Yuke, yuke, yuke, Gatchaman!1

So, you're looking at the pictures and you're thinking, "What is this chick smoking? This is Battle of the Planets, not that . . . whatever Gatchaman!"

Hate to break this to ya, but they're one and the same. Sandy Frank brought Gatchaman over to the US, clipped out the violence (mostly due to US censors, I believe; Gatchaman is MUCH more violent than BotP), added in the *shudder* nanny robot 7-Zark-7 and dubbed in the voices. (No, your ears do not, in fact, deceive you; that IS Casey Kasem doing Mark's voice.)

Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman (or Science Ninja Team Gatchaman) was first released in Japan in 1972. It ran for 105 episodes, had two sequels, Gatchaman II and Gatchaman F (Fighter), a movie and then, in 1993 or 1994, a remake for an OAV. All in all, I'd say this was a pretty successful show, wouldn't you? After more than 30 years, it is still very recognizable, and has a very dedicated fan base. (Yes, I love a show that was released before I was born. So do lots of others. Deal with it and move on.)

It was also the first "team" show, the archetype for all others. The cool headed leader, the hot headed second-in-command, the token female, the kid (or mascot) and the big guy; this formula should be familiar to you from many different shows, Voltron, for one, leaping to mind.

Of course, as with anything, there are flaws; back in 1972, the animation quality was not so great, and the stories are corny, the villains are sometimes pretty moronic, and so on.

Confession time: I used to love Battle of the Planets. I was six or seven or so when I first saw it, and it was one of the few shows that my brother and I would sit and watch and be reasonably quiet through. Loved it, though even back then, I can remember laughing at Zark. But I love Gatch more. I love the moody, tragic figure of Joe, Ken's dedication (and his pretty face doesn't hurt!), and the characterizations that got cut or changed in BotP. (Guess what? Jun had a brain, Jinpei didn't have a stutter, and Ryu thought of things other than space burgers!) I also had a hard time remembering BotP- I hadn't seen it in about 20 years. Then I found that Rhino was releasing the corresponding Gatch episodes with BotP on DVD, and, well . . . *hangs head in shame* I bought the DVDs just to watch Gatch. I'm horrible.

Eagle Ken

G-1. Oowashi no Ken, or Eagle Ken, also known as Gatchaman. Real name- Washio Ken (last name first). Our fearless leader, calm, cool and collected . . . most of the time. He does have a temper, and has been known to deck team members when they screw up. Mostly, he's dedicated and dutiful, following Dr. Nambu's orders to the letter. He enjoys flying; his plane transmutes with him into a jet. Isn't he pretty? *grin*

Condor Joe

G-2. Kondoru no Joe, or Condor Joe. Real name- Joe Asakura (this is NOT last name first, as Joe is not Japanese, but Sicilian). The second in command and gunner. Dark, brooding, tragic. He's the hot-head, and he hates Galactor with a passion. He will disobey orders without hesitation if he thinks there's a better way to kill his enemy. His cover is a race-car driver. He's not nearly as pretty as Ken, but still ruggedly handsome. And he ran away with the lion's share (or, to make the obvious bad joke, maybe the eagle's share?) of the popularity in Gatch I.

Joe and Ken- Civilian Style!

There are many, many fangirls (and I do not use this as a derogatory term here) who absolutely LOVE the Condor. Not surprising; he's the kind of "bad boy" that so many women love. And I'm not saying that I don't love Joe. Ken is very pleasant to look at, and dangerous, and Joe is very dangerous, and it doesn't hurt that he's also easy on the eye. Who needs to decide between them? *grin*

Swan Jun

G-3. Shiratori no Jun, or Swan Jun. (If we're being literal, the kanji for shiratori mean "white bird", but who's being literal? I know very little Japanese.) Real name- Jun. No last name is ever given for her, as she's an orphan. She's the explosives expert of the team, she's very intelligent, and, apparently, she's got a huge crush on Ken. To make money, she runs a restaurant/bar called the Snack J.

Swallow Jinpei

G-4. Tsubakuro no Jinpei, or Swallow Jinpei. Real name- Jinpei. No last name is given for him; he's also an orphan. He calls Jun oneechan or "big sister", and Jun does take care of him, but I don't believe it's ever said if they're actually related. In addition, he calls Ken aniki or "big brother", but I almost think that has more to do with Japanese culture and giving a title of respect to those older than you. In any case, Jinpei is the computer expert, and also a trouble maker.

Horned Owl Ryu

G-5. Mimizuku no Ryu, or Horned Owl Ryu. Real name- Nakanishi Ryu. I believe his last name is given as that at some point during the series, but I don't know, and I don't want to really give information that I haven't discovered for myself. *grin* Ryu is the main pilot of the God Phoenix, and is very laid back and easy-going. He's also very strong, and in some stories I've read, he is a sumo wrestler. His family is alive, unlike the others; his father is a fisherman.

Need more info? Need more pics? Go to my Links page and click on "Gatchaman".

Just as a note: all pictures on this page were scanned by me (and someday, I'll get around to making more and better scans, really).

Anime FanGirl Page


1"Yuke, yuke, yuke, Gatchaman" is the romaji (or roman letter version) for the original kanji and katakana for this phrase. Translated, it means, "Go, go, go, Gatchaman!" This is from the ending/opening song for Gatchaman, Gatchaman no Uta, or "Gatchaman's Song". And if you noticed it up in the title bar, Dare da, dare da, dare da means "Who is that, who is that, who is that?", from the same song. The reason I have it listed as both ending and opening is because the production company changed it halfway through the series from one end of the show to the other.