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September 3, 2015

Remembering Battle of the Planets - VIDEO

by Richard Keller, posted Oct 25th 2006 9:01AM

Battle of the PlanetsYou know, it's weird that Adam posted an item on Cartoon Network's influence on the sale of magna due to the airing of numerous Japanese anime shows. Not weird because all of the characters in the cartoons have eyes as huge as dessert plates, but weird because I was just reading something about an earlier Japanese import that influenced the popularity of anime in North America.

The program in question is Gatchaman. Or, as we know it in the United States and Canada, Battle of the Planets. If you were a child of the 1970's and 80's Battle of the Planets was appointment television for you once you got home from school, and it was probably paired with another anime show like Star Blazers, Voltron, or Robotech. Well, Newsarama's Matt Brady Steve Fritz has a very comprehensive look at the show's origins and how it became so popular both in its native Japan and here in America.

Some of the information I knew already. For example, the addition of 7-Zark-7 was added by Sandy Frank when he bought the syndication rights to Battle of the Planets. What I didn't know was that Zoltar, the villain of the BoTP , was split into two separate people; one male and one female. In the original Gatchaman the villain was a hermaphrodite who could switch sexes at will. Probably not something you want to put into a kids show. The other thing I didn't know was that the episodes of Battle of the Planets we saw in the late 1970's were originally broadcast in Japan back in 1972. Somewhere in the back of my mind I always wondered why they dressed so funky.

Sadly, we only got to see the first series of Gatchaman as Sandy Frank never brought over any of the sequels that were made in the late 70's. However, we still have memories of Mark (voiced by Casey Kasem, by the way), Jason, Princess, Keyop and Tiny and the Firery Phoenix to keep us warm at night. Brady's article is in two parts. The first can be found here, and the second can be found at this link. By the way, if you can't quite remember the program, this little video below may jog your memory.

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My earliest TV memories are of Battle of the Planets, Speed Racer, and, shortly after, Star Blazers. That started my love of animation that persists to this day.

October 26 2006 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Jeremy

I loved the show. I remember it playing on television a good couple of years before Starblazers debuted. Golden Key even made a comic book based upon the series.

As for the Power Rangers, I always felt it was an inferior ripoff of Ultraman.

October 25 2006 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"It had more violence, but named the characters stupid names like "Ace Goodheart."

Not to mention removing Keyops(sp?)distinctive speech impedement.

October 25 2006 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can actually buy PotB on DVD now. (Thank you Rhino Video.) It's cool because they include an episode of the original Gatchaman, and an episode of the poorly re-invisioned G-Force. G-Force was the second attempt to bring Gatchaman to the U.S. It had more violence, but named the characters stupid names like "Ace Goodheart."

October 25 2006 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've often thought that Power Rangers was some kind of rip off of BotP. There were too many similarities......Fucking rangers.

October 25 2006 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Keller

Thank you for the clarification. I changed the post to reflect the correct name.

October 25 2006 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tobey Cook

Just a clarification - the article was written by Steve Fritz for his Animated Shorts column for Newsarama, not Matt Brady.

October 25 2006 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh hell yeah!

G-FORCE! Transmute!

Before Transformer became an obsession, there was Battle of the Planets.

October 25 2006 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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