Gatchaman Episode 30: “Kamisoral, the Guillotine Iron Beast”
BOTP Episode: “The Ghostly Grasshopper”
This is an episode that I believe that I, until very recently, had only ever watched once. Looking at the title stirred no memories, and even watching it, the mecha was vaguely familiar but that was about it. It was almost like watching an episode for the first time –I did not know what was going to happen.
This episode begins in a similar fashion to others, in that we are shown a location that appears safe and quiet, until…
In this case, the location in question is some kind of industrial complex, at night. No one is in sight. But, suddenly an explosion rips through the night’s tranquility! Some sort of dark liquid is pouring from sliced-up pipes.
Is it oil? It definitely seems to be flammable!
But now, a new explosion erupts, and this time we’re somewhere else and it’s a bridge over a harbour that’s being destroyed, and cars are falling into the water below.
Yet another explosion occurs, but this time at some other industrial complex, and now water is spraying from pipes there.
Large ships docked at a port, somewhere else, now also explode into balls of flame.
Another explosion elsewhere, and more industrial pipes are broken and spraying water.
“An invisible monster is on the prowl,” the narrator informs us as we see frightened people fleeing some kind of office building (in flames), “Turning Earth into a living hell.”
As we see a parched desert, the narrator continues, “At the same time, the planet is suffering from severe water shortages.” Now we’re shown a destroyed dam, and the reservoir that it once held in place is nearly all gone.
More scenes of devastation follow, as the narrator explains that the mysterious explosions are causing serious wildfires, and that drinking water is becoming scarce.
Now, Berg Katse is watching one of the wildfires on a screen.
“Never underestimate Galactor’s power!” he laughs. The Captain of the Week appears on his screen next. He’s blue and sort of grimly robotic looking, but the yellow collar of his cape rises up high behind his head, rather making him look as if he has big, blond hair. He informs Katse that his creation is a success, and Katse then gloats that he will obliterate the Earth with “Kamisoral, the iron guillotine beast.”
That’s a pretty grim name, but fortunately the previous scenes of destruction didn’t feature bloody decapitations, so I will assume the name refers merely to the mecha’s ability to slice up industrial machinery. “We are preparing to attack the nuclear power plant,” announces the Captain.
We’re shown the nuclear power plant now.
But suddenly the view on Katse’s screen cuts out momentarily. He demands to know what’s happening, and the Captain (presumably inside Kamisoral itself) falls to the floor as everything shakes around him.
A whirlwind seems to be forming in the air over the power plant.
“That area, it’s too dangerous! Get out right away!” orders Berg Katse, “Retreat for today!” So, the nuclear power plant is spared, at least temporarily.
Now, Ken (in civvies) is staring at an airfield filled with rockets as the narrator informs us that the ISO is planning to launch them tomorrow to generate an artificial storm.
Just at that moment, Dr. Nambu contacts Ken and announces there’s an emergency. “Gather the Team, and launch the God Phoenix!”
Ken does just that, and now the God Phoenix is cruising through the sky. On screen, Dr. Nambu tells Ken that “There are mysterious explosions occurring all around the world at important locations,” and that “several chemical refineries, dams and essential trading ports have all come under fire.”
However, he adds that whatever is causing all this must be invisible, as no one “has been able to spot it throughout its entire rampage.”
“Invisible enemy, huh?” says Ken, “Well, this should be easy.” I assume he’s being sarcastic, but maybe after defeating the invisible snail tanks in episode 28, he’s decided it’s not that hard after all. At any rate, Dr. Nambu wants the Team to discover the culprit’s true form and capabilities. Now we see the whole Team on the bridge, as they all say “Roger!” as one.
One might think that it would be hard to find this mysterious, invisible foe, but as the God Phoenix flies along through the sky, something is detected on a radar screen and Jun says “Something freaky just flew in front of the ship, Ken!”
Joe quickly comes up to the main view screen, behind Ken, to get a look too. I guess it won’t be too hard after all…
Something’s definitely out there, but it just looks like wispy clouds, mostly.
