Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Reports of the death of Imagi Studios may have been exaggerated. Last time we looked at the studio’s CGI animated updating of Gatchaman, it seemed like it might be our last look, as the studio was facing financial difficulties and shutdown.
But Imagi’s doors are open again and work proceeds on Gatchaman. Now there’s a new teaser that looks better than anything we’ve previously seen from the film, in part because it is a lot closer to the original anime.
Twitch has the teaser, which was reportedly produced before the studio’s brief shutdown, and says that Imagi’s management has been restructured and the Gatchaman film is in pre-production with an eye towards a 2011 release.
I like this clip because the character animation looks like a very slight updating of the classic footage. Where some of the previous stuff we’d seen made the film look as if it might be deviating somewhat from the established character designs, here we see the five characters using their signature weapons and moves to fight the spider from Wild Wild West.
Does this look amazing? No. But it looks like a film that bears the Gatchaman title should, and the animation is clean and well-done. There’s even an appropriately cute little LOL moment with the youngest team member, Jinpei, who went by the name Keyop in the Americanized show Battle of the Planets.
Here’s a condensed (but still rather long) recap of the show’s basic ideas:
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The series is centered around five young superhero ninja in the employ of Dr. Kozabur? Nambu of the fictitious “International Science Organization” to oppose a group of technologically advanced villains, known as Galactor, from trying to take control of the Earth’s natural resources. The operational leader of Galactor is an androgynous masked antagonist, Bergu Kattse, who is later revealed to be a shape-shifting mutant hermaphrodite acting on the orders of an alien superior, Sosai X. The main characters featured always wore either teen fashions with numbered T-shirts showing their rank in the team or caped battle uniforms styled after various birds.
Team members included Ken Washio, the team leader & tactical expert; Joe Asakura, his second-in-command,marksman & weapons expert; Jun, the team’s electronics and demolitions expert; Jinpei, the youngest and reconnaissance expert, and ‘adopted’ brother of Jun; and Ryu Nakanishi, the ship’s pilot. The Gatchaman team employed a unique style of highly violent and effective martial arts, developed by Dr. Nambu, that drew from their physical abilities to enable them to perform superhuman feats, akin to their avian namesakes, such as high-speed run and flight, high jumping, silent movement/attack and the like. This fighting system was known as Science Ninja Arts. The team members also used various signature weapons and mecha-style vehicles, which each had a more mundane-looking disguised form. To change modes, each member is equipped with a special wrist device that, aside from being a communicator and tracking device, enabled the change when the proper gesture and voice command “Bird, Go!” is given. Their vehicles are docked in the team’s main vehicle, the God Phoenix, a supersonic plane capable of underwater travel and minor space flight as necessary.