The Series (3.5/5)
I cannot honestly remember if the first anime series I was exposed to was Robotech or Gatchaman. If it were Gatchaman, it would have been under the 70's retitled variation Battle of the Planets. I do remember my younger self enjoying it enough to not change the channel, and to be thrown into the adventures of the Science Ninja Team anytime it aired. However, it never occurred to me to pick it back up at any later point like I would as a teenager and adult like I did with Robotech. That, of course, has recently been corrected with Section 23's recent box set (available on DVD and Blu-ray) of Gatchaman: The Complete Collection
Gatchaman although running for 105 episodes in edition to a few OVA's does not have any sort of intricate storyline running through it like one might expect from watching recent anime. It basically is about the 5 Science Ninja Team members discovering what evil the terrorist organization GALACTOR has in store for them this episode, and finding a way to stop it. If you watch all 105 episodes, and the OVA episodes you will see little strands of reoccurring plot, and some wrap up elements as the show begins to conclude, but this is not a show you have to watch every episode of to get the most out of.
Of course with 105 episodes it does get a bit repetitive if watched in all one go, that is why I personally would recommend watching Gatchaman in measured doses, because the show is absolutely a lot of fun. The characterizations are simple, but interesting in comparison to what else was around at the time, and the animation although raw compared to what we have now is unique and offers a lot of strange and interesting design elements. It really cannot compare to what would come later, but it shouldn't be, and as a children's anime program from over 30 years ago it is still an enjoyable bit of sci-fi, action, fun.
Gatchaman: The Complete Collection was given both a DVD and Blu-ray release, and while we would definitely have preferred to review the Blu-ray, we did manage to secure a copy of the DVD. The DVD set is presented in a series of 1:37:1 transfer preserving the original broadcast ratio of the program. The episodes certainly look good for what they are, but certainly do look their age. The show is obviously from the mid 70's, so the animation is not exactly elaborate, and it certainly reproduces nicely what was originally done. The colors here are stable for the most part, but there is some minor fading issues, line detail is good for the most part. Overall, this is quite a pleasing transfer that some viewers might need to put into context.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio tracks 2.0 in both Japanese in English both are solid with dialogue, music, and effects mixed well and sound nice. However, I must admit I stuck to the Japanese language track for the most part. I did not detect any issues like pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
Each disc with episodes has commentary tracks from English voices actors and occasionally ADR directors. We then get an epic stuffed bonus features disc with documentary featurettes, interviews, soundtracks samples, sketches, character profiles, audition tapes, music videos, clean opening and closing animation, round tables and a short documentary on a Gatchaman screening at Austin's Alamo Drafthouse.
An awesome package in either DVD or Blu-ray, Gatchaman: The Complete Collection offers the iconic 70's anime series in an elaborately restored package with an immense amount of extras. I would have to be crazy if I did not mark this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.