The Science Ninja Team races (literally) to get a microfilm containing the locations of secret Galactor bases.
In Luman, a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the king meets with Berg Katse at a secret base.
They have a deal going on where the king gives buckets of cash to Galactor in exchange for protection.
The king’s son, the prince, hates how his father has sold his soul to Galactor; he sneaks into a room and takes photos of maps with locations of Galactor bases.
The Science Ninja Team arrives in Luman to participate in a race, where they’ll make contact with the prince and get the microfilm containing his spy photos.
Several Galactor men also participate in the race and try to get the microfilm for themselves.
The prince and members of the Science Ninja Team (sans Ryu whose car broke down early on) are led to the Galactor base where they’re quickly taken captive.
But in true Gatchaman fashion, they all escape with little difficulty; however, in the ensuing explosion, the microfilm is damaged beyond repair.
There’s a lot of good, unique stuff in this episode – the race, for one, broke the standard “monster of the week” formula. Tatsunoko Production, the studio behind Gatchaman, also produced Mach Go Go Go (Speed Racer), so the race scenes in this episode were probably so easy to animate that they did it all in their sleep.
I also liked the subplot involving the prince and his father, though I would have liked a bit more resolution on Lumen’s fate. I was expecting the prince to say something at the end like, “Now that I’m the king, I can finally set Luman on the path of goodness,” or somesuch, but we got nothing. He was a cool guest character, though.
But then there’s also a lot of boring, ordinary stuff in this episode too. The base scenes in the second half of the episode really slow everything down, considering we’ve seen all of it before in past episodes. The familiarity is enough to put you to sleep and wipe away the memory of the episode’s more interesting first half.