How can it be that this box set isn't reviewed yet??? These are the *the* episodes that define GATCHAMAN. I'm not some guy who seeks out obscure anime and can tell you about Vampire Hunter G or whatever. I watched Battle of the Planets (BOTP) as a kid, and back in the late 90's I bought a fansub (a fan-subtitled VHS) of the the last few episodes of GATCHAMAN, the series on which BOTP was based. I was floored. There's so much emotion in these episodes, the stakes are so high, and plot so intricate...I realized we got screwed here in the US by not seeing the original version, although I could see we were blessed for seeing *any* version.
These are the episodes where we learn the secret of our villains Berge Katse and Sosai X. One is tragic (bizarre, but tragic), and the other is sadistic and cruel. We see Ken develop further as a leader, Nambu emerge as even more of a father figure, and Joe... I had heard the praise for Condor Joe before I watched the series, and was naturally resistant to embrace it, as I don't like just being a sheep--Joe is a fantastic character, who made so many sacrifices and difficult choices, and is the ultimate "bad boy" on the good guy's team. Even Jinpei, Jun, and Ryu (the kid, girl, and fat guy, respectively) are fleshed out a bit in these eps.
Although I think you should start a volume or two before this set, you could start here and easily be sucked in. Although the American actors do a decent job, the Japanese acting is amazing--you have to listen to it in Japanese!
I applaud the effort in putting the extras (commentary, original/sterile openings), the commmentaries were somewhat "blah" for me. Still, this set is *totally* worth it!