Gatchaman Episode 28: “The Invisible Devil”
BOTP Episode: N/A
The episode opens with kids playing a soccer match at a sports stadium.
Up in the stands, Joe and Ryu are watching. It certainly is rare to see these two hanging out together, with none of their teammates around. But then, the fact that Joe is standing, while everyone around him is sitting, suggests he might not be planning to stick around for long.
“Hey, they may only be youngsters, but they’re pretty good, huh Joe?” says Ryu.
If Joe does respond to him, we don’t get to hear it, as we cut back to the soccer-playing kids. They’re mostly clustered in front of the red team’s net, as the blue team is trying to make a goal. One of the blue kids kicks the ball towards the net, but the red goalie stops the ball –with his face.
This prompts Ryu to remark “Man, his nose is still there?” No comment from Joe.
The same blue kid kicks the ball at the net again, and this time the red goalie flips his legs straight up in the air behind him to catch the ball
This is sure a cool move, except that it seems the goalie might have had some ‘help’ with it –he keeps rising up into the air, flailing, even as one of his sneakers falls to the ground and the other kids look on, aghast.
There’s some odd pulsing, groaning noise, and then he fades from sight and vanishes completely.
This leaves nothing behind but the soccer ball, which falls to the ground and bounces into the net.
Hey, I guess that’s a point for the blue team after all, but the kids are far more interested in the fate of the levitating-and-disappearing goalie. As they all gasp in horror, strange undulating tire tracks suddenly begin appearing along the grass in front of the net, moving off the field.
Up in the stands, Ryu and Joe are viewing all this with consternation. “Hey Joe, did you see that?” asks Ryu. Finally, Ryu does get a response, and it’s “It’s invisible, you idiot!” Sheesh, Joe, no need to be mean. I guess we know why these two rarely hang out together.
So now we cut to an amusement park, where Ken is by himself, leaning against a tree and watching some kids riding flying horses on a merry-go-round.
One of the kids, a boy, calls out, “Hey, I’m the Science Ninja Team’s G-1, Gatchaman!”
Ken smiles, but then immediately frowns –though it’s not clear if his thoughts have suddenly turned to the weighty responsibility of being a hero and role model for the world’s children, to regret for his own lost care-free childhood, or simply to deciding that the kid is annoying and possibly even mocking him.
Now the kid raises his arm in front of his face and calls out “Bird go!” Okay, Ken, shouldn’t you and your fellow Science Ninjas be a tad concerned that even some little kid knows about this? Stop transmuting in places where people can see you doing it!
At any rate, both the kid and Ken soon have other things to think about –with a wail of alarm, the kid suddenly begins rising up in the air, and then he fades and vanishes just like the soccer goalie did, and there’s the same pulsing, groaning noise.
As all the other kids on the merry-go-round look on, baffled, and Ken starts running, we get a sweeping view of the amusement park as the abducted boy is conveyed away invisibly, and all we hear is his voice, faintly calling for help…
Ken stops running, realizing he doesn’t know which way to go to find the boy.
But then he sees undulating tire tracks appear on the ground.
Ken immediately runs in the direction that the tire tracks are headed.
And he’s able to catch a faint glimpse of some kind of vehicle entering a building as a door in the building raises and then lowers.
“That’s the mirror dome,” says Ken, and he too runs inside it just before the door closes fully.
Inside the mirror dome, he gets another faint view of the vehicle (which rather resembles a giant snail on wheels) before it fades from sight.
As Ken looks for it, he runs smack into a mirror.
Then he realizes he’s completely surrounded by a multitude of reflections of himself, and is unable to tell where the vehicle has gone, or where he should go to find it.
Next, a crowd of people on a city street are watching a TV in a store window that’s showing a news broadcast. It’s announced that there are no leads on the “mysterious disappearances across the nation” and that officials aren’t even sure if they’re kidnappings or a “strange, scientific phenomenon.”
As the newsman goes on that eight children have now disappeared, we see Berg Katse, who is also watching the same news broadcast at a Galactor base somewhere. He turns off the broadcast, laughs evilly, and gloats that “They don’t stand a chance against the brilliance of Lord Katse!” However, a goon who’s been standing patiently during all this wants to know what to do with the all children. “Hmm, we’ll use them as the eyes of Galactor,” replies Katse, stroking his chin.
He then stands, points dramatically, and tells the goon to “Release the children from the invisible tanks!”
So now, in a large room that’s clearly part of that mirror dome at the amusement park, lights are turned on and directed at invisible tanks, making them become visible. Yup, they’re snails.
A compartment opens up in each of the snail tanks to reveal an unconscious child.
The snail tanks form a circle, and the soccer goalie, the kid from the merry-go-round, and six others are all lowered out of the snail tanks on little platforms that stick out in front of the tanks. It looks like all the children are boys.
The platforms holding the eight children all move towards the center, creating a smaller circle. Katse is watching, and at his word, a goon hits a switch and some kind of current begins flowing in a circle through all eight of the children’s heads. The children all flinch and gasp, but it doesn’t seem like they’re fully conscious.
“Watch as the children’s dream creatures become reality,” says Katse, and indeed, images of animals do appear in the now-shimmering air above the children’s heads.
“I will use these apparitions,” continues Katse, “to create a monster that can penetrate any security.” With an evil chuckle, he adds “I will call this monster Alphagila! Children have sharp memories; being a product of these children, Alphagila will be able to memorize the secret Mantle Project documents hidden in the ISO’s basement.”
So now, we cut to the ISO headquarters.
But to its parking lot, not its basement. Inside one car, an ISO driver who currently doesn’t have anyone to convey anywhere is snoozing with a book over his face. (Ryu could relate to this guy!)
