Article #44


Look!  It’s Giant, Molten, Zombie Jesus!!!




The Festive Easter Entry ala Gatchaman!


I thought it’d be a good time for a little change of pace.  It’s Easter, and what better way to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ (well, for Christians anyway), then putting up a slightly different entry on a website called comicbooktidbits?  If you can think of a better way of celebrating this holiday, I’d like to hear it!


Well, no, I don’t really want to hear it.  I was being sarcastic.  Sarcasm doesn’t translate well on the printed page though.  Could explain why I’m banned from oh so many internet chat rooms… ahem…


So, rather than focus on a comic book for this entry, I’ve decided to take a chance of posting an entry on a childhood favorite of mine, the classic TV cartoon Gatchaman (or Battle of the Planets as we folks in North America came to know it).  I loved that show as a kid, and it probably helped start this whole lifelong indulgence in cartoons and comics.  At least that’s what I tell my psychologist.  And there was a Battle of the Planets comic book too, so it sort of fits in.


I recently managed to get a few DVDs of the unedited Gatchaman series to try and recapture my youth, and it doesn’t disappoint.  Well, Gatchaman doesn’t disappoint, I don’t know about Battle of the Planets.  See, Gatchaman had more “mature” aspects to its stories, with people dying, cities getting decimated, some truly tense moments and, well, it wasn’t dumbed down for kids like Battle of the Planets and so much other stuff is in North America.  It’s amazing the different philosophy regarding child entertainment between Japan and the USA back in the 1970s.  Ah well, anyway, I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen an actual Battle of the Planets episode anyway.


There was one particular entry on the disk that I found… interesting.  As you can tell, it has something to do with Jesus and his monumentous resurrection… sort of…




Yes, that’s the visage of Jesus Christ on what appears to be Mount Rushmore.  Well, not actually Mount Rushmore, but a reasonable facsimile thereof.  Seems a family of carvers have been slowly adding Jesus to the mountainside over generations as a symbol of world peace.  Honestly, I can’t complain with that sentiment.  I am amazed, however, that any government would allow a single family (which currently consists of a single girl, the last of her line I suppose) work daily on their own on a mountainside for what I can only presume are decades, totally unsupervised.  Think about it, that’s like someone saying they want to build a giant statue in New York harbor BY THEMSELVES over a period of 100 years, and the government saying, “Sure buddy, knock yourself out.”  The Statue of Liberty would only be a pair of feet by now.


We soon discover that, coincidently enough, a giant, lava covered, zombie shuffling Jesus is spotted nearby at various times wrecking havoc, destroying towns and things.  And what does a giant, lava covered, zombie shuffling Jesus look like?  I thought you’d never ask!



Fun Fact #1:  Isn’t it freaky how much Jesus looks like he could be a member of Led Zepplin?


Our boy sure looks peaceful, even when he’s stomping a flaming mud-hole in some town’s ass.  Soon enough the authorities are aware they have a problem here, and who do you call when a giant monster is terrorizing your town?  Well, there’s any number of folks really, but this being their show, I think you’d better call the Gatchaman team!



Anyone remember the Friendly Giant TV Show?  Look up, waaaaaay up!


From left to right we have Jun, Jinpei, Ken, Ryu and Joe (or Princess, Keyop, Mark, Tiny, Jason for you Battle of the Planets aficionados).  Heroic figures all (although on Battle of the Planets Tiny was a “space burger” chronic overeater and Keyop couldn’t speak aside from weird chirps and clicks, which never made sense to me).  Honestly, I must have been held back in school at least once because I would try to repeat the gibberish Keyop spoke in vague attempts to try and understand his weird language.


So, Gatchaman is on the case, and they soon run afoul of the monster figure of Christ.  After a harrowing close call the team crash lands in the water and exit their downed craft, the God Phoenix.  Gatchaman notes that the giant monster didn’t enter the water – something about molten lava not mixing well with water.  GENIUS!


