Thursday, April 20, 2017

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Gatchaman

First titled Gatchaman '94, this 3-episodes OVA series was a 90s remake of the original 1970s TV series. Key animator Yasuomi Umetsu, who created Kite and Mezzo Forte, had also worked on two other remakes of Tatsunoko series, Hurricane Polymore and Casshern. This was slightly edgier, and war more fan service-y adaptation of the original "five teenagers with attitude"!

Set in the mid-21st Century, a rising nation creates its own world power, but is secretly a front for the alien invasion force known as the Galactor, lead by the gender-bewildering Solaris. To counter this, the UN sends out their science ninja team, Gatchaman, a quintet of costumed teens who can take on entire armies and giant mechas with their superior weapons and tech. Their stellar ship the Phoenix can even turn into a giant fiery bird that can plow through nearly anything. The battle is on between super-heroic bird-themed ninjas and aliens in mod-ugly uniforms.

Gatchaman was first put on VHS and DVD by the now defunct Urban Vision, but was recently re-released by Sentai Filmworks, along with most of the other Gatchaman titles, most of which have brand new dubs to them. If you'd like a streamlined version of the first season of the 70s TV series with some lightning-quick action, then this is sure to please any fan of Marvel Comics!

Ugh! Again with this "Godzilla Vs." crap!

Goku just done stole yer glasses

Sunday, April 9, 2017

MISC. MANGA, *Rion 2990

In what could be viewed as the first genuine attempt at creating an original American manga-styled comic, Rion Productions created this 4-issue mini-series. Blending in styles of Osamu Tezuka and Leji Matsumoto, Rion 2990 came out in 1986 just prior to officially licensed manga like Mai the Psychic Girl and Legend Of Kamui were being released, so this was a trendsetter in its own right. It was first going to be printed in the pages of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic from Mirage Studios, but they were conditioned to self-publish it, along with a one-shot titled Boogieman.

An advanced alien race of humans decides to send some consultants to Earth in order to help them out of their violent ways. Their ambassador is the altruistic Lord Auron, along with his robotic/cybernetic son Rion. However, their craft is shot down by the U.S. military fearing the aliens to be hostile, and Auron dies in the crush. Rion manages to rocket-boot his way out of the wreck, and takes on the remaining military forces. This coincides with a young Earth girl who seems psychically connected to Rion, plus a mysterious criminal organization has plans for Rion's power.

Even though this was slated to be a 4-issue series, seemingly only 2 issues were actually printed, at least according to most back issue comic book catalogs. It was done in black and white art by Ryan Brown who also worked on other TMNT comic titles, and written by Doug Brammer. Rion 2990 is worth looking up if you come across it in a used comics bin somewhere, at least for a look at the mid-80s anime fanzine set.