Battle of the Planets

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Battle of the Planets
Battle of the Planets.gif
Created by Sandy Frank Entertainment
Directed by David E. Hanson
Alan Dinehart
Voices of Casey Kasem
Keye Luke
Alan Young
Janet Waldo
Alan Dinehart
Ronnie Schell
Theme music composer Hoyt Curtin
Composer(s) Hoyt Curtin
Dennis Dreith
Richard Greene
Bob Sakuma
Country of origin USA
Japan
No. of episodes 85 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Jameson Brewer
Sandy Frank
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel first-run syndication[1]
Original run September 1, 1978 (1978-09-01) – August 1, 1985 (1985-08-01)

Battle of the Planets (1978) is an American adaptation of the Japanese anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972).[2] Of the 105 original Gatchaman episodes, 85 were used in the Battle of the Planets adaptation, produced by Sandy Frank Entertainment. The adaptation was generally faithful to the plot and character development of the original Gatchaman series, but significant additions and reductions were made in order to increase appeal to the North American juvenile-male television market of the late 1970s, as well as avoid controversy from parents; most notable was the removal of elements of graphic violence, and profanity.[3]

As of June 2013, Sentai Filmworks have licensed[4] the Gatchaman franchise. An oft-delayed CGI film based on the franchise, Gatchaman, last slated for a 2011 release from Warner Bros., was officially canceled in June 2011. However, a live-action Gatchaman feature film was released in Japan in August 2013.

Opening and closing narrations[edit]

The show begins with the first narration, spoken by Bill Woodson:

Battle of the Planets! G-Force! Princess! Tiny! Keyop! Mark! Jason! And watching over them from Center Neptune, their computerized coordinator, 7-Zark-7! Watching, warning against surprise attacks by alien galaxies beyond space. G-Force! Fearless young orphans, protecting Earth's entire galaxy. Always five, acting as one. Dedicated! Inseparable! Invincible!

The second narration, also spoken by Bill Woodson:

Battle of the Planets! G-Force, five incredible young people with superpowers! And watching over them from Center Neptune, 7-Zark-7! Watching, warning against surprise attacks by alien galaxies from beyond space. G-Force! Fearless young orphans, protecting Earth's entire galaxy. Always five, acting as one. Dedicated! Inseparable! Invincible!

The show closes with narration by Bill Woodson:

Tune in again for excitement, action and outer space adventure with...G-Force! Mark! Princess! Tiny! Keyop! Jason! And...7-Zark-7, the fantastic guardian robot of Center Neptune! Protecting the galaxy from alien invaders of other worlds! Facing untold dangers every moment of their lives! Battle of the Planets!

Summary[edit]

Battle of the Planets cast five young people as G-Force, consisting of Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop, and Tiny. G-Force protects Earth from planet Spectra and other attacks from beyond space. The most prominent field commander of the Spectra forces was a villainous, masked individual known as Zoltar. Zoltar would receive his orders directly from a being he would refer to as "Luminous One". The Luminous One would appear as a ghost-like, disembodied, floating head. Who, or what this being actually was, is never explained in any detail throughout the series.

The main ship of the G-Force team was called the Phoenix, which could carry, transport and deploy four smaller vehicles, each operated by one team member. The four vehicles included a futuristic race car with various hidden weapons driven by Jason; this vehicle was concealed within the Phoenix's nosecone. The "galacti-cycle", a futuristic motor cycle the Princess rode, was stored within the left wing capsule of the Phoenix. Keyop's "Space Bubble", an all-terrain, tank-like vehicle capable of VTOL as well as being a submersible craft, was held in the right storage capsule of the Phoenix. And lastly, a futuristic jet fighter Mark pilots was stored in the top rear section of the Phoenix command island structure, and which used its tail fin to make up the center tail fin of the Phoenix. The fifth crew member, Tiny, was assigned to pilot the Phoenix rather than one of the detachable craft.

