This is a Gatchamania Episode review. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
This episode review is image intensive.
Deep in the oceans lies a ship graveyard. It is said that all ships that sink at sea gather at this place. An ISO sea vessel sails the ocean near the water. When a member of the crew expresses distress at this thought, the Captain tells him, "Don't be such a Sea Monkey!"
Nothing is visible on the radar, but suddenly a ship materializes in front of the ISO vessel! Despite what the crew think, the viewer immediately knows that this is not a Ghost ship, as the familiar 'Galactor in Action' music begins playing. The 'ghost ship' launches a missile at the hapless ISO boat, and the crew are goners. The missile is followed up with a lot of gunfire.
Cut from BOTP: the ISO vessel's crew flee for their (soon to be ended) lives.
Not too far from this location, the ISO has created an underwater farm, a place where humans can live free of pollution. Dr. Nambu and Director Anderson are having a meeting at this very location. Anderson paces the room nervously, while Nambu remains implacable.
Apparently this is the fifth time that one of the ISO's 'prized ocean development vessels' has disappeared, each one near the underwater graveyard. Nambu mentions that sailors have been afraid of the area for many years.
"But this is the Age of Science!" Anderson protests. "Just look at these beautiful underwater oilfields!"
The oilfields are apparently next to the underwater farm. Anderson thinks the whole thing is magnificent.
Anderson and Nambu admire the ISO's handiwork.
But the 'formidable bunch' known as Galactor is their 'greatest enemy'. Even this early on in the series, in episode 5, Anderson is sure that only they could have something to do with the mystery of the underwater graveyard. Nambu points out that Galactor is likely to come after the underwater farm as well.
And Nambu is right. Even now, Katse is speaking via remote transmission with his latest ridiculously-costumed captain.
Seriously, I think the Captain is supposed to be a fish. But he looks more like a 1950s B-movie version of a Martian.
Doesn't Katse look like the Joker? Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger have nothing on him!
Anyhow, Katse thinks that in order to control the world, Galactor must control the oceans. Clearly the new ISO base will get in the way of that goal, so he orders Fish-Martian Captain to 'destroy it completely'.
Meanwhile, Nambu and Anderson are now pacing together. Anderson is still concerned. Nambu tells Anderson in confidence that he has secretly summoned the Science Ninja Team to the island nearby. Anderson asks to know exactly where they are, and Nambu refuses.
"You must know that I cannot tell you anything about them, or their identities." Nambu explains. "No one knows their secrets but me. I'm the only one that knows what they look like! That is what makes them the Science Ninja Team!"
Um, couldn't they be the Science Ninja Team, even if other people knew who they were? Seems to me that's what happened in Gatchaman II and F... but I digress.
Finally, nearly one third of the way into the episode, we get to see our favorite ninjas. They are playing at the beach! Jun and Jinpei are waterskiing, while Ken pilots the boat that tows them. Strangely the boat looks a lot like the G-1. Hey... I wonder...?
Did you know that Ken likes to wear necklaces? Neither did I.
Jinpei urges Ken to go faster, while Jun just laughs.
But when Ken takes the pair up a couple of ramps, Jinpei isn't able to handle it.
"Man! And you call yourself a true descendent of the Iga Ninjas?" Ken mocks Jinpei. Wait a minute... I thought only Nambu knew their secrets? So why is Ken shouting this across the water at a public beach?
Jinpei just apologizes for being bad at waterskiing.
Meanwhile, Ryu and Joe blend in with the tourists on the beach.
Joe looks a lot like Jim Morrison, and with that deep, gravelly voice, you could almost imagine that he's channeling the dead signer. I wonder if Jim is really buried in the underwater graveyard, instead of in a Paris cemetery?
Ryu complains that he's bored, because he can't waterski. Joe lectures him, telling the Owl that they're not there to play. Could have fooled me! It sure looked like that was what the other three were doing! But Joe is there to get revenge on Galactor. And even wearing a bathing suit, we're back to our stereotypical obsessive Condor! But as he berates Ryu, Joe spots something strange.
An oil slick is spreading across the water. Everyone is horrified.
"This just can't be normal!" Jun exclaims. I'm not sure if she's talking about the oil spill, or Jinpei wearing a thong. My eyes!!!!!
Did that shot make the BOTP ep? Now I just have to know. (Nope, it didn't.)
Turns out the oil slick is caused by a Galactor 'ghost submarine' attacking the ISO underwater oilfield and farm. Strangely, we see the same shots of crew running for their lives across an open boat deck that we did earlier in the episode. Wait a minute... I know Tatsunoko wanted to save on costs by recycling footage, but this is clearly not right, since these guys are not on an open boat deck!
We see more shots of ISO buildings and personnel getting toasted.
Meanwhile, Ken is casually sitting in his Cessna. He doesn't look worried at all.
And why isn't he in Birdstyle, if this is such an emergency? He gets a call from Nambu, who tells him that the mystery submarine is headed toward the underwater graveyard, and that Ken should follow it. So Ken takes off solo in the Cessna. Once he is airborne, the Doctor orders him to assemble the Team and launch the God Phoenix. Cue stock footage of Ken transforming in the Cessna and joining up with the God Phoenix.
The God Phoenix flies over the area of the oil slick.
Ken orders Ryu to submerge. Ryu closes the air vents on the side of the ship, and they go underwater. The Team searches for the ghost submarine underwater.
Clearly this search is difficult, because Joe complains that it is
'brutal'. Or perhaps he's talking about Jinpei's amazing color-changing uniform!
Joe hurries to check out the sonar, on Ken's orders.
He finds the submarine, and Ken orders a full speed intercept course.
Fish-Martian Captain tells Katse that he thinks the God Phoenix is following him. Katse tells the Captain to lure the Science Ninja Team to the underwater graveyard.
Somehow, this involves the submarine shutting off its engines. Once it does this, Joe loses track of it on the God Phoenix's sonar. Okay, so I'm no scientific expert, but I thought sonar worked with sound waves? Can't it map things that are sitting still, like rocks and underwater topography and stuff?
"Well, we've come this far, and we're not backing down now!" Ken declares. They press on and discover the underwater graveyard. Jun and Jinpei seem to think the place is really scary.