Our episode opens with a plane flying through the air and some background music that reminds me of the music they used to play in grocery stores when I was a kid. Not the Adult Contemporary stuff they play now, but genuine, honest to goodness Muzak. Inside the plane the pilot and co-pilot are messing with the controls. The pilot sits back and loosens his tie. His co-pilot looks at him with much adoration. The pilot returns the look. Then he says, "Finally back in Japan. I miss Makoto." The co-pilot says, "Makoto's cute, isn't he?" And I'm wondering at this point, who this Makoto is and is there something else about these two we should know about. The pilot says, "Well, he's at that age. With his mother gone, I spoil him too much." I hope he's talking about his kid and not a boyfriend whose mother is out of town. Then the co-pilot remarks that this is a perfect day for flying, no sign of turbulence.
Not so fast, Bucko.
A flare rises up from a mountain and a black cloud appears. The pilot says, "Weird cloud." The cloud spreads and the plane flies into it. A storm crops up. The pilot wants to know what's up with this cloud and then he orders his co-pilot to check their heading on the radar. The radar isn't working. In the cabin, passengers are falling out of their seats and stuff. The pilot radios "Mayday". Actually he said, "SOS". At the control tower, they hear the message and the pilot says that there is something white, right before he screams. The plane nosedives, it's fuselage on fire, while a giant white mummy rises up. The control tower wants a response, but it gets none. The air traffic controller is distraught at the loss of the plane, the pilot's screams are running in his mind while he watches the activity on the runway below him.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nambu unrolls a map full of X's. He says that it's a map of the recent airplane crashes. Ken, points to each X as he says, "The first one was in the desert, then they move north. I've never heard of a typhoon coming this way." Dr. Nambu says that there have been no signs of storms in the area. But he points out that the captain of the last plane to crash said "storm" and "something white". Ken starts to leave. Nambu wants to know where he's going as he's not done talking to Ken yet. Ken replies, "You want me to check on the storm and the white object, right?" Then he walks out. Then Nambu goes, "Like father, like son. Very intuitive." And I'm smelling a plot point!
Ken is now at the airport. He is looking around when some kid's toy rolls by his feet. Ken picks it up and then the Demon Child swipes it and calls Ken a thief. Ken's like "Thief?" Then a man comes over and says, "Is he causing trouble? I'm his uncle." Ken's all no it's nothing. Then the uncle says, "Makoto, behave or your papa won't come back."
Well, if he isn't a loving and giving caregiver!
The sound of an approaching plane catches Makoto's attention. The kid shoves through some people to get a better look. Ken asks the uncle if Makoto's father is traveling abroad. The uncle says that Makoto's father died in a plane crash and that he was the pilot. Ken asks, "The recent crash?" The uncle says, "Yes, but he believes his father will come back alive. He insists on coming to the airport every day." Then the uncle introduces himself as Tetsuro Takahara. Ken introduces himself as Owashio no Ken or in English, Ken the Eagle. Which is kind of weird to me, unless it was translated badly because Ken's last name is Washio, so maybe he was saying Ken Washio in the Japanese way, last name first. Or maybe not. I don't know. I'm confused.
Then Ken looks at Makoto, who is standing at the railing wearing an "I'm drugged" expression on his face. Then the sun goes lower and the kid is still at the railing.
This kid needs therapy. Right now.
Then Ken goes out in his plane and he flies to the site of the most recent crash. A flare comes up out of the mountains and spreads it's black clouds and a storm pops up. Ken is caught in it and is nearly caught by the mummy, but he gets away.
Then he's out to dinner with Nambu and they discuss what Ken saw. Nambu says, "We checked your data and discovered Plutonium-X." Ken says that Plutonium-X is too volatile of an energy source for Earth to use. Nambu says that Galactor is using it for the mummy. Ken wonders if there is a way to neutralize the Plutonium-X. Nambu says there's one. It's a material created by a Dr. Tetsuro Takahara called "Uranless".
Uranless? Isn't that a brand of urinal cake? Excuse me while I snicker myself silly for a moment. This show comes up with some of the strangest names for things.
Okay, I'm better now. Nambu says that Galactor is aware of this Uranless stuff and that they'll go after Dr. Takahara. Ken realizes that Dr. Takahara is the man from the airport.
Back at the airport, it's raining and Makoto and Dr. Takahara are waiting out in the rain. Ken shows up. Ken calls out to the boy, the uncle starts to apologize, but Ken goes, "You'll catch cold." Dr. Takahara says, "He's trouble. He doesn't listen and he insists on coming out here."
Like I said, he's a loving and giving caregiver, isn't he? Let's hope he doesn't have any children of his own.
