Gatchaman episode 34: “The Evil Aurora Operation”
BOTP Episode: N/A
Whatever its proper title is, to me this will always be “the episode where Joe hits everyone.”
It begins with Ryu, fishing from a small boat in a peaceful little bay somewhere. He doesn’t seem to be having much success, as he yawns with boredom.
But suddenly he gets a bite, and excitedly begins trying to reel in his catch. However, the fish puts up a fight, Ryu’s line snaps, and the fish escapes. “Man, that’s no fun,” he says, sighing the sigh of one who has given up. With that, he stretches out and prepares to take a nap as a few seagulls fly past in the sky.
Now, time has passed and it’s dark. Something strange is moving through the sky. It’s a rippling band of purplish light, but within it is something that resembles some sort of giant, legless aquatic reptile.
Now its light is shining on Ryu, who is still in his boat and still napping. He wakes up and quickly sits up. “I’ve never seen an aurora in these parts. That’s kind of weird,” he says. Now two little lights, like eyes, flash briefly from within the “aurora” and then are replaced by two intense beams of energy that fire on Ryu.
Caught in their intense light, he screams in agony and clutches his head but then he looks up with a savage expression on his face, growling instead of screaming.
Now we cut to a yacht cruising through a sea elsewhere, piloted by two men. Just as with Ryu, the aurora appears and just as they react, it hits their yacht with two beams of energy and they too scream and clutch their heads. But quickly, they are grunting, making animal noises and randomly yanking on the yacht’s steering controls.
This causes them to sail their yacht at high speed straight into the side of another, much larger, ship and there is an explosion.
Now, a passenger train is moving quickly through a large city.
Just as with Ryu, and the yacht, the aurora appears and the train’s conductor is hit with its energy beams.
The train heads into a station, and a voice is announcing that the “train is pulling into line number three,” but the train whizzes right by all the people waiting on the station platform, without stopping. It smashes through a barrier at the track’s end and then into a wall. The collision causes the train to derail and to explode into flames.
With sea and land covered, that leaves air. So now we see a large passenger plane flying in for a landing. Just as the pilot contacts the control tower, the copilot yells “What the hell’s that?” as the aurora looms in the sky before them. Like Ryu, the men on the yacht and the train conductor, they get bathed in the aurora’s energy beams. They grimace in pain, but keep flying the plane.
However, a man in the airport’s control tower is watching the plane come in for a landing and he yells “Hey, what are you doing? You’re landing on the wrong runway!” That they are; the plane smashes into another parked plane and a massive fiery explosion ensues.
Now we’re seeing a television screen, but it’s getting very poor reception and wavy lines are all over the screen. It’s a news broadcast, showing images of the destruction, and in each case, an aurora is visible in the background. “The cause of the major accidents today is unknown. Unthinkable equipment failures are concurrently happening in planes, trains and ships. The government has begun an investigation into today’s incidents, but as-”
The signal cuts out completely and the TV screen becomes nothing but static. We can now see that the TV is in a lab of some kind, and that Dr. Nambu, Ken, Joe, Jun and Jinpei are watching it. Jinpei assumes that the TV is broken and is indignant, as it’s a new one. Dr. Nambu explains that the problem isn’t with the TV though. “This is all being caused by a surge of electric energy.” “A surge of electric energy?” says Ken. So, Dr. Nambu goes on that “It seems that an electric surge of at least five million volts is being emitted and I can think of only one organization that would be capable of such a thing.” Ken concurs, declaring that it must be Galactor, but he wonders what they’re up to this time. Dr. Nambu doesn’t know, but he can only assume that it’s something “outrageous.” I guess that no one noticed the aurora in the sky in the footage shown on the news broadcast, but then, the broadcast did have poor image quality.
As if suddenly remembering something, Dr. Nambu says to himself, “Right,” and then he goes and opens a small panel in the wall and pushes up a lever behind it.
Jinpei asks what the lever is for and is told that “It’s a self destruct control, which when detonated will destroy the Crescent Coral Base within the blink of an eye.” Everyone reacts with some consternation to learn about this, and Jinpei says “That’s kind of scary!”
But Dr. Nambu explains that he’s turning it off, lest it be accidently triggered by the electric surges.
Now, strange noises are coming from behind them. Everyone turns, and they’re all surprised to see that Ryu is there, squatting near the wall and clutching his head while making strange, grunt-like noises.
