Thunderbirds 2086 title card
(Scientific Rescue Team Techno Voyager)
|Genre||Action, Science fiction|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kimio Ikeda|
|Produced by||Shinji Nakagawa
|Music by||Kentarō Haneda
|Original run||17 April 1982 – 11 September 1982|
Thunderbirds 2086 (科学救助隊テクノボイジャー Kagaku Kyūjo Tai Tekunoboijā?, Scientific Rescue Team TechnoVoyager) is a Japanese anime series loosely inspired by the original Gerry Anderson Supermarionation series Thunderbirds. The series was dubbed in English by ITC Entertainment, the original company who produced Thunderbirds, but is not officially recognised as part of Thunderbirds canon, due to the non-involvement of either Gerry or Sylvia Anderson. In addition to the English dub, the series contains music and sound effects from Anderson's series Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe 90, UFO and Space:1999. A total of 24 episodes were produced, but only 18 were shown on Fuji TV in 1982.
The series takes place in 2086 (with the dub setting being roughly twenty years after the original series with other dates seen on screen) and chronicles the adventures of TechnoVoyager (literally, "TechnoBoyger", a portmanteau of "Techno", "Boy", and "Voyager") a rescue team portrayed in the dub as the "Thunderbirds" working for the International Rescue Organisation (in the Japanese version, the two entities are one and the same). Unlike the original International Rescue, which was small-scale and family-run, TechnoVoyager is a vast organisation comprising numerous branches and overseen by the Federation, this series' equivalent of the United Nations. Although the dub is called Thunderbirds 2086, the Tracy family, who ran IR in the original series, are not mentioned. In the dub, the Thunderbirds name is used to refer to the team, while in the original series the name merely referred to their vehicles. The animated series otherwise has notable similarities to the original, with most episodes revolving around a natural or man-made disaster which the TechnoVoyager/Thunderbirds team must investigate and help resolve. Unlike the original series, Thunderbirds 2086 also has an ongoing story arc, like many Japanese anime series. This one revolves around a breakaway independence group known as the Shadow Axis, led by the mysterious Star Crusher. There is a heavy intimation in the series that Star Crusher is not human and may be some kind of alien entity.
Similar to the original show, the team's headquarters is an island in the Pacific. Its main building is a huge pyramid containing an entire city inside. It is known as the Arcology. Like the original International Rescue, a space station in orbit is maintained to monitor mayday calls. TB-6 is the space station in this series, similar in concept to Thunderbird 5. Both the Arcology and TB6 are home to many thousands of people.
Vehicles and characters
There are 17 vehicles, each with a different purpose and specialty. The craft are referred to using abbreviated designations containing "TB" (originally standing for "TechnoBoyger", the literal Japanese romanization of "TechnoVoyager"; in the dub, it is portrayed as standing for "Thunderbird"), such as TB-1, TB-2, etc. Oddly, the introductory dialogue in the dub describes the characters as cadets, while all of the episodes give their rank as Captain, although Grant Hanson is the senior captain in charge of the group.
The vehicles are (with the exception of TB-8, 11, 14 (Mentioned Only), 15 and 16) described to a party of school children visiting Arcology in the episode 'Child's Play' and the remaining vehicles are shown in the 1983 Annual.
- TB-1/Thunderbird 1, an aircraft similar in design to the space shuttle. It is capable of space flight and can combine with Thunderbirds 2 and 3 to form a larger vessel. It is piloted by Captain Dylan Beyda.
- TB-2/Thunderbird 2, a large cargo hauler identical in purpose to the original series' Thunderbird 2, although it is blue rather than green and stores the smaller interchangeable vehicles inside its cargo bay rather than through the use of hangar pods. Pods are used for large vehicles (Notably TB-5) and are carried at the rear of the vehicle between the engines, with TB-2 landing vertically when carrying a pod. TB-2 has space flight capabilities and is piloted by Captain Jesse Eric Rigel Jones and Captain Jonathon Samuel Jordan Edkins Jr.
- TB-3/Thunderbird 3 is an APC-like mobile command center used to monitor situations on the ground. It can split in half and merge with TB-1 and TB-2 for transportation to remote parts of the world and is capable of short rocket hops. It is piloted by Captain Grant Hanson (same name in the Japanese version, but without the "t"), the oldest and most senior-ranking of the Thunderbirds.
- TB-4/Thunderbird 4 is a yellow submarine like its original series counterpart but much larger. It is too large to be carried by TB-2 and usually makes its way to the disaster area after being directly launched from the Arcology. It is piloted by Captain Catherine Kallan Heyward James, the only female crew member of the Thunderbirds team.
- TB-5/Thunderbird 5 is a large ground-tunneling vehicle which is reminiscent of the original series' pod vehicle known as the Mole. However, TB-5 is much larger. It is carried into missions by TB-2.
