18 (Gatchaman), 20 (Gatchaman II and Fighter)
Ken Washio also known as Ken the Eagle and Gatchaman is the team leader & tactical expert whose Bird Style is based off of the eagle. When not in costume, Ken works as an aircraft test pilot and delivers parcels by air mail.
Ken grew up believing that his father had died in a plane crash, while his mother eventually died of illness when he was 11 years old. He then spent most of his life under the wing of Dr. Nambu, undergoing the training to become Gatchaman.
To keep his cover, Ken got a job as a test pilot and delivery boy while living in his father's old office on a small airfield.
Ken is a young man with shoulder-length, somewhat messy brown hair, as well as blue eyes. His civilian clothing consists of a red-and-teal T-shirt with the number "1" on it, white bellbottom pants, and occasionally a pair of blue flight gloves. In the two sequel series, Ken's civilian clothing changes so that he wears a blue "1" shirt and has straight-legged pants.
His eagle-like Bird Style is colored white, with blue gloves and boots.. He wears a long white feathered cape with a red interior, as well as a white helmet with red and black accents. The visor on his helmet is colored blue and patterned after an eagle's beak. As with the other Bird Styles, it bears a red "Gatchaman" emblem and has a "G"-themed belt.
Ken was redesigned to have short hair in the OVA remake, and his usual civilian outfit is a blue hoodie and jeans. Rather than having a "1" on his clothing, it is relegated to being a symbol on a necklace that he wears.
His Bird Style was also redesigned to be primarily blue in the bodysuit, although bearing white accents to it and keeping the white cape and helmet. His "G" belt was taken away, with only the symbol existing as a built-in part to his suit.
Cancelled Imagi Film Project
Ken's out-of-costume appearance shifted between his OVA look and his original look in drafts, while his Bird Style was to initially take more inspiration from the 2000 NTT Gatchaman project (in having a more armored appearance).
Other concept designs and trailers took inspiration from the OVA with the uniform, although the suit was primarily white (as with the original series) but with blue trim and accents.
Ken is usually a calm and collected person, but when faced with a crisis he can get swept up in emotion and requires the help of his team to pull himself through. He is an avid reader, reading books in his spare time. When out in the field, he tends not to use his real name and does not appear to be good with money either, often having Jinpei pay his bills at Jun's snack stand.
Kentaro Washio/Red Impulse
Ken was close with his father and aspired to become a good man like him. Unbeknownst to Ken, Kentaro had to undergo a secret mission and had faked his death in order to investigate Galactor further.
When meeting Red Impulse, Ken felt a familiar presence but could not find out why until episode 53, where Red Impulse revealed that he was indeed his father. Unfortunately, this revelation came immediately before Red Impulse sacrificed himself to destroy Galactor's V2 missile.
Ken was upset that he lost his father again, but after coming out of his depression, he was only more determined to finish off Galactor.
As second-in-command of the team, Joe is usually the one Ken communicates with the most next to Jun. They tend to butt heads with each other due to their differing personalities and way of handling situations. But Ken sees Joe as one of his closest friends and allies, and knows when to count on him in missions.
Ken sees Jun as a respectable and trustworthy teammate, but is usually ignorant of Jun's feelings for him due to his intense focus on missions, neither does he have any interest in starting a romantic relationship with her or anyone else. In spite of this, Ken appreciates what Jun does to help him in situations.
Weapons and Arsenal
Ken's Eagle Style of Kagaku Ninpo focuses on speed and agility while using his boomerangs. Sometimes he even uses his weapons while transforming. Ken's Bird Run allows him to run on most surfaces including the sides of buildings and water.
- Birdrang: A boomerang with a rocket propelled tail. The primary and original weapon of Ken in the first series.
- Bird Saucer: A collapsible bladed discus that replaced the Birdrang in Gatchaman II.
- Shock Gun: A multipurpose blaster equipped with a variety of ammo for specific tasks such as a grenade launcher for demolition or a stun blast for infiltration missions. Default secondary weapon of Ken and Joe in Gatchaman II.
- Gatchaman Fencer: A sword that Ken used as his primary weapon during Gatchaman Fighter. While a normal collapsible sword in default mode, it can be powered up by the Gatchaspartan's Delta Energy, turning it into a electrified beam sword that wields 200,000 kW of power capable of slicing through solid steel.
Science Ninja Techniques
Kagaku Ninpo: Bird Flash: Releases a blinding light to disorient foes.
Kagaku Ninpo: Kage No Bunshin: A high tech variation of an old ninja trick where a ninja would move so fast that they would create illusionary copies of themselves. In this version, the birdstyle suit glows for a second, creating and projecting solid hologram doubles of Ken.
Eagle Sharp: Ken's fighter jet from Gatchaman II. Destroyed in Gatchaman Fighter
Gatcha One: Ken's red and white jet plane in Gatchaman Fighter. After the destruction of Eagle Sharp and the New God Phoenix, Ken received this new mecha. Armed with lasers and twin missile launchers. It is one of the five vehicles used to combine into the Gatchaspartan and the primary vehicle used in the Hypershoot attack maneuver. When combining, the Gatcha One forms the front of the ship.