Jun approaches him, worriedly asking him if he’s okay. Suddenly Ryu turns to face them all, still hunkered down and with a sort of squinting grimace on his face, and he reaches out one hand and hisses “mouse!”
Jun is startled, and she and Jinpei are trying to figure out what’s going on with him, but Ryu licks his hand briefly and then crouches down, growling. “It’s almost like he thinks he’s a cat or something,” says Jun. Ken’s fed up and approaches Ryu, saying “Okay, that’s enough, Ryu.”
But Ryu leaps past him, launching himself at Jinpei.
Jinpei runs, yelling he’s not a mouse, as Ryu chases after him while running on all fours and snarling.
I’m laughing here, but Dr. Nambu is not amused though. “Take Ryu to the hospital immediately!” he orders. In the state he’s in, I wonder how on earth Ryu made it back to the Base from his boat.
We don’t get to see exactly how they accomplish that, as next we see Ryu he’s strapped down on a table and is wearing some type of oxygen mask and a helmet from which numerous wires connect to some piece of diagnostic equipment.
A doctor (for once, not Dr. Nambu) is standing by, taking notes as he watches a screen.
The doctor opens the door and lets in Dr. Nambu and the other Science Ninjas. Asked about Ryu’s condition this doctor replies “I’m at a loss for words. His brain waves are equivalent to those of a cat,” while examining some charts.
“How can that be?” asks Dr. Nambu while a wide-eyed Jinpei murmurs “Ryu the cat…”
The doctor hands Dr. Nambu the charts so he can see for himself and says he doesn’t know what caused it, but also adds that this isn’t the first case like this that he’s seen today.
A nurse wheels in another man, strapped to a hospital bed, and the doctor explains that he has the brain waves of a dog. At that, the man begins to thrash and strain against the straps, growling.
Now as we are shown a montage of various other random victims.
The narrator tells us suddenly hospitals are being filled with patients whose brain waves are comparable to animals –some filled with rage and some more passive, but all acting as if they were animals. Doctors and scientists have no explanation for the phenomenon (and we briefly see a group of scientists and doctors at a large table, talking anxiously or mentally straining with frustration.) “Little did they know the cause was Galactor and its newest mecha aimed at world domination, Thundersaurus!”
Now we’re shown the aurora in the sky again that conceals the mecha. Within it, Berg Katse laughs “Insolent humans, feel the misery from Thundersaurus’s electric waves!” The narrator now explains that Thundersaurus is equipped with a brain interchanging system, as we are shown powerful current moving through a large wire in a glass pipe, and an unconscious gorilla lying on a glass covered bed with monitoring equipment behind it.
“Galactor can synchronize the brain waves of any living creature to those of a human. They can then transmit those brain waves to the human brain,” causing a person to act like a particular animal.
We are shown a victim, a perfectly normal man in a suit, being beamed with the brain waves of a gorilla and his face shifts to a more savage expression and his hair suddenly becomes messy.
A happy Berg Katse declares “The experiment is a huge success!” and goes on that once everyone is transformed, they will easily conquer the world. But now Leader X appears on a screen to ruin his happy moment. “It’s too soon to celebrate,” admonishes Leader X, “Put the brain wave transformation project on hold for now and concentrate on your orders.” Katse knows what orders Leader X is talking about –doing a brain wave transformation attack on Dr. Nambu. “Once he’s insane I’ll make him Galactor’s marionette!” says Katse. There’s also a goon and a guy dressed in brown and yellow with horns on his head in this scene. We only see him from behind and he doesn’t say anything, but anyone with horns on his head must be a “Captain of the Week.” It’s interesting that Leader X was clearly visible to both the goon and the Captain –Leader X usually only addresses Katse in private. “Good,” says Leader X, before fading out, “I will not accept another failure.”
So now Dr. Nambu is in the backseat of a car, while some ISO driver is in the front, and they’re moving along a highway in a wooded, hilly area.
The aurora is in the sky, closing in. I think Dr. Nambu would have done better to get Joe to be his driver again, as in episode 31, but oh, well…
Now Thundersaurus hits the car with the energy beams, but the driver is managing to keep it under control. On board Thundersaurus, we now see the Captain of the Week’s face and he has got some serious buck teeth.
