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Best Goddam Gatchaman Episodes EVAR

So, tiki has just completed watching the entire series of Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman - A/K/A Battle of the Planets and/or G-Force - 105 episodes in all. So you don't have to!!!

Now, I'm a big anime fan from waaaaaay back, but as for watching a series in its entirety, I can probably count them on the fingers of one hand: Sailor Moon (albeit all 5 seasons), Cardcaptor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth (though just the first one, I got kinda put off by all the sobbing at the end), or Evangelion (**grumble**). Usually, if I see something at all, it'll be maybe 6 untranslated episodes in Japanese (like Tonde Burin) or a few that have been horribly, horribly mutilated for broadcast on American TV (Hollywood Mew Mew, anyone?).

So, actually getting classic anime in it's original, un-prettified form (people DIE and there's angst and stuff) has been kind of a treat. As well as kind of mind-blowing. Like poor, poor Condor Joe, we've started having headaches and blurred vision. HOWEVER! Before we go off and have our tragic death scene, we'd like to share our personal recommendations for our favorite ever Gatcha-episodes. This list is completely arbitrary and personal. Some of these are great for the sheer amount of anime-angst, others are just so barking batshit, it's like the writers just shook up a box of words to come up with the plot ("This episode, the Science Ninjas fight ... a 200 foot tall ... MECHA BUDDHA ... with LASER BEAM EYES!

This is all spoilery if you haven't seen the show, so I'll place it under the cut. I've included the actual real episode numbers and titles (which are awesome in themselves), on the off chance someone actually wants to seek these out, but I've also included my (and Mr. Tikistitch's) even better titles.

Puppy Love: #20, "A Critical Moment for the Science Ninja Team"
This was the first ep that really made me go from appreciating the show to loving the holy hell out of it. The moody Condor Joe is on a mission, when he spies an orphaned puppieh!!! O, noes! So, he stops to help it, and gets a brain full of shrapnel for his troubles. What shall they do? It's an awfully delicate operation, so Dr. Nambu has Joe put in a GIANT FUCKING CENTRIFUGE where they SPIN THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. (No, I am absolutely not making this up.) But, that doesn't work. The Science Ninja team goes off on a mission anyway, even though, due to some bizarre design flaw, nothing on their ship fucking works if there's not all 5 of them assembled! Joe somehow crawls after them and saves the day. In the aftermath, the God Phoenix is put into a terrible tailspin, and guess what? The metal fragment pops right out of Joe's head! Literally. Eagle Ken actually trips over the large metal fragment. Oh, and the kicker? They call back to base, where Dr. Nambu announces, "THE PUPPY IS OK!" Because, that's what you'd been worrying about all along, right?

Lava Jesus: #25, "Magma Giant, Emperor of Hell"
So, this sculptor is mad at work at Mt. Rushmore. Why? Because she's adding Jesus to it. Of course. And then, the Virgin Mary. Because, this is America, dammit. BUT! Unknown to her, due to the Evil Galactor, during the night, the Giant Head of Jesus walks away and turns into a 200-foot tall evil walking Magma Jesus. Bent on, ya know, destruction, and stuff. And, no, I haven't been sniffing glue, go here if you wanna see the YouTube bits. I really honestly don't remember anything else about this episode, because Gus and I were so, "That's a giant lava Jesus!" "OMG, that's a giant lava Jesus!"

Island of the Exploding Bananas: #73, "Get Katse"
So, at this point in the series, you're getting a feel for what happens: Berg Katse, the main henchman, builds a evil mecha, the Gatcha-team, after nearly dying and stuff, destroy the mecha, they nearly catch Berg, but then he gets away in the secret escape rocket. Only, in a strange breaking of the 4th wall, seems like the Gatcha's are catching on to this as well! Anyways, Condor Joe seems to be catching wise, because in this episode, instead of letting Katse fly the coop, he shoots him with a goddam Bird Missile. Which, pisses off Eagle Ken, who I guess has it written into his contract that they have to stick to the cliches. ANYWAYS, Katse ends up crash landed on some kinda tropical island. Which, coincidentally enough, has been completely laden with booby traps by Galactor. Fortunate, huh? So, as the Gatcha-guys run after him (yes, literally, for whatever reason, since Katse is on foot, they get out of their little Gatcha-vehicles, and chase him on foot), they keep confronting DANGER. You see pretty flowers? DANGER! You see bananas? THEY EXPLODE! Yes, really. You see Bambi? DANGER!!! No, really, despite Condor Joe's warning, Ryu goes and saves Bambi, and nearly gets himself killed by Evil Flowers. So, then they finally find Jinpei (oh, he got kidnapped somehow, did I forget about that?) and some fishy looking natives are using him for some ritual, lead by a hooded dude who's played by the same voice actor as the person who voices Katse. HMMMM, I WONDER WHO THAT COULD BE? There is never any explanation at all for why the fake native ritual (the "natives" are all Galactor minions). I dunno, maybe it's Galactor Creative Theater Playacting Day? Anyways, they finally unmask Katse, he slips away (of course!) and they face his latest mecha. BUT! At the critical moment, Joe can't shoot the Bird Missile? Why? Because there are more little Bambi deer all running in front of it. Awwwww! How cute.

