Anime: Battle Of The Planets
The first American version of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
. Heavily Macekred
by the infamous Sandy Frank Productions. You know, the guy who dubbed the Gamera
movies, Fugitive Alien
, and Time of the Apes
.Battle of the Planets
was one of the few anime that meets Alex Ross's approval, and some illustrations that he did for the series led to both him doing the cover illustrations of ADV Films
release of Gatchaman
and to a short-lived Revival
comic series published by Top Cow Productions from 2003-2004, which tried to combine elements from both the original and the adaptation into a whole
This series contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The Top Cow comics.
- Amusing Alien: 7-Zark-7.
- Big Eater: Tiny, arguably Keyop.
- Bowdlerize: Most of the reason for 7-Zark-7's presence was filler for the violent scenes edited out.
- Celibate Hero: Mark.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: A good chunk of 7-Zark-7's dialogue was centered around what a "hothead" Jason was.
- Dub Name Change: Pretty much all the characters had their names (and personalities) altered for this version. In the French dub of this adaptation, however, 7-Zark-7's love interest Susan became "5-Cibel-5", for her name to match up better to his.
- Five-Man Band: as per the original Gatchaman.
- Friendly, Playful Dolphin: Keyop befriends one.
- Heartbroken Badass: Jason is this trope.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Say what you will about editing, the voice acting here seems better than the later English dubs. It features the voices of Keye Luke, Alan Young, and Casey Kasem.
- Human Aliens: The Spectrans are completely humanoid. —This is because, in Gatchaman, they were human!— The Top Cow comic lampshades this and claims Zoltar's boss the Luminous One grew them from human DNA, to replace the extinct original Spectran race.
- Ironic Nickname: The Big Guy is named Tiny.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: American fans only got 40 out of the 85 episodes of this adaptation on DVD, while overseas fans were comparatively luckier. After Sandy Frank's license expired in 2007, this has become the default option for anyone wanting to experience the entirety of this version.
- Leader Wannabe: Jason, who is annoyed that Mark is the leader instead of him.
- Mecha-Mooks: Retconned in through Bowdlerization.
- Mr. Exposition: 7-Zark-7.
- Never Say "Die": 7-Zark-7's main role was to explain to the audience that nobody died.
- Then surprisingly (for its time, at least) subverted when even Sandy Frank couldn't retcon out the death of Colonel Cronus, Mark's father.
- The producers did not receive the episodes in the Gatchaman order. Which led to some interesting reinterpretations. We ended up with Mark's father said to be dead halfway through the series, and an entire episode revolved around his killer. Then suddenly, Cronus was revealed to be Mark's father, and they did Zark his survival.
- But yes, they could not get out of admitting that some people died.
- Notable Original Music: People who have seen both BotP and Gatchaman say the music from BotP is an improvement over the disco soundtrack of the original. There's a reason the picture on this page is from the soundtrack CD.
- Off Model: The "Ready Room" original animated sequences by Gallerie were FILLED with this for all five G-Force members. The sequences with Mark and Princess visiting Zark also combined this with stiff, blocky limited animation to where they were frozen in the same pose with only their mouths moving most of the time.
- The Other Darrin: Tiny was voiced by Ronnie Schell in the first episode, while Jason was voiced by a different uncredited actor that may have been either Alan Oppenheimer or David Joliffe. When it came to the series proper, Schell was recast as Jason while Alan Dinehart Jr. voiced Tiny.
- Panty Shot: Princess.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: It is very rare, but occasionally the adapters changed an occasional detail to improve story logic. The first episode is an example, whereas in the original Gatchaman script, the lead hero has to argue why their ship should go into their risky Fiery Phoenix mode to escape a certain death trapped in the villain's mecha, the BotP version has the team having no objections of doing the obvious.
- Rebel Relaxation: Jason can usually be seen holding up the wall of Chief Anderson's office during briefings.
- Robot Buddy: 7-Zark-7.
- Robot Dog: 1-Rover-1.
- Recycled In Space: Dialog changes and newly animated Stock Footage had G-Force traveling through space. This was the major change to the plot; the terrorist Galactor become the alien invaders (aka "happiness boys") from Spectra.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: According to the intro, G-Force are "protecting Earth's entire galaxy" from "surprise attacks by alien galaxies from beyond space".
- She's A Herm In Japan: Zoltar, whose female half was dubbed as his "twin sister" Mala.
- Ship Tease: Mark and Princess. All the freakin' time.
- Something Else Also Rises: Zark's antenna tend to stand up whenever he talks with the robot Susan.
- Technobabble: "Cerebonic powers," based on super-science implants in their brains: the name seemingly derived from "cerebrum". Which means the good guys apparently stuck experimental technology in the heads of orphans.
- Tuckerization: Sandy Frank named the unseen female robot "Susan", after one of his secretaries at the company.
- Verbal Tic: A side effect of Lip Lock. Poor Keyop.
- What Could Have Been: Sandy Frank Entertainment had drafted scripts for completely original episodes of the adaptation, including one called Zark Double Zark. But as they would have required new animation for the entire episodes and due to Sandy Frank already fulfilling their 85 episode quota for syndication, the ideas were scrapped. Sandy Frank had also considered doing a remastered and redubbed BOTP in 2004 with the Ocean Group providing the voices and CGI Zark segments, but the idea quickly died.
- Alex Ross had stated that one plan for the Top Cow series was to reveal that there was a previous version of G-Force that had went missing in action. Because of the series' cancellation, that plot point never happened, although another planned idea was a bit more controversial: Sandy Frank had wanted the creative team to kill off the existing G-Force (in the scrapped mini series Endgame ), so they wouldn't have to keep paying royalties to Tatsunoko for using the characters' likenesses.