Ken instructs Ryu to get them a closer look at it.
Now we cut to the flying wispy cloud formation that is Kamisoral, and on its bridge, the Captain of the Week is watching the God Phoenix on screen. “Amateurs… Now, let’s kill the Science Ninja Team while we have the chance,” he says, as nearby goons run to carry out his orders.
What results is a game of chicken, as the God Phoenix and Kamisoral fly straight at each other. Now, however, the forms of two scythe-like appendages can be seen in the wispy cloud formation that is Kamisoral.
“They’re going to crash into us!” yells Jinpei.
Jun clutches her helmet with her hands and cries out in fear (Yeah, not one of her better moments.) Now, Kamisoral, looking more flaming than cloudy, swoops in front of the God Phoenix’s main screen, and then the entire God Phoenix starts shaking violently.
We see Jinpei fall out of his chair, and Ken’s G-1 jet shaking in its docking bay.
As Kamisoral flies off, Jun stares at something on her console and cries “Ken, it’s terrible, the ship’s gotten a crack in its tail!”
Sure enough, we see the God Phoenix’s tail (which is partly Ken’s G-1 jet) and it’s full of cracks.
Now Ryu is saying that he can’t keep the (still shaking) God Phoenix balanced, because of the damage it’s just sustained.
But, Kamisoral is now coming up behind the wavering God Phoenix, and Jinpei notices and yells out a warning to the others. This time, Kamisoral takes the form of a whirling wind.
The God Phoenix pitches and lurches (and Jinpei falls out of his chair, again.)
Ryu is trying desperately to stabilize the God Phoenix, and Kamisoral (in flaming appearance again) is swooping in on them yet again.
Ken smashes the glass cover over the bird missile button, and fires about three or four of them at Kamisoral. Hey, isn’t that Joe’s job, Ken?
We briefly see curved metal blades swinging, cutting the BMs into pieces.
“The bird missiles aren’t working,” mutters Ken anxiously.
This time when Kamisoral passes by the God Phoenix, the end of one of its wings is targeted, and becomes riddled with cracks.
Now the God Phoenix is really shaking, and plunging downward.
“Ken, something’s wrong! The controls won’t work!” cries Ryu. Now we’re shown the blue sea below, with a couple islands, rapidly approaching as the God Phoenix continues to plummet. “Forget about it! Just take us straight into the ocean, Ryu!” cries Ken.
In a ship full of cracks, Ken? Is that wise?
But, Ryu closes the God Phoenix’s vents at least, and they hit the surface and go under.
They’re still falling, except now underwater. One wing strikes some rocks, causing the entire God Phoenix to pitch, and this time everyone goes sprawling, not just Jinpei (and Joe, who hasn’t been shown since he first came up behind Ken to look at Kamisoral, crashes into one of the bridge’s walls).
The God Phoenix finally makes an ungraceful landing on its belly, on the sea floor.
The “camera angle” at which we now view everyone recovering from the impact features (to me, at least) an unnecessarily prurient view of Jun’s panties.
“How did that happen? How did we lose control? We’ve got to find out what that thing really is!” says Ken, angrily.
So now we’re at the Crescent Base –with the exterior view of the schools of fish swimming by. Inside, the Team’s all in their civvies and meeting with Dr. Nambu. Dr. Nambu is certain the Team just faced Galactor’s new weapon, “But what kind of weapon is it?” he wonders, holding his chin with one hand. He asks Ken to play a video, and on screen we see footage of one of Kamisoral’s attacks on an industrial complex, with an explosion erupting into the air.
Next, it’s another industrial complex but then the screen is dark except for something slicing, rapidly. Next, it shows that industrial complex again, spraying water from broken pipes. Dr. Nambu yells “Wait!”
Jinpei asks what’s going on, and Dr. Nambu says “That’s it! The enemy is moving fast than mach 10!”
