Just finished watching the last of 18 discs of Gatchaman. It is mind-boggling to realize that I watched 105 episodes of this show. It was so worth it and feel, ultimately, like I watched the show for the first time, even though I was a big fan of Battle of the Planets as a child. In the span of 105 episodes I saw about every type of insect and fish stylized into a giant "mecha" built to destroy the earth; in the Gatchaman universe Jesus has a place on Mt. Rushmore; a giant Buddha mecha destroys a bunch of stuff. I cannot remember every weird disconnect I noticed but it was so amazing. I recommend this show to anyone who wants to see some really good, early Japanese animation in a developing genre.
I feel bad that we couldn't let our son watch the rest of the series, but the ADV dubbing and the heavy violence made it simply inappropriate for a 5 year old. I did make him a Gatchaman t-shirt, however, which I will surprise him with today when I pick him up from school.
I did see one other instance where I suspect Watanabe is referencing Gatchaman in Cowboy Bebop. In Gatchaman it is the scene where Joe is shot in the front of the church in the episode where he returns to his home town, only to find out it is a Galactor stronghold (and -- gasp -- his parents were Galactor agents); it is sort of like an altar-like area with steps leading down and I was suddenly reminded of the last scene in Cowboy Bebop where Spike is shot, also on an altar-like space with stairs leading downward (ever downward).
When I retire I'm going to sit down with the entire oeuvre of Gatchaman and completely deconstruct it. Yes, and that is what I'm going to do in my dotage.