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BK Factlets




No info on this page is new. Everything that isn't simply creative writing comes from old ML posts, scripts and synopses, especially the episode summaries on Veronika's Gatchaman Page, which were very useful for getting the names of people and places right. I used the episode titles from Alara's synopses, because those translations sounded more natural.

As the sudden death of a harddisk sent some captured material to the Big Bit Bin in the Sky shortly before updating, I decided to make a theme page entirely without graphics, though I had a bit of fun with the colours.

Contents of this page:

BK Factlets: all those little facts about Katze that the Katze fan already knows.

The BK quiz: how much do you know about the coolest, most suave, most brilliant (in his own opinion, anyway) mutant to ever have made a bid for world domination? This quiz, written entirely in simple HTML, has frames, but will also work in non-frame browsers.

The Katze-centric episode guide: the terrorist's take on Gatchaman. All 105 episodes recounted by the Great Leader of Galactor himself. (Note that these synopses are neither complete, nor reliable; as X himself points out, Katze's information often has holes in it.)

List of disguises: all the things Katze has pretended to be.

Berg Katze's opinions: as he keeps shooting the reporters sent over to interview him, it was decided to simply send a list of subjects, requesting his opinion on each.




BK Factlets

Name:

The full name is Berg Katze, although he's usually just called Katze. Probably more a code name (like "Swallow Jinpei") than a name-surname construction. The proper Japanese pronunciation and phonetic spelling is "Beruku Katse", hence the usual spelling "Katse", although I stick to the existing German spelling because it means "cat" and that's clearly what he's supposed to be (check the slit-shaped pupils at the end of ep 31, and again just after the unmasking in ep 102).

The name translates literally to "mountain cat", which initially made me think of pumas (also called mountain lions) but which in its literal translation to Japanese (yama neko) means "lynx". (Which is why it is appropriate to devote a "lynx-enhanced" page to him... silly joke... nevermind.) Lynxes are tree-orientated cats (as opposed to, say, lions who can climb trees but much prefer the ground) with feathering on the rims of their ears to make them look bigger. As the European lynx and its American relative the bobcat are rather compact, sturdy cats with stumpy tails, I suspect Katze's namesake to be the African lynx or caracal, a slender and extremely agile cat with enormous ears, which can literally pluck a flying bird from the sky.

Origin:

Born in a neutral country, presumably in a Galactor base of some kind, as he was created by merging the embryos of fraternal (ie. not identical) twins.

Sex:

Ooh, this is a tricky one. That depends on the year. According to Nambu's research, Katze is a cyclic hermaphrodite, that is, one who changes from one sex to the other periodically, in this case yearly. (Which may sound strange but isn't, there are species of fish and invertebrates that switch sex quite easily, either periodically or depending on circumstances.) He is never shown physically changing sex (at least, not in a state of undress which allows the viewer to follow the process) but it is suggested (especially in ep 88) that he now controls the process and can change body type at will. He has two personas, "Berg Katze" and "the Onna Taicho" (who apparently doesn't have a name, not that it matters because there are no other female Galactor captains) and because the former is obviously the more important, he is usually referred to in the masculine.

Age:

Around 30, as X mentions having trained him for thirty years. If Galactor really does churn out one monstermech a week, maybe he went from 28 to 30 or 30 to 32 in the series. Old enough to remember the Asakuras. Probably not old enough to have had anything to do with killing them, as, if he was 28 at the begining of the series, he would be 18 at the time of their death (and at the time when Washio senior faked his own death to investigate Galactor activities in Huntwall) and finishing school. Alternatively, he might just have finished school, donned his mask and instantly gone on the rampage, but then the ISO would have known about him long before the Turtle King.

Colouring:

Aryanoid. Grey eyes (sometimes shown as blue: Gatchaman Material shows a recoloured screen capture of the unmasked Katze where the eyes are suddenly a bright cobalt) with lots of white around them for that maniacal mutant look. Fair hair, sometimes bordering on strawberry blond (notably in ep 47) of adjustable length: the standard Katze length is to the waist, but in the episode where he appears as the Onna Taicho and is later unmasked, the Onna Taicho's hair is shoulder-length. A wig? And why bother? All that hair must be a nuisance to get under the mask. The witnesses of his first unmasking insist that he must be a woman because of his Rapunzel-length hair, a very silly, sexist conclusion to draw (but this is an old series), and spend some episodes investigating into the matter.

Build:

The animators of the first season evidently liked to draw skinny characters with pronounced features, and went overboard on Katze. His face isn't as narrow as the mask makes it look, though. He is taller than the average green goon and has extremely long legs and fingers. In some shots he also has an extremely long nose. The cheekbones of the female form are initially high, but sink as the series progresses.

