Battle of the Planets, Episode Twenty-Five
Gatchaman Episode #68, The Particle Iron Beast Micro-Saturn
DVD and Veoh episode #57
Review/Summary: Since there are problems with Veoh (my source), I can only give you a summary of the plot, derived from a secondary source.
Which means you are spared the excesses of Zark. But not the existence of Zark.
Zark notes that something’s wrong on the planet Exor and dispatches robot planes to investigate their largest city.
There’s a shot of a massive nuclear explosion, and then Zark tells us that the city is surrounded by a wall of radiation.
The planes fly in, and we know what happens to them. But not before we see a lifeless, yet intact, city.
Next, we’re at Center Neptune and Chief Anderson is briefing G-Force. Apparently, Spectra bombed their own base and surrounded it with radiation. The team shares the viewer’s confusion about bombing one’s own base.
G-Force must investigate this in person. They should be safe enough if they stay for only an hour. Mark is dubious: travel all that distance just to stay for an hour?
Anderson tells them they can safely penetrate the barrier with an equal amount of heat. The team realizes he means the Fiery Phoenix.
Tiny gets a great line: “We’ll either fly through, or fry through.”
But before they enter the city, they must stop at an aircraft carrier to be ‘deionized.’ That will protect them for that hour.
So the team heads for Exor. Presumably, there is Sandy Frank space-travel stock footage and some Zark narration.
Meanwhile, Zoltar and the Luminous One are in ‘As you know, Bob’ mode to spell out for the less perceptive viewers what’s really going on. Zoltar has engineered this to lead G-Force into a trap. The city does not conceal a base.
Then G-Force arrives on Exor, where the aircraft carrier awaits them. They’ll be sprayed with some sort of ‘goop’ to protect them. Jason comments that Anderson couldn’t look them in the eye, which Mark explains as uncertainty about this mission. Tiny isn’t so sure about this. Princess brought along her miniature Geiger counter. Just in case.
The deionizing isn’t shown (because nothing usable happened in the Gatchaman episode), and – despite recurring misgivings about Anderson’s attitude – our heroes use the Fiery Phoenix to enter the city.
They leave the Phoenix and then Princess whips out the Geiger counter. Shouldn’t they have done that before debarking. Apparently, Zark neglected to include radiation sensors among all the other devices aboard.
Fortunately for G-Force’s reproductive abilities and health, all radiation is confined to the band around the city.
Which alleviates Jason’s doubts about the Chief.
Even though they’re in a deserted city, Keyop starts goofing around on a trolley car. The others chide him, and the thing starts rolling. Keyop jumps free, and the car stops right away.
Although they wonder who started the trolley (Keyop certainly didn’t do anything), none of the team goes aboard to look. [Censorship edit, for certain.]
The churchbell sounds, then dark patches appear on all the buildings. Princess looks at her Geiger counter, and now there’s a reading.
Oh, shit. Anderson was wrong about their safety.
They head back for the Phoenix. The hour is not up (on the clock), but it is for them.
The dark patches slough off the buildings and gather to transform into a large, insectoid mecha.
Brief moment of Zark fantasizing about confronting Zoltar. [That’s one mercy of the Veoh problem.] It involves his sonic boomerang, and then we learn that the all-knowing, all-seeing, most important being in Galaxy Security Zark has damaged his own console. Then, suddenly, it’s fixed.
Meanwhile, the team’s confronting the giant bug-mecha. They get a close-up of it, and discover that it’s made up of millions of microscopic robots.
Then it grabs them, and after several futile efforts to escape, Mark orders the Fiery Phoenix.
They head for the border…
…and wake up in their ship on board the aircraft carrier. To Tiny’s confusion, since he doesn’t remember a thing.
Mark goes out to thank the crew, and learns that Anderson is aboard the carrier.
There’s the boss, and he tells them they should have had a little more faith in him. The Phoenix is refueled and ready to go.
Jason asks if he’d like a ride back. Anderson says he has work to do here.
Mark has Tiny check the fuel gauges.
Which are just about at empty.
For some reason, Anderson doesn’t hear this exchange, even though he’s right there. He gripes about the team still not trusting him.