- TB-6/Thunderbird 6 is the largest Thunderbird, a massive space station which serves a similar purpose to the original series' Thunderbird 5. TB-6 is manned by hundreds if not thousands of IRO personnel and is described as a floating city.
- TB-7/Thunderbird 7 is a one-man fast interceptor aircraft which can be stored either inside TB-1 or TB-2 and used as a drone when required.
- TB-8/Thunderbird 8 is only seen in one episode and is shown carried inside TB-1 and capable of drone operation. The 1983 Annual lists it as Computer Controlled Air Transport, stored on TB-1, unmanned and used for disposal of dangerous materials.
- TB-9/Thunderbird 9 is a walker-robot used for repair and upgrade work. It is always carried by another craft.
- TB-10/Thunderbird 10 is an exceptionally fast spacecraft which can reach speeds of over Mach 176 and is used for rapid travel from Earth to other planets.
- TB-11/Thunderbird 11 is an armored high-speed ground vehicle carried aboard TB-3. Although never shown or referenced in the show, it is shown in the 1983 Thunderbirds 2086 annual. It is listed as being 5 metres long, weighing one ton and capable of 370 km/h equipped with computer controlled sensors and an array of weapons.
- TB-12/Thunderbird 12 is a bulldozer-like vehicle which can move extremely heavy weights with an extending platform, similar in design to the original series elevator cars. It is also capable of operating underwater.
- TB-13/Thunderbird 13 is a smaller submarine which is carried inside TB-4 and deployed to reach places too small for TB-4 to travel. It is capable of 60 knots in the water. Although never shown on screen it is stated in 'Child's Play' to be capable of flying at speeds of up to Mach 1.
- TB-14/Thunderbird 14 never appears but is referenced in 'Child's Play'. It is a deep-water Bathyscaphe capable of traveling far below crush depth, carried aboard TB-4.
- TB-15/Thunderbird 15 is a small tracked vehicle stored inside TB-3 or TB-5 and capable of drone operation. It is listed in the 1983 Annual as a Mobile Computer and can be manned or unmanned as required.
- TB-16/Thunderbird 16 is The Mole, carried aboard TB-3 or TB-5 as required and virtually identical to the original series vehicle. The only difference is that TB-16 is unmanned (according to the 1983 Annual) and capable of operating underwater.
- TB-17/Thunderbird 17 is a huge spacecraft which is bigger than any other Thunderbird bar only TB-6, where it spends most of its time docked. TB-17 is used for extended operations away from Earth and can store all of the other Thunderbirds (apart from TB-6) inside it.
Commander Jared Simpson (same name in the original) is the commanding officer of the team and gives the heroes their missions. He is the "Jeff Tracy" figure of the animated series. He has a nephew, Skipper Simpson (Paul in the Japanese original), a young boy who idolizes the Thunderbirds and hopes to one day join their ranks.
Although an organisation numbering in the thousands, the same five-person team is always dispatched to the danger zones.
|No.||Title||Original air date||Prod.
|1||"Firefall"||1 May 1982||03|
|International Rescue set out into space to rescue the captain of the space colony Rosa-Dante, but this puts Dylan through memories of when his friend once saved his life.|
|2||"Computer Madness"||19 June 1982||09|
|While Jesse and Little John handle repairs on Thunderbird 6, the remaining Thunderbird Team must travel to the moon to de-activate a super computer.|
|3||"One of a Kind"||29 May 1982||06|
|Grant's mental conscience is put to test when the thunderbirds are sent to a severe forest fire, where a biologically engineered stag is on the loose.|
|4||"Snowbound"||17 July 1982||12|
|The thunderbirds head out to rescue a trapped monorail during a snow storm, leaving Dylan to get inside the buried area, and Grant removing the snow in Thunderbird 5.|
|5||"Space Warriors"||28 August 1982||16|
|Dylan joins The space patrol to track down a renegade rider who is on the run.|
|6||"Sunburn"||4 September 1982||17|
|This episode is based on the original Thunderbirds episode "Sun Probe". The space observatory Sunbeam is on a failing orbit into the sun, The Thunderbirds race there to repair the booster rockets, While Grant is aboard the Sunbeam, Kallan attaches the new rocket to the hull in Thunderbird 1, Jesse and Little John in Thunderbird 2 to clear the damaged areas but this leaves Dylan on a dangerous task by flying Thunderbird 17 into the sun itself to release a massive amount of energy from a large solar flare.|
|7||"Fear Factor"||8 May 1982||04|
|The Thunderbirds encounter a scientist and his alienated son, who suffers from fear of being in space.|
|8||"Fault Line"||15 May 1982||05|
|Dylan and Kallan must use Thunderbirds 1, 4 and 13 to rescue a friend of theirs as they become trapped in a fault line where magma is about to spill out into the ocean and right underneath an oil refinery.|
|9||"Shadow Axis"||12 June 1982||08|
|Kallan is captured by the Shadow Axis, an organization who follow the orders of Star Crusher, leaving Thunderbirds 4 and 13 at the bottom of the ocean.|