OMG Jun Loses Her Shoe! #74, "Secret of the Birdstyles"
So, due to the whole "Joe Can't Shoot Bambi's Mom" deal of the last episode, Katse's mecha gets loose and starts wrecking an amusement park. (Hey, it's part of his plot for world domination, don't ask.) Jun and Jinpei save the day, but as a consequence, Jun loses a shoe. And, that's what the entire fucking episode is about. Dr. Nambu goes, "OMG, Jun, YOU LOST A SHOE?" And Jun is all, "I am so sorry, I LOST A SHOE!" And Ken says, "Dammit, Jun, YOU LOST A SHOE?" And then Katse's minions are all, "OMG, we FOUND A SHOE!" And Katse is like, "OMG rilly, you FOUND A SHOE?" Really. Like, 20 minutes of this. Oh, and also, Katse has a beauty contest for girls, and Jun tries to win it. But, still.

Gatchaman's Secret Underwater Base Not Surprisingly Sinks: #91-92, "Completion of the Plan to Destroy Crescent Base" and "The End of Crescent Base"
I should explain to the uninitiated, the Ninjatai's base is not just underwater, it's a mobile underwater base, that keeps travelling around the bottom of the ocean. So it won't be discovered by Galactor. Though for some reason, they then put a big giant unnaturally crescent-shaped island floating on the top of. Which, Galactor discovers. This episode is also notable because Dr. Nambu for once gets to almost die, along with Joe and Jinpei almost dying (which was pretty common by that point). But the best thing is when the base is filling with water and some of the scientists bravely decide to make a last stand and not evacuate. So, Eagle Ken beats the shit out of the poor guy. Oh, and then when everybody is off, the Godphoenix has to go totally sink the base with a bird missile, so there's more of that tasty, tasty angst.

Joe Totally Dies (!?!?): #103-105, "G-2 Risks Death," "Evil Great Black Hole Operation," "Earth Vanishes! 0002"
The death of Condor Joe was telegraphed pretty early on in the series, arguably beginning with episode 20, when he first got scrap metal lodged in his brain when he was saving a puppy. But, this just totally pays off in spades, not only for the angst, but also for the sheer Shakespearean length of time it takes that sucker to finally kick the bucket. It goes over several episodes: Joe will get sick, strike off on his own, get captured by Galactor, get tortured by Galactor, then crawl off (literally!) and get away, and the cycle repeats. Really, he's like Jason Voorhis or something! And then when he's finally dying in the very last episode (so there won't be much more chances to die) he gets to make a long speech to each and every member of the Gatcha-team, and they get to go all tear-streamy quiver-eyed and wail, "Noooo, don't die Jooooooooe!" AND THEN Eagle Ken makes the hard, hard decision that they can't take 5 minutes and just, ya know, carry Joe back to the ship and save him, because that just wouldn't be angsty enough!!! Oh, and there's other stuff, like Katse has a final snit and jumps down to the center of the earth, and Sosa X gets away so he can be in the sequel. And if you like to see the Science Ninjas beating up punk henchmen, this is one of the absolute best - it looks like they did tons of original animation for all of the episodes. But, honestly, the Death of Joe proved to be so astoundingly popular that they brought him back for Gatchaman II just so they could keep killing him, again and again and again! He's like the first, I dunno, anime Weeble or something.



( 4 cousins babbled — babble away! )
Jan. 21st, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
I salute your hard work, your testicular fortitude at sitting through all that, and your awesome titles! I also LOLed. A lot. And it's not even 7 in the morning! Thumbs way, way up!
Jan. 21st, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is, "Battle of the Planets" (the US version that looks like it was created by giving an original episode to a dog to chew up and barf out) was Gus's total fave cartoon as a kid. But, I showed him an actual BOTP episode on Veoh, and we both agreed, between 7-Zark-7 and Casey Kasem, it's just totally unwatchable. But, I had no problem sitting through 50 hours of Gatchaman, it's just splendiferous.
Aug. 7th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Don't forget Episode 4
You know, the one where Joe punches a little girl in the stomach to knock her out, then comments about her being "cute"? The same girl he later slaps and forces to fire the OMG-so-dangerous Bird Missile? Man, what a show. If I had a time machine, I'd go back in time and buy the creators a beer. Then I'd strangle them and resurrect one as a cyborg...
Aug. 7th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Don't forget Episode 4
Heh. I missed Battle of the Planets when it was on American TV, but I cannot tell you how much I love this silly show.
( 4 cousins babbled — babble away! )


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