He then explains that that’s why it’s hard to see it with the naked eye, and he also thinks they’re using a “slipstream” effect to their advantage as well. Ryu doesn’t understand what he means by “slipstream,” so Dr. Nambu adds that “It creates a vacuum to slash through things. Look.” Now he points to an image on screen of severed water pipes at an industrial complex attacked by Kamisoral. “Those slices are characteristic of a slipstream cut.”
Suddenly, the screen they’ve been watching all this video footage on changes to Berg Katse’s face, flickering as if on a channel with very poor reception.
“So, we meet again, my dear friends!” he gloats, “I hereby announce that tomorrow is mankind’s final day. Resistance is futile but don’t worry, you’ll all receive a wonderful parting gift from Galactor, with love!”
No one is pleased at all to hear from Katse.
Ken angrily denounces him as a coward for only facing them remotely, on a screen. “So he’s warning us?” says Joe, “What makes him so confident?”
Dr. Nambu seems to have an idea though, and he wants Ken to play the video again. It’s the footage of a burning industrial complex, and Dr. Nambu is wondering if the fires it caused somehow helped Kamisoral escape. He points out that the intense heat of the fire they’re seeing on screen is causing a vortex in the air above it. He and Jun then conclude that this could even result in a typhoon, especially if the soil is also dehydrated.
Then Dr. Nambu has an “Aha!” moment. “We know that the enemy uses a slipstream vacuum to attack,” he declares, “That means its speed is its weapon. Therefore it must be weak to any sort of turbulent air or vacuum. If we could trap it inside the eye of a typhoon, we could destroy the enemy easily,” he concludes as everyone listens gravely.
He and Ken then discuss conditions inside the eye of a typhoon, and Dr. Nambu believes that only the eye of a small typhoon would be turbulent enough to affect Galactor’s latest mecha.
Dr. Nambu then asks Ken if the rocket-created artificial storm is still scheduled for tomorrow. (Oh yeah, I’d forgotten all about that…) Ken says they’re working on the final preparations –and he should know, as he was there watching. Dr. Nambu, however, says that’s not good and could be dangerous. Quickly, he moves to leave. Jinpei wants to know where he’s going, but all he does is remind them that Katse had said he had a parting gift for all of them, and then he tells them to launch the God Phoenix as he disappears from sight. Everyone salutes and cries “Roger!”
So now we’re at the control room for the airfield where the rockets are going to be launched to generate an artificial storm.
“You want to cancel the artificial rain project?” one of the men is asking Dr. Nambu. The man isn’t happy about this at all. Dr. Nambu isn’t offering any explanation, though –he’s just insisting that it be cancelled. “Are you intending to allow all the Earth’s citizens who are suffering in this drought to die?” demands the man, pointing a finger at Dr. Nambu’s chest as all the other men in the room mutter angrily against Dr. Nambu.
But, Dr. Nambu then explains that what he wants is a heavier downpour than what was originally scheduled. The catch is that they’ll need twice the number of rockets to achieve this. Dr. Nambu then tells the man, (calling him “Captain”) that, if they don’t do this, the Earth could be destroyed tomorrow.
Oh, well when you put it that way…
Actually, the Captain points out that what Dr. Nambu is asking for might very well cause a typhoon –which he doesn’t regard as a good thing. Dr. Nambu, however, thinks that would be a very good thing. When the Captain, quite aggrievedly, notes that a typhoon will cause a lot of damage, Dr. Nambu is prepared to accept that damage as an unavoidable consequence. Again, everyone is muttering angrily against Dr. Nambu.
So at last he explains the real situation –that they have to defeat Galactor before Galactor destroys something like their nuclear power plant! Well, that gets everyone there reconsidering…
“If they did,” says Dr. Nambu, walking over to the window overlooking the airfield and its rockets, “it would cause radiation to spread across the globe.”
The Captain still can’t quite believe that they need to cause a typhoon to save the Earth, but he’s in line with Dr. Nambu now. “Yes, exactly!” says the Doctor,” We don’t have much time before the Earth is destroyed!”
With that, the music tones dramatically.