Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman

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There is a disputed proposal that this article should be merged with Battle of the Planets.

Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.

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Gatchaman AKA Ken Washio, leader of the Science Ninja Team

Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman (科学忍者隊ガッチャマン) or simply Gatchaman, is an anime originally produced in Japan in 1972 (lit. Scientific Ninja Troop Gatchaman) by Tatsunoko Productions. It consists of 105 episodes.

The series is centered around five young superhero ninja trained by Dr. Nambu of the International Science Organization to stop Galactor, a terrorist group, from trying to wipe out the world's resources. The leader of Galactor appears at first to be the androgynous masked villain Berg Katse; as the series progresses, the Gatchaman team discovers not only Berg Katse's true origins (he/she is a hermaphrodite mutant, created by merging together fraternal twins, who can shift between a male and a female form) but also that Katse reports in turn reports to the true leader of Galactor, Sosai X (Overlord X).

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 like colorful costumes, powers and secret identities etc.. It also established the convention of the five member hero team that was emulated in various series, most notably the successful tokusatsu (Super) Sentai Series Series (which was edited into Mighty Morphing Power Rangers many years later).

The series was followed by two sequel series, Gatchman II and Gatchaman F. Furthermore, the original series was remade as a condensed OAV series in 1994.

The original series was shown on American television in 1978, in severely edited form, as Battle of the Planets. The series was shown again on American television in 1986 in translated form as G-Force; 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.

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. 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 is given. Each character was known by several names thanks to changes made in Translation to English in each of the various series'.

Original Japanese Battle of the Planets G-Force Bird Uniform Weapon Mecha
Ken Mark Ace Goodheart Eagle Razor boomerang Airplane
Joe Jason Dirk Daring Condor Pistol Race Car
Jun Princess Agatha June Swan Yo-yo Motorcycle
Ryu Tiny Ollie Owl Piloted the team Mecha, "Phoenix"
Jinpei Keyop PeeWee Sparrow Bolo Dune Buggy
Original Japanese Battle of the Planets G-Force
Dr. Nambu Chief Anderson Dr. Brighthead
Berg Katse Zoltar Gallactor
Sosai X Luminous One Computor
Gallactor Planet Spectra

Availability

ADV Films is releasing 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.


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