each episode of The Powerpuff Girls the three titular heroines dart across the screen in a similar manner before that episode's title card.
* On the Gachapin website, the character can be seen dressed in the outfit of Eagle. [ [ ガッチャピン公式サイト ] jp icon]
* On The Simpsons December 14, 2003 couch gags - The couch is a street bench in Japan, and everyone is a famous anime or tokusatsu character: Homer is Ultraman, Marge is Jun from "Science Ninja Team Gatchaman", Lisa is Usagi Tsukino, the protagonist from "Sailor Moon", Bart is Astro Boy and Maggie is Pikachu from "Pokémon". The episode was called 'Tis the Fifteenth Season
* In episode 2 of Nurse Witch Komugi, Komugi battles her rival by dressing up as the entire Gatchaman force.
*Tatsunoko Fight and are two games where characters from the show make special appearances.

Episodes list


Further reading

* "G-Force": Animated (TwoMorrows Publishing: ISBN 9781893905184) [,M1]

External links

* [ ADV Films official Gatchaman site]
* [ Gatchaman - Home of the White Shadow]
* [ Gatchaman,BotP, G-Force]
*imdb title|id=0068792|title=Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman

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