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Gatchaman!
January 28, 2011 10:26 AM   Subscribe

"Five orphans with a spacecraft battle a lipsticked maniac from the Crab Nebula and his unlikely big flying robots. No one gets hurt."
In 1972, the anime action-adventure show Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman,) premiered on Japanese television. Featuring graphic violence, extensive profanity and a transgendered villain, it was one of the most popular animated series of its time. Envisioning similar success in the US, Sandy Frank Entertainment acquired the series in 1978 but deemed it too graphic and shocking for domestic audiences. So they hired two Hanna-Barbera vets to "re-version" totally bowdlerize the episodes with new scripts, voiceovers music and effects, animation, etc., at a cost of $5 million and turn it into a brand new show: Battle of the Planets. Here are the original 1978 Battle of the Planets feature film (in 7 parts,) and the first 19 episodes of the show, all available on Youtube.

CBR: GATCHAMAN! The story of Tatsuo Yoshida and his greatest creation

Gatchaman Opening in Japanese with theme song by Masato Shimon, who is also known for his unique rendition of the theme to Star Wars. Partial translation of the lyrics.

Per IMDB, the show was originally marketed to capitalize on the first Star Wars movie. Voice artists on Battle of the Planets included Alan Young and Kasey Casem.

Japanese Episodes of Gatchaman I and two series sequels: Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter have been uploaded by user 0yulka0 (no playlist). These are in Japanese. Many have English or Korean subtitles. The differences between the two shows should be immediately obvious.

A number of episodes of Toonami’s 1986 “G-Force Guardians of Space” can also be seen on Youtube.

BBC Cult: Background
* Introduction
* Trivia
* Reviews
* Picture Gallery / Desktop Wallpaper:

Wikipedia: Background
* Gatchaman
* Gatchaman OVA
* Battle of the Planets
* Sandy Frank Entertainment

TVTropes
* Battle of the Planets
* Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
* Gatchaman Character Sheet

Fan Sites (and other sources)
* GatchOnline
* Anime News Network
* IGN lists the show as #44 on their Top 100 Animated Series list.
* Home of the White Shadow is devoted to all-things Gatchaman and Battle of the Planets. The owner also runs Gatchablog, which says that GatchaCon has been held at ComiCon annually for the last 13 years.
* Additional links and info
* Background on the Dutch translation of Battle of the Planets: Strijd der Planeten
* Russian LJ Fan Community
* From 2004, a review of the 25th Anniversary DVD collection.

Intros
* American (English) Original / Another version
* Spanish Dub: Fuerza G
* Gatchaman DVD from ADV Films trailer
* Russian Dub
* American (English) Intro (1986)
* Saban’s Eagle Riders (1996)
* Lyrics to the theme song

Movie
In 2009, Hong Kong studio Imagi released a pre-production trailer for a feature-length Science Ninja Team Gatchaman movie. More info and further details Another trailer, showing a different entirely CG style, was released in 2007. The studio folded / restructured last year and the movie’s fate is unknown.

Oy Vey
One of the changes to the show (in an effort to fill airtime after the original cartoons had been gutted by SFE,) was the addition of cheesy clips starring a robot “narrator” for the team, (whose primary purpose seemed to be explaining to the viewing audience that "no one got hurt" or died,) named 7-Zark-7 who doesn’t get much love from some fans.

Last But Not Least
The site for Taiyo’s Gatchaman-themed slot machine is entirely in Japanese, but rather well done.
posted by zarq (61 comments total) 98 users marked this as a favorite

 
a morning staple of superhero fun. Thanks zarq.
posted by clavdivs at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]



I hoped the 100,000th post would be representative of the 'best of the web' that metafilter has been dubbed.

You have granted my wish.
posted by fizzix at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2011 [21 favorites]


Quality millionth post.
posted by killdevil at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, wait.
posted by killdevil at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Quite a gotcha... or gatcha...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:31 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


killdevil: "Oh, wait."

your first comment made me blush for a second..
[Back to our featured presentation]
posted by fizzix at 10:31 AM on January 28, 2011


Congrats on bagging the 100k post, zarq! Keep your net in the water and you get the fish!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:32 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


MeTa, the good kind.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was in the second grade, "Battle of the Planets" was about my favorite show of them all.

