Battle of the Planets

Battle of the Planets

infobox television
show_name = Battle of the Planets

caption =
format = Adventure, Science Fiction
camera =
picture_format =
runtime = 30 minutes
creator =
developer =
executive_producer = Jameson Brewer
Sandy Frank
starring = Casey Kasem
Keye Luke
Alan Young
Janet Waldo
Alan Dinehart
Ronnie Schell
narrated =
opentheme =
endtheme =
country =
network = first-run syndication
first_aired = September 1, 1978
last_aired = August 1, 1985
first_aired_2 =
last_aired_2 =
num_episodes = 85
website =

"Battle of the Planets" (1978) is the American dub of the 1972 TV anime known as "Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman". Of the 105 original "Gatchaman" episodes, 85 were used in the "Battle of the Planets" adaptation, produced by Sandy Frank Entertainment. The adaptation is 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 television market of the late 1970s. [ [ Battle of the Planets 25th Anniversary Collection] ]

As of February 2007, Sandy Frank's 30-year license to "Battle of the Planets" is expired. It is not clear how this will affect the future of the series.


"Battle of the Planets" casts five young people as G-Force, consisting of Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop, and Tiny. The question has been raised whether or not the characters were cyborgs due to their super-human agility and demonstrations of power such as the whirlwind pyramid. G-Force protects Earth from planet Spectra and other attacks from 'beyond space'. Their main ship is the "Phoenix", which can deploy four smaller vehicles, each operated by one team member. A regularly featured "deus ex machina" was the transformation of the Phoenix into a flaming bird-shaped craft able to handle virtually any exceptional situation by functioning as something like a giant blowtorch. The Phoenix’s primary weapon was a large supply of rockets. It also occasionally flaunted a powerful solar-powered energy blaster, although the team had the misfortune of choosing very cloudy days to use it.

Subsequent versions

In 1986, "Gatchaman" was re-worked in the US as "" by Turner, with a good deal of the original content that had been edited out of "Battle of the Planets" put back in to the show. It followed the plot of the original "Gatchaman" much more faithfully than "Battle of the Planets" because of this. However, the lack of Hoyt Curtin's original score and inferior voice acting prevented this series from attaining the high praise given to "Battle of the Planets."Fact|date=August 2007

Two soundtrack albums and several DVDs have also been released.

The two Japanese follow-up series ("Gatchaman II" and "Gatchaman F") 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

The "Battle of the Planets" adaptation differs significantly from "Gatchaman". 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 "", which was popular at the time. 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 has 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). [ [ BBC - Cult - Classic TV - Battle of the Planets] ]

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. There was a longstanding fan rumor that this was done because the original character spoke using 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 published by ADV Films, in which Keyop rarely if ever uses profanity. The in-story explanation for Keyop's unique manner of speech is an artificial life form which has a speech impediament. [ [,M1] ]

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"—an anagram of "Zoltar.") [ [,M1] ]

To compensate for the other differences, an R2-D2-type 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 storyline. 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). [ [ BBC - Cult - Classic TV - Battle of the Planets] ]

At the time, "Battle of the Planets" was a favorite with children; the series is generally recalled with fondness by those now-adult viewers. However, some fans of the original "Gatchaman" contend that, due to all the changes made, the resulting "Battle of the Planets" is and should be considered as a wholly different show. It should be noted that, in spite of the alterations, the plot and character development of the adaptation generally follows that of the original to a higher degree than it is usually given credit for. [ [ BBC - Cult - Classic TV - Battle of the Planets] ]

Production Staff

Owned and distributed by: Sandy Frank Entertainment (1978-2007, license expired)

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, Richard 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

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 (all other episodes)

Chief Anderson/President Kane: Alan Dinehart

Zoltar/The Great Spirit/Colonel Cronus: Keye Luke

Announcer: William Woodson

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

Episodes List

Battle of the Planets episodes are listed below in their intended viewing order. Since most BotP animation came from Gatchaman, the numbers in parentheses to the right are the comparable episode numbers. However, there are at least five known viewing orders for the adaptation, one being the original "Gatchaman" viewing order, with another as a "suggested" viewing order for the dub []

Episodes vary in similarity between the two shows; "" was a more faithful English translation, and [ ADV's DVD releases] have the most accurate English of all.

Comic Books

"Battle of the Planets" was also released in comic book form, originally by Gold Key Comics, but later revamped by Top Cow Productions. Among the Top Cow comic books was "Battle of the Planets: Princess", written by David Wohl with art by Wilson Tortosa, released in 2004. [ [] ]

In Popular culture

* The third season episode of Robot Chicken, "Squaw Bury Shortcake" has a skit where the character 'Tiny' is convinced to lose his excess weight. This results in him becoming an even more efficient member of the team, much to the chragin of his fellow male teammates.
*The show was voted one of Channel 4's 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows in 2001. [ [] ]
*The show was voted one of Channel 4's 100 Greatest Cartoons in 2004. [ [] ]
* Battle of the Planets receives an homage from the anime-inspired "Teen Titans" series. In one episode, Robin dons a "flight suit" resembling the Science Ninja team's bird-like uniforms after ejecting from his R-cycle. [ [] ] In another episode Robin is seen throwing a red and gold "Razor boomerang" at the leader of the "Hive Academy" while trying to save Cyborg from an undercover mission. [ [] ]
* In the webcomic Sluggy Freelance, the main characters, Torg and Riff, accidentally teleport to a dimension filled with anime characters filled with parodies of the main characters from "Battle of the Planets" as well as "Voltron" and other anime of the same genre.
* The D.O.C. titled the ninth track of his 1989 release, No One Can Do It Better, "Whirlwind Pyramid" in an homage to Gatchaman. He even shouts "Transform" (a-la the G-Force dub) during a break-down section midway through the track.
* The mecha parody cartoon Megas XLR features a Gatchaman-like team in one episode, "Bad Guy". They reappear in the episode "S-Force SOS", which also features villains resembling Zoltar and Spectra henchmen.


Further reading

* "G-Force": Animated (TwoMorrows Publishing: ISBN 9781893905184) [,M1]

External links

* [ "Fairlight's Gatchaman Battle of the Planets Fansite"] Screenshots, chararcter bois, and downloads.
* [ "Gatchaman" - Home of the White Shadow]
* [ Gatchaman Gatchaman Online and "Gatchaman", "BotP", & G-Force]
* [ "Gatchaman" and "BotP" Links List]
*imdb title|id=0076983|title=Battle of the Planets
* show|id=5393|title=Battle of the Planets

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