This is a Gatchamania Episode review. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
This episode review is image intensive.
The ISO designed an artificial lake to create farms in desert areas of Africa. But the lake has suddenly disappeared!
"All hell broke loose last night when the lake disappeared, you know!" reports a local scientist.
Gotta love these great lab coat designs of the future!
The lake is then reported to have appeared one hundred kilometers to the southeast. But the scientists doubt this information. They think the heat must have made the observer crazy.
But the ISO scientists decide to go take a look anyway. Guess there's not much to do at their research station!
Still wearing their cool lab coats, they drive out to the new reported location of the lake, astounded to see it there.
"I guess the lake really did move!" one of them exclaims.
But the lake suddenly begins bubbling, and then swirls around in a vortex, eventually draining into the sand. A strange pair of metallic mandibles are visible in the sand for a moment. A metallic arm appears, and then disappears beneath the sand, much to the scientists' horror.
Another whirling vortex, this one of sand, spins around, and suddenly a bug-like mecha rises up from it!
The scientists barely have time to wonder what this creature is, before it shoots them with its laser eye beams. At least they died wearing their spiffy lab coats!
Of course, the incident is immediately reported to Dr. Nambu, although how, I'm not sure, since the ISO scientists were killed. Did their ghosts rise and inform Nambu of the crisis? You never know, at the ISO...
Nambu orders the Science Ninja Team to Africa to investigate. They split up in their individual vehicles to search for the mysterious lake.
One question... if the G-5 is moving forward, why are its rockets firing down? I thought the rockets on the bottom of the ship would make the God Phoenix ascend? I'm so confused!
Ken ponders where the moving lake went.
Nambu calls Ken, asking if they have found the lake yet. Ken replies that no one has called in yet. Nambu instructs Ken to spend the night at the 'oldest village in the desert'. Wow, those are some great directions! You'd think a scientist like Nambu could at least give some co-ordinates or latitude and longitude or something. Maybe he could email Ken a link to Google Maps?
Nambu tells Ken that the best way to learn about the desert is to ask the natives. Ken agrees, and by nightfall all five G-machines are parked on the sand next to what is presumably the oldest village in the desert.
Inside one of the village huts, the Team is gathered around a large table with a village elder.
Joe is annoyed that they have found no sign of the lake, or the ISO investigative team.
"A moving lake, huh? What are you smoking over there, Gramps?" Jinpei asks. Clearly this kid needs a few lessons in diplomacy.
"Jinpei!" Ken exclaims. "You need to mouth off less and study more!" At least, as leader, Ken is taking responsibility for the behavior of his team.
Ken goes on to explain that Swedish scientists found a moving lake in China. But Jun counters that the lake in question took hundreds of years to move.
"Man, is this Africa place mysterious, or what?" Ryu's input to the discussion is somewhat unhelpful.
Or perhaps not.
"You are right, you know." says the village elder, as he smokes on his pipe.
Everyone is utterly shocked that Ryu is actually right.
The elder goes on to explain that the desert sands hold many secrets, and he is the only one who knows them.
"Could you please tell us?" Ken asks eagerly.
Apparently this request is compelling enough to convince the elder to reveal information that he has been withholding his entire life. The Eagle's charisma knows no bounds!
The elder goes on to tell the Science Ninja Team that long ago, the area was inhabited by an advanced civilization. It was advanced because of 'the Red Sand'. The Red Sand would 'burn forever', helping the people forge iron and copper.
But one day the 'mysterious Red Sand' started to move.
Villagers get swallowed up by the Red Sand.
The sand multiplied, and when it reached the forge, it exploded, destroying the entire temple. The Sand left the area as the city burned for three hundred days. Eventually the Red Sand disappeared.
Even now, the Red Sand is still moving somewhere, underneath the vast desert.
Ken demands that the elder tell them the secret of the Red Sand. Wait a minute, isn't that what the guy just did?
Apparently not. The elder plays coy, implying that he has the secret, but can't tell them. Guess Ken's charisma isn't as high as I thought.