Years later, when I found the Gatchaman 94 DVD, I was ecstatic. Popped it in, and was absolutely pleased.

And then there was a piece of music that showed up - in the show, and in Gatchaman 94, it was the "flying ship cruising through the sky" music, and that happened, and I was six again.

I still love the show.
posted by mephron at 10:33 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's only fitting that post #100K is just this mighty. Well done, zarq.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:34 AM on January 28, 2011


I just wanted to say good luck and we're all counting on you.
posted by Jofus at 10:38 AM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Epic.
posted by aramaic at 10:39 AM on January 28, 2011


Thanks! Enjoy! :)
posted by zarq at 10:39 AM on January 28, 2011


Zarq: I love you.
posted by mhoye at 10:40 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Back before you could look up anything pop-culture related on the Internet... you know the version of the 1990s that seperates me from the people who can related to the thread further down the Blue... Battle of the Planets became one of those things that if you remembered it -- you didn't have to like it or know anything about it, but simply remember its existence -- that marked whether or not you were going to be my friend.

It's not like it was something I ever had a huge fondness for, really. I mean, I dug it but it was something that, for some reason, a lot of people who seemed like they would know about it had forgotten, but a lot of people who wouldn't have been into "that sort of thing" seemed to love. It just turned out if you were going to be a person I want to in my life, you'd respond to the mention with a non-blank face.

I should write an essay about those 1990s. It was pretty grand. As is this post... which will suck away my entire afternoon if I don't escape its orbit.

Reads closer.
Here are the original 1978 Battle of the Planets feature film (in 7 parts,) and the first 19 episodes of the show, all available on Youtube.

Oh hell no. You've got to be kidding me... Actually, I've never been happier that they block YT at work. But there goes a chunk of my weekend

posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:42 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


zarq - I know you'll get lots of attention for this being the 100K post, but I hope you know this is a really great post, no matter what the number.
posted by thatothrgirl at 10:42 AM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


OMG, I loved Battle of the Planets! Thank you for an awesome trip back to my childhood :)
posted by londonmark at 10:43 AM on January 28, 2011


It may have been bowdlerized all to hell and back, but I really enjoyed that show as a kid.

Also: Casey Kasem. Is there nothing he can't do?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:45 AM on January 28, 2011


I tracked down some BotP episodes a year or two ago. I had a hankering for some Fiery Phoenix action, and my brain had finally figured out that this was the show it used to love.

I watched two episodes and tossed the DVD. I'd rather have my unsullied 6-year-old memories, dim and fading as they are.
posted by gurple at 10:48 AM on January 28, 2011


MCMikeNamara: " Oh hell no. You've got to be kidding me... Actually, I've never been happier that they block YT at work. But there goes a chunk of my weekend"

Heh. I've been thinking about this post since last September and have been working on it verrrrry slowly for at least 2-3 months, because about halfway through I stumbled on 0yulka0's YT channel and had to watch many of their several hundred uploaded Gatchaman videos.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


thatothrgirl, thanks. :)
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on January 28, 2011


Casey Kasem yelled at me on Live TV (my most embasrassing 'brush with fame' and too long to go into here). So I agree, there's nothing he can't do.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:50 AM on January 28, 2011


My word. I was just thinking about this series the other day. One episode, in particular, where the heroes had to fake out some prisoners that were being transported. At the end of the phony trip, one of the prisoners recognizes a mark he made on the wall, and realizes they never went anywhere. It was sorta sad.
posted by jquinby at 10:54 AM on January 28, 2011


I loved watching this and Star Blazers / Space Battleship Yamato on my parent's tiny black and white TV on a green shag carpet in an apartment in Raleigh, NC when I was a wee little thing in the 70s.

Dude. The boat went into space and their spaceship went on fire
posted by device55 at 10:57 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Frankly, the only link I've clicked so far is the "American (English) Original" intro, but that's because...