Appearances In Other Media
Ken first makes a brief cameo in the second episode alongside Jun, with both eating takoyaki. He later appears in a brief speaking role in the special "Episode 12.5", stopping the Doronbo Gang from stealing a ring.
He is also seen in a cameo in episode 3, or an actor dressed as him in his Gatchaman costume, in a scene with a Hollywood set.
Ken later appears as part of a crowd lured in by the Doronbo gang's latest scam in episode 24, although his shirt is depicted with a "G" on it (as opposed to a "1") for the specific shot. All of his out-of-costume appearances use his streetwear from the original series, as opposed to the Gatchaman II/Fighter design.
Time Bokan: Royal Revival (1994)
Ken appears in the second episode of the OVA, first in a flashback of him and the rest of the team with Doctor Nambu eating at Boyacky's restaurant. They leave without paying, though Boyacky tries to track them down and finds that they escaped through a manhole to the Tatsunoko Kingdom.
He later shows up for the battle against Sailor Mun Mun, but winds up insulting Jun and gets beaten up by both her and Hurricane Polymar.
His out-of-costume appearance in the OVA is of his Gatchaman II/Fighter design, with the blue "1" shirt. Joe and Ryu also bear their sequel series designs, while Jun and Jinpei were depicted in their original streetwear.
Wonderful Tatsunoko Land (1999)
Ken and the rest of the Science Ninja Team showed up in a brief segment in this New Years Eve special.
Alterations in English Adaptations
The first English adaptation, "Battle of the Planets", renamed Ken to "Mark" and significantly altered his personality as well. Mark is depicted as more of an ideal leader and role model for the younger viewers, and is continuously praised by 7-Zark-7. He seems to be calmer and more restrained than Ken, and also seems to reciprocate Princess' feelings for him (while Ken brushed off Jun's flirting or remained oblivious).
Due to the anachronical way of adapting episodes, Mark's father's fate is confusing whether watched in the original Gatchaman order or Sandy Frank's suggested order. It is known that Mark's father was believed to have been murdered on Riga, causing Mark to want to avenge him. Red Impulse was renamed "Colonel Cronus" and depicted as a mentor and old friend of Mark, but was supposedly killed and impersonated by Zoltar, although he later turned out to be alive. Finally, Colonel Cronus later revealed to Mark that he was his father, and went to sacrifice himself. However, some dialogue by Zark that claimed that Colonel Cronus ejected from his ship and survived the explosion. Another episode had a scene of Ken at Red Impulse's grave altered in dialogue to imply that Mark had an older brother that had died at some point, though this brother is never mentioned again.
In "G-Force: Guardians of Space", he is renamed "Ace Goodheart" and his backstory is much closer to the original, as well as the Red Impulse arc keeping the ending with his father's sacrifice. He is also utilized as the narrator for various episodes, explaining the story to the viewers and summarizing some events (including scenes cut for time). An earlier pitch version of "G-Force" (pre-Fred Ladd) had the character named "Lucas".
"Eagle Riders" has Ken renamed to Hunter Harris, and his Bird Style is referred to as "Hawk" rather than that of the Eagle. An episode containing a flashback to the climax of the Red Impulse arc had its dialogue altered to imply that Hunter and his father had a much closer relationship, and that his father had never taken on a secret identity. Hunter also later contracts a wasting disease, as Ken did in Fighter. Unlike Ken, Hunter is said to have had his disease fully cured.
Katsuji Mori voiced Ken in the original franchise and provides the voice clips for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, as well as reprising his role in the cameos in the Time Bokan OVA and the 2008 Yatterman series.
However, Ken was voiced by Masaya Onosaka in the 1994 OVA remake.
- Casey Kasem voiced him in "Battle of the Planets".
- Sam Fontana voiced him in "G-Force: Guardians of Space". The rejected pitch version of "G-Force" had him voiced by Don Spalding.
- Richard Cansino voiced him in "Eagle Riders".
- Eddie Frierson voiced him in Harmony Gold's original dub of the OVA.
- Todd Garbeil voiced Ken in U.S. Manga Corps' dub of the "Time Bokan: Royal Revival" OVA.
- Leraldo Anzaldua voiced Ken in both ADV Films' dub of the original series and Sentai Filmworks' redub of the Gatchaman OVA.
- Given that the Gatchaman team are modeled after American superheroes in design, the Birdrang is an obvious nod Batman's famous Batarang.
- Coincidentally, the Birdrang and the Batman Beyond's Batarang share a slightly similar design (collapsible wings and an oblong handle).
- Robin's Birdarang from the TV series Teen Titans bears an uncanny resemblance to Ken's weapon, save for the red and yellow coloring. This is possibly intentional, as Ciro Nieli, the serial producer of the series is known for referencing classic anime in some television shows he works on.
- In the earliest plans for the series, Ken's Bird Style was to be the "Great Hawk", not an eagle. His surname was to also be "Hayabusa" (lit. "peregrine falcon").
- While Ken's mother was never given a name in the original series, the OVA remake revealed her name to be Sayuri Washio.
- An alternative design for Ken from the original series depicted him wearing a blue jacket and hat, as well as his pants being straight-legged and his shoes being blue sneakers.