Gatchaman Episode 2: "The Monstrous Aircraft Carrier Appears"
(Battle of the Planets Episode: "Rescue of the Astronauts")
As episode 2 is closely connected to episode 1, it begins with the narrator explaining what happened at the end of the previous episode, namely that the God Phoenix
was able to break away from the Turtle King mecha through the firebird technique, and although the mecha was destroyed, its head survived to "carry on Galactor's plot
for world domination."
With that bit of recapping out of the way, we are now shown a rocket ship, Mantle 8, high above the Earth, in orbit, but its two pilots are preparing to return home.
They communicate with a "mission control center" (we can't say it's Houston Control, but ADV does seem to have given its personnel accents that sound Texan...) and we
learn that the rocket's reentry capsule will be met and recovered at the splashdown site.
We next see the capsule, slowed by a parachute, hitting the surface of the ocean, somewhere, and it releases a dye that turns the water yellow all around it (yuck!).
But, as the capsule floats there awaiting pick up from approaching boats, the music takes a sinister turn.
Two underwater ships shaped much like sting rays seize hold of the capsule and tow it away, down to a much, much larger underwater ship.
Meanwhile, Ken is in his "shack" at his airfield, resting his feet on his desk and playing with a small pet turtle who can only be a less-than-subtle symbolic nod to
the Turtle King mecha (and who won't be seen ever again).
Dr. Nambu contacts Ken and orders him to assemble the team at once, and says that he will explain why later. Ken dashes outside, apparently without bothering even to
close his door.
He jumps into his plane and takes off immediately (clearly very confident in his plane's reliability, as he does no preflight checks).
We cut to the bridge of the God Phoenix, where Ken is the last to arrive. Joe, rather grumpily, asks "Why the hell did we get called out again so soon?" I'd have
thought Joe would be keen to be summoned for another mission -but perhaps the summons interrupted him in the midst of some enjoyable activity...
Dr. Nambu appears on-screen, and delivers necessary exposition to the effect that the previously-seen capsule has disappeared from the splashdown site in the South
Pacific, and that it was carrying an "Earth Compact Device" which had compiled data, from space, on the locations of uranium deposits deep within the Earth's crust.
It resembles a cassette tape.
Dr. Nambu then instructs the team to go to the splashdown site and search for the capsule, its two pilots, and the Earth Compact Device.
Next we see that large underwater ship again. The two smaller sting ray ships are moving off, having delivered the capsule. Inside the large ship, a Galactor goon
enters a control room.
He delivers the Earth Compact Device to the Turtle King Commander (who is still wearing his green tentacled helmet). They play the cassette, and on a screen in the
center of a large table, it shows images of the Earth from space, with tiny red, blinking dots in various locations -the locations of uranium deposits.
The Commander contacts Berg Katse, on-screen, and transmits the data to him (with cutting edge technology!).
Next, we are with Berg Katse, wherever he may be, and Leader X tells him that Galactor's plan is to steal all the uranium (a scarce resource) in the Earth and use it
to conquer the world, and he instructs Berg Katse to build an immense, underwater uranium plant for Galactor.
Meanwhile, the God Phoenix has arrived at the splashdown site, where some ships and helicopters are milling about. Ken tells Ryu to take the God Phoenix underwater,
where we see a lovely underwater scene of small fish, plants and one large sea turtle (yes, more turtle symbolism).
Jun, very understandably, says "Wow, it's beautiful!" but Ken rather priggishly declares "This is no time to be admiring the scenery!" Jun looks admonished and says
"Ooh, scary," but I think she's being a little sarcastic.
They activate the underwater radar to begin searching, but there is suddenly a large (and very "realistic" ) underwater explosion.
Their Geiger counter detects abnormal radiation levels. The God Phoenix is sucked into an underwater whirlpool.
And Ryu is unable to get the God Phoenix's controls to respond.
Everyone is gasping and straining from being spun around at high speed, but Ken comes up with a strategy to escape the whirlpool by moving towards its calmer center,
and then taking the God Phoenix straight up, hard. This is successful, and the God Phoenix breaks the surface directly in the center of the whirlpool.
It is apparent from the Geiger counter's readings that the explosion was the result of a nuclear bomb. "Nuclear explosions underwater violate International Law, but
somebody did it anyway!" declares Ken, with shocked indignation. Clearly he still has a lot to learn about Galactor...
Ken decides they should resume their underwater search for the missing capsule. This alarms Jinpei, and Ken says "Don't be afraid, nothing like that will happen
again... probably." I like the way Ken says this with an accompanying smirk -teasing Jinpei the way older brothers so often do.
And they go back underwater...