Well, you know that little thrill that you sometimes get when you stumble upon that bit of childhood ephemera and you're magically transformed into a eight-year-old who's up at 6:30 in the morning to watch his favorite TV show on a cold winter morning but hey, he's got footy pajamas and his favorite breakfast cereal and there's 45 minutes before he has to be at the bus-stop to go to school and awesome, the show's starting!

Yeah, I needed that. Thanks, zarq.
posted by lekvar at 10:58 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


♪♪♪ Sandy Frank, Sandy Frank, he's the source of all our pain ...♫♫
posted by octobersurprise at 10:58 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some of the characters are featured in the awesome Tatsunoko vs Capcom for the Wii, which I would play much more often if the sound effects didn't drive my wife crazy.
posted by Hoopo at 11:00 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great post. I'm curious as to how long you've been waiting to post it though (although I'm really glad you did - I loved Battle of the Planets as a kid).
posted by davehat at 11:01 AM on January 28, 2011


Casey Kasem yelled at me on Live TV (my most embasrassing 'brush with fame' and too long to go into here).

Bull.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:04 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm another one who's afraid to delve too deeply into the links because it can't possibly be as cool as I remember from the magic age.
posted by immlass at 11:09 AM on January 28, 2011


Some of the characters are featured in the awesome Tatsunoko vs Capcom for the Wii

Along similar lines, Tatsunoko released an OAV of its series Time Bokan in which the various villains from the franchise -- each group of which had similar character designs -- participated in a "wacky races"-style contest to claim the title of most bad. They were opposed by various Tatsunoko heroes, including several of the Gatchaman crew.
posted by Gelatin at 11:10 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


davehat: "Great post. I'm curious as to how long you've been waiting to post it though (although I'm really glad you did - I loved Battle of the Planets as a kid)."

Well, I sorta waited about 5 minutes. But I've been creating this post for months.

I finished putting the final touches on it last night after midnight. Thought I'd post it this morning when I had a moment between meetings. If I made 100,000, great. If not, that would be okay too.

But I compose all my posts in GoogleDocs. Which means that I have to leave the links next to the text and then code them on the site afterwards. If you type quotation marks in GDocs, it makes them "smart" quotes. Which destroys your html coding. Speaking of which, does anyone know how to shut that setting off? Because it's driving me bonkers!

There are so many links on this post that it took me a lot of time to get it ready. (And the MeFi linkifier has a bug, where when you paste a link and click "ok," it scrolls to the top of the box. On a post this large, I was constantly scrolling down.) Then I had to tweak the language. Finished about 1:20-ish. Checked the post count... and waited around 5 minutes. ;)
posted by zarq at 11:12 AM on January 28, 2011


Oh yes. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Thank you Zarq!

Featuring graphic violence, extensive profanity and a transgendered villain

The episode where Zoltar's true identity was revealed got time-shifted out of its usual slot on a day when I happened to be at home from school because I was sick. Everyone in my class watched BoTP and nobody believed my reports of The Shocking Truth. Vindicated at last, mwuhahahaha!
posted by anigbrowl at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


100 grand
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:16 AM on January 28, 2011


I was rummaging about in some of my old papers last year and came across intricate drawings of the robots in Battle of the Planets, including various attempts to get the giant robot centipede just so. This was somehow classified with my sketches of a volvox colony, euglena, and various protists. I have absolutely no idea what was going through my mind at the time.

That reflects my overall feelings about the show.
posted by adipocere at 11:18 AM on January 28, 2011


I was chuffed to find a lovely original Gatchaman cel and background for about 30 quid a while back. It's now on my office wall and it still blows my mind that I saw it on TV, fleetingly, decades ago.
posted by malevolent at 11:28 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got the Rhino box set from my brother a few years back- we were pretty obsessed when it at a young age-- and was mostly struck by how much better the Japanese versions were than the US dubbings/reworkings. Awesome post. As in, "I am in awe".
posted by norm at 11:30 AM on January 28, 2011


Battle of the Planets was what we all watched after school, and Battle of the Planets was what we played on the playground at school. You unzipped your winter coat, took your arms out of the sleeves, but kept your hood up and tied so it stayed on your head. Many, many, many little kids dreaming of pyramid whirlwinds running around our playground on any given recess getting totally dizzy.

