The Leader and tactical expert of the Science Ninja Team. He is the eponymous “Gatchaman” of the show’s title. The Hero. He has a strong sense of justice and is very dedicated to his duty of bringing down the Galactor organization and bringing peace to the world. He also wishes to find his lost father, who he believes to have faked his death from a supposed plane crash (rightfully so). He is a flashy fighter, and often uses elaborate techniques in his moves. His primary weapon is a bird shaped bladed boomerang. He is an accomplished pilot, and owns a Cessna plane that transforms into the G1 jet plane while on duty, serving as his personal transport.
Ace Pilot: His skills are inherited from his father.
Cool Plane: A Cessna plane that transforms into a supersonic jet. Supposedly operational underwater like the God Phoenix.
Disappeared Dad: His father, Kentarou, abandoned him when he was young. It turns out he was going undercover as Red Impulse, and wanted to keep his son and only relative safe. And later he does die for real, just as Ken had found out who he was *and* they were starting to rekindle their relationship. This death was smoothly erased in Battle of the Planets. His father is described as having ejected at the last minute, though of course their reunion is off-screen. The whole thing is a variation on Luke, I Am Your Father, since the reveal is done by the son's comrades and its effect is positive.
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Ken has a flashback about his younger days with his father which shows once scene of his dad attempting to drown him for fun.
Hurting Hero: He lost his father when he was a little child. Later he finds out that his father is alive only to see how he was Killed Off for Real shortly after. At the ending of the series, Joe commits a Heroic Sacrifice to save them. At the next series his mentor and surrogate father gets killed. All of that trauma slowly wore his sanity off, and although at the beginning he was the prototypical The Hero and The Leader with Nerves of Steel, for the final series he had become so violent, uncontrollable and impulsive like The Lancer.
The weapons and marksmanship expert of the team. The Lancer. He is driven by his desire for revenge against the Galactor organization for taking his parent’s lives and almost taking his. At his core, he is a good guy who has his teammate’s backs, even if his methods are rough. He is the most brutal fighter on the team, and quick to go on the attack. His preferred weapon is his Grappling-Hook Pistol that can fire a hook line from the front and the back. He is also the most common user of the ninja team issued feather shurikens. An excellent driver, his personal vehicle is a stock car that transforms into the G2 high powered racer.
Anti-Hero: He has no qualms with killing Galactors in cold blood for the cause. (The others will kill too, but more out of necessity rather than satisfaction.)
But Not Too Foreign: Averted. Despite his Japanese surname, Joe is Italian (Sicilian, to be specific). That's because "Joe Asakura" is a false name to protect him from Galactor, his real name is George. Although it seems to be implied that his parents' surname was actually Asakura.
Depending on the Artist: While all of the characters have this to some degree with the different animation directors and artists that worked on the series, Joe's face varies between being a lot rougher-looking and craggier to it being smoother and his only harsher feature being his narrow eyes. At some point, they settled on him having a rougher look to distinguish his design more from Ken's.
Knife Nut: The ninja equlivent of this. While the entire team carry pointy tipped feather shuriken, Joe uses them so much more often than the rest that they become his trademark weapon. He's fond of letting them hang out of his mouth like toothpicks and attacking with Twang Hello or Knife Outline
Resignations Not Accepted: This is the reason why Joe parents were killed. They are revealed later in the series to be former Galactors attempting to leave the organization. Galactor learned of this and sent one of their Devil Star assassins to execute the family.
Shipper on Deck: During the finale, before his imminent death while giving his final speech to the team, he professes that Jun should settle down with Ken.
Trigger Happy - Joe is almost unhealthily eager to fire the God Phoenix's Bird Missiles, which Ken has to constantly restrain him from doing when they don't have authorization. In one episode, he keeps hammering the fire button well after the ship exhausted its supply until the realization that yes, we are OUT of Bird Missiles finally sinks in.
Weapon of Choice: He uses a Grappling-Hook Pistol, which has a grapple from the front and and weighted one from the back. One mook found out the hard way when he pointed the barrel end of it at Joe after snatching it from him, not realizing that the triggers were switched. He got thrown across the room by it after pulling the trigger, knocking him out.
On top of that, the front can be interchanged to fire conventional bullets or power a portable drill for cutting things.
Also the primary user of the ninja team issued feather shuriken.
