Gatchaman Day

August 19
Gatchaman Gitch
I declare August 19 to be Gatchaman Day. Acknowledging that is a little presumptuous—not to mention obscure—and unlikely to ever be repeated again, but for one shining moment in 2016 it was true for me.

Readers of my retired blog, Over a Hedge, might recall that one of the highlights of my previous trip to Japan was a visit to the ill-fated Tatsunoko Bar & Restaurant, but I never explained the source of my enthusiasm for Gatchaman. Back when my age was still expressed in single digits, I watched the heavily edited version of the show known as Battle of the Planets every day after school. More importantly, my brother and I were being minded by the mother of three children with the right gender mix to role play each episode after it finished. I was always Ken the Eagle, a.k.a. Mark. He was the leader who had to deal with a hotheaded underling challenging his authority while trying not to let the attentions of Jun the Swan (Princess) distract him from completing the mission at hand. My family moved soon after and the improvised storytelling ended, but there was always a part of me that remained more attached to that franchise than any produced by DC or Marvel.

So, perhaps in an attempt to connect with lost youth, I did some on-line shopping research early in the trip during a sleepless night and turned up a couple surprising items in my failed search for a Gatchaman T-Shirt. Both items were ordered the next day, but scheduled for delivery the day after our return from Hakone.

The first was a rather surprising clothing item—underwear. A novelty garment maker known as Underking has developed a one sized fits most style of underwear and joined forces with a number of Japanese anime studios to produce sold out runs of their product. Near as I could tell, I got my hands on the third edition of their Gatchaman line, and despite the steep price (compared to my typical utilitarian purchases) I have not regretted buying for a moment. In fact the sense of ikki—knowing that I'm enjoying a hidden luxury—only confirms the decision.

The second item was a pin with the Gatchaman logo in a wordmarked box that I got for a steal of a price considering the necklace version of the same product was being listed at eighteen times the price. The underwear will be in tatters one day, but I should always have the pin.

There was not a lot going on that day, to be honest, as everyone seemed content to recharge after the three days in Hakone. This opened a window for my wife and I to head to karaoke for a couple of hours of self-indulgent singing. I largely stuck to Japanese tunes, with a couple Weezer songs thrown in (more on them later: Old Friends, New Friends).

The best part of the night was finding and singing the theme to the original Gatchaman theme song to close my portion of the night. I gave it everything I had and tried to imitate the voice of the recording artist to boot. No doubt I missed a few notes, but there was no shortage of enthusiasm. It was the perfect end to Gatchaman Day 2016.

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