|10||"Star Crusher"||11 September 1982||18|
|In Japan, this program is terminated at this episode because of very low audience rating. Star Crusher lures the Thunderbirds to a construction site where the Prototype Engine For The newly built Thunderbird 18 is undergoing final tests, but trouble ensares when Thunderbird 2 is Hijacked and heading towards the waterfall, Jesse uses Thunderbird 12 to lift Thunderbird 2 out of the water.|
|11||"Shockwave"||17 April 1982||01|
|The thunderbirds must save a space bus full of children after an explosion at a power station, but problems arise when underwater missiles are launched for "Operation Shockwave", Leaving Dylan, Kallen, Jesse and Little John to use Thunderbirds 7 and 8 to disable the missiles.|
|12||"Guardian"||14 August 1982||15|
|The thunderbirds must use the help of a dying space traveller to stop a spaceship carrying the traveller's cryogenically frozen brother.|
|13||"Thunderbolt"||31 July 1982||14|
|Star Crusher sabotages a huge atmospheric flying air carrier, the Thunderbolt, with an explosion aboard the vessel that disables its controls. With the one-and-a-half mile long Thunderbolt never being designed to land, the Thunderbirds have to develop a safe runway for the ship in order to prevent it from crashing down into a heavily populated city.|
|14||"Big Deal"||24 July 1982||13|
|The solar system's largest company, Asteroid Mines Inc., has suffered a series of sabotages on its mining ships carrying the rare material cryolite. The Thunderbirds are sent to investigate and uncover a plot to take over the company itself.|
|15||"Kudzilla"||3 July 1982||10|
|The thunderbirds must deal with a large acid spitting plant in space, Leaving Kallan in Thunderbird 9 to collect samples of the plant's DNA to create an antidote.|
|16||"Nightmare"||10 July 1982||11|
|Dylan and his brother Danny head out in Thunderbird 10 to a space station where all people are terminally ill and under the influence of Star Crusher.|
|17||"Cloudburst"||24 April 1982||02|
|After a meteor shower damages a weather satellite in the South Pacific, massive storms explode all over the ocean. There are heavily populated islands in the southern seas, and the Thunderbirds will have to act fast to evacuate and rescue the populations in peril.|
|An aircraft carrying an illegal shipment of dangerous chemicals being transported by Agent Ultra crashes into the ocean, spilling the chemicals close to a top secret underwater research laboratory that is breeding valuable marine life. The Thunderbirds are sent to the lab in order to clean up the chemical spillage and prevent the deaths of the near-extinct animals present there.|
|The Thunderbirds must navigate a maze of obstacles in a city run by a computer intelligence known as "Metal Head", Thunderbird 1 is damaged in an attack, which leaves Dylan and Little John to cycle the city to save the passengers of a damaged transporter and bring them back to Thunderbird 4.|
|Dylan volunteers to test fly a highly advanced interstellar spacecraft prototype called the Centauri. Unfortunately, before lift-off, the craft was damaged in an accident, resulting in Dylan heading out of control towards the planet Jupiter's atmosphere, along with a Blue Angels pilot. The rest of the Thunderbirds mount a daring rescue mission to save them.|
|The thunderbirds head back to the moon where a strange crystal is turning the people into one collective mind.|
|On the distant planet Pluto, astronauts discover an unusual organic stone like structure and end up being trapped by it. The Thunderbirds are sent to Pluto to rescue the astronauts and discover that the stone is in fact an alien monitoring device that is ready to send a signal reporting the nature of the human race. In a trial to determine the worthiness of the human race, the Thunderbirds must convince the device that the people of the Earth are not evil and that their planet is truly at peace.|
|23||"Child's Play"||5 June 1982||07|
|During a tour of IRO Headquarter, two young boys who idolize the Thunderbirds wreck havoc when they mistakenly launch Thunderbird-1 and crash into a building.|
|A giant red comet enters the solar system and is discovered to be on a collision course with the Moon. Within 24 hours of the comet's arrival, extreme weather conditions and other natural disasters have occurred on Earth, due to the comet's proximity. The Thunderbirds discover that it is really an alien spacecraft that has been sent to steal energy from the Sun and return with it to its own dying solar system.|
- X-Bomber - previous Gerry Anderson inspired production by Kimio Ikeda and Jin Productions. Created by Go Nagai.
- Firestorm - Japanese anime co-created by Gerry Anderson
- The Complete Gerry Anderson - The Authorised Episode Guide, Chris Bentley, (Reynolds and Hearn, 2005, 2006 and 2008 editions)
- Thunderbirds 2086 (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Thunderbirds 2086 at the Internet Movie Database
- Thunderbirds 2086 at TV.com