For those that don’t know (which is probably likely), Gatchaman(Battle of the Planets; G-Force) was a 105 ep series in the 1970s that resembled what would happen if Japan took the environmental issue of Captain Planet, had everyone be Batman(but bird-themed), and saved the world from aliens using science. It came out a couple years after Speed Racer and Astro Boy, and established the masked hero gimmick in Japan along with Kamen Rider and the first Super Sentai(Power Rangers). Because of this, I can’t really compare it to the original due to its old age. But judging from this first episode, it look like we don’t need to.
In Tachikawa City, there is a group only mentioned in rumors called Gatchaman, warriors who wear specialized armor powered by a manifestation of spiritual powers called the NOTE(which also works as a notebook). Outside of human view, they fight alien criminals that hide amongst the humans, most recently an alien race called MESS. The MESS can come out as any form of vehicle or human and absorbs any human around them.
Sugane Tachibana is one of these Gatchaman, and he has just been alerted through his NOTE that a new member will be joining. Enter Hajime Ichinose, a carefree highschooler and classmate of Sugane who has no worries in life and seems to have an addiction to notebooks. After playing hide and seek with what looks like a 12 foot man, he suddenly flashes her(is that a disco party in his pants?) and pulls out her own NOTE, declaring her the new member of the Gatchaman. After seeing Sugane in action, he introduces her to Joe Hibiki, Utsutsu, OD, their unit leader Paiman(who gets constantly confused for a panda), and the 12 ft man that gave their NOTES, JJ. Together they must now go throughout Tachikawa city and eliminate the MESS.
Despite this being a return to a franchise over 40 years old, it seems streamlined enough for anyone to get into. Everything about both the MESS and Gatchaman is easy to understand and grab your interest. Other than for transforming into the Gatchaman, the NOTEs also connect to eachother so that anything one writes in it can be seen by the rest(so NEVER use it for personal use). Nothing to write about character’s or story so far, because all we’ve got so far is Hajime being the resident moe blob being surprised at all the cool stuff we’re seeing.
Now we move onto the highlight of this ep: the animation. This is Kenji Nakamura(C, Tsuritama, Mononoke), so the visual style is unusual as expected. Despite this taking place in a modern city, it’s almost void of dark colors and appears to have been doused by every variation of the freaking rainbow. The MESS have pretty unique designs, looking like what you’d get if a Rubix Cube got tentacle raped. The most noticeable change though(even i can tell) is that Gatchaman designs. Rather than the classic capes, they’ve been redesigned to resemble a brighter version of another Tatsunoko character, Karas; another comparison would be Sunrise’s superhero series Tiger & Bunny. The music sounds alot like what you’d expect from an old super sentai show. It’s cheesy, catchy and fits both the battles and transformation scenes really well.
Overall, it’s hard to tell where this re-imagining will go. Other than some background info about the world, all we really have is alot of stylish visuals. I’m kind of worried this will end up as simply style over substance(C took that route). But hey, if the style still remains creative, that might be ok. Plus I have to admit, Hajime is adorable.