Gatchaman Episode 66: “The Devil’s Fashion Show”
BOTP Episode: N/A
The episode opens with a close up of Leader X. As usual, he doesn’t look or sound too pleased.
“Berg Katse, when exactly do you plan on destroying the Science Ninja Team and the ISO’s Mantle Project?”
Technically, Leader X, Katse has planned to do this in nearly every episode. Granted, what Leader X really wants to know is when this will actually be carried out successfully. But if Katse really could accurately predict a time of destruction for the Ninjas or the Mantle Project, he would probably also have succeeded in bringing it about by now.
“Well, uh, I don’t really know,” replies Katse nervously –but honestly. “Have you any idea?”
Leader X is not at all impressed and calls him a fool, but then instructs him to listen.
“Have you got a plan for us?” asks Katse, looking both relieved and apprehensive.
“According to my data, the Ninja Team has a secret patron,” says Leader X.
“In other words, a sponsor, correct?” replies Katse helpfully, “For funds.”
“Yes, it enables the Team to travel the world as they please.”
I guess having a sponsor doesn’t help the Ninjas much in their civilian lives. I mean, Ken can’t pay his tab at the Snack J and Joe lives in a trailer. Not that Leader X would know about that, though.
“Sounds like an excellent sponsor,” says Katse, hand on his chin as if contemplating how to get one for himself. Me too –I wish I had someone funding me to travel the world as I please! He asks if Leader X knows who their sponsor is, and Leader X responds that he thinks it is Princess Flake of the Monalince Kingdom.
“You will assassinate her!” declares Leader X.
“Kill her?” asks Katse, sounding oddly surprised considering how many of Leader X’s plans involve killing.
Leader X thinks that “a disturbance in the Monalince Kingdom should slow down the Science Ninja Team’s activities.”
So now Katse lays on some flattery, telling Leader X that only he could come up with such a brilliant plan. Maybe he’s just happy that, for once, it’s not the Science Ninjas that he has to try to kill.
But Leader X does point out that security around Princess Flake will be very tight, and getting near enough to her to kill her won’t be easy but Katse does one of his sweeping bows, looking confident of success.
So, now we get our first look at the Monalince Kingdom, and it is clearly a partying scene evocative of Rio during Carnival. Electric guitar music is playing, everyone is dancing in the streets, confetti is flying everywhere and there’s a parade going on.
“The Monalince Kingdom lies on the coast of the Doriapeace Sea,” the narrator tells us, “Every year there is an extravagant parade to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s establishment. On this day it seems as if the whole country is dancing.”
Based on what we’re seeing, though, it’s mostly scantily clad women who are doing the dancing.
“It is a small, newly established country,” continues the narrator, “But blessed with ample resources, and beautiful weather.”
But now we see that this footage of the Monalince Kingdom is being viewed on a screen by Dr. Nambu.
He turns away from the screen and announces “Science Ninja Team, you’re being deployed to the Kingdom of Monalince.”
Jun is there, and she sighs dreamily, resting her face against her hands, and cries “Famous fashion!”
“No,” Jinpei is telling Ryu, “It’s famous for its roller games. Their team, the Monalince Toppers, are the best!”
Joe is leaning against the wall with his hands behind his head, scowling. “Roller games and high fashion,” he says scornfully, “Who cares about that?” Maybe he’s more interested in the dancing women.
Well, Jun and Jinpei clearly do.
Jun doesn’t seem to be listening to Joe. She’s still rapturously contemplating their upcoming trip, saying “Far out, I don’t believe it!”
“Jun, go to the Monalince Kingdom and enjoy all the fashion your heart desires. I’m going to need you to play a big role in the next mission.”
“Mission?” says Jun, realizing now that, of course, this all comes with strings attached.
Dr. Nambu explains that he didn’t show them the footage on the view screen for “sight-seeing.” “Of course you can enjoy fashion, or roller games all you want, after the job is done,” he adds while Joe and Ken now start paying more attention, “Princess Flake of Monalince has been generously donating a lot of money to the ISO every year. She’s also an enormous fan of everyone in the Science Ninja Team.”
“What an honor,” enthuses Jun while Ken blatantly yawns in boredom, “Princess Flake, the beautiful first lady of Monalince and fashion industry icon!”
“Enough about fashion already,” says Ken, clutching his head and looking exasperated. He wants Dr. Nambu to hurry up and explain the “job” to be done.
So, Dr. Nambu turns now to Ken and explains that Princess Flake will be hosting an enormous fashion show in her palace.
“More crap about fashion,” scoffs Joe, still leaning and scowling.
“That doesn’t have nothing to do with guys like us,” adds Ryu dismissively.
If Jun is annoyed that the guys are so contemptuous of something that matters to her, she’s hiding it well.
Dr. Nambu interjects that it does, in fact, have something to do with them.