A regularly featured plot device was the transformation of the Phoenix into a flaming bird-shaped craft able to handle virtually any exceptional situation by functioning as a sort of giant, super blowtorch called the Fiery Phoenix. The Phoenix’s primary weapon was a supply of rockets called "TBX missiles" in the series. It also occasionally flaunted a powerful solar-powered energy blaster, although the team had the misfortune of choosing very cloudy days to use it.

The G-Force team themselves would use a combination of martial arts skill, ninja-like weapons, and their "cerebonic" powers to dispatch hordes of enemy soldiers and overcome other obstacles. Their bird-like costumes include wing-like capes that could fan out and function nearly identically to parachutes and/or wing suits, enabling the G-Force members to drift or glide down to safety from heights which would otherwise prove fatal.

The G-Force members stay in contact through a wrist-band communicator device which also serves as a way for them to change instantly into their G-Force uniforms or back into their civilian clothes. Other weapons seen displayed by various team members include: Mark's sonic boomerang, a bird-shaped boomerang with razor sharp wings; Jason's and Tiny's multi-purpose gadget guns, which can be outfitted with grappling hook and line, drill bits, etc.; and Keyop's and Princess's yo-yo bombs, which could be used as bolas, darts, and explosive devices. Other weapons include feathers with a sharpened steel quill that could be used as deadly throwing darts, and mini-grenades shaped like ball bearings with spike studs.

Subsequent versions[edit]

Left to right: Mark, Tiny, Keyop, Princess, and Jason.

In 1986, Gatchaman was re-worked in the US as G-Force: Guardians of Space by Turner, with a good deal of the original content edited out of Battle of the Planets put back into the show. It followed the plot of the original Gatchaman much more faithfully than Battle of the Planets because of this. Missing was Hoyt Curtin's original score and new voice acting. This version, however, was criticized by fans of both Gatchaman and Battle of the Planets, and never achieved the same level of popularity.

Two soundtrack albums and several DVDs have been released.

The two Japanese follow-up series (Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter) were combined into 65 episodes and released as the Saban-produced show Eagle Riders. All 65 episodes aired in Australia, but in the United States only 13 episodes were aired.

Key changes in the adaptation[edit]

The Battle of the Planets adaptation differs significantly from Gatchaman.[5] The difference is due to heavy editing made to make the show appealing to the audience in the United States by removing controversial elements (i.e. graphic violence, profanity and transgenderism) while adding elements reminiscent of the feature film Star Wars, which was popular at the time. In fact the name "Battle of the Planets" was an attempt to associate itself with that popularity of Star Wars (Battle vs. Wars and Planets vs. Star). While the original Gatchaman was earthbound, dark-toned, and environmentally themed, the adaptation morphed it into a kid-friendly outer space show with robot characters, although some environmental themes were kept, and this is also why the other planets to which G-Force traveled on missions looked very much like Earth. Setting, violence, objectionable language, and most character fatalities were altered or eliminated by cutting scenes, dubbing, and explanatory voiceovers (for instance, claiming that the city had been evacuated before a battle scene that would show the incidental destruction of buildings and houses, as well as explaining away the destruction of the Earth armies and air forces as being robot tanks and fighter planes).[6][7]

One of the most notable changes in the BotP adaptation involves the character Keyop (Jinpei in Gatchaman), who picked up a bizarre verbal tic of stuttering, chirping, and burbling every time he started to speak. There was a longstanding fan rumor that this was done because the original character spoke using much profanity and that Keyop's excess mouth motion would cover up deleting the words. This was not true, as demonstrated by the existence of an unedited Gatchaman version released by ADV Films in the USA, in which Keyop rarely if ever used profanity. The in-story explanation for Keyop's unique manner of speech is that he is an artificial life form with a speech impediment because of slightly defective genetic engineering.[8]

