Friday, March 4, 2011

Gatchaman Theme & ADV Series

The original Gatchaman was revisited and re-dubbed in English by ADV with artwork by none other than acclaimed comic book artist Alex Ross to give it a new shine in 2005.

I took some time to give the 2005 ADV translation of Gatchaman a chance. The original Japanese series was released in a set of nine [9] gorgeous Collection Boxes complete with eighteen [18] Volumes in total complete with extras galore. As I mentioned in my earlier post on Battle Of The Planets, I purchased the whole set at one point. They are pretty good size boxes too. I was thrilled about them, but they ultimately sat on the shelf collecting dust and in a moment of complete and utter irrationality I decided to sell them on ebay. WHAT!? Someone got a great deal! I shouldn't have done it, because they are now out of print, but, in a moment of weakness, I opted to avoid life as hoarder, a condition many collector's battle and make every effort to keep in check.
To be honest, the new Gatchaman dub- well, it's okay. I'm quite torn really. It would take some getting used to especially because I was weened and spoiled by those tremendous voice talents [Casey Kasem, Janet Waldo, Ronnie Schell, etc.] hired for Battle Of The Planets. Admittedly, the nostalgia factor [or blinder] is always strong, like the force, and getting passed my love for the original dub on Battle Of The Planets is a major obstacle personally. Yet, the original Gatchaman, uncut and unedited, is preferable on a visual level. It was just really hard for me to be open to the new English dub. ADV retains those Gatchaman originals in their uncut and unedited video form, but part of me enjoyed and prefers the Japanese audio track even more than the new English dub. Perhaps it interferes far less with my loyalty to the original, far superior English voice track of Battle Of The Planets. I know it's not fair to compare, but sometimes it's hard to break from those classics and my bias is showing here.
ADV, in my humble opinion, did not voice cast this series well. Some of the voices seemed miscast to their parts especially the voice of Berge Katse [a.k.a. Zoltar]. The voice of the enemy was exceptional on Battle Of The Planets, performed by Keye Luke [another tremendous voice asset on that aforementioned series], but this is just one example of my inability to accept the new offering. Honestly, the level of talent on Battle Of The Planets complemented the Tatsunoko animation in such a way that it truly elevated Battle Of The Planets warts and all. The voice cast selected by ADV simply can't compare. Although my inner ten year old may be exhibiting or demonstrating some real bias here, seeing them both recently I still consider Battle Of The Planets the superior dub on voice actors. Those with no built-in predisposition for the Sandy Frank classics should indeed hunt down the ADV set. It'll be a bit like living in a small town in a freedom-choked country with no Internet access. Watching it will be just fine because it'll be all you know.

The cover art on these ADV releases is impressive by Alex Ross [a big fan of Battle Of The Planets] and as much as the original Gatchaman is a thriller it's hard for me to fully make the embrace.
In the meantime, I took time to record the original Gatchaman theme in its untouched, unedited form. The new ADV translation utilizes the classic Gatchaman theme in its beautiful, original form. It certainly matches the Hoyt Curtin number recorded for Battle Of The Planets. Visually, with it, you get a real flavor for the original Gatchaman series minus 7-Zark-7 and all of the added American footage found in the Battle Of The Planets theme. This is truly how Gatchaman was intended. Enjoy.
The ADV Gatchaman releases are now out of print along with the Battle Of The Planets Rhino releases. Sandy Frank lost the Battle Of The Planets license in 2007. Unfortunately, all of it is becoming quite scarce. It's a sad commentary on the much bigger anime picture and the state of finding quality, legal anime in the USA. Of course getting rare copies beats Polaroid-only snapshots of my favorite scenes from my youth or frosty VHS. Be prepared for tough finds. I realize today that, for me, I can never really replace the feeling of what that version of Battle Of The Planets meant to be growing up. No dub or reissue of any kind can supplant the adoration and love I had for that Sandy Frank version called Battle Of The Planets. Quite simply, nothing will replace it or those childhood dreams. The complete series was issued in the United Kingdom, but never came to fruition stateside. And to think, the likelihood of seeing the 85 episode series officially released one day in its entirety in the USA as a distinct impossibility is a sad fact of this adult's reality.
There's a planned Gatchaman CGI feature film by Imagi [Astro Boy] near completion. Perhaps that will be the fuel that sees Battle Of The Planets see the light of day, but somehow I suspect that window may be closing. My inner ten year old will keep hoping that one day our favorite blue Phoenix will rise again.

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