Battle of the Planets - 1 - Attack of the Space Terrapin
The very first episode of Battle of the Planets deals with a robotic turtle. In Japanese it was a King Turtle ... and in G-Force it was a Robotic Stegasaurus!
First, the original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman episode. It begins with the King Turtle attacking a base which is storing uranium. After it's stolen, a conference of scientists discusses the attack, and how they were going to use the uranium as a peaceful energy source. Apparently it was stolen by a terrorist group out to destroy the planet and gain power.
One of the scientists says that his ninja group - the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman - will get the uranium back. Now we move to the 5 team members. Each is identified as a type of bird - the "Condor", the "Owl", the "Sparrow". Each is a skilled, intelligent member of the team, and the small "Sparrow" is the smart, younger brother of the only girl on the team. They're told to persue the turtle, not to engage it, and find out who sent it.
There is conflict in the group as the turtle continues to kill people and head towards a city. The "Condor" wants to blast it before it causes harm, while the "Eagle" leader tries to follow their set mission. Finally they decide that they can't sacrifice the city's inhabitants and go to attack. The team heads inside, where the enemy prepares to kill them. The five instead say they're the Ninja Team and form a giant whirlwind to attack, and do so with viscious efficiency.
Their spaceship is caught on the way out and they risk turning into a fiery phoenix - even though this might mean their death. Luckily, they get out OK.
The US Version - Battle of the Planets
In the US version, the whole first 5 minutes is about "7-Zark-7", an annoying robot who claims to control G-Force. This robot does NOT exist in the real series from Japan. Any scene involving people being hurt or threatened is gone. Instead, the Terrapin Robot breaks into pretty much an empty base to steal a "healthy fertilizer" that helps plants grow. Hardly Uranium!!
The team, instead of being smart and well trained, are now Orphans with Minituarized Cerebonic Implants. So those are robotic skills. Each character is extremely stereotyped, with the Robotic descriptions being demeaning. "Owl" is now "Tiny", a dumb, fat kid. "Sparrow" is now "Keyop", a clone who speaks in bizarre chirps and makes stupid jokes. 7-Zark-7 says "he's very special and different. He was manufactured, grown from a single cell in the laboratory." Now wait, clones grow up to be normal people. They're not robots ...
The girl is "Princess" and the robot makes sly comments about her being in need of special care. He says, "I sort of pay special attention to princess ... I really don't know just whyyyyy"
All of the dilemma about "Oh no, they're destroying the city, should we follow orders and just watch" is gone. Now it's simply "Robot has stolen fertilizer! OK, chase it! Capture the bad guys!" Nobody is ever threatened. The bad guys, Spectra, are outer space aliens who want to capture G-Force. G-force wants to capture the bad guys. In fact, when G-Force turns into the tornado, they say cheap jokes instead of announcing the launch of their attack.
And at the end, when they turn into the fiery phoenix, they just say "OK, it's our last resort because it uses our powers up." There isn't any fear or concern, it's just "OK here we go."
The G-Force version turns the turtle into a robotic stegosaurus, but the rest is pretty much along the lines of the original Japanese version. They do filter out a swear or two, such as "Damn Those Uranium Thieves!" but in general the storyline and animation is a straight translation.
Keyop, wanting to go into the Turtle
Japan: "I'm the great "Jinpei the Swallow," 18th generation Iga Ninja"
US: "chirp chirp chirp itsy bitsy whirr whirr teeny weeny"
Princess, saying she is going along instead
Japan: "Hazardous materials are my duty. I'm going as well."
US: "It's myyyyy turn, I'm going with Mark!"
The Bad Guys have the team cornered
Japan: "You've thrown away your lives ...
... when you sneaked aboard Galactor's monster robot, Turtle King.
We shall have your names before we kill you all."
US: "Prepare to surrender yourselves, children.
Our supreme leader will be very amused when we bring
you back to our galaxy."
The Team's Response
Japan: "Sometimes we are five, sometimes we are one
we are white shadows that act invisibly
We are warriors for justice, Science Ninja Team.
(Keyop) Ninja Technique, Tornado Fighter!
US: Hate to disappoint your ruler!
But you can take him this message just for laughs.
(Keyop) Bug Off!
Battle of the Planets Information
Vol. 1 - Attack of the Space Terrapin / Rescue of the Astronauts
Gatchaman Episode List of Reviews
Anime Reviews Main Page
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