Gatchaman Episode 100: “Gatchman 20 Years Later”
BOTP Episode: “G-Force in the Future”
“As you all know,” says Dr. Nambu’s voice as we see an image of the Earth from space, “The ISO has been researching ways of developing pollution-free energy from underground magma and the Earth’s mantle.”
Now we get a cross-section view of the Earth.
“We have recently discovered equations,” continues Dr. Nambu, “That will allow us to condense a specific area in the mantle and make it explode.”
Everyone is watching and listening.
“The one who developed those equations is this man.”
“A member of the ISO’s special task force, named Dr. Maxim.”
The slideshow apparently over, Dr. Nambu walks over to a window and opens the blinds to let light back into the room.
I miss the fish parades.
“If that condensed mantle were to be used in warfare,” he says, turning to look at the Ninjas, “It would release more energy than a hydrogen bomb, and destroy the entire human race in an instant!”
Jinpei leaps to his feet, fists clenched, demanding “If it’s so dangerous, why on earth make it in the first place?”
Dr. Nambu explains that the physicists who developed atomic energy never intended it as a weapon, and performed their research “for the benefit of mankind, but the power was abused and twisted for war.”
This is a tragedy that must not be repeated, he tells them, “So, we have decided to sink the calculations and equations at the bottom of the Arctic Sea.”
“Anything to keep Galactor from getting their filthy paws on it, that’s for sure,” remarks Joe, holding his chin thoughtfully.
Jun declares that “Just thinking about it gives me the willies.”
Ken asks why it’s necessary to sink the condensed mantle data in the Arctic Sea.
“That data was recorded onto microfilm via a special recording device using a special kind of magnetism,” explains Dr. Nambu, “Therefore it’s resistant to fire and can’t be easily degaussed like data from a conventional recorder.”
“So if you sink it in the Arctic Ocean, it’s magnetic phenomenon will cause the data to be naturally erased,” concludes Ken.
“Exactly,” answers Dr. Nambu, pointing at Ken now, “And Ken, I would like you to personally undertake this mission alone.”
“By myself?” says Ken, taken aback by this.
All Dr. Nambu says is that Dr. Maxim will accompany him, and the points to what is presumably meant to be the North Pole on a map, noting that it’s a long way to the Arctic Sea.
“If all of you went, Galactor might be able to detect you,” adds Dr. Nambu, now explaining why he only wants Ken.
Ryu is prepared to accept this, but wonders if the rest of them will be just hanging around and twiddling their thumbs while Ken is off with Dr. Maxim.
Dr. Nambu offers the sop that the other four Ninjas can help by “carefully monitoring Ken and Dr. Maxim from afar.”
Ryu is appeased.
Dr. Nambu announces that Ken and Dr. Maxim will be leaving that very night, and he reminds everyone to be on the lookout for Galactor.
“A frightening product of the mantle project,” says the narrator as we see a plane flying, “Which could obliterate the Earth in an instant, they must destroy the mantle data.”
“So Ken journeys to the Arctic with Dr. Maxim.”
(Who uses the trip to catch up on his sleep.)
“Meanwhile, the God Phoenix secretly guards them from high above.” Actually, it doesn’t look like they’re carefully monitoring Ken and Dr. Maxim from all that afar, despite what Dr. Nambu said.
Whoever’s flying the plane, it isn’t Ken. (Maybe it’s on autopilot.) Ken is inspecting a peculiar-looking glass container somewhere inside the plane.
“I wonder what this is,” says Ken to himself, “It doesn’t look like it has to do with the data. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen anything resembling data from the project.”
Ken comes up a small set of stairs to the part of the plane where Dr. Maxim is sitting (awake now).
He asks Ken if anything is wrong, though he thinks Galactor surely couldn’t be on to them so quickly.
“Even so, we can’t risk letting our guard down,” says vigilant Ken, “They have spies everywhere.”
He sits down beside Dr. Maxim though.
But he asks Dr. Maxim “What is that transparent capsule stored in the cargo bay below for?”
“Oh, it’s my gallows, of course,” replies Dr. Maxim.
“Your gallows?” says Ken, puzzled.
“I just hope I don’t have to use it,” adds Dr. Maxim, not exactly clarifying anything.
And we cut to the plane’s cockpit and learn that there are, in fact, two pilots flying the plane. One is looking at the altimeter and he says “Our altitude seems to be decreasing –try giving it more throttle.”
The second pilot complies, but then cries “Captain, the throttle’s not responding!”
“It isn’t?” says the Captain, not very helpfully.
And the plane begins to dive.
In the passenger area, Ken and Dr. Maxim are both lurched by the sudden descent.