BotP was awesome.
posted by LN at 11:46 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The episode where Zoltar's true identity was revealed got time-shifted out of its usual slot on a day when I happened to be at home from school because I was sick. Everyone in my class watched BoTP and nobody believed my reports of The Shocking Truth. Vindicated at last, mwuhahahaha!
posted by anigbrowl at 2:13 PM on January 28 [+] [!]


Mark's summation (from memory, in the voice of Casey Kasem): "It just seems too far out that the evil leader of Spectra could be a WOMAN! But for a second there..."

Around 1992 a bunch of us re-watched a bunch of BotP episodes on a VCR bootleg, including the infamous unmasking of Zoltar. We must have re-played that one line five times, laughing our asses off. The guy who hosted the party said he was going to put it on his answering machine.

Good times, good times.

(yeah, yeah, SPOILER ALERT. Geez...)



posted by spoobnooble at 11:49 AM on January 28, 2011


I admit a certain fascination with the revamped Japanese series that come to the US market. Star Blazers and Robotech are the two I'm the most familiar with, with the first being mildly changed but the second pretty much woven out of whole cloth.

I remember seeing an episode or two of BotP, but never got hooked on it. I'll have to check it out. Thanks, zarq. Great post!
posted by hippybear at 11:57 AM on January 28, 2011


100 grand

I'm sorry, that hasn't been invented yet. You lose this episode of Anachronistic Pop Culture Reference Happy Fun Time.

Your prize is a $100,000 bar.
posted by Caviar at 12:06 PM on January 28, 2011


Oh, how I loved "Battle of the Planets" when I was a kid. I spent *hours* trying to make my own boomerang.
posted by thudthwacker at 12:16 PM on January 28, 2011


I would watch G-Force in bed on Cartoon Network at 11PM in the early nineties. My absolute favorite show to watch at the time.
posted by Dreamcast at 12:22 PM on January 28, 2011


I can't be alone in being thoroughly enamored of the psychopathic touches Jun/Princess was showing in the Imagi CGI trailers. Did she have those in BotP? I'll have to watch some of the videos later. Thanks zarq!
posted by mollweide at 12:27 PM on January 28, 2011


Battle of the Planets was my first introduction to anime, and it rocked my world. I was Keyop for Halloween one year, even going so far as to create a cardboard shell for my bike to simulate his vehicle. Along with Star Blazers, it led to my continued love for Japanese pop culture.

I recently started watching the ADV release of Gatchaman, which has been an odd experience of revisiting your childhood nostalgia and finding it utterly changed. Thanks for the links, now I can go back and see some of the original version I was exposed to.
posted by mmmtofu at 1:21 PM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I first learned about Gatchaman from the film Kamome Diner, in which a Finnish geek tries to persuade the Japanese owner of a diner in Helsinki to teach him the words to the theme tune.

Aside from that, I know nothing whatsoever about Gatchaman, but Kamome Diner was a very enjoyable little movie.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:46 PM on January 28, 2011


Especially compared with every other cartoon available at the time, Battle of the Planets had so many fantastic hooks that no other show came close:

The winged costumes and the acrobatic moves they did with them; the amazing individual weapons and gadgets; the nifty designs of the vehicles, each with it's own special functions, secret-identity "normal" form, and all fitting together into the main ship; the needle on the temperature gauge inching up into the red zone that triggered the Fiery Phoenix; the watches they used to transform; the whirlwind pyramid move; the inventive giant enemies; the confusing Zoltan; the awesome Superfriends-style-Music-and-bombastic-Narrator-turned-up-to-eleven; the attacks from "ALIEN GALAXIES FROM BEYOND SPACE!" -- I'm getting chills just trying to remember them all.

Thanks for the great post, zarq!
posted by straight at 1:53 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


BERG KATSE~!