Nearby, Joe comes across a cross, because crosses are left in sea side rock beds all the time…



Fun Fact #2:  Contrary to what you may think, the gas being emitted is steam!


While staring at the cross, Joe starts to put two and two together, realizing that the giant monster looks familiar.  I suppose it helps that the cross is actually a crucifix…




…and that the visage of Christ here looks almost exactly the same as the giant, molten monster.  To be fair, throughout this episode no one is making fun of any religious beliefs or anything of that nature.  The fact is, the only ones truly desecrating Christianity are the villains, which makes sense because, well, they’re evil.


Isn’t it weird to see a crucifix in a children’s cartoon show, though?  Especially in modern, watered down children’s entertainment, something like this is pretty rare.  I guess in Japan it’s no big deal because Christianity isn’t a major force like it is in North America.


Continuing with the story, putting two and two together the team heads for the giant mountainside to check out their hunch and…



Do you have a tissue?  I think I’ve got something up my nose.


…the giant carving is there, along is a conspicuously long, black booger hanging out of the nose!  Mighty suspicious if you ask me.  Investigating further the team finds the girl sculptor investigating her family’s life’s work as she feels the sculpture has been changed.  Going deeper into the mountain the team then comes upon a hidden Galactor base (Spectra in Battle of the Planets).  Galactor wants to claim Earth for their own, and routinely send out giant mechanical monsters to destroy and frighten the populace in their attempts at world conquest.



They’ll never find us up here!


While conspicuously hiding, the team observes Galactor’s foul plan.  Seems they need the giant head of Jesus as a basis to create their monster.  Each time they take the head out of the mountain, roll it to the base and dip it into the lava and through “super-science” (or just plain, old voodoo) a lava monster is born!



I’m getting dipped in molten lava, yay!!!


He looks kind of happy to be getting a lava dip, isn’t he?  You know, you have to wonder, why did Galactor only bother with Jesus?  I mean, why stop there?  Wouldn’t folks be equally terrified if a 40 storey molten Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt were stomping on their house?  Heck, a 40 storey molten ANYTHING would work equally well, and they probably wouldn’t lead Galactor’s sworn enemy Gatchaman to their secret base!  Sigh, there’s me, trying to apply logic to a cartoon show again.  Sorry folks.


Having seen enough vile villainy, Gatchaman springs into action!



Whoops, so much for the Galactor on-site job safety record!


Take that Galactor scum!  Now, if this were a Battle of the Planets episode, someone would probably state that the man just dropped into the molten lava was okay because his special green suit protected him, or something equally lame.  Since this is Gatchaman, however, this sucker FRIES!  How’s that for peace on Earth!  That’s what you get for desecrating a national landmark!


After dealing with Galactor’s multitude of henchmen who all look alike and dress alike (like the green shirts and blue shirts in G.I. Joe), the Gatchaman team goes after the lava Jesus.  And how do you stop a molten, zombie shuffling, giant Jesus?  Apparently just lead him to water, and he’ll just get extinguished, crack up and fall…





Looks like someone took a permanent swim in the motel pool, doesn’t it?


Okay then, turns out our Buddy Christ was an android, or robot, or something, given all the suddenly conspicuous metal bits.  Why Galactor would create a lava monster right next to the sea is anybody’s guess.  We’ve already tried logic to this show once  before, and that path leads to madness!


Having successfully saved the world, Gatchaman return the girl to the mountainside and…



Oh crap!


The poor girl, who seems to be the last of her line, has to start ALL OVER AGAIN!  Not only that, but there’s a huge gaping hole where her original carving was!  Gatchaman, being the true heroes they are, merely watch on as the girl goes about her work all alone.  That’s it.  That’s how the episode ends.  Kind of bittersweet, isn’t it?


I guess, in a way, you could say Galactor actually finished AHEAD in this episode.


Yeah, that was pretty bad…


…ahem, until next time, Happy Easter!