“Doctor, you’d better put on your seatbelt right away,” says Ken, but he himself heads for the cock pit, sliding along the now-tilted floor.
Ken enters the cockpit and is informed that something’s wrong with the throttle. “Let me have a stab at it,” declares Ken, pulling out his boomerang. (Whatever he’s got in mind, somehow I doubt it’s an FAA-approved in-flight repair technique.)
Ken pries open a panel beside the throttle handle, and he and both pilots make expressions of surprise.
“It looks like it’s been sabotaged,” realizes Ken.
“If we don’t do something quick,” declares the Captain as the plane continues its steep descent, “this plane is going to crash!”
Ken takes a book (a flight log perhaps) from a wall compartment and removes a clip-like metal bookmark from its pages.
“I sure hope this idea works out,” he says, scrutinizing it.
The plane is still descending steeply and the icy terrain below isn’t all that far below, but Ken is fiddling with the throttle, trying to make a repair using the metal clip.
“Okay, pull it up gently,” Ken tells the junior pilot, and when he tries the throttle this time, the metal clip bends and looks like it could very easily snap.
And it looks like the plane is going to crash into the side of a mountain, imminently.
Instructed now by the Captain to pull the throttle up and to the left, the junior pilot complies anxiously.
And it works! The plane just barely misses hitting the mountain, but it does miss.
“You can relax later –for now, confirm our location,” the Captain tells him as the plane's landing gear is lowered.
Ken goes back to the passenger area to see Dr. Maxim, who wants to know what happened.
“Don’t worry. There was a technical problem but it’s okay now.”
“I wonder how that happened,” says Dr. Maxim, “Surely we must have ordered a preflight inspection.”
Ken frowns but doesn’t say anything.
“I know,” says Dr. Maxim, “Galactor has spies even among the mechanics! Which means they already know everything we’re doing and the mission’s in danger!”
The plane comes in for a landing, touching down in some barren arctic terrain.
The landing is a bit rough, and Ken grabs hold of Dr. Maxim to help him stay upright in his seat.
Meanwhile, on the God Phoenix (wherever it is), Jun announces “The transport plane has just landed, Joe.”
“Ryu, we’ll land too,” concludes Joe, “Someplace that’s far enough away.”
“Sounds good,” says Ryu, doing just that.
On board the transport plane, Dr. Maxim is preparing for the cold weather outside.
“Okay, let’s get this done before Galactor catches up,” he tells Ken, “I’d like you to help me too.”
But suddenly the whole plane starts shaking and pitching.
“What was that?” yells Ken, staggering back towards a wall, but we can see that the ice the plane landed on is now cracking apart, and the pilots in the cockpit are equally startled. A wide chasm forms beneath the plane, and the plane begins falling into it.
“The transport plane’s falling into the ice!” yells Joe, seeing this from the God Phoenix. Jun and Jinpei come rushing up as well to get a closer look.
On the transport plane, Ken and Dr. Maxim have both fallen over as the plane continues to fall. Snapping off part of one wing on the edge of the icy chasm, the plane then lands in the waters of the Arctic Sea and sinks out of sight as the chasm begins to close together again.
“Big Bro…” gasps Jinpei as he and the others see all this from the God Phoenix.
Ken himself cries out in alarm as ice smashes through the windows of the transport plane…
Suddenly we get a montage of odd images: a needle piercing someone’s arm.
And a very psychedelic-looking swirl of colours, followed by patterns of wavy lines giving way to an image of snow.
Then we see Ken’s face, and his eyes are closed. He opens his eyes and sits up groggily, saying “Where am I?” and clutching his head in pain, “My head is throbbing.” The large window beyond him looks out onto a strange-looking city.
It turns out he’s in a bed with Dr. Maxim (a rather bizarre image!).
Ken gets out of the bed, clearly still in some pain, and staggers over to the window. Dr. Maxim –awake now too- follows him, saying “Where in the world are we? What is this?”
They stare at the city outside the window.
Ken doesn’t have any answers. “I don’t believe there’s a city like this on Earth,” says Dr. Maxim.
“Let’s get out of here,” says Ken grimly.
“But where’s the exit?”
They soon find out why the room has no door –the way out is revealed when the section of floor they’re standing on suddenly begins to descend.
They find themselves in a glass tube, still descending, as they look at the city all around them.
“What a shock,” says Dr. Maxim, “It’s like we’ve ridden a time machine and arrived in the future.”
When they reach the bottom, they’re inside a massive glassed-in chamber with trees and plants growing inside it, serene lakes and a monorail track. It reminds me of that old movie, “Logan’s Run.”
