Galactor steals the world’s supply of sugar for some reason.
The world’s sources of sugar have all been devoured by a giant cockroach mech, Ibukron. Ryu watches the events unfold on television: “Looks like all the people of the world will be starved for sweetness,” says the news reporter.
“What? No more pixie sticks?!” Ryu is flabbergasted and falls off his hammock. “I won’t be able to eat any of the things I love? This is horrible!”
He runs through the street and literally bumps into Jun and Jinpei, causing them to drop the boxes of now rare sweets they were carrying. Nambu calls Ryu and orders him to gather the rest of the team and get in the God Phoenix. Doesn’t Nambu usually call Ken to do this?
On the God Phoenix, Nambu explains that the cockroach monster is “probably” an atomically-powered robot. Galactor has changed strategy: now their priority is making children suffer a world without candy because somehow that will cause humanity to destroy itself or something. “That’s incorrigible!” says Ken. The Science Ninja team is to follow the cockroach to its base. A typical mission.
Catching the Cockroach
The team easily locates the cockroach in a sugar cane field; Ken, Joe, and Ryu jump off the Phoenix and find a way into the mechanical monster. Inside, they find a sugar factory, and after nearly getting crushed to death, the trio crawls through a tunnel into a giant oven overlooking a large pool of heated, molten sugar. “Fall in there, you’re chicken soup, pal” says Joe.
While trying to pass this new obstacle, Ryu nearly falls but Joe and Ken grab him. The three make it out and get onto a moving cart, which dumps them into a centrifugal separator.
Meanwhile, Jun and Jinpei in the God Phoenix follow Ibukron to its base. They find their way into the roach’s atomic power room, knock out the guards, and disable the power source; the centrifugal separator powers down, and Ken, Ryu, and Joe tumble into a room full of sugar. It’s also full of Galactor guards and the luchador-looking commander of the roach mech.
The three use the Tornado Fighter technique and clear out the room, and an all out brawl ensues with the remaining guards. In the chaos, Ryu finds his way to the nuclear reactor, which he attempts to destroy with a mallet (!). The ever-helpful Jun arrives and provides a better solution: opening the reactor’s panel and messing with its wires.
Everyone races back to the God Phoenix, with Ryu taking a quick detour back to the sugar room to stuff a sack full of the stuff. The reactor blows, and the roach and the base are destroyed. However, the God Phoenix gets caught, overpowered by a sugar avalanche.
Ken initiates the Firebird technique, and the God Phoenix, now in its fiery form, makes it out unscathed.
The episode ends with Jinpei distributing Ryu’s sugar to a group of random kids on a playground.
There’s a lot of fun stuff going on in this episode. For one, the premise is incredibly bizarre, and Galactor’s scheme is very bottom-of-the-barrel. Everyone’s reactions to the sugar crisis is overblown to the point of hilarity, especially Ryu’s.
Once the episode gets going, though, it fits back into the mold of the standard Gatchaman episode, consisting of the team fighting a new monster-themed mech, following it to its base, and destroying them both. However, there is one slight but welcome change to the formula: Ryu gets in on the action.
It surprised me, seeing Ken and Joe take Ryu with them onto Ibukron, since they normally choose Jun and/or Jinpei, leaving Ryu to babysit the God Phoenix. Not this time. Roles are reversed, and Jun and Jinpei are left piloting the ship – another welcome change. Though, based on Ryu’s performance in this episode…or lack thereof, it’s no wonder the others always leave him behind.
In other news, we also get to see the God Phoenix’s Firebird technique for the first time in a while (not seen since episode 2!).