He’s also explaining to Katse that the beams are having trouble penetrating Dr. Nambu’s car as it’s got protective glass. So, Katse tells him to up the voltage to max, and a goon at the controls obliges. Now, the windows of Dr. Nambu’s car are cracking and he and his driver are both succumbing.
The driver takes the car through a guardrail and down a slope. Somehow, Dr. Nambu falls out of the backseat and goes staggering into the woods just before the car crashes into something and explodes. On board the mecha, Katse is seeing somewhat distant footage of the burning car on a screen and he concludes, laughing evilly, that Dr. Nambu is most likely dead, but if he’s not, he’s surely insane now, with the brain waves of a monkey.
But we see Dr. Nambu, and he’s lying face down on the forest floor, not moving.
Now we cut to the standard exterior shot of the Coral Crescent Base, with the schools of fish swimming by. Some time has passed, as Dr. Nambu is now unconscious or sleeping in a hospital bed within the Base, and Ken, Joe, Jun and Jinpei are standing around him.
Dr. Nambu stirs and opens his eyes. “Doctor?” says Ken. “Are you alright?” says Jun. “Man, what a run of bad luck. First Ryu, and now the Doctor’s hurt,” says Jinpei. “Filthy Galactor vermin,” says Joe, “They’ve stepped way over the line this time.” Ken tries to rouse Dr. Nambu more, but he immediately leaps from the bed and goes running out of the room, nearly colliding with Joe and hooting like a monkey.
“Oh no,” says Ken, “The Doctor’s gone crazy too!”
Now Dr. Nambu is staggering into the room we saw before, that has the self destruct control behind the little panel, and for some reason he makes a beeline for it, growling now. (In my opinion, the Japanese actor does funnier “crazy” noises than the dub actor.) Ken comes rushing into the room, and he’s horrified to see that the Doctor is trying to get at the control switch. Ken is telling him to stop, saying that if he pulls the switch on, the Base could be blown to bits, but words aren’t getting him anywhere so he grabs Dr. Nambu from behind and tries to restrain him.
Now maybe Ken’s going easy on him, seeing as he’s Dr. Nambu and not an enemy Galactor member, because Dr. Nambu manages to throw off Ken such that Ken falls backwards onto the floor.
At that point, Joe, Jun and Jinpei appear in the doorway. Ken decides that staying low and grabbing onto Dr. Nambu’s legs to drag him from the switch is a better tactic, but Dr. Nambu is still growling and reaching for the switch…
“Damn it, Doc!” cries Joe’s voice and we see a hand moving fast in a “karate chop” type blow. The hand connects with Dr. Nambu, and he falls to the floor in slow motion, unconscious. Joe certainly wasn’t so easy on him!
“I hope you can forgive us, Doctor,” says Ken, looking a bit distressed. “This is horrible,” says Joe, staring at his hand as if he can’t quite believe he hit Dr. Nambu. “I never thought that the Doctor could possibly be transformed into someone so violent!”
Jun now suggests that they should try to get Ryu to remember what happened when he was transformed. “Right on, I think that’s the best idea yet, Jun,” says Joe, as Ken nods his head in agreement. Go Jun!
Now, Ken, Joe and Ryu are back in Ryu’s boat and back out on the water where Ryu had been fishing. Hey, where’s Jun? This was her idea, after all!
Ryu doesn’t seem quite right in the head, but he’s in better shape than Dr. Nambu. He’s able to say that he doesn’t remember anything, but Ken encourages him to keep trying to remember what happened to him here before. “I need you to tell me what you saw. Think!” says Ken, getting a bit exasperated. But now Ryu is in a huddle, whining that he’s scared of the water. Ken’s realizing that Ryu is still acting like a cat, and that this probably isn’t going to work. “I’ve always heard that idiots have longer recovery times,” says Joe. Ouch –not nice there, Joe!
Ryu’s pleading to go back, but Ken tells him to try to remember one more time, as “the Doctor’s life is at stake.” “Why should I care about some stupid doctor!” yells Ryu.
That’s too much for Joe. “You shouldn’t talk about the Doctor that way,” says a glowering Joe, pulling his arm back. “Ever!” And he punches Ryu in the face, hard.
Ryu crashes head first into the boat’s dashboard, so hard that he gets a big electrical shock from damaging its control panel.
Ken pulls him up to see if he’s okay, as Joe looks on in alarm –that wasn’t quite what he’d intended it seems!