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Back on August 1st, a man named FelixIP, an illustrator, art director, concept artist and Creative Director at Imagi Entertainment, the studio known for their work on the CG animated TMNT movie, began posting concept art from a new project called Gatchaman. At first glance, the art was decidedly cool but otherwise unremarkable, allowing me to pass by it and not give it a second thought.

Gatchaman: Utoland Art

This morning, Felix struck again with another round of screenshots, taken from a trailer shown at Comic-Con. At this point, I was not only forced to give the film a second look, but I was also very intrigued. What is this Gatchaman, and why does it look so damn cool? The answer to the latter question is simple, the folks over at Imagi have some serious game. Along with Gatchaman, they are also currently working on Astro Boy, which appears to be, if nothing else, beautifully animated.

A little research into the Gatchaman production yielded the following tidbits. It is the story of five reluctant heroes in a futuristic world whose remarkable genetic code makes them Earth’s only hope of defeating extra-terrestrial invaders. And as the Imagi website touts, Gatchaman will be “a big, effects-rich movie with some of the most ambitious action sequences ever seen in animation.” This was a welcomed sentence in my mind, as I am a huge fan of anything that is “ambitious.” You can see some of the ambitious animated action in the two stills below:

Gatchaman: Phoenix in Utoland, mission start!

Gatchaman: Car Chase Scene

Gatchaman T-Shirt in Knocked UpThe history of Gatchaman isn’t one that is completely unknown — the concept didn’t just spring out of nowhere. It was created by Japan’s Tatunoku production in the early 1970s as a television series called “Science Ninja Team Gatchaman,” which aired in the United States under the name “Battle of the Planets” and “G-Force.” It was even recently spoofed by the television show “Robot Chicken” in an episode called “Squaw Bury Shortcake.” As well, in the film Knocked Up, when we first see Ben (played by Seth Rogen) he is wearing a Gatchaman t-shirt.

So as you can see, there is quite a long lineage that can be found with just a few moments work and the help of Google. Ultimately, it has all led me to become quite intrigued and generally excited about the film version of Gatchaman. It has a relatively cool premise and the folks at Imagi have already proven that they have the chops to deliver some slick CG animation. Honestly, this is one of those films that could very well have passed me by, being the sad sack that I sometimes am. I am sure that some of you out there will cry out “What is wrong with you?! How did you not know about Gatchaman?” All I can say is that I know now. Even better, I will now be following this production a little bit more closely.

For now though, check out some of the film’s wicked concept art below. Gatchaman is due out April 3, 2009.

Gatchaman Concept Art

Gatchaman Concept Art

Gatchaman Concept Art

Gatchaman Concept Art

Gatchaman Concept Art

Gatchaman Concept Art

Gatchaman Concept Art


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