A few years ago the animation studio Imagi was developing a CG animated feature film version of the 1972 Japanese animated series, Gatchaman. Imagi went under, and the project was unfortunately scrapped, but before it was they managed to create a really cool, action packed demo that shows us what we could have expected from the movie, and it looks like it would have been pretty radical.
The original Gatchaman story revolves around five young superhero ninjas engaged by the International Science Organization to oppose a group of technologically advanced villains, known as Galactor, from trying to take control of the Earth's natural resources. To do so, the ninjas battle various giant monsters deployed by Galactor to capture rare resources.
It's pretty sad to think we'll probably never see this movie happen, but it looks like they were headed in a good direction with it.
Here is the original plot and Character Summary:
Best described as a sci-fi action anime, recurring themes of Gatchaman involve conservation of nature, environmentalism, and responsible use of technology for progress and advancement. The series is centered around five young superhero ninja in the employ of Dr. Kozaburo Nambu of the fictitious "International Science Organization" to oppose a group of technologically advanced villains, known as Galactor, from trying to take control of the earth's natural resources. The operational leader of Galactor is an androgynous masked antagonist, Berg Katse, who is later revealed to be a shape-shifting intersex mutant acting on the orders of an alien superior, Leader X. The most common recurring plot involved Gatchaman opposing giant monster mecha dispatched by Galactor to steal or control various natural resources (water, oil, sugar, uranium, etc). These Mechas were often animal based.
The main characters featured always wore either teen fashions with numbered T-shirts showing their rank in the team, or caped battle uniforms styled after various birds. Ken, Ryu, Jinpei, Jun and Joe.Most of the team were in their late-teens, apart from Jinpei who was about eleven. They included: Ken Washio, the team leader; Joe Asakura, his second-in-command; Jun, the team's electronics and demolitions expert; Jinpei, the youngest and reconnaissance expert; and Ryu Nakanishi, the ship's pilot.
They also used various signature weapons and mecha style vehicles which each had a more mundane looking disguised form. To change modes, each member is equipped with a special wrist device that, aside from being a communicator and tracking device, enabled the change when the proper gesture and voice command, "Bird Go!", is given. Their vehicles are docked in the team's main vehicle, the GodPhoenix, a supersonic plane capable of underwater travel and minor spaceflight as necessary. The GodPhoenix is armed with an unspecified but large (roughly 30+) number of BirdMissiles that are fired from a rack system mounted atop the center section. After the original GodPhoenix was destroyed by an octopus-based mecha, an improved version carried a pair of Super BirdMissiles in twin drop down pods from the bottom center section. In addition, when necessary, the plane can temporarily transform into a massive bird of flame like the legendary Phoenix to escape danger although the process is highly taxing to the team.