Galactor steals a super special aircraft more powerful than the God Phoenix, while Ken obsesses over Red Impulse’s true identity.
Ken flies by an island in his plane, musing about his long lost father. Coincidentally, he runs into Red Impulse, and the two show off their piloting abilities to each other.
“Just tell me who you are, anyway,” says Ken. “Don’t worry about that. Just worry about polishing your skills, mister,” replies Red Impulse after a hearty laugh.
Meeting with Nambu
Ken tells Nambu of his encounter with Red Impulse. Nambu says that the world is full of amazing pilots and cryptically adds that Ken’s father was one of them. Ken asks Nambu the identity of Red Impulse. “You’ll probably know soon enough,” is all Nambu says.
Nambu changes the subject and briefs Ken on the Science Ninja Team’s latest mission.
They are to escort a super-plane stronger than the God Phoenix, the Blue Hawk, to an airshow in Ameris.
The Blue Hawk
As the crew of the Blue Hawk watch their massive plane pull onto the airport runway, Galactor henchmen storm through and kill them all. The henchmen don the fallen crew’s flight suits and seize the Blue Hawk.
The Blue Hawk takes off, and the God Phoenix pulls up right behind them. The Science Ninja Team commences their escort duty.
Nambu gets a phone call from the ISO, which reports the theft of the Blue Hawk. Nambu is ordered to relay this information to the Science Ninja Team, but he’s worried – “Not even the God Phoenix is a match for the Blue Hawk…”
Red Impulse Arrives
The Galactor goons in the Blue Hawk revel at all the power they have at their disposal. They target the God Phoenix and prepare a missile, “Why don’t we send them a little airmail.” Just as they’re about to fire, Red Impulse and his two companions arrive and immediately start attacking the Blue Hawk. This confuses the Science Ninja Team, who are still unaware of what happened to the Blue Hawk’s crew.
“So, Red Impulse is an enemy after all,” says Ken. He launches his plane from the God Phoenix and chases after the Red Impulse, who starts fleeing after firing a timed missile on the Blue Hawk.
Nambu radios Ken and tells him and the God Phoenix to withdraw, but Ken is determined to go after Red Impulse. It sure would have helped things if Nambu told Ken RIGHT NOW what happened to the Blue Hawk crew.
Ken and Red Impulse land their planes and fight hand-to-hand, then talk face-to-face: Red Impulse finally tells Ken that Galactor stole the Blue Hawk, and now he believes that they have stolen the God Phoenix as well.
Fortunately, Red Impulse knows the location of Galactor’s base – inside a volcano – thanks to the tracker on the timed missile he fired on the Blue Hawk. He and Ken are to sneak inside, free the Science Ninja Team, and escape before said timed missile goes off.
The Volcano Base
A Galactor firing squad prepares to execute the Science Ninja Team on orders of Berg Katse. Red Impulse, with amazing marksmanship, shoots and destroys the triggers of all the henchmen’s guns. Berg Katse barks orders on the monitor until Red Impulse shoots it: “This tv is turned up too loud. It’s bothering the entire neighborhood.”
The Science Ninja Team is freed and they all escape to the God Phoenix with Red Impulse. The timed missile goes off, destroying the base, the Blue Hawk, and the volcano.
Later, Ken and Red Impulse fly their planes together and say their goodbyes; a tear rolls down Red Impulse’s cheek. In the God Phoenix, Nambu confirms to the rest of the Science Ninja Team that Red Impulse is on their side.
Jun remarks that Ken and Red Impulse “fly like they were father and son.”
I’m fond of enigmatic characters, and Red Impulse is no exception. It’s nice he finally gets an episode all to himself after only just a handful of minor appearances. Of course, an episode featuring Red Impulse has to feature Ken as well.
Mysterious masked characters being long lost family members of main characters is a very common trope, especially in anime. That said, it’s way, way too obvious that Red Impulse is Ken’s father. There are so many references to that fact in this episode, that it’s almost comical. It reminds me of the “hints” that would show up in Arrested Development in regards to Oscar being Buster’s real father.
What I do like is how Ken is not oblivious to all these conspicuous references to his father, and he actually brings his suspicions to Dr. Nambu at the beginning of the episode. It shows Ken is not an idiot and that Gatchaman isn’t dumbing him down for the sake of extending the mystery. On the other hand, we can’t have the truth revealed this early, so Nambu interrupts Ken mid sentence, changing the subject, and Ken doesn’t question him further.
I’m cool with this. In fact, it seems that Ken’s obsession in this episode at discovering Red Impulse’s identity is fueled by this idea that Red Impulse IS his father, and an obsessed character is typically a flawed character, and flawed characters make for way interesting characters – a far cry from the infallible heroes prevalent in this era of storytelling.