Physical condition:

Agile, but lacks stamina (in ep 73, he pants as he runs - no other character does that) and probably not as strong as Ken, who not only throws him around with impunity but manages to break free from his grip to insert a cartridge in Katze's transformer mech (this is one of the very few times Katze fights Ken - normally, he prefers to run no matter who the opponent is). Strong enough to jump off a falling platform and cling to the wall. Jumps as high as a Science Ninja (and that without wings!) and is certainly faster than any of the Gatchamen, as he always outruns them. (Coincidentally, felines do have great reaction speeds but little stamina, as they have comparatively small hearts and lungs. They leave marathon running to canines and grazers.) As he can take tremendous punishment and still bounce off the wall laughing, I suspect his bones are made of rubber.

Mental ability:

Yes, he's definitely mental. ^_^ Seriously, though, he is supposed to have an IQ of 280, which, given the way an IQ test works, is not a possible outcome (but not everyone knows how IQ tests work, I've heard about some other superhuman anime characters having IQs of 300) and this is due to his being the product of merged twins, ie. two brains doing the job of one. Furthermore, judging from school records and teacher testimonials, he's only a genius in the female form; in his years as a male student his marks were under average, which doesn't prove his stupidity, as gifted children sometimes get the lowest marks because they can't adjust their learning ability downwards to that of the class.

Likes:

Killing people. Hurting people. (Not necessarily those fighting on the other side.) Getting a pat on the back from X. Feeling sorry for himself. Nope, he doesn't have hobbies; he lives for his work. Presumably he thinks he can indulge in recreational activities as soon as his objective (conquering Earth) is completed: as he sniggers to himself, "then I'll be able to do as I like". No hint is given of what that would be, though. He also decides to take a vacation when Doctor Finger replaces him, but rather than going snowboarding, he paces around the room waiting for Finger to fail. He likes alcohol and cigarettes, but not to any significant degree (all Galactor goons are fond of alcohol, it seems). Oh yes, and he really, really likes to sneak up to people in disguise and go "Boo!" (or: "You'd better surrender before Galactor launches the V2 missile!" or something to that effect).

Gloating. He will actually endanger his missions and himself to hang around and gloat. (Yes, it's called "plot device".)

Dislikes:

Gatchaman. In its entirety. Particularly Ken (for having smooshed him into the wall so often) and Joe (for reasons not entirely made clear, he's slightly obsessed with Joe, especially after he finds out Joe derives from a Galactor family). For the rest, he just hates people who are being obstructive in any way, and generally shoots them and forgets about it.

Humanity. In its entirety. His reactions to both Boronbo and Mikhail show a deeply rooted misanthropism and mistrust. He's never happier than when blowing up people. It's hinted that this dislike has a reason, although there are no flashbacks of, for instance, his having been bullied at school.

Unprofessionalism, especially in areas where he's an expert himself (disguises, for instance).

Possibly mushy stuff. He does something very sadistic to a pair of lovers that basically separates them forever (ep 43). In ep 101, he may think Ken and Jun are lovers when he orders Jun shot first so that Ken will witness her death; or maybe he's annoyed at the idea of women being fragile little things that have to be protected at all costs. He's not specifically misogynist, though; he hates all people equally.

Weaponry:

Though he prefers not to fight, two weapons he usually has handy are a handgun (usually kept in Hammerspace, although ep 37 shows him wearing a holster) and bullet-shaped explosives tucked in his cheeks to spit out and throw in emergencies. His cheeks don't bulge, though, any more than Joe's jeans reveal that he's wearing a gun in one pocket and a large number of feather shuriken in the other. Maybe there's an alternate dimension called Cheekspace. He likes to talk, laugh and yell, so it's amazing he never swallows one.

Personality:

Mad? Suffering hormonal imbalance? There is no conclusive evidence of either. Too much energy? He does overreact to absolutely everything: a whistle makes him dive under the table, the wrong reply makes him lash out, the slightest encouragement makes him sing and kick his heels. When in uniform, he isn't calm for a moment, not even when things are going his way. (The Onna Taicho, on the other hand, is icily calm and ruthless. It may be a hormone thing, although it's suggested the male and female form have different personalities.) A coward? Probably not, as he does put himself in great personal danger (sneaking into Nambu's office just to gloat??) and can't seem to learn that getting too close to a certain Eagle will always lead to bruising. Stupid? More an airhead than actually thick; he seems to be able to speak any language, fly any vehicle and adapt to any social situation. Nasty? Very. Impatient? Extremely. And, as comes out right at the end, desperately unhappy. So maybe his villain behaviour is more a question of circumstance than of personality. And maybe not.

