Ken helps a girl get revenge on Galactor after their giant anthropod robot kills her father.
Galactor’s latest monster is a giant, oil-sucking centipoid that leaves earthquakes in its wake. Wanting an expert opinion, Ken heads to an earthquake research center to talk to its director. As if on cue, an earthquake starts.
Ken and the director evacuate the building, but the ground opens up beneath them and they fall in. Ken manages to transform into Gatchaman, but is unable to save the director.
The Father’s Daughter
Ken is, however, able to save the director’s fancy watch, which he places on the director’s tombstone. It sure didn’t take long for them to bury him.
The director’s daughter Naomi attacks Ken, believing him to be a member of Galactor and responsible for her father’s death. Ken avoids her feeble attacks and knocks her out with a single punch, then takes her to Jun to recuperate.
Ken searches for the centipoid monster with his airplane, using a fancy x-ray beam to look within the Earth. He finds it and gets in a quick fight, but it escapes. Nambu goes over the data Ken collected in his fight, and together they pinpoint the monster’s next target.
Nambu orders Ken to go after it with the rest of the team in the God Phoenix, and warns that he mustn’t be “swayed by anyone’s heart,” otherwise he will “cease to be a ninja.”
On his way to join the others, Ken gets a message from Jun about what to do with Naomi. He tells her to bring her along.
Phoenix vs. Centipoid
The God Phoenix unsuccessfully fights off the monster. Joe, obsessed as usual, wants to fire a Bird Missile. The others stop him, but this time Ken agrees with him. They’re going to fire a Bird Missile, only Naomi will be the one to do it, to avenge her father. Nambu yells at Ken through the monitor, telling him he’s going off mission and that the Bird Missiles must only be used in an emergency.
Ken shuts off the screen and tells Naomi to push the button. She’s hesitant and it takes time (and a slap from Ken), but she pushes the button, fires the missile, and destroys the monster.
Like episode 2, this episode is pretty much a copy of the preceding one: Ken is the focus, he tries to fight the monster-of-the-day on his own, he meets the child of someone killed by Galactor, there’s a scene where he and Nambu go over readings of the monster, and finally, he, and he alone is instrumental in destroying the monster. However, unlike episode 2, this episode manages to tell a different story.
Episode 3 is about the parallels between Ken and a boy who lost his father. While Naomi did lose her father in this episode, something that Ken feels partially responsible for, this episode addresses a different theme: revenge, and doing whatever you can, even disobeying orders, to get it.
A Dish Served Cold
Ken compromises his secret identity by dragging Naomi along on the mission and forcing her to be the one to fire the missile. Her hesitance endangers the lives of everyone on the God Phoenix – Joe could have quickly and easily been the one to fire the missile – but Ken was adamant that she be the one to do it, going so far as to slap her and force her finger on the button.
I was surprised at these turn events when I first saw the episode. I expected Ken to yell at Naomi to push the button to fire the missile, then when she didn’t, he’d say something along the lines of “Good, don’t, because revenge is bad.” Ironically, that’s exactly what happens in the Battle of the Planets version (the 70s American dub) of this episode.
This is the first episode where we see the rest of the team outside of their bird costumes. Hopefully this signifies the end of all the focus on Ken, and the rest of the team can get into the spotlight.