The technical and demolitions expert of the team and the sole female. The Chick. She generally is very kind, compassionate and emphatic towards others (but sometimes temperamental). She exhibits skill in mechanical and electrical engineering, along with creating/handling explosive devices. She is a graceful fighter who can easily take out the average Mook in a fight with her swift, acrobatic movements. She wields a yo-yo in combat that has a concealed blade, and can be remotely detonated via wire signal. She is a skilled motorcyclist, and her personal bike transforms into the G3 “Sonic Car” motorcycle that can ride on water surfaces in addition to land.
Action Girl: She can kick as much Galactor ass as her male teammates. And let's not forget she was quite the revolutionary figure in anime gender roles, as one of the first girls who fought alongside the boys. And said boys didn't look down on her for her gender.
The Smart Girl: She is this in the book smart sense of the trope. Being the technical and demolitions expert, she is commonly shown to be tinkering with electronics and rewiring things (such as electronic panels to blow up Galactor bases) and operating the teams' more complex equipment. Aside from Dr. Nambu, she is likely the most intelligent of the main cast.
Stuff Blowing Up: Usually the one to invoke this trope being the demolitions expert.
Technical Pacifist: Most adverse towards and visibly upset by killing on the team. However, even she will use lethal force on the job.
You Gotta Have Green Hair: Her hair is a murky dark green in the original series, but looks as if it were meant to be a stylization choice for depicting black hair. The sequels however, make her hair a blatant shade of green.
The youngest member of the team and the reconnaissance expert. He is Jun's adopted younger brother. He is The Smart Guy from a wiseguy standpoint and the Kid-Appeal Character. He is clever and resourceful, and has an especially strong rapport with children and animals. His young age can sometimes affect his self-confidence, and he'll go out of his way to prove himself. Due to his smaller size, Jinpei focuses on being as quick and agile as possible, even more so than his teammates. He uses bolos in battle to trip up and sabotage his adversaries. They can also be used as timed explosives. He knows how to drive and owns a small buggy that transforms into the G4, an all-terrain mini tank that is designed to operate in any environment.
Voiced by: Shingo Kanemoto (JP), Fumihiko Tachiki (JP - OAV), Victor Carsrud (EN - ADV dub)
The pilot of the Godphoenix, the team’s group transport, battle aircraft, and docking bay for the other G machines. The Big Guy. He is easy going and friendly, being a gentle soul in nature. He uses sumo techniques in fights that take the fullest advantage of his large amount of bulk and raw strength. He carries a Grappling-Hook Pistol that is smaller than Joe’s, but prefers to use his body as a weapon. The Godphoenix doubles as his personal transport when not combined with the other G machines.
Parental Abandonment: Averted, since he's eventually the only one on the team with a living family consisting of a father and a kid brother. In fact, his friends hesitate more than once to involve him oppenly in risky missions because he has a dad and a brother to come back to.
Wrestler in All of Us: On the few occasions that Ryu gets into a fistfight, he often uses wrestling throws and sumo-inspired techniques against Galactor mooks.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair - He has plain brown hair in the original series and sequels, but the OVA gives him wild, two-toned hair: blond on the bottom, PINK on top.
Dr. Kozaburo Nambu
Dr. Kozaburo Nambu
Voiced by: Tōru Ōhira (JP), Ikuya Sawaki (JP - OAV), Andy McAvin (EN - ADV dub)
He is the Head Scientist for the International Science Organization (ISO) and the one who assembled the Science Ninja Team. The Mentor. He raised most of the team members and gave them their training. The team takes orders from him and he supports them by researching solutions to whatever issues they face. The Science Ninja Team is initially headquartered at his mansion until their underwater Crescent Coral base is completed, which Dr. Nambu oversees.
The head of the International Science Organization and the person Dr. Nambu answers to. He is the only other man who can give the Science Ninja Team orders. The Big Good. His role in the show is greatly reduced compared to Dr. Nambu's. He only really gets involved with the team's affairs when his life or the ISO is in immediate danger, or Dr. Nambu is otherwise unavailable.
Voiced by: Hisayoshi Yoshizawa (JP), Unshō Ishizuka (JP- OAV), John Tyson (EN - ADV dub)
He is the mysterious leader of the fighter squadron that bears his name. In reality he is Ken's father, who has been working undercover for several years.. The Sixth Ranger. His team is a called upon to work with the Science Ninja Team in dealing with certain Galactor schemes. Red Impulse flies with two subordinates, Masaki, and the mute Oniishi.
Ace Pilot: After all, Ken's skill rubbed off from him. He can still outfly (and outfight) Ken and teach him a few lessons.
