"Zark, whales don't attack refineries!"
Silly Zark, tricks are for kids.
Battle Of The Planets shifted its ecological focus to one of Earth's most treasured mammals, the whale, for Battle Of The Planets, Episode 17, A Whale Joins G-Force.
As far as the team dynamic, in a rare move, the focus here shifts its spotlight to Keyop. Kind of like a child's love of turtles and Gameras, so too goes their love of whales.
It's worth reminding that Keyop, with his blips and bleeps, is considered an artificial child in the stateside version of Tatsunoko's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman well known here as Battle Of The Planets. The character is actually alleged to be just a ten year old boy in the original version. Think about that for a minute if you have kids? He's a ten year old assassin. Keyop's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman Japanese counterpart was named Jinpei and was essentially a normal human child with a tendency to get into trouble, as he almost does here.
Keyop is fortunately also a dead shot with the bolas.
Bay City is attacked, you guessed it, by Spectra, Zoltar and a massive robot version of the whale.
Migrating whales are in trouble on their way north to their feeding ground.
Casey Kasem voices the ecological importance of whales to the kids here at home as they search for the "mad giant whale."
Zark tells us they aren't fish but mammals "capable of human feelings."
But the lesson ends when the robot whale kills all of the whales ultimately leaving a small, baby whale motherless. Tears well in Keyop's eyes. "G-Force help Nambu." Keyop always had a way with words as well as incomplete sentences, but what do you want from an artificial child.
Time to destroy the robot whale.
Still the baby whale is in jeopardy as a pack of killer whales approach en route to its location. This is a job for little Keyop with a big old heart.
The small whale is captured and named Nambu (a nice homage to the actual name of Chief Nambu not Chief Anderson in the Japanese original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman). Nambu is even fitted with a "beeper" in the hopes of leading G-Force to the secret Spectran base making the wee little whale asset an honorary sixth member of the team.
Personally, this writer has such fond memories of this episode. As a kid, I just loved that little whale and loved the relationship between it and Keyop. Sadly, the episode is much more meager than I remember it. Oh well, such are the joys of looking through the prisms of a child's eyes.
In the end, once again Spectra proves it is a severely twisted and warped bunch of characters interested in seizing the Earth's oceans. Yet, to do that, it must crush, kill and destroy every whale imaginable (except apparently Killer Whales). Oh you Spectra.
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman title: Revenge! The Whale Operation.
Up Next: Mad New Ruler Of Spectra.