Makoto says that his papa spoke to him in a dream and told him that he'd be coming back on a rainy day. Makoto's convinced that today is the day. Ken looks at the kid with pity and puts a hand on his head. Makoto turns, his attention diverted by a plane landing. He goes running off. Dr. Takahara says, "He believes his father is coming back. How can I tell him...?" Then he walks over to Makoto.
Dr., you're obviously a scientific genius, but you have no clue about kids. Tell the kid the truth. Now. Now, before he finds out the truth someday (and he will find out the truth) and ends up hating you for lying to him.
The plane lands and the passengers get off the plane. Makoto brightens when the last passenger appears. It's his father. Makoto runs down some stairs and onto the tarmac (a move that would get him arrested in this day and age and also shut down the entire airport, too.) and to his father. Ken watches the scene, amazed. He thinks, "The captain has come back to life just as the mummy is resurrected." Then some lightening flashes and the wind picks up in a Very Dramatic Moment.
In the airport, a news conference is going on. Dr. Takahara and Makoto's father are sitting on a sofa and Makoto is sleeping on his father's lap. Ken is behind a pillar, hiding. Reporters ask questions. Makoto's Dad says, "When I came to, I was floating on the wide ocean. Luckily, a cargo ship came by and picked me up." Then he wonders, "How can I be the sole survivor? How can I apologize to the victims' families?" One reporter, who kind of looks like Chuck Conners (aka The Rifleman. Ask your parents. Or your grandparents. But you've probably seen him before.) asks the Dr. how he feels about getting his brother back. Dr. Takahara still can't believe it. He says that Makoto must be the happiest of all. The kid is sleeping and the boy's father is stroking the kid's arm. A flash of light catches the Dr.'s eye. It's a really big, butt ugly ring.
Later that evening, Ken goes to their house. He rides up on a motorcycle, which I wonder if he borrowed from Jun. Although, unlike that conversation I imagine while watching this scene in Battle of the Planets, Ken probably doesn't even bother to ask Joe if he can use the car. He probably just goes straight to Jun and promises to pay off his bar tab or something like that. (Ken has a bar tab, but this hasn't been brought up yet at this point in the show.) Ken sees a flashlight shining in a dark room. In the room, someone is rummaging around in a safe. It's Makoto's father. The Dr. catches him in the act. He says, "You fooled Makoto, but you're an imposter." Fake Dad replies, "How did you know?" The Dr. says, "Your ring. My brother hated rings on men." Fake Dad turns around and says, "How foolish of me to make such a mistake." The Dr. goes, "Who the hell are you?" Fake Dad says, "Don't be surprised. I'm Berg Katse, leader of Galactor." Katse shines the flashlight at the doctor and makes his escape out a window. The sound catches Ken's attention. Then Katse goes in another window. The doctor runs out of the room.
Then he runs into Makoto's room and is in for a big surprise. There's Katse, sitting next to the sleeping kid, and pointing a gun at him. Katse says, "If you want him alive, give me the Uranless." The doctor is all, "Uranless?" And Katse says, "Yes, your creation, the Uranless. We want it. Be quick, give it to me. Or else..." Then Katse points his gun at the kid's head and starts to pull the trigger. The doctor says wait. Katse (who still looks like Makoto's dad) cackles and moves the gun, but then it's slapped away from him. "What's this?" It's Ken. Ken is in a fist fight with Katse/Makoto's Dad. There's fighting and the wind blowing rain into the room and then Makoto wakes up. He sees Ken punching the man he thinks is his father. Makoto breaks up the fight and Katse escapes. He says to Ken that his papa is gone and it's all Ken's fault because Ken beat him up. Then he ineffectually punches Ken in the stomach and calls him an idiot. He's crying and goes to his uncle. Ken apologizes to Makoto and then the Dr. asks Ken who he is. Ken says he was sent by Dr. Nambu to get the Uranless. The Dr. says he talked with Nambu about the Uranless. He gives Ken Makoto's pin, telling Ken that the Uranless is hidden inside. Makoto wants it back and snatches it away. The Dr. says, "Makoto, behave or your Papa will never come back." Ken kneels down and tells the boy he needs it to bring back his father. Ken says he will bring back the boy's father. Makoto says, "Promise?" Ken hesitates, but promises.
Bad idea, Ken.
Back at the airport, it's raining and a plane is taking off, and it's heading toward a bright fiery ball of something in the air. The plane reaches that fiery ball and promptly explodes. The ball comes closer and we see it's the mummy. People want to know what that thing is.
At the house, Ken is paged by Nambu and Nambu tells Ken that the mummy has landed at the airport. Ken goes to Birdstyle.
