Blu-ray Review “Gatchaman: Complete Collection”

gatchamanDirected by: Hisayuki Toriumi
Number of discs: 14
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Run Time: 2770 minutes

Series: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

If you don’t recognize the name “Gatchaman”…how about “Battle of the Planets (1978)” or “G-Force: Guardians of Space (1986)”, which are English adaptations of this 1972 series. It was originally released under “Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman” translated into “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman”. The English language versions were always complained about like with most anime series (for example “Dragon Ball Z”) since they are confusing and lacks the structure of the original Japanese series but I grew up watching “Battle of the Planets” and loving it. Why this series is most exciting is that it is the the completely uncut version that ADV Films released years ago on DVD. So fans of this show can finally rejoice as this classic series gets the ultimate edition release.

Official Premise: Using amazing weapons powered by super-science, the international terrorist organization known as Galactor is out to steal all of Earth’s resources for itself and its inhuman masters. Mankind’s only hope? The International Science Organization and their elite strike force, the Science Ninja Team! But these five young heroes will have their work cut out for them as they take on the seemingly impossible task of defeating Galactor’s horrific arsenal of mechanized weapons of mass destruction and endless armies of henchmen. Can costumed commandos Ken the Eagle, Joe the Condor, Jun the Swallow, Jinpei the Sparrow and Ryu the Owl really overcome such overwhelming odds? Utilizing the incredible technology and fighting techniques created by Dr. Nambu, and with the mighty ship the God Phoenix at their command, they just might.

So if you grew up wit this series like myself, whether it was probably remember it “Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman” or “Battle of the Planets” or “G-Force”, you can experience this show again for the first time in a complete collection. No question, this is a must purchase for any anime fan and yet another fantastic release from Sentai Filmworks. I should also point out that back in 1994, the original series was remade as a shortened OVA series. They were previously unreleased and are included here for the first time. The OVA features updated character designs and altered backgrounds. The OVAs were also redubbed for this release to match the uncut TV series dub, so that is just another additional bonus.

“Gatchaman: Complete Collection” features the whole series includes episodes 1-105, it also includes the previously unreleased OVA episodes 1-3. The 1080p video looks quite amazing as well. It is restored but doesn’t lose that classic 70’s anime feel. I recently watched a remastered Disney movie from the 80’s and it was terribly restored completely taking out all the detail. That is not the case here as these episodes are sharp, crisp and pack some great line detail. There are both English and Japanese audio language included with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, which will deliver options of all the hardcore fans. I prefer the English language, which just sounds so epic. The series’ music and score has always been a favorite of mine and sounds quite amazing on this Blu-ray.

In terms of special features, Sentai Filmworks could have just stopped with the episodes and I am sure fans would have still purchase this release with no complaints but they went even further and deliver a jam-packed release. There are a ridiculous amount of commentary tracks included on this release.. On the disc 1, there two audio commentary tracks, the first is with Leraldo Anazulda (Ken) and Charles Campbell (ADR Director) and the other is with Brian Jepson (Joe) and again with Charles Campbell. Disc 2 also includes two audio commentary tracks. The first is with Kim Prause (Jun) gatchaman-insideand and Charles Campbell and the second is with Luci Christian (Jinspei). Disc 3 includes a commentary track with Victor Carsrud (Ryu). Disc 4 includes a track with Andy McAvin (Dr. Nambu) and also a track with George Manely (Narrator). Disc 5 brings us a commentary from Edwin Neal (Berg Katse) and also Sarah Alys Lindholm (Senior Translator). Disc 6 includes a commentary track from John Tyson (Red Impulse).

Disc 7 includes a commentary track with both Leraldo Anazulda (Ken) and Andy McAvin (Dr. Nambu). Disc 8 includes two tracks, the first with Kim Prause (Jun) and Luci Christian (Jinspei) and the second with Brian Jepson (Joe) and Winston Parish (Leader X). Disc 9 includes a very fun Minions & Mayhem commentary track with Josh Grelle, Glenn Frazer, Chris Ayres and Charles Campbell. Disc 10 includes tracks from Marty Fleck (Director Anderson) and Charles Campbell (this guy really loves commentary tracks). There is also a track with Samantha Inoue Harte and Charles Campbell. Disc 11 includes a technical audio commentary track with Recording Engineers Eden Barrera and Bobby Gordon. There is also a commentary with Luci Christian (Jinpei) and George Manley (Narrator). Lastly Leraldo Anazulda (Ken) and Charles Campbell reunite again from disc one to close out these amazing commentary tracks.

The rest of the extras are included on disc 14 and there is not a few extras, there is still a TON more included. “What is Gatchaman” and “What We Were Watching”, which look into the series. There are tons of amazing “Character Profiles, Character Sketches, “Episode Sketches, Art Galleries and Publishing Galleries” included. There is a look into the original series with “Science Ninja Tech” and “The Origins of Tatsunoko Production”. There are two featurettes on the series’ memorable music with “Gatchaman Music”, as well as “The Demon 5 in Concert”. There some fun interviews with Alex Ross, Charles Campbell and also the English voice cast. There is also some audition footage for the English cast and also a round table interview series.  Lastly there are clean opening and closing animations, as well as an unused ending sequence and a commercial for Gatchaman ModelLock. Literally, I was blown away by these amazing extras.

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