A line-up of the main characters, from the booklet of Gatchaman DVD Volume 1
(Unless otherwise stated, the scans on this page are from the book Gatchaman Material.)
Reproducing copyrighted material from a book and making it publicly available. Without the author's permission. Ouch.
I was initially extremely squeamish about capturing any artwork off a printed page. Books are so much more exclusive than other media. I can hear background music at work. I can catch snippets of video glimpsing at the TV in someone else's living room. But I don't see what's in a book until I take it in my hands and open it. So if I make public the contents of a book, I feel I'm very much infringing on copyright.
However; my aim in putting up any reproduction of another person's work is to show the quirkiness or special quality I noticed in that work, so that other people may notice it too. In order to do that, I've already taken sounds and screen shots from the series itself, and I intend to take more. The scans I made of the printed material, are mostly things not shown in the series itself; and the fact that the artwork in the book has also been used in other Gatchaman books and is now appearing in the booklets of the Gatchaman DVDs, makes it less and less exclusive. Who knows, maybe these scans will be an incentive to buy either the book or the DVDs; to the avid fan, at any rate, these poor scans are no substitute for the original, so I'm not harming any economic interests. Still, this means that my normal policy of "if you want to use anything off this page, ask first" doesn't apply; none of these images may be downloaded and used on other pages. I can vouch for my own good intentions, but not for anyone else's.
That said, my precious Gatch tapes are now in a cardboard box somewhere, so it was either this or no update...
The real subject of this theme page is Gatch chara design; the grownups (Nambu, Anderson, the Red Impulse trio) came out right first time, but, if the illustrations in Gatchaman Material are anything to go by, the animators had to doodle around a bit to find a fitting look for our teenage heroes. And as for the Onnataicho - phew! She has a different face every time she makes an appearance. I thought it would be interesting to show how the famous five might have looked, and, logically, they should come first, but I'm a villain-lover, so I'm starting with:
Each Gatchaman DVD Volume features its little character or mecha special on the cover (see above). From the looks of it, uniformed Katze wasn't tweaked much, either; pointy ears and twirling cape, it was all there from the start.
The onnataicho is another matter. First appearing in a pink & purple jumpsuit (eww, I didn't know the stripe on the front went all the way down to her crotch!), she quickly traded her caffeine-addict look for the imperious middle-aged look of the Gezora eps, then became increasingly more "normal" until finally she was nothing more than a round-cheeked ditz with a nasty smile. (The first appearance of a non-uniformed Katze was in fact in episode 29, but it is uncertain whether this was the female form, although the animation suggests it was.) The heavily shaded pencil sketch in the middle was the famous original character design which has found its way into Gatchaman Graffiti, Gatchaman Material and probably every book on Gatchaman that has a Villains section.
Gel Sadra's uniform had a little adjustment, though. It looks as if the original mask was intended to show her eyes. The sketches below show Gel Sadra's mask with and without opaque lenses.
Ample attention was paid by the animators to Gel Sadra's metamorphosis from standard four-year-old to something that wasn't merely fully grown, but overgrown - one stage beyond normal physical maturity, as it were. From chubby-cheeked child to supercreature crackling with life and vigour; yet still recognizably the same person. And this for an animation sequence that lasted a few seconds. Below, the steps of the aging process. (Okay, this doesn't really fit in with the theme, but it impressed me enough that I had to put it in.)
This fits in with the theme entirely, though. Remember old "blue chicken" X? Apparently he was supposed to be more arachnid...
Okay, that's it for the villains, now:
Check out these character sketches of the youngsters: Jun's got her hair up, and the boys all sport headgear and/or jackets.
Their accessories didn't survive into the TV series, although Joe was allowed his gloves in some eps and Jinpei got his cap back in Gatchaman II.
Other little things to notice: Ken and Jun making odd fashion statements on the beach as one wears a bikini with Devilstar-style stars on the top, and the other imitates Jun's and Jinpei's striped trousers with his swimwear; Joe chewing on a four-leaved clover (I heard this character was originally meant to be a gardener, not a racer - so why the racing gloves?) and showing his tacky taste in sunglasses.
For a moment, it seemed as if Jun might get back her baggy sweater, too... Oh well. At least she had her old hair again.(How could she have pinned up those steel-hook locks she had in the first series? She should cut them off and use them as weapons!)
But, leaving hair out of the picture; the big graphic below is a collection of G-3 face sketches, which provoked the following thoughts:
Last pic: a sketch of Ryu, the eternal figure of fun, in an untypically graceful pose. If the makers could have stayed away entirely from the "fat people are funny" stereotype, how differently this character might have turned out...