SO GLAD YOU FINALLY DECIDED TO LET THIS ONE LOOSE, 7-ZARQ-7

posted by jtron at 2:20 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mom called me home from outside playing, so I could watch the first episode of this. I don't remember being that enthusiastic about it, being 6 at the time, and it was on after 4:00, which was the cartoon cut-off time in our house. She was really into watching it, so I settled down and watched, too.

It's only in retrospect that I realize my mother was a secret geek. I always assumed it was my Dad that was the driving nerd-force in the house...
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:53 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even though people probably think of Louisville as a sleepy river town, one of its secrets is that this aired on our oddball channel (WDRB 41, later to become the Fox affiliate) in the early 80s. My sister and I watched this devotedly, but I don't really remember talking to the kids at school about it.

On my office door, I have a postcard with Gatchaman as well as a magazine cutout of Mark (although I was of course more a fan of Jason).

Great post! I am going to have fun crawling through the links!
posted by Slothrop at 3:09 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was one of those kids running around the playground. I still make the Phoenix noise when something dynamic happens, even in company, although it sounds much better in my head.
Thank you zarq, a worthy milestone post.
posted by arcticseal at 3:47 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could never be an anime hero like them. All the height diving terrifies me.
posted by Samizdata at 4:01 PM on January 28, 2011


This is awesome. Like many others, BotP was a childhood obsession. I remember being thrilled to find the theme music in WAV file form early in my web browsing career. And then seeing every reference to the show sullied with the implication that it wasn't nearly as good as the original.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:55 PM on January 28, 2011


It's funny. If you asked me in the abstract, "Do kids cartoons need violence to be awesome?" I would have said, "Of course not."

But then I keep finding out that all the things that bothered me most about my favorite cartoons as a kid -- the tiresome 7-Zark-7, the lame ways the Superfriends would (fail to) use their powers in a fight -- were in fact the results of the censors' rules about violence.
posted by straight at 4:59 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was hoping for a live action film ever since I saw this commercial floating around from a while ago.
posted by cazoo at 5:03 PM on January 28, 2011


I watched Battle of the Planets as a kid, too. It was great to see a girl on missions with the guys.

From there I went to Voltron, Robotech, and Evangelion.

Thanks Zarq!
posted by dragonplayer at 6:36 PM on January 28, 2011


Gatchman,
was imported and dubbed by Sandy Frank Productions,
who syndicated Family Feud for a time,
the original host of which was Richard Dawson.

From classic superhero anime to Cpl. Newkirk in three steps. I'm sorry, did I just blow your mind?
posted by JHarris at 6:37 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


DAMMIT, I swear I saw the "Sandy Frank Productions" tag at the end of an episode once, but the show's Wikipedia page has no mention of it. I'm sorry, you can put your brain back in your head now, false alarm. Please, ♫don't tryyyyy to kill me with a forklift♪...
posted by JHarris at 6:41 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you type quotation marks in GDocs, it makes them "smart" quotes. Which destroys your html coding. Speaking of which, does anyone know how to shut that setting off? Because it's driving me bonkers!

I just checked GDocs after fuming about this yesterday. You can change it by going to Tools/Preferences. The smart quote box is at the top.
posted by dragonplayer at 6:51 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, we did the unzipped jacket thing, too. My buddy Chris got to be Mark, I was Jason, Chris' sister Samantha was Princess and his little brother was Keyop. Unfortunately, that meant one of the other kids was going to get stuck being Tiny. There would actually be fistfights aboutbwho was going to be Tiny. Poor Tiny. Not even the fat kids wanted to be Tiny.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:07 AM on January 29, 2011


There would actually be fistfights aboutbwho was going to be Tiny. Poor Tiny. Not even the fat kids wanted to be Tiny.

Bu-but Tiny had that awesome hamburger dispenser in the rec room, vending burgers as if they were the Phoenix's missiles! Jughead would have killed for that!

(Yeah, I remember that hamburger machine best of all.)
posted by JHarris at 4:42 PM on January 29, 2011


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