Ken’s figured it out. “Galactor’s plotting something for the show, right Doctor?” he asks.
“Correct,” says Dr. Nambu explains that because Princess Flake is supporting the ISO, he’s certain that Galactor will target her.
Again, Ken has figured it out, that Dr. Nambu wants them to go to the Monalince Kingdom to protect her from Galactor attacks. Dr. Nambu confirms this, adding that the Princess specifically asked for the Science Ninjas to do this, and to do it secretly.
“Well, that’s an important enough job, I guess,” concedes Joe, now that he can look forward to some manly violence. He uncrosses his arms.
Ryu realizes that he too might get to join in on the manly fun, and cracks his knuckles in anticipation.
Dr. Nambu explains that on the day of the fashion show, the only people inside the palace will be the fashion designer Calidon’s models and the palace staff.
“There’s no telling how Galactor will strike,” he continues, “And at the same time, all of you must conceal your identities, which makes this mission complicated.”
Ken, frowning, notes that they won’t be able to use the God Phoenix inside a palace and therefore will fight Galactor “mano a mano,” and demonstrates by making a fist with one hand and punching his other palm.
Jinpei is happy for Ryu, who won’t be stuck piloting the God Phoenix on this mission and can “go as wild” as he wants.
“Yeah!” says Ryu enthusiastically, slapping Jinpei on the back so hard that he falls off the couch. Oops –someone doesn’t know his own strength.
So, Dr. Nambu orders them to move out –and he prays for their success.
It’s a bit odd to see the Ninjas on board a commercial jet liner, but that is where we next see them.
Ken and Joe are seated side by side, with Jun and Jinpei behind them, but Ryu is across the aisle, by himself –I guess rank determined the seating arrangements.
Jinpei is reading something that looks like a comic or a magazine, and Ken and Joe appear to be dozing.
Jun, however, is observing the woman walking up the plane’s aisle, returning to her seat several rows ahead of the Ninjas.
She leans over the back of Joe’s chair and says “Ken, the lady over there is Calidon, the designer!”
“So graceful,” adds Jun admiringly as Ken opens his eyes to see who she’s referring to. Joe doesn’t even bother to look.
Jun sits back down, still talking about what a thrill it is to be on the same plane as Calidon.
Ryu, from across the aisle, remarks “I’d take katsudon over Calidon, any day,” (katsudon being “a popular Japanese food, a bowl of rice topped with a deep fried pork cutlet, egg and condiments” according to Wikipedia). Apparently he’s got really food on his mind, adding “Jeesh, isn’t it time to eat already?”
But now Ken is looking out his window and sees that they’re approaching a coastal city –their destination in the Monalince Kingdom.
We get a brief look at some of the city’s buildings, and then we’re shown the exterior of a hotel. Inside, people are milling around the spacious, chandelier-lit lobby of the hotel. Jun and Jinpei are sitting on couches around a coffee table, and Jinpei is still reading his comic/magazine. Jun is watching Calidon walking across the lobby and she’s in awe that she’s staying at the same hotel as her, but Jinpei isn’t impressed; he’s complaining that he wants to go see a roller game –the Monalince Toppers, perhaps?
Joe, Ken and Ryu are standing close enough to hear all this. Joe –who has really been a grump so far this episode- is scowling yet again and says “They think we’ve come here for fun –that’s why it’s hard to work with kids and women.”
I think this episode’s getting a little heavy-handed with some stereotypes, what with Jun going all starry-eyed and swoony over Calidon while the guys focus on work and demean an interest in something so “girly” as fashion. I wonder if Joe knows how close he came, during the series’ planning, to having a cover occupation that involved growing flowers, not racing cars!
But now it’s dusk, and we get a view of the city. The palace is large and high on a hill above the rest of the city. Ken and Joe are standing on a hotel room balcony looking at the view.
Ken is commenting that the Princess’ fashion show will happen two days from now, on a stage in the palace’s courtyard. As Flake herself will be one of the models, Ken thinks that that’s when she will be most vulnerable to attack.
Joe wonders if Galactor really will choose the day of the fashion show to make their move against Flake, but Ken is convinced it’s the most likely scenario. He tells Joe that they should go and check out the area surrounding the palace, “to get the lay of the land.”
Now it’s dark and we see a large cast iron gate in the high wall that surrounds the palace and guards are stationed at various places along the wall.
Ken and Joe, in their civvies, are walking around, just outside the wall.
“Security looks like it’s pretty well placed,” concludes Joe, but Ken reminds him that Galactor always “finds some way in.” In fact, just then they both gasp as they see a shadowy figure, in the distance, climb over the wall and into the palace’s grounds, followed by another one, and another one... Clearly the wall isn’t high enough to be of much use!
Ken and Joe move in closer and, concealing themselves around the corner of some building, they watch as more dark figures agilely climb over the palace wall.