I remember this bit from when I first watched the show. Mark walks off a little way with Princess and Jason. He notes that there was no base on the island, shoves the two aside, and throws his sonic boomerang at Anderson.
Anderson dodges and clutches his face. Mark tells him to stop faking it: the real Anderson knows he’s too accurate to accidentally cut someone.
Yep, it’s Zoltar. It was Zoltar the entire time, even on Center Neptune.
Spectran soldiers come out of nowhere, and there’s a fight. Of course. And in true BotP fashion, nobody dies, just ends up in the water.
Zoltar escapes, as always.
G-Force refuels and heads home, leaving us to wonder what happened to the crew of the aircraft carrier.
And Zark tells us that the real Chief Anderson had been lured away from Center Neptune. Which the all-seeing Zark had somehow missed.
Well, communications in this show are plot-dependent.
Fic Alert: How the hell did Zoltar find Center Neptune in the first place? Why didn’t the Spectrans take advantage of the opportunity to kidnap or kill Anderson? What did happen to the crew of the aircraft carrier?
Science question: Anyone care to look into the whole heat/nuclear radiation thing? I think the scriptwriters were just faking it.
The original script, and hence this one, is one of the earliest fictional depictions of molecule-sized machines. In real life, said machines are not supposed to join together to form a larger machine. But it’s an interesting idea.
Bizarreness alert: Zoltar gets around. He somehow managed to get to Center Neptune, then back to Spectra to chat with the Luminous One, then to Exor, in the space of a day. I know that the time warp technology makes it possible to cross interstellar distances within a few hours, but this is ridiculous.
Even more remarkable, Zoltar has apparently found Center Neptune – and doesn’t do a thing about it. He’s in the main operating base for G-Force, and all he does is send the team to Exor.
I don’t think the scriptwriters were paying attention this time.
Gatchaman plot: Nuclear explosion over an island in the southern seas. The city had a population of about 12,000. Before the blast.
This worries the rest of the world. The island nation was peaceful. Who dared do this? Are there any survivors?
The ISO sends a search party. At first, they find no radiation, and think it wasn’t a nuclear test. It doesn’t help that the buildings are still standing. No signs of life.
Then the radiation spikes, and the planes explode.
Dr. Nambu suspects Galactor. The radioactivity surrounds the island like a barrier. He intends to send the SNT. The GodPhoenix can take it, and the data is accurate.
Katse is getting his ass chewed by Leader X over his failures. Galactor is building a base on the island, and so far, the SNT has destroyed just about every base they've discovered. Berg Katse assures his leader that he has devised a way to find the SNT’s secret base.
The SNT arrives on the scene. There’s a carrier there to refuel them when they return from the island.
It’s Ken’s idea to use the Firebird to break through the radiation barrier. Or so the dialogue implies.
BotP edited out some things. Jun checks the radiation levels before they even land, and finds nothing. After they land, there’s still no nuclear response. And the city is deserted. After the incident with the trolley, Joe and Ken find the shadows of the victims burned into the seats.
The BotP conflict with the monster follows this script. The microscopic mechas were shielding the buildings so that their sensors didn’t detect the radiation. They deduce that the micro-machines could be used to build just about anything Galactor needed in a base. When it grabs the ship, the mini-machines chew holes in the hull. They use the Firebird to melt their way free and escape.
They wake up on the carrier.
The BotP plot again follows the Gatch plot, but this time the disguised Katse is just a little too eager to get to Crescent Coral base. While Ken wants to return to the island Nambu-Katse insists they have to go back to base to concoct a new plan. Although confused, Ken’s ready to obey. He orders Ryu to prepare for refueling, and learns they still have fuel in the tank (which should not be true if they’d travelled any distance in the GodPhoenix.)
Ken figures it out: this was a plan to discover the SNT’s base. Unlike BotP, he throws his boomerang to cut through Katse’s mask. Just enough to show that it is a mask: a barely-visible cut, with no blood.
Turns out that Galactor took over the ship before the SNT even arrived, and simply waited for them to come back out. Yep, death.
The SNT kick Galactor ass, Katse escapes, and the team heads for home.