GATCHAMAN RETURNS… TO THE BIG SCREEN!
Imagi Animation Studios announced this week that it will co-produce with Tatsunoko Production a feature-length CG animated film version of Tatsunoko’s popular TV anime series, SCIENCE NINJA TEAM GATCHAMAN. Originally produced in 1972, KAGAKU NINJA TAI GATCHAMAN was in many ways the forefather of the live action Super Sentai genre (known in the US as POWER RANGERS), and GATCHAMAN and its sequels were later made popular worldwide through English adaptations such as BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, G-FORCE and EAGLE RIDERS (originally Gatchaman’s sequel series, GATCHAMAN II). Gatchaman made its first big screen debut in 1978 with a feature comprised of key episodes from the series and a new orchestral soundtrack, similar to Office Academy’s 1977 release, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (Uchu Senkan Yamato). More recently, Gatchaman has been undergoing a revival in popularity due in no small part to ADV Film’s release of the original and re-mastered episodes of the series on DVD in the U.S.
The original Gatchaman series followed the adventures of a team of 5 young superheroes who worked on behalf of the U.N.’s International Science Organization to protect earth’s environment and resources against the villainous terrorist organization Galactor, lead by Berg Katse, and their beast-like machines and biological weapons. According to Imagi’s CEO and Vice Chairman Francis Kao, the new film, scheduled for a 2008 release, will still feature the five caped heroes — Ken, Joe, Jun, Jinpei and Ryu — but it will be based on a “completely new and exhilarating story” and the characters “redesigned with a fresh look”.
Gatchaman 2008 will be helmed by writer/director Kevin Munroe, who is currently working on another Imagi project, The Weinstein Company’s all-CG Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film scheduled for March 2007. “Growing up as a kid, Gatchaman was the first influence that pushed me into the world of animation, comics and writing,” Munroe is quoted in the press release. “I’m absolutely thrilled to get the chance to bring the high-flying adventures of Gatchaman to the big screen the way they were always meant to be – huge action mixed with the real human drama that arises when five teenagers must become the heroes of an entire planet. “Gatchaman” is a great next step after “TMNT”, not only personally in terms of storytelling and visual scope, but also for Imagi as a production company… Gatchaman is going to be huge, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it. It’s literally a childhood dream come true.”