Back at the airport, the mummy wreaks all sorts of havoc and nothing, it seems can stop it. Planes and tanks shoot missiles at the thing, but he just scratches the places the missiles hit. ("The burning, the itching.") The airport is on fire, and back at Makoto's, his uncle runs into the kid's room to tell him about the flaming airport. But Makoto is missing.
Makoto is running to the airport and crying. "Come back, Papa," he says. "Don't get on anymore planes." At the airport, is Katse/Makoto's Dad. Then back at the house, Dr. Takahara goes, "No, Makoto, he's not your father."
Then the God Phoenix and the KNT arrive. Jinpei says, "Wow, this is bad. The airport is a sea of fire." Of course, Joe wants to fire Bird Missiles at it, but Ken says that they won't work. "Our only hope is the Uranless." Jun wants to know how they will use it. Ken tells Ryu to get closer so they can find the mummy's power source. They fly close to the mummy, and the mummy swats at it. Ryu tells Ken that they can't get any closer. Ken wonders where the power source is.
On the waiting area, by the railing, Katse is laughing. He orders the mummy to "Destroy! Destroy!" (Faster mummy! Kill! Kill!) and to destroy until Galactor rules the Earth. The mummy swats at the God Phoenix some more, then a spot on his lower back starts to glow. Then the mummy takes off and starts flying through the air. The God Phoenix is over his back and then Ken sees the power source. Jun shouts, "Ken, there's a child at the airport!" Ken's all, "What?" and the screen shows Makoto running across the tarmac. Makoto is looking for his father. He's running and crying. Then Katse/Fake Makoto's Dad says, "Don't hesitate! Step on the child!"
Dr. Takahara tries to help the kid, but soldiers hold him back. Makoto is looking around, confused, trying to find his father. He is surrounded by flames. On the God Phoenix, Jinpei goes says the mummy is going to step on the kid. Ken gets pissed off and goes to the platform that will take him up to the bubble on top of the ship. He orders Ryu to get closer to the mummy. Joe goes, "Ken!" and Jinpei goes, "What are you doing, aniki ?"
Up in the bubble, Ken crumbles the Uranless and puts the pieces in his Birdrang. On the ground, the mummy is behind the boy and Dr. Takahara runs to him. The boy apparently doesn't know the mummy is near him. Ken jumps up from the God Phoenix and chucks his Birdrang at the mummy, aiming for that spot on its lower back. He hits the spot and the mummy turns to stone and breaks up. On the God Phoenix, Jinpei goes, "That's my big brother." Then Joe says, "Our mission is complete, let's go." And then the God Phoenix flies off.
Katse does his "Curses, foiled again" thing. Makoto spies him and shouts at him not to go. Katse climbs up this ramp that was part of the mummy and escapes. Ken comes back, in civilian dress, and says, "Damn, they had a rocket inside the mummy." as he watches Katse's escape. Makoto runs after him, then when he can't catch him, he falls to his knees and cries.
Ken calls out the boy's name and the boy rises, full of anger. He calls Ken a liar and says, "You promised you'd bring my papa back." Then he punches Ken in the stomach again until he's too overcome and collapes against Ken, crying really hard.
Dr. Takahara goes, "Makoto, that wasn't your father...." Ken goes, "It's all right. Let him believe. Don't hurt him. I shall gladly have Makoto hate me." Gee, real noble of you Ken. The Dr. wants to know why. Ken says, "He reminds me of myself. My father was also a pilot, lost in an accident ten years ago. I don't want to believe he's dead. He's alive; I'll see him one day. That's what I believe." (I'm smelling a major plot point here.) Makoto breaks away and goes running, calling for his papa. Ken thinks, "Makoto, please be happy." Then the Narrator chimes in, for I believe the first time, and says, "Thus praying, Gatchaman also felt a new surge of hatred for Galactor who took away Makoto's father. Go, Gatchaman!" As this speech is going on, Ken walks away and we can see the mummy's head on the ground.
Thoughts From Ms. Ann:
There was even less Condor airtime in this version, if you count the stock footage in the last version.
This version, as I was watching this and writing this review, depressed the hell out of me.
For the first time, we hear about Ken's father, and this will come up again in the series.
I was rather appalled at the treatment of this kid. Telling him to behave or his dead father won't come back. Not warping the child, are we there? Please tell me that this Dr. Takahara was just a poor guardian and took the concept of Tough Love a little too far, and it's not a cultural thing.
If Tatsunoko ever decided to do a fourth Gatchaman series, you've got a ready made villian. Makoto. Makoto grows up, finds out the truth about his father, and then remembers the promise that Ken made to him. He gets in cahoots with Sosai X, Y, Z, AA, or whatever, and vows to destroy the KNT and get revenge on first his uncle, then Ken. The way the kid was treated on this show is how arch enemies are created.
There really isn't much else I have to say about this episode.