The main villain, known as Zoltar in BotP, had an unusual background due to the hermaphroditic nature of the original Berg Katse character. In an episode where Katse's female half was featured (BotP title: "The Galaxy Girls"), she was introduced as a separate character, Zoltar's sister, for BotP. (A hint of her actual nature was retained in the name she used when masquerading as a human, Mala Latroz—"Latroz" is an anagram of "Zoltar.")[8]

To compensate for the other differences, a robot named 7-Zark-7 performed explanatory voiceovers and light comic relief, which not only padded the time lost from editing but also filled in the gaps in the story line. This device bears the influence of contemporary Star Wars film, with 7-Zark-7 having a visual appearance not dissimilar from R2-D2, and a somewhat campy personality in the style of C3PO. Notionally, 7-Zark-7 ran the undersea monitoring station Center Neptune, from where he received information regarding incoming threats to Earth and relayed that information to G-Force. Zark and other added characters, such as 1-Rover-1, Zark's robotic dog (who could hover from one side of the control room to the other by spinning his tail like a propeller, Muttley-style) and Susan (the early-warning computer whose sultry feminine voice often sent Zark into paroxysms) added to the cartoon's youth appeal. Some additional footage was also animated showing G-Force members (using their Gatchaman model sheets) interacting with Zark, helping his addition blend more smoothly into the existing Gatchaman footage (although there is a clear difference in quality between the Zark and the Gatchaman animation).

Production staff[edit]

Owned and distributed by: Sandy Frank Entertainment (1978–2007)

Produced by: Sandy Frank Film Syndication, Gallerie International Films Ltd.

Executive Producers: Jameson Brewer, Sandy Frank

Associate Producer: Warner E. Leighton

Producer-Directors: David E. Hanson, Alan Dinehart

Writers: Jameson Brewer, Peter B. Germano, William Bloom, Jack Paritz, Harry Winkler, Helen Sosin, Muriel Germano, Dick Shaw, Kevin Coates, Howard Post, Sid Morse

Supervising Film Editor: Franklin Cofod

Assistant Editor: Pam Bentkowski

Voice Director: Alan Dinehart

Assistant Voice Director: Alan Dinehart Jr

Creative Consultant: David Levy

Standards and Practices: Winifred Treimer

Program Consultants: Leonard Reeg, George Serban, M.D.

Production Executives: Irving Klein, Tom Swafford

Production Assistant: Bob Robinson

Production Manager: Emil Carle

Animation Supervisor: Harold Johns

Design Consultant: Alex Toth

Music Composers: Hoyt S. Curtin, Dennis Dreith, Richard Greene

Music Supervisors: Paul DeKorte, Igo Kantor

ADR Recording: TV-R Hollywood

Camera: Take One

Ink and Paint: C&D Productions, Hollywood

Titles: Thomas Wogatzke

Voice cast[edit]

Mark: Casey Kasem

Jason: Unknown ("Attack of The Space Terrapin"), Ronnie Schell (all other episodes)

Princess/Susan/Mala: Janet Waldo

Keyop/7-Zark-7: Alan Young

Tiny: Ronnie Schell ("Attack Of The Space Terrapin"), Alan Dinehart Jr (all other episodes)

Chief Anderson/President Kane: Alan Dinehart Jr

Zoltar/The Great Spirit/Colonel Cronus: Keye Luke

Announcer: William Woodson

Misc.: Alan Oppenheimer, David Joliffe, Wendy Young, Takayo Fischer

Episodes[edit]

Movie[edit]

A TV Movie called "Battle Of The Planets: The Movie" was made by Gallerie International Films and Sandy Frank Film Syndication. David Bret Egen was the voice of 7-Zark-7. The movie was combined from several episodes to form a new story line which contained violence as well as deaths.

