Back in September on my other review subsite, For-The-Hell-Of-It reviews, I took a look at the mid-90s remake of Gatchaman on DVD. What you’re reading here is Part 2 of that review, and I have not seen the original Gatchaman show from the 70s since, well, the 70s, when it was renovated and re-dubbed Battle Of The Planets here in the U.S. Gatchaman: The Movie is a compilation of several episodes from the series connected to together to make a movie, and while my childhood memories of the U.S. version are fond the original version from Japan did not bring back much if any memories. I saw a few shots I recognized but without the U.S. retooling I was lost in a sea of purity. I did learn, however, anime from the 70s doesn’t do a damn thing for me. Far too primitive in my opinion to enjoy repeatedly. Oddly, though, go back another decade to American made Jonny Quest and that is probably as far back as I can go with any kind of animation and still have it appealing enough for me to want to sit through on more than one viewing.
Compared to the remake, the story line is fairly similar with some key differences, like Red Impulse. In both he’s still Ken’s father and he still sacrifices himself and Ken still finds out who he is, but the way he dies is different and when Ken finds out who he is is different. He dies manning a rocket in the original series/’78 movie and Ken finds out he’s his father before he dies as opposed to after in the remake.
It was interesting to see how the character of Joe was handled differently in that in the series/’78 movie he ends up dying due to some long time brain injury he had suffered, but as expected his death does not go down in vain as he’s basically responsible for saving the planet. Another major difference, one I decidedly didn’t like, was how “cartoony” Berg Katse was portrayed. Here he sounds a little bit like the Monarch from Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros and in a few instances kind of acts like him too. He comes off decidedly more menacing in the remake. There is no reveal at the end of this version showing he was really a female and his suicidal plunge is definitely a departure from the remake as well.
The ending planet save is also different with it not being some kind divine intervention but more the ingenuity of the Gatchaman team and team member Joe. Actually, plain old luck may have been the real victor.
What I enjoyed most, however, was the score. It was very theatrical, elevating the movie.
As far as I can tell Gatchaman: The Movie has never been released here in the states, which would make Sentai Filmworks’ (Section23) November 17th release on separate DVD and Blu-ray editions kind of a big deal!
Transfer on the blu-ray looked impeccable! Audio was the same too!
There are no extras except trailers for other Sentai Filmworks anime.
Fans of the series and this particular movie will want this for their collection, if not for the transfer alone.