“Something stinks around here,” says Joe grimly.
“Let’s check it out,” says Ken and Joe certainly needs no encouragement. Off they run…
Now they’re near the wall, but in an area with a lot of trees and it’s very dark. They’re running towards the wall, beyond which the palace looms, but suddenly two figures dressed completely in black leap down from a tree and attack them.
Both Ken and Joe are knocked down. Ken’s attacker is grabbing him around the neck, but he manages to throw the attacker off.
Joe is also able to flip and throw off his attacker.
Ken and Joe end up standing back-to-back, in fighting stances and now we can see that they’re surrounded by numerous dark figures –only their hands and eyes are not concealed by their black garb.
Several of the attackers leap at them again. So difficult is it for Ken and Joe to see them, Ken gets punched in the stomach and Joe in the face. Joe goes down but when his attacker lunges at him, he is able to throw the person past him and get up again. We do get a glimpse of this attacker’s hand, which is sporting a large ring.
Ken is back on his feet and he too manages to throw off another attacker, only to get kicked in the stomach again. Joe leaps high into the air to evade an attack from behind, and is able to kick his attacker on his way back down.
He rushes over to Ken, who is kneeling on the ground, and asks him if he’s all right.
“Don’t worry about me,” says Ken, but he adds “Judging from their combat moves, they’ve been very well trained.”
Once again, they can see that the barely visible attackers have them surrounded. They ready themselves for the next attacks, but suddenly from amongst the trees comes the noise and glare of machine guns firing and bullets are striking the ground all around.
Ken and Joe run and take cover from the gun fire behind a tree.
As the people firing the machines move closer –and I can only assume that they are palace guards- the black-clad attackers, who have taken to the trees, leap through the branches and go back over the wall.
But one mysterious attacker pauses and now we get a good look at both of this attacker’s hands. They’re a woman’s hands, slim with long, red fingernails. She wearing four large rings on her left hand, and with her right hand she quickly presses them such that the top piece of each ring goes shooting off in the direction of the gun-wielding guards.
Massive explosions rip through the woods, and we see one of the guards go flying through the air.
So much for those guards.
Joe and Ken peer around the tree that’s shielding them and see these explosions, that have ripped branches clean off some of the other trees. Ken turns and looks back towards the wall, but the black-clad attackers have disappeared now.
“What tremendous power, those must have been ring bombs,” says Joe (though it’s not clear how he was able to see them well enough to tell).
“They pack a hell of a punch,” agrees Ken.
Meanwhile, inside the palace, a woman is asking what the commotion was.
“Suspicious people snuck onto palace grounds, guards were killed,” another woman informs her.
An older woman gasps, while the woman standing beside her asks another question, “And what happened to the intruders?”
“We were told not to worry. They fled the premises, my Lady,” says the news-bearing woman and both the little bow she makes and her words “my Lady,” make it clear that the younger of the two women she’s addressing must be Princess Flake.
“How terrible, I’m quite certain they were after me,” says Princess Flake, turning away from them.
The older of her ladies-in-waiting suggests Princess Flake should cancel the fashion show scheduled for the day after tomorrow.
“I can’t do that,” replies Princess Flake, “It’s our country’s tradition to have a palace fashion show on the anniversary of the Monalince Kingdom’s establishment.
An unusual tradition for commemorating a country’s establishment, but probably a lot more interesting than a bunch of dull speeches by dignitaries.
“Our safety lies in the hands of the Science Ninja Team,” explains Princess Flake, looking out the window at the starry night sky, “They’re out there, watching.”
And she’s right –Ken and Joe were out there, and they were watching. I’ll assume that the ring bomb brigade attacked them in the belief that they were part of the palace guard. Since Ken and Joe were in their civvies, no one would have known they were Science Ninjas.
But now it’s the next day and in a park, a whole bunch of kids are zooming around on roller skates. Jinpei is watching from the sidelines, and he calls out to one of the kids, “Hey, can I borrow your skates for a sec?”
I guess there’s no booth to rent them, or Jinpei doesn’t have any money for it. The kid doesn’t look to inclined to share, though.
Jinpei explains he came to see a “real roller game” and, putting a persuasive hand on the other kid’s shoulder, he makes his request again.
“Hey, this kid’s wearing a Gatchaman bracelet!” announces Jinpei’s new friend, causing Jinpei to hastily draw away, looking nervous and putting his hands behind his back.
Fortunately for Jinpei, the kid goes on “That bracelet’s just a toy, isn’t it?” as another kid skates up to them and asks “Are you a Gatchaman fan? We’re all really big fans too!”
Yup, these kids have decided that Jinpei is cool. And the first boy is now willing to lend Jinpei his skates.
“Far out!” says Jinpei, laughing happily.
Somewhere else in the park, near a ferris wheel, the rest of the Ninjas are gathered around a bench.