Comic books[edit]

Battle of the Planets was also released in comic book form, originally by Gold Key Comics, but later revamped by Top Cow Productions.[9] Among the Top Cow comic books was Battle of the Planets: Princess, written by David Wohl with art by Wilson Tortosa, released in 2002.[10] A Battle of the Planets comic strip ran in the British TV Comic. The TV Comic issues which feature the Battle of the Planets strip run from #1530 (17 April 1981) to #1671 (30 December 1983). TV Comic also reprinted some of the Gold Key stories for two Battle of the Planets holiday specials and one TV Comic holiday special. There was also a Battle of the Planets annual which reprinted some of the Gold Key stories.

Soundtrack[edit]

Battle of the Planets track listing[11]
Battle of the Planets soundtrack cover illustration
  1. Main Theme – Title Card
  2. Dramatic Curtain
  3. Ready Room
  4. Alien Trap
  5. BP-Mysterioso 4 – BP-Mysterioso 3 – BP-Mysterioso 2
  6. BP-Teenage Mysterioso
  7. Love In The Afterburner
  8. 7-Zark-7's Song – Zarks Theme Alt – Zark Disco
  9. Keyops 1 – Robot Hijinks
  10. Firefight
  11. BP-Orion Cue #1 – Orion 4 – BP-Orion Runs
  12. Alien Planet
  13. Two Monsters – Star Fight
  14. Alien Trouble – More Alien Trouble
  15. Space On Fire
  16. Phoenix Raising
  17. BP-108
  18. BP-101 Alt – The Robot's Dog
  19. BP-Sneak-Up – BP-Bad Guys
  20. Return To The Alien Planet
  21. BP-600 – BP600 A
  22. BP-101 – BP-106 – BP-107 – BP-2002
  23. Come Out, Come Out
  24. BP-105 – BP-2001
  25. Melting Jets
  26. BP-Dialogue – BP-2025 – BP-Mysterious – BP-2020 – BP-2002
  27. The Chief Alien Shows Up - Victory
  28. Main Title With Voice Over
  29. Emblem G
  30. Spectra Visions
  31. Like The Phoenix
  32. Coral Reef
  33. Crescent Moon
  34. Holding Up A Shad
  35. Zoltar, Fastening The Armor
  36. Fighter G
  37. Red Illusion
  38. The Earth Is Alone!
  39. A Vow To The Sky
  40. Countdown
  41. Fighting Phoenix
  42. Space Chase
  43. BP-1 Zark's Theme
  44. Alien Planet
  45. BP-1000
  46. Space Mummy Trailer
  47. Space Serpent Trailer
  48. The Ghost Ship Of Planet Mir Trailer
  49. The Luminous One (Promo Spot)
  50. G-Force Vs. Zoltar (Promo Spot)
  51. 7-Zark-7 And Company (Promo Spot)
  52. The Luminous One #2 (Promo Spot)
  53. Commander Mark, Jason (Promo Spot)
  54. Princess, Tiny, Keyop (Promo Spot)
  55. Battle Of The Planes 04 (Remix) – Spray
  56. The Ballad Of 7 Zark 7 (Remix) – Spray

Characters[edit]

The renaming of the various characters and terms in Battle of the Planets are highlighted as follows (in correspondence to their Gatchaman equivalents, among others):

Gatchaman Battle of the Planets G-Force Eagle Riders OVA (Harmony Gold Dub) Rank Bird Uniform Weapon Mecha Japanese voice actor Voice actor (BOTP) Voice actor (G-Force) Voice actor (Harmony Gold OVA Dub) Voice actor (Eagle Riders) Voice actor (ADV TV/Sentai OVA dub)
Ken Washio Mark Ace Goodheart Hunter Harris Ken the Eagle G1 Eagle Razor boomerang Airplane Katsuji Mori Casey Kasem Sam Fontana Eddie Frierson Richard Cansino Leraldo Anzaldua
Joe (George Asakura) Jason Dirk Daring Joe Thax Joe the Condor G2 Condor Pistol Race Car Isao Sasaki Ronnie Schell Cam Clarke Richard Cansino Bryan Cranston Brian Jepson
Jun Princess Agatha June ("Aggie") Kelly Jennar June the Swan G3 Swan Yo-yo Motorcycle Kazuko Sugiyama Janet Waldo Barbara Goodson Lara Cody Heidi Noelle Lenhart Kim Prause
Jinpei Keyop Pee Wee Mickey Dugan Jimmy the Falcon G4 Swallow Bolo Dune Buggy Yoku Shioya Alan Young Barbara Goodson Mona Marshall Luci Christian
Ryu Nakanishi Tiny Harper Hoot Owl ("Hooty") Ollie Keeawani Rocky the Owl G5 Owl Pistol God Phoenix Shingo Kanemoto Alan Dinehart Jan Rabson/Gregg Berger Richard Epcar Paul Schrier Victor Carsrud

