Gatchaman Episode 97 – Leona 3, the Spaceship With No Tomorrow
Here, at the UN Space Shuttle Launch Base, the third Leona Shuttle Project is underway. We see the shuttle waiting to launch into space, and two happy astronauts, ready for their journey.
The two-man shuttle, Leona 3, is just about to be launched on a mission to explore the mysteries of a galactic nebula. And as the astronauts move toward the shuttle (in their cool, futuristic Leona 3 car) there are some familiar spectators.
“Dig those shuttle pilots!” Ken says in an admiring fashion. “Man, I sure wish I could fly one of those babies.”
“Yeah, me too, Bro!” Jinpei agrees. “They shoot up to the stars and they’re in outer space! Those guys are outta sight!”
“And they’re all so young, like us!” Jun gushes. “I wish I could meet them just once and hear them talk about space flight.”
“Well, I’m sure you could ask Dr. Nambu to arrange it.” Ryu says.
“Yeah, sure.” Joe puts a damper on things. “If they get back to Earth safely.”
“What’s with that, Joe?” Ryu asks angrily. “Are you trying to jinx them, or something?”
“Naw, man.” Joe tries to explain. “I’m just saying, they have a real dangerous job ahead, that’s all.” No, no foreshadowing here. Nuh uh. Just ignore the title of the episode as well.
“Joe’s right!” Ken agrees. “On their mission, they can’t afford to be even a little bit off. It’s all about precision.”
Now we cut to a helicopter, turned on and ready to fly. It’s parked outside of a large mansion. A man with a pointy nose stands outside the mansion and checks his watch. Another man with a blonde beard comes out of the mansion. He looks like a Viking in an old-fashioned suit.
“You must hurry, Sir!” Pointy-Nose Man urges the Viking Suit.
“Right.” Viking Suit replies, moving toward the helicopter. Both men get in. But as the helicopter takes off, the wind its blades generate push away some leaves, and we can see that there are dead bodies concealed within them.
Cut from BOTP:
“Meanwhile, in the Space Shuttle Control Center located underneath the base, there are radar screens, simulators, television monitors, oscillographs, and a variety of other instruments.” the narrator informs us. “All controlled by thousands of state of the art computers.”
“Crew, you are clear to enter the elevator.” a man at the Control Center tells the astronauts. “T minus 7 to launch!” Assistants put helmets on the astronauts. Viking Suit man is watching this on a television screen. Dr. Nambu is with him.
“I pray for your success!” Viking Suit says, stealing Dr. Nambu’s line. I guess you can do that when you outrank somebody.
The astronauts salute and board the Space Shuttle.
“Pilots, so young…” Dr. Nambu thinks to himself. “No different from Ken or Joe. I want to ensure that their first launch is a success. No matter what.”
“T minus 10 seconds!” calls a voice over a loudspeaker. Everyone watches as he counts down to zero.
Inexplicably, the man who counted down starts counting up once the rocket launches. Eventually he announces that they have passed the thirty second mark. I guess these state of the art computers can’t keep track of time?
“It looks like we’re off to a promising start!” says Viking Suit.
“Shall I take you back to your home, Sir?” Pointy-Nose Man asks.
“Dr. Nambu, we will be passing the ISO Headquarters on the way back. I’d be happy to offer you a lift.” Viking Suit says casually.
“Thank you, Mr. President, but I’m afraid I have to remain here.” Nambu replies. Ooh, Viking Suit is the President! President of what?
“Oh, don’t worry.” the President assures Nambu. “You can just leave the rest to the computers and it will be fine. Actually, I was thinking of having a drink to celebrate, and I insist you join me.”
“Yes, if you insist, Mr. President.” Nambu doesn’t look too excited about this whole thing, though. Ah, inter-office politics! It seems even the ISO isn’t immune…
Outside, the ninjas are still present.
“I’m kind of let down now that the shuttle’s taken off.” Jinpei says.
“But I’m glad that there wasn’t any trouble.” Jun adds.
“Well, shall we all get a move-on, guys?” Ken asks. “Dr. Nambu probably still has some work to do here, so we can go on ahead and leave.”
“That’s fine with me, ‘cause I’m starving!” Jinpei cheers. “Let’s hit it!”
“10-4!” Ryu runs after him happily.
Even as they Science Ninja Team is leaving, Dr. Nambu gets into the helicopter with the President. As the helicopter takes off, Pointy-Nose Man smirks and lights a cigarette.
And at that very moment, a secretary walks into the President’s office. She screams as a body falls out from behind the curtain. It is the President!
Elsewhere, Jinpei is licking his plate clean. Yep, literally.
“Delicious!” he exclaims. “I don’t think I could eat another bite! I’m stuffed!”
“Speak for yourself, kid!” Ryu disagrees.
“Eat any more and you’ll probably explode.” Jun appears disgusted with the two of them.
“Doc Nambu sure is late.” Ken worries. “He should have gotten back by now. I wonder what’s up.”
“It’s already been over two hours since we got back from the launch.” Jun notes.
“He probably stopped for some ice cream or something on the way back!” Jinpei jokes.
“I can probably eat some myself!” Ryu laughs.
“Can it!” Joe snaps. “It’s no time for joking around!”
Ryu and Jinpei are so scared by this outburst that they throw their arms around each other in fear.
“Don’t hurt us!” Ryu whimpers.
“Man, I sure do hope nothing’s happened to him.” Ken says quietly.
“It’s just not like him not to contact us.” Joe says, sitting down.
Suddenly, the TV behind them turns on.
“Hey, it’s Director Anderson!” Ken says.
“Gatchaman, have you heard from Dr. Nambu since the launch?” Director Anderson asks. Wow, we sure have come a long way from the days where Anderson wasn’t even allowed to know who the Team were! Now he’s talking to Ken in civvies!
“No, not a word!” Ken replies.
“Then, I have a bad feeling that something terrible has happened to him.” Anderson admits.
“Like what?” Ken gasps.
“We have just discovered that three hours ago, before the shuttle launch, the President’s residence was broken into, and the President was assassinated. Everybody is devastated.” the Director explains.
“Wait, but the President was there at the shuttle launch!” Jun recalls. “We all saw him, Director!”
“I get it!” says the ever-intuitive Gatchaman. “Then that must have been a fake President!”
“Correct.” agrees Anderson. “Which leads us to believe that Dr. Nambu has been abducted by the imposter!” Everyone gasps at this revelation.
“What did you say?” Ken asks.
“Are you sure about that?” Jinpei adds.
“The fact that we’ve had no contact from him seems to confirm this.” Anderson says sadly.
“Right.” Ken agrees. “Okay, Team, let’s start a search!”
And now the God Phoenix is flying through the sky, looking for Dr. Nambu. But… where? They begin their search at the launching site.
“I’m sure I saw him leave!” a man in a suit tells Ken. “I watched Dr. Nambu fly off with the President in his helicopter form that very spot! And before I knew it, they took off, headed in that direction!”
This is a Gatchamania Episode review. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
This episode review is image intensive.
Gatchaman Episode 97 – Leona 3, the Spaceship With No Tomorrow