Ken’s saying that there’s no doubt now that Galactor’s “evil minions”’ are after Princess Flake.
Joe, glowering, is certain that they’ll attack again with their ring bombs, and adds “Let’s face it –it’s not going to be easy to dodge those babies.”
Ryu bangs his fist against the bench in frustration, saying the ring bombs wouldn’t be a problem if they could only use their G-machines.
“We have to come up with some kind of new strategy,” concludes Joe. Ken sighs, “What kind?” and looks gloomy.
No one says anything.
But then Jinpei’s voice calls out “Hey Sis!”
“Check him out,” remarks Jun, “It looks like he’s got roller skating down.”
“I’ve got something to show you –check out my whip!” says Jinpei, skating towards them now, hand in hand with the kid who’d asked if he was a Gatchaman fan. This kid swings the arm that he’s holding onto Jinpei with and then lets go, sending Jinpei shooting off ahead, fast –and right towards Joe. “Whip!” yells Jinpei.
Suddenly Ken looks up, thinking…
Meanwhile, Jinpei is skating circles around Joe, literally.
“There you go, what do you think?” calls out Jinpei, clearly pleased with himself.
Jun’s less confident in his skating ability and warns him to be careful.
“The whip…” murmurs Ken to himself, still watching Jinpei.
Jinpei, laughing, apologizes to Joe –who calls him a pain in the neck- and then skates off again, singing to himself.
“I’ve got it!” announces Ken suddenly, standing up.
Jun and Ryu are curious.
“Jinpei just showed me something really interesting,” says Ken, “Galactor’s in for a big surprise.”
And now we cut to a roller skating rink.
Japan versus the United States? Heh, no, I’m sure that’s not what the acronyms represent –especially as “Japan” lost.
I guess the rink is closed and the Science Ninjas have snuck inside the place since there’s no one else there at all, and the Ninjas are all on roller skates now.
Joe is skating along, holding onto Jinpei, and he calls out “Whip!” and swings his arm to hurl Jinpei forward.
Jinpei goes zooming past Ryu, who’s clearly struggling with this whole business of roller skating. I sympathize with Ryu –I can ice skate but I was always terrible on roller skates.
Now Jinpei is zooming up behind Jun and Ken, who are skating hand in hand –Awww!- and he ducks under their hands and keeps going, smiling smugly.
“Cool, Jinpei, way to go!” calls out Ken. Meanwhile Ryu is doing “comic relief” duty, as both of his feet try to go in opposite directions –a groin pull injury looks imminent!
Joe cannot resist this opportunity to amuse himself at poor Ryu’s expense.
He approaches Ryu, who’s now clutching the boards, asking “What the heck are you doing?”
Ryu insists he’s doing a “whip” but Joe smirks and declares he'll show Ryu how to do a proper “whip.” And I am reminded of the many times, as a kid, that my evil older brother offered to teach me how to do something –run away, Ryu!
Except Ryu can’t –he’s on roller skates.
“I’ll show you how it’s done,” says Joe, with sinister friendliness. He pries Ryu away from the boards and shoves him towards the center of the rink.
“Ahhhh! What do I do?” cries Ryu, waving his arms frantically as he zooms across the rink, struggling to keep his feet beneath him.
It doesn’t end well.
So now Ken has his plan all figured out. “All right,” he says, sitting on the boards beside Jinpei as Joe lounges nearby, “We’ll call it… the Bird Whip!"
Um, that doesn’t exactly rank up there with “Tornado Fighter” or “Firebird” in terms of sounding fearsome and dangerous.
“Far out!” enthuses Jinpei –I guess he thinks the name’s okay.
Jun sounds quite skeptical, however, as she asks “We’re going to use the 'bird whip' to dodge the ring bombs?”
Yes, that what Ken’s plan is, and he attributes his idea for it to Jinpei.
Jinpei, relishing this praise, smirks at Jun and asks “Hey Sis, you still got a problem?”
Jun turns away, her nose in the air.
But now Ken is telling her that it’s her turn.
“My turn?” she asks, confused.
“You need to somehow infiltrate the palace and tell Princess Flake the Science Ninja Team is looking out for her,” Ken explains.
“Boy, I’m glad that’s over,” says Ryu with relief, skating unsteadily back across the rink towards them.
But it’s not over for Ryu. Ken orders him to continue practicing his roller skating –much to Ryu’s dismay. “I’m not done yet?”
“Nope,” says evil Joe, “I’ll give you a nice, thorough lesson. Come on!”
And he hauls poor Ryu away…
As inept as I always was at roller skating, I think I actually would try it again now, if only Joe were my instructor. I don’t think Ryu, though, is quite so eager to take lessons from the Condor!
“Damn, Jinpei, this is all because you showed them some silly stunt! Jinpei, I’m blaming this all on you!!”