Looking around, Ken and Dr. Maxim spot a bunch of people –finally- all sitting on some benches. But at the sight of these new arrivals, all the people stand up.
“Can any of you tell us where we are?” asks Ken.
“I don’t think I like the look in their eyes!” says Dr. Maxim, “It looks as if maybe they’ve had some sort of terrible shock.”
Indeed, all the people are sort of moaning tonelessly and walking zombie-like towards Ken and Dr. Maxim.
Ken astutely concludes that these are people best avoided and with a “Doctor, this way!” he urges Dr. Maxim to quickly accompany him down a nearby corridor.
But they encounter more zombie-like people so they dash down yet another corridor –but it turns out to be a dead end.
“No, wait! Listen!” cries Ken as the “zombies” draw near, but suddenly a glass partition drops down between them and Ken and Dr. Maxim –and then a voice from behind them laughs and says “You’re awake, Gatchman, Dr. Maxim.”
Ken turns around hastily to see two men appear from behind another partition.
“But you shouldn’t be exerting yourself without your doctor’s permission,” continues this mysterious future-man.
“Where are we?” demands Ken.
The man doesn’t answer; he goes over to the glass partition and tells the “zombies” to go away. “Those poor souls are your fellow comrades,” he remarks gravely, “Who used to live on the surface.”
“The surface?” asks Dr. Maxim. “What do mean by that?’ adds Ken.
“Due to traumatic shock, they’ve lost their ability to talk and their will to live,” says the future-man, “Such a pity. We’ve gathered them here to look after them.”
Dr. Maxim wants to know what caused this shock.
“You see, it’s been twenty years since they were defeated in their fight against Galactor.”
“What did you say?” yells Ken, not liking the sound of this one bit. “Twenty years?” cries Dr. Maxim.
“The entire world is under Galactor’s control now,” continues future-man calmly, “And this underground city serves as Galactor’s headquarters.”
“You’re lying –I know it!” says Ken –far from calmly! “Who put you up to this?” he demands, raising clenched fists.
“I suppose it’s only natural that you don’t believe,” says future-man, “Perhaps it’s that you don’t want to believe. The times have changed. A lot happened while the two of you were frozen in the arctic ice.”
He laughs smugly, and now Ken really gets in his face.
“There’s no way we would lose to Galactor!” yells Ken, “That’s nonsense!”
“Please, calm yourself,” says future-man smoothly, “And I will show you all the proof that you require.”
He raises a hand, and at this signal, the other man (who has yet to speak) opens a panel over a window, giving them a view of the city again. In fact, panels open up all over and we see that they’re all actually standing inside a little transport shuttle that’s on top of one building.
“Please, have a seat here,” says the future-man’s flunky, speaking at last as he gestures Ken and Dr. Maxim towards two chairs that are in front of a large window.
The shuttle starts moving.
“This transport’s automatic pilot will deliver us to the surface,” says the first future-man.
The shuttle enters the bottom of a large metal tube that extends high up (presumably to the surface) and then begins to fly vertically up the dark tube.
Once they reach surface, the view isn’t pretty. The sky is dark, streaked with dreary colours, and everything looks devastated. Ken and Dr. Maxim both gasp in horror.
“This is the place you called home, the surface of 20 years ago,” future-man tells Ken and Dr. Maxim as they continue to stare in horror out the shuttle’s window.
“How could you do this?” demands Dr. Maxim, “You used the hydrogen bombs?”
“Something more powerful,” he is told, as future-man now gazes out the window too, “We used a special bomb that contained concentrated solar energy.”
“Solar energy?” says Dr. Maxim in dismay.
“That’s right. As a scientist, you should know how powerful it can be.”
“But if you used that,” declares Dr. Maxim, “It would destroy the planet, it would be like the sun touching the Earth!”
We get an image of a massive nuclear-like explosion now, to illustrate his point.
“But that’s impossible, with the science that we have now,” continues Dr. Maxim.
“Your people were defeated by Galactor,” future-man tells him, “Because they underestimated our scientific resources. We warned you to obey us, but you can thank the ISO that our warning went unheeded. Take a look.”
With these words, he points to another window, and both Dr. Maxim and Ken gasp in horror again.
It’s the ISO headquarters –and they’re not exactly in great shape.
Ken can’t believe that the ISO has been totally destroyed. “How can we be twenty years in the future?” he asks again, as if trying to deny what he’s seeing.
Future-man explains Ken was “entombed in the arctic ice and fell into a cold sleep,” and lived for twenty years until “we rescued you, which as you can see, brings us to today.”
Dr. Maxim is pensive. “Twenty years?” he mutters.