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Bad Export for You: In the Rhino DVD releases that contained Gatchaman episodes alongside their Battle of the Planets counterparts, the Gatchaman footage was grainy and in rather poor quality, along with having color contrast issues. This was due to Rhino using the '90s Laserdisc footage, rather than from the then-recent DVD releases in Japan. Thankfully, the ADV release used the later prints, which had much cleaner video and sound quality. The Rhino subtitles would also sometimes freeze and lag, leaving an entire sequence without subs.
Cross-Dressing Voices: Averted in the original Gatchaman, where Yoku Shioya was fourteen when he voiced Jinpei and wound up hitting puberty towards the end (he would reprise the role for the sequels, even though he had then turned twenty). However, the OVA adaptation and the English dubs all play this straight, with women voicing the role. The only exception would be Battle of the Planets, with Alan Young voicing "Keyop".
Dueling Dubs: Aside from the conflicting English adaptations, other countries also had a case of multiple dubs, in part due to basing them off of the existing English versions:
Italy's dub of the first Gatchaman series adapted from "Battle of the Planets", but the two sequel series stuck closer to the original source material note The Italian "Battle of the Planets" adaptation did manage to dub the final four "Gatchaman" episodes and the other unused stories, although it suddenly broke continuity with having no Zark sequences and completely different title cards compared to what Sandy Frank Film Syndication had provided. It was able to adapt these episodes due to the fact that Tatsunoko had negotiated a licensing deal with Italy prior to Sandy Frank's worldwide contract, although it had taken this dub longer to get through production due to delays.. Even so, an Italian version of "Eagle Riders" was also produced.
Spain received dubs of "Battle of the Planets", "G-Force", and "Eagle Riders", plus a dubbed version of the Korean Gatchaman II knockoff film (under the title "Heroes del Espacio").
France had a dub of "Battle of the Planets", a straight one of "Gatchaman II" (which was the first four episodes cut into a compilation film), and "Eagle Riders".
Isao Sasaki is the Japanese voice of Joe. He's primarily known as a singer that has performed more than a few anime and tokusatsuthemesongs among others. This includes the theme songs to Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: With the US license having expired and currently having not been re-acquired by any company, the ADV uncut releases have become out of print and extremely rare, while copies of the Battle of the Planets and G-Force dubs remain in demand for other fans. As Saban's rights to Eagle Riders also lapsed, that adaptation and the original Gatchaman sequels also have only been available as bootlegs.
Just recently, however, Sentai Filmworks, the successor to ADV Films, announced their acquisition of the Gatchaman license and plan to release both the original anime and OVA. Whether or not the Battle of the Planets dub, the G-Force dub, the sequels, or Eagle Riders will also be released has yet to be determinednote Allegedly, the rights and masters to those dubs now belong to Tatsunoko, which means they'd have to sub-licensed out, but for now, it's relieving to know that Gatchaman has finally been rescued and will be getting a well-deserved rerelease.
The Other Darrin: As mentioned above, the voice cast was changed up for the '90s OVA series with a more modern crop of actors.
The female Galactor commander/ female Katse was voiced by Hiroko Mori in her debut in episode 31, but was voiced by Toshiko Sawada for a few appearances afterwards (32, 33, 46, and 70). Her third and final actress for her last appearance (episode 102) was Aiko Konoshimanote Katse also had a female disguise in episode 29, who was voiced by Shima Sakai, although it's debated whether she counts as the female commander since she was just a disguise he wore over his suit. In the ADV dub, she was voiced by Laurie Gallardo for her first three appearances (31, 32-33), but by Kira Vincent-Davis in episode 46note Although she also voiced Katse's "evil woman" disguise in the dub of episode 29. Gallardo resumed the role in the last two appearances.
The OVA series has been dubbed twice, with a completely different cast for each version. The first dub was by Harmony Gold (through Urban Vision) in 1997, while the current 2013 dub was by Sentai Filmworks. The first dub had Eddie Frierson as Ken, Richard Cansino as Joe (he had previously voiced the Ken-equivalent role in Eagle Riders), Lara Cody as Jun, Mona Marshall as Jinpei (after she'd also voiced the equivalent role in Eagle Riders), and Richard Epcar as Ryu. The later dub has the voice actors from the uncut ADV adaptation of the series, having reprised their roles. Pretty much all of the ADV actors besides those for the team were brought back, although female Katse was recast with Claire Hamilton, as Laurie Gallardo was presumably unavailable.
In the original planning sheets for Gatchaman II note Dated 1976 with the title "Gatchaman 2", no Roman numerals, Joe was initially slated to be replaced by a never-before-mentioned younger brother named Jack, who would have become G6 (The Hawk). Joe meanwhile, would have been saved from his death at the end of the original series and brainwashed by Galactor into becoming a cyborg enemy to the team. Another early planning sheetnote with the sequel then titled as "New Gatchaman" presented the idea that Joe actually was Killed Off for Real, and that the Joe on the team in the sequel would be an android who only THOUGHT he was Joe, having been built by an ex-Galactor doctor to mimic the deceased original. The android Joe would then die at the end, sacrificing himself to destroy X. In the final product, Joe was secretly saved from death and modified into a cyborg by an ex-Galactor doctor, and no younger brother was to be found.
Jun was originally slated to be the second-in-command of the team. Sometime during production, her number was swapped around with Joe's, as the writers felt he would work better in the role. A blooper in one episode even shows her with a "2" on her shirt, used from the original model sheets, the show's ending theme even shows her standing next to Ken as his second instead of Joe. Jinpei and Ryu's numbers were also swapped around.