But then he spills the beans anyway: the Red Sand is the servant of a 'terrible demon'. Co-incidentally, Ken notices the skull necklace the man is wearing.
Later that night, the man is outside, praying to his God to calm the Red Sand and bring peace to the land. Too bad he didn't pray for peace for himself. Two goons approach him from behind, pressing their guns into his forehead.
The man is kidnapped by the goons. But as they are forcing the elder into their dune buggy, Jinpei notices what's going on.
"They're Galactor's guys!" exclaims Jinpei. Nothing gets past this Swallow!
I swear, this dune buggy looks like it came right out of a Scooby Doo episode!
The buggy races off, leaving Jinpei to swear at their departure. Does he tell the others?
No, of course not. This is Jinpei we're talking about! He just jumps into the G-4 and chases off after the dune buggy on his own.
Meanwhile, the elder is clueless.
"Who are you, Sir, and where are you taking me?" he asks the goon driving the buggy.
Jinpei is still chasing the buggy and swearing, but suddenly sees something shocking!
The buggy has stopped, and a giant insect mecha appears from out of the desert sand.
Jinpei gets out of the G-4 to investigate, only to be met with goon bullets.
Jinpei leaps away from the unexpected bullets at his feet.
In the commotion, the elder pulls off his skull necklace, letting it drop to the ground.
The goons take the elder onboard the insect mecha, which disappears beneath the sand. Jinpei walks over to pick up the skull necklace, then brings it back to the others, who are still back in a hut in the village.
Ken asks Jinpei if the elder was trying to give the necklace to him.
Jinpei thinks so, but Jun wonders why he would do such a thing.
Ken ponders this for a moment, then crushes the skull in his fist. When he opens his hand, Red Sand is revealed in his palm. Everyone oohs and ahhs.
Yes, literally. They are all gasping in awe at Ken's magnificent feat!
Back at Crescent Coral Base, Director Anderson is holding a meeting. He has analyzed Gatchaman's report of the Red Sand and the moving lake, and asks Dr. Nambu for more information. Nambu reveals that the Red Sand is... not sand at all!
The other men at the meeting gasp in shock.
Nambu goes on to explain that the Red Sand is actually a completely new bacterium, previously undetected on Earth. These bacteria harbor a new element inside them, which harbors one thousand times more energy than uranium.
One man asks Nambu what this bacterium has to do with the moving lake. The Doctor's response is to show some images he took under a microscope of the Red Sand. In this image, Nambu gives the Red Sand water and... it multiplies! Shades of Gizmo the Gremlin, don't get the Red Sand wet!
Nambu astounds the ISO bigwigs with his talk.
Of course, I don't think this actually explains why the lake is moving, but these men seem to feel it does. Next Nambu shows them that if the Red Sand burns, it causes explosions. Of course, if Galactor got their hands on this energy source, the results could be disastrous!
"Just thinking about it gives me the willies!" exclaims Anderson.
And then, a random delegate (with a bad French accent) finally pieces it all together. Galactor is using the lake to lure the Red Sand! Finally, I get it! Whoo hoo!
Nambu declares that they must do what they can to keep the Red Sand from Galactor's grasp.
Next, we cut to a scene that was likely the reason this episode never made it to BOTP. The village elder is being whipped and tortured by a strange Galactor Captain. I can't even begin to describe his costume, so I'll just post a picture.
Um... limp-eared black bunny with earrings?
Goons stand idly by, watching the man's flogging. The Earring-Bunny Captain wants to know where the Red Sand is, but the elder isn't telling.
A transmission from Katse spontaneously appears on the wall behind the Captain.
"Whip him until he talks! Show him no mercy!" Katse orders.
"If you don't tell me, I'll keel you!" the Earring-Bunny Captain threatens the old man. I think he means 'kill him', but it sure sounds to me like he's threatening to make the elder into a boat.
The elder is one tough guy. He states that Galactor will never know where the Red Sand is if they kill him. This doesn't impress Earring-Bunny Captain, who continues to whip the elder.