However, a strange throbbing noise makes him sit up quickly, and he sees a weird shimmering, translucent blob in the air above his car (it’s a convertible). But soon, he’s enveloped by it, and with a cry of anguish, he disappears.
The shimmering blob, that I assume is Alphagila, now enters the ISO headquarters, and anyone in its path is similarly enveloped and also disappears.
Back at Galactor’s mirror dome base, a goon at some monitoring equipment informs Katse that “It’s reached the file storage area in the basement.” Katse is pleased, and instructs the goon to “Run the memory unit at full capacity. Save the secret files in the computer as Alphagila reads them.”
Alphagila enters a storage area by flowing through a keyhole in a lock.
“Alphagila’s started reading the secret files,” says the goon, studying a ticker tape printout coming from his monitoring equipment. “Finally we shall know the innermost secrets of the ISO!” gloats Katse.
Now we see the Crescent Base –the exterior shot that shows all the fish swimming past it. Inside, Ken, Jinpei, Jun and Ryu are all sitting on couches, in their civvies, but Joe has, once again, chosen to remain standing. Jinpei sighs and declares “I don’t get how they’re disappearing right in front of people!”
Joe tells him that some things just can’t be explained. Ryu adds that he doesn’t believe in “all that paranormal nonsense,” as Jinpei then speculates that maybe the kid Joe and Ryu saw disappearing was merely hiding. Ken then insists that that kid, and the one he saw himself, really disappeared, and that he also saw “A hazy looking blue snail thing in the mirror dome.”
“We searched all through the mirror dome,” says Joe, “And we didn’t find anything at all.”
“How are we supposed to be able to stop this thing if we can’t even see it?” asks Jun.
So, they are at an impasse, but fortunately Dr. Nambu comes walking in now and announces “Well, there’s been another bizarre incident.” As the others gather around, he explains that a “mysterious creature” appeared at the ISO. Jinpei wants to know if he could actually see it.
But Dr. Nambu explains that he was told that it disappeared once it reached the secret file rooms in the basement. Ryu wants to know if any files are missing, but Dr. Nambu says that everything seems to still be there.
Ryu wonders if there really was a creature at all, but Dr. Nambu is certain there was, as it killed two men when they came into contact with it. Dr. Nambu is also concerned because Mantle Project files are kept in the secret file rooms. Everyone is convinced that Galactor must be behind this. A scowling Joe says “It keeps getting worse and worse. First the disappearing children, and now Galactor is acting up.” This gets Ken thinking, and he asks Joe and Ryu if they heard anything strange when they saw a kid disappear.
Well Ken did, and so did Joe and Ryu. This really gets Dr. Nambu thinking.
But we now cut to scenes of Mantle Project installations all around the world being destroyed. A large dam bursts and floods a power-generating station, the cooling stack at a nuclear power plant explodes, and large, circular fuel tanks explode at some other location.
Explosions destroy a geothermal power plant, and a ruptured hose at a petrochemical plant unleashes massive explosions there, as a worker cries “We’re being attacked by an invisible enemy!”
Now we see Joe punching a wall, repeatedly. “The dam (punch), the geothermal center (punch), the petrochemical plant (punch)…” He shakes with rage for a moment, before turning to the others with an angry fist in the air. “All part of the Mantle Project! They must have stolen secret documents!”
Jinpei points out that no documents are missing. “Do you think they stole them, read them and returned them?” he asks, sarcastically.
“Maybe they’re psychic,” is Jun’s suggestion. “ESP?” replies Ryu, “You mean like when you close your eyes and see things that are supposed to happen? What a load of crap!” He wants Ken (who’s busy looking out a window at the fish swimming by) to tell the others to get serious.
But Ken only demands “What are we supposed to do? We can’t see the enemy! We’ll have to wait for Dr. Nambu to return from the ISO.”
Meanwhile, at the ISO, Alphagila is at it again. It envelops and “kills” another person, causing him to disappear, and other people all flee in panic. Someone runs to Dr. Nambu’s office to tell him that “the monster” is once again in the file storage area.
Two security guards in the storage area try shooting Alphagila, but it doesn’t do any good and they too get enveloped by Alphagila, and disappear as they cry out in horror. More security guards rush into the file storage area, guns waving, but then Dr. Nambu’s voice comes over a speaker system and orders them not to go near the monster. Dr. Nambu then instructs someone to turn on the cameras inside the file storage facility. “What is that?” he gasps, watching camera footage on a screen. “That” is Alphagila, the translucent, shimmering blob, and it’s somehow turning the pages of books.
“Look!” says Dr. Nambu, “The monster is flipping through our files! It’s reading the documents!”
Meanwhile, at Galactor’s mirror dome base, Katse is happily reading more Alphagila-generated ticker tape reports of secret Mantle Project data. Dr. Nambu continues to just sit and watch the camera footage of Alphagila riffling through documents, and Katse continues to gloat and read.
But suddenly Dr. Nambu stands up and cries “That’s it!” He quickly contacts Ken, who’s still standing at the Crescent Base window, watching the fish. Dr. Nambu tells him to “Rendezvous at the ISO immediately! Gather the Team and launch the God Phoenix!” Well, the Team’s all standing right beside Ken, so the “gathering” part will be easy.
Now we get some stock footage of the God Phoenix exiting its docking bay at the Crescent Base and heading up to break the sea’s surface and continue on into sky. However, we’re also shown yet more energy facilities that are part of the Mantle Project being attacked and destroyed, and this time we can see the undulating tire tracks of the snail tanks appearing on the ground as the attacks occur.
“Crush them! Destroy every part of the Mantle Project with the hand of Galactor!” cries Katse, laughing, as pleas for help are heard from a Desert Research Center that’s going up in massive flames. “SOS! We’re being annihilated by an invisible enemy!”