Mauve Shirt - Red Impulse's two subordinates, Onishi and Masaki. Both manage to outlive their commander and resurface at the tail end of the series to help out the Science Ninja Team (Joe in particular). Unfortunately they are also brought back to be brutally killed off, as if the show was tying up loose ends.
The masked head of the criminal organization Galactor. Later revealed to be a fusion of male and female twins resulting in a mutant that can change gender at will.The Dragon. He is very keen on his own self interests, and will betray even his own subordinates for self preservation and to achieve his goals. He was promised to be the ruler of the Earth once it is subjugated by Galactor, and eagerly strives for day it will happen. His specialty is disguises and he will often impersonate important figures in his schemes.
Evil Laugh - A very distinctive staccato-like laugh
Gender Bender: He's eventually revealed to be a mutant that can switch genders more or less at will. This is foreshadowed and hinted at with the mysterious female Galactor commander having a very close connection to him.
Bowdlerize: In G-Force, female!Katse calls herself "a loyal follower of Galactor" when confronted. In Battle of the Planets, the female commander was first dubbed as "Zoltar's sister, Mala", called "Agent S-9" in two other episodes, and then was called "Mala" again. Neither dub made it as far as Katse's official unmasking, where him and the female commander were revealed to be one and the same.
The Reveal: Near the end of the first season finale we found his true identity as an mutant who can shapeshift genders at will. Nambu finds s/he has an IQ of 280, not because of being that smart, but because s/he has two intellects at the same time. Long before the reveal, Katse's female form is unknowingly seen several times throughout the series. Most notably as the captain of Galactor's all-female "Devil Star" assassin squad.
Spell My Name with an S: His name is mostly spelled "Berg Katse", but sometimes it's seen as the more German "Berg Katze".
Voiced by: Nobuo Tanaka (JP), Winston Parish (EN - ADV dub), Charles Campbell (EN- OAV)
The true power behind the Galactor Organization. The one who fused twins to create Berg Katse.The Big Bad. He came to earth thousand of years ago and lay dormant, waiting for the right time to begin his quest to subjugate the world. He spurred the creation of the Galactor organization and uses it as his tool for world domination.
They are the work horse of the Galactor origination and make up the vast majority of its army. The Mooks. They are dressed in the same masked green outfits, though some higher ranked soldiers were different colors. They are largely made up of degenerate men that were recruited from prisons and slums throughout the world. They are primarily armed with machine guns, but some use knives and shield weapons. Most of the time, they are cannon fodder for the Science Ninja Team, since their teamwork is very poor and their accuracy when firing is low.
They are the leaders of the Mooks who report directly to Katse. The Mook Lieutenants. They are normally dressed in outrageous costumes in line with the theme of the Mecha of the Week Galactor sends out to antagonize the public with. They are almost always killed off by the end of their featured episode, only to be replaced by a new one for the next.
Animal Motifs: Since most Galactor mecha are designed after animals, and the commanders pattern their outfits after the mecha, most end up dress up like humanoid animals.
They are Elite Mooks who were formed with the specific purpose of countering the Science Ninja Team and are dressed in similar outfits. They pose a slightly larger threat than the normal soldiers and have better teamwork, but ultimately don't give the team that much more trouble. They use either machine guns or claws in battle.
Gang of Hats: One episode deals with a subdivision of biker gang Blackbirds, led by a man Jun had a past with.
Voiced by: Keiko Sakon (Devil Star 2, JP), Samantha Inoue-Harte (Devil Star 2, EN - ADV dub)
The all-female assassin squad of Galactor. Elite Mooks who are the most dangerous among Galactor's ranks. Compared to the others, they are lesser in number. They work alone or in small groups, and are dispatched to target specific individuals. One was responsible for killing Joe's parents (and almost killing him). They travel in cars that can convert into flying machines and are headquartered in the "Devil Star" flying base where their machines dock. Their most common weapon is rose explosives, but they also carry lipstick and fingernail bombs, along with machine guns. They are commanded by the Onna Tachio (Female Captain), who is really Katse in female form.
Punch Clock Villain: One episode has Joe meet up with a potential love interest on the race track who turns out to be working as Devil Star #2. They end up in a showdown on their respective duties and Joe unknowingly ends up killing her, saddened afterward when she doesn't show for the race they arranged to have earlier. To make it even more tragic, later in the series Joe learns that the girl was actually his childhood friend's fiancée... and said friend wants revenge on the Science Ninja Team member who killed her.