Family:

None mentioned. It seems all he's ever known is X.

Significant Other:

X. And no one else. No matter how he likes to invade other people's lives, he has no private life himself. At best, he is sometimes shown not to immediately kill certain Galactors, vaguely suggesting he may have a soft spot for them. He also obsesses on the Asakuras, to be exact: on the surviving Asakura. This could be twisted into all sorts of things but is mainly a plot device, I mean, the Gatchaninjas have dusted his bases with his ass for 80 eps before he found out that Joe is the son of Giuseppe Asakura, does it make a difference??

The Condor factor:

I'd better mention it, because it's there. Right from the start, there's something between these two characters that's beyond the usual goodguy-whacks-badguy routine. (But then the show itself is slightly above the good-defeats-evil cliche.) A fan once pointed out to me that no matter how often Joe rants about killing Katze, he doesn't do it, even when given the chance. He doesn't even give him a beating. (Unlike Ken who kicks the sh*t out of him whenever he can.) He does, however, try to unmask Katze well before Katze's sex or identity become an issue. And he is the one of the team to state that Katze's sex doesn't matter. So he had his own motives.

The first thing that becomes obvious about Joe is that he hates Galactors for killing his parents. Then he becomes allergic to Katze's laughing (as does Jinpei, as would anyone - it's a deliberately irritating laugh) and decides that he'll take revenge on Katze for killing his parents. He shoots the head off a Katze dummy in a show of aggression that much offends Ken. And so on. Finally he discovers his own Galactor background. Problem solved, onto the next problem: he doesn't have long to live. How best to spend those last few months? Battling Galactor, that's it! And Galactor, in the form of Katze, helpfully gives him directions. He is captured and beaten up repeatedly - Katze takes a very active part in this - and stays very laid-back in the face of it all. The only thing that really shocks him is being told about Operation Black Hole, which suggests that his subsequent, and first real, attempt to kill Katze is more directed against this operation than against Katze personally. He dies thinking of his friends (but not of Katze, or his parents) and is resurrected for a next season. So much for Joe.

With Katze, it's the other way round. He doesn't obsess before discovering Joe's Galactor connection, but after. It's odd that he should dislike Joe more than Ken (there is no proof that he's noticed Joe's fixation on him) but he generally hates people who get in his way. After the son-of-Giuseppe discovery, there's a turnaround. The main ingredient of each ep is still 1 mecha to be blasted, but Katze orders Joe abducted because Galactor knows his civilian identity. (Huh? He knew Ken's civilian identity right down to his parents and his friends at the orphanage? And he's seen Jun detransmuted, and Spy V has been hanging at this bar called the Snack J - he had plenty of leads to find her!) He also wonders about the difference in character between the the Condor as a racer and as a Gatchaman member. (Did he ever apply psychology to Ken? Well, it got through to him that Ken had a thing for his father...) Having Joe led before him, he gives away that vital bit of info the team have been searching for: where Galactor HQ is. For this encounter he has put on the silliest disguise yet, possibly to hide what Joe bluntly states: that they already know each other since last episode's mutual unmasking. Which was another significant scene: Katze not only detransmutes Joe but knocks him out, rendering him completely defenceless against a row of grinning goons who, at their master's command, will kill him in an almost ritual way, one bullet per person. Then Joe comes round, shoots the harpoon in his gun up the barrel of Katze's detransmuting gun, witnesses the detransmuting gun explode and blow off Katze's mask (which it didn't do the last time it exploded!) and forces the unmasked Katze, who is still trying to hide his face, to turn round and reveal his true nature. In terms of phallic imagery (and the fact that Joe is the macho of the team, while Katze is an androgyne) Freud would have a field day analyzing this scene. What it shows to me, however, is that both have a deep fear of showing what they really are - for Joe because it complicates the issue of his parents' death, for Katze because X bellows about the terrible consequences should someone discover his secret - and that at this mutual unmasking, Joe has lost his fear and Katze hasn't, somehow believing the game is not over, and inviting the Condor for a replay. And in this replay (is he really keeping Joe alive just as a hostage? C'mon!) Katze repeatedly tries to break his opponent. And this repeatedly fails to work, mostly because Joe considers himself a dead man with nothing to lose. Katze's obsession may at this point be simply a device to put Joe in the limelight, but the last three eps, where Joe is mostly out of Birdstyle (for practical reasons; but visually, he is now acting as himself, not as a member of Gatchaman) are very much Joe vs. Katze.



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BK's disguises

As (presumably) existing persons:

As an original:

Simply being incognito:







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