Battle of the Planets - Science Ninja Team Gatchaman

Just about every child of the 70s fell in love with Battle of the Planets - one of the first popular anime series to hit the US airwaves. Little did they know that what they were seeing was a highly commercialized and sanitized version of the great Japanese series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman!!

The original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman series was shown in Japan from 1972-1974. There were 205 episodes total, and the series was one of the first to feature a team-based approach where each team member had his own strengths and weaknesses and would have the affection and friction normal in that environment.

When the series came to the US in 1978 - for that one year only - it was heavily made "kid-friendly" with a great deal of the violence and mature situations removed. All of the characters were "dumbed down", and Keyop became a bizarre chirping jokester instead of a smart kid. Because of the popularity of Star Wars, they even added in a silly robot, 7-Zark-7, to play off the R2D2 theme. They took the first 85 episodes of Gatchaman and altered them heavily to show to US markets.

A few years later, they re-released Gatchaman as "G-Force" - this time it was pretty much a straight translation into English, without the silly robot and other changes.

The beauty of modern DVD is that you can now buy a DVD release that lets you see both the original episode in all its glory - and compare it to the watered-down, R2D2-filled version the US audiences got to see! Plus you can watch the G-Force version with its translations. I was a HUGE fan of Battle of the Planets, but it's a shame we couldn't see the real version right from the start.

I highly recommend that fans of the show buy the DVDs and see the comparisons!

Battle of the Planets - Cast List
Battle of the Planets - Photo Gallery
Battle of the Planets - Episode Listing

Review of Episode 1: Attack of the Space Terrapin
Review of Episode 2: Rescue of the Astronauts
Review of Episode 3: The Space Mummy
Review of Episode 4: The Space Serpent
Review of Episode 5: Ghost Ship of Planet Mir

Vol. 1 - Attack of the Space Terrapin / Rescue of the Astronauts

Vol. 2 - The Space Mummy / The Space Serpent

Gatchaman Episode List of Reviews

Anime Reviews Main Page


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