Remembering Battle of the Planets - VIDEO
You 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.