Katse was initially intended to be a woman in disguise by the production team. Somewhere along the line, they decided that the Gender Bender story would work better.
On the subject of Katse, The "Turtle King" captain in the first episode was also originally intended to be Katse, but the design was rejected and wound up being recycled for that character.
Leader X was initially intended to be a simple "computer" built by Katse, with Katse as the actual Big Bad. The swap proved to be much more interesting, though the G-Force dub would switch the roles back, with X/"Computor" becoming only a consultant.
The original outline for the series finale dealt with the "X as computer" concept: Katse was to be caught by the team, be unmasked, and wind up switching sides. Leader X would be revealed to be a computer designed by Katse that gained too much sentience and power, and the Ninja Team and Katse would have to battle the Galactor executive captains to get to him. However, Katse would then wind up killed by X, who would then transform into a spaceship and flee off into outer space. At this point in time, the Science Ninja Team would all have escaped unscathed, but Hisayuki Toriumi (the chief director) decided that the ending needed to be more dramatic.
In Gatchaman II, then tentatively titled "New Gatchaman", there were plans to have a European-esque female guerilla fighter as the main villain. Her name would be "Sadomadonna". These plans were heavily revised through production, and she became "Gel Sadra" and had a much different origin. Instead of a 25-year old warrior, she'd be a 3-year old girl kidnapped and forcibly aged up into this adult woman by X. Dr. Raphael (the ex-Galactor doctor) also had the name "Dr. Einstein" in early drafts.
As far as Gatchaman II goes, Jun was originally going to find out Joe's secret at the end of episode 16. The series would also have only been 26 episodes, with Joe's secret being revealed to the team by Dr. Raphael before the conclusion. The high ratings encouraged Tatsunoko to extend it for 26 more, causing these plot points to be rewritten during production.
Early drafts of the series (back when it had working titles such as "Birdman" and "Science Ninja Squad 5") had the lead hero named Ken Hayabusa, while the others had the names "Joe Takano", "Jun Shiratori", "Jinpei Tsubakurou", and "Ryu Washio". Jun's initial weapon was to be a fencing sword, while her hair was much shorter. At some point, Joe was to be a gardener, rather than a racer. A remnant of the idea appears in the wrecking-ball episode, where one frame of Joe depicts him with a flower hanging out of his mouth, based from the older model sheets. A set of other early designs in Gatchaman Material show that Jun also had a much different civilian uniform than the boys at one point (a pink "3" hoodie and white leggings), along with Ken and Joe wearing jackets over their numbered T-shirts.
Initially, the team's bird symbol was to be much larger and more intricate, while later drafts gave Ken yellow stripes on his boots and gloves. They were dropped due to being difficult to work with in animation.
Early character drafts had Nambu's given name as "Sensaburo", and not "Kozaburo", and he was to live in Kanagawa. Joe was to also outright be from Sicily, before they changed the name of his birthplace to "BC Island".
"The Plan to Assassinate Dr. Nambu" was to originally be the seventh episode, not thirty-first, but was pushed back in production due to rewrites. The original plot revolved around the Devil Star assassins (then a group of five girls wearing hot pants) attempting to murder Nambu multiple times, only to wind up killing decoys he'd hired (or in one case, killing his cat by planting an explosive in it, causing Nambu's home to be destroyed as well). The five would then die by the God Phoenix going into its firebird mode when they'd attempt to attack it. The finished product wound up completely overhauled as through the rewrites, Joe became more of a focus, along with one of the Devil Stars who'd been wanting to leave Galactor. The female commander also gained more of a role.
Tatsunoko planned a remake for 1998, but after the '97 version of Mach Go Go Go flopped (and ended prematurely), the idea was scrapped entirely. The new version of the series would have featured Katse, Gel Sadra, and Egobossler as an evil trio of villains assembled by Leader X. The Red Impulse team would have had female members, and both Ken and Jun were to have missing family members that they'd be searching for through the series. Dr. Nambu was to have a Darker and Edgier redesign, where he'd have a scarred face (instead of wearing glasses).
The scrapped film by Imagi seemed to lack a clear direction (among other issues, such as financial problems), though some storyboard and animation reels of different drafts have shown a few concepts:
Instead of being Sicilian, Joe would have been an American child and his parents would wind up killed in a bombing while celebrating his birthday at a restaurant. His real name was also altered from "George" to "Joseph" note In the original Japanese, "George" is rendered in katakana and pronounced as "Joji", leaving the alias "Joe" to also act as a shortened version of the name. This might have not carried over well in translation for American audiences.
Dr. Nambu was to be a black man. He would also wind up presumed dead by the team and kidnapped by Katse to be tortured for information.
Joe would be a rebellious fresh recruit to the team, who'd refuse to join with them until the five are forced to band together to save the world.
The character designers went back and forth between having Jun resemble her TV series self and her OVA self, though her hair was shown to be brown in some CGI test footage. If one Imagi character profile was an indication, she and the other characters would have also received an Age Lift, as she was now 19 instead of 16.
At some point, there was consideration of giving Ken a Race Lift to be a darker-skinned man, while other design drafts used his OVA look for inspiration.
Utoland was to be its own country, rather than a city in an unspecified one.
Various directors were attached to the project and left, due to creative differences and Imagi constantly changing what direction they wanted to take the film in. Kevin Munroe (of the TMNT CGI film) was attached at one point to direct, followed by Jun Falkenstein. The screenwriters also changed throughout the failed production, with Robert Mark Kamen initially writing a script, and Paul Dini writing a later treatment that was also thrown out.