Character variations across different versions[edit]

Gatchaman Battle of the Planets G-Force Eagle Riders OVA (Harmony Gold Dub)
Dr. Kozaburo Nambu Chief Anderson Dr. Benjamin Brighthead Dr. Thaddeus Keane Dr. Kozaburo Nambu
ISO Director Anderson President Kane Anderson/Cmdr. Todd (some episodes) Anderson Director Anderson
Red Impulse /
Kentaro Washio
Col. Cronos Red Impulse / Kendrick Goodheart Harley Harris Red Spectre
Berg Katse Zoltar Galactor Lukan Solaris
Sosai (Leader) X O Luminous One /
The Great Spirit
Computor Cybercom Lord Zortek
Galactor Planet Spectra Planet Galactor Vorak Galactor
Gel Sadra
(Gatchaman 2)
Mallanox

Other notable changes[edit]

Variations Gatchaman (Japanese) Battle Of The Planets Guardians Of Space Eagle Riders OVA (Harmony Gold dub) Gatchaman (English)
Identity Change Command Bird, Go!‡ Transmute! G-Force, Transform! Eagle Mode, NOW!
Ken Eagle One, Transform!
Joe Shapeshift, Condor
June Swan Mode, Now!
Jimmy Falcon Tracker, Transform!
Rocky (Unknown)
Bird, Go!
Planet/Civilization Selectol (planet) Gyarakutā (civilization) Spectra Galactor Vorak Galactor Selectol (planet) Galactor (civilization)

‡The original Japanese language version of Gatchaman contains a small amount of English.

Reception[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the show was voted #42 on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows in 2001.[12]

The show was voted #62 on "100 Greatest Cartoons" in 2004.

According to Wizard magazine, Battle of the Planets is considered to be one of the 100 greatest animated shows.[13]

In 2009, IGN ranked BOTP as the 44th greatest animated show of all time in their Top 100 list.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top 100 animated series". IGN. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  2. ^ "From 'Speed' to outer space". Japan Times. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  3. ^ "Battle of the Planets 25th Anniversary Collection". IGN. 2003-06-13. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  4. ^ "Sentai Filmworks Licenses Gatchaman". Sentai-filmworks.com. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  5. ^ "Battle of the Planets Vol. #2". Mania.com. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 
  6. ^ "BBC - Cult - Classic TV - Battle of the Planets". bbc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  7. ^ "New from Japan: Anime Film Reviews". Animation World Network. 2001-12-28. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  8. ^ a b G-Force Animated - Jason Hofius, George Khoury, Alex Ross - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. 2002-12-15. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  9. ^ "Comic Book Review: Battle of the Planets #3". The Trades. 2002-09-23. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  10. ^ "Battle of the Planets #1 breaks 150,000". Comic Book Resources. 2003-06-13. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  11. ^ *Silva Screen Music Soundtracks – Battle of the Planets; Silva Screen Music online; accessed .
  12. ^ "100 Greatest Kids' TV shows". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  13. ^ "'Battle of the Planets' Headed to Boomerang". animationinsider.com. 2004-04-05. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 

External links[edit]