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Force Five
Force Five was not a single television show, but a syndicated series that showcased five different anime programs once a week, dubbed into English for an American audience. The compilation was mainly shown in New England in the early 1980s: Planet Robo Danguard Ace aired on Mondays, Starvengers on Tuesdays, Spaceketeers on Wednesdays, Grandizer on Thursdays and Gaiking on Fridays.

In 1978, before Force Five reached American shores, Mattel released a popular series of toys called "Shogun Warriors," which were based on the characters from the five Japanese cartoons. By the time Jim Terry Productions created Force Five to show the anime programs in the United States, Mattel had lost the rights to the characters, leaving no toys available in America during the course of Force Five's run.

The syndicated anime package did, however, spark a revived interest in giant robot cartoons, paving the way for shows such as Voltron, Transformers and Challenge of the GoBots to find receptive American audiences.

Danguard Ace ("Planetary Robot") centered on Earth's discovery of a new planet called Promete. Earth had become ravaged and almost uninhabitable due to overpopulation and a lack of natural resources, so a ship was sent to the remote outreaches of the solar system to explore the unspoiled Promete, which shared similarities with Earth's environment.

Unfortunately, the evil scientist Komisar Krell also discovered Promete, and he planned to move his own people onto the planet. After Krell attacked the first Earth ship journeying to Promete, the Earthlings built Danguard Ace to protect them from future assaults.

Danguard Ace had some parallels to the sci-fi classic Star Wars, focusing on a conflict between the good son and bad father. The hero of the story, Lieutenant Winstar, was the son of a great pilot whom he believed was dead. But in fact, Winstar's father was a prisoner of the evil Krell, who controlled the pilot's mind through a mask. Like Darth Vader, Winstar's father hid his true identity, taking instead the pseudonym Captain Mask.

Starvengers was a dub of Getter Robo G, the archetypical Combining Mecha anime series. The Starvenger robots ? Star Dragon, Star Arrow and Star Poseidon ? were created to combat the Pandemonium Empire, which sought to (what else?) take over the Earth.

One strange aspect of Starvengers was its villain, Colonel Fuerer (or possibly Captain Fuerer, or Fuhrer), the commander in charge of getting rid of the Starvengers. As his name implied, Fuerer was an Adolf Hilter caricature, complete with a bad German accent, Nazi uniform, and weirdest of all, two horns protruding from his head.

Spaceketeers followed the adventures of Princess Aurora and her band of protectors as they tried to accomplish a dangerous mission for their empress. An evil energy source from the star system of Dekos caused the once-peaceful creatures of the universe to change into evil mutants. The Empress enlisted Aurora and three spaceketeers to find and destroy the energy source.

Aurora had her hands full with one of her cohorts: Jesse Dart, a super-powerful but arrogant spaceketeer who followed his own whims. The two other spaceketeers, portly Porkos and intelligent Arimos, were based on the characters or Porthos and Aramis from The Three Musketeers.

Spaceketeers was a dub of Starzinger, which was essentially yet another adaptation of the Chinese classic Journey to the WestIN SPACE.

Grandizer starred Johnny Bryant, a.k.a. Orion Quest. Orion was seemingly the sole survivor of the planet Antares, which had been destroyed by Vega the Strong's flying saucer squad. Spearheading the attack was the great battle robot Grandizer, which Vega hoped to use to help him bring the entire universe under his rule. But that crafty Orion stole back Grandizer and took it to Earth, where he hid the robot and assumed a human identity. It was based off UFO Robo Grendizer.

Gaiking concerned itself with the invasion of the Zelans, aliens whose home planet was being consumed by a black hole, and a crew of pilots who fought of their army of monsters with a fleet of dinosaur-themed robots.

These were further Macekred by the British video distributor Krypton Force. Gai King became The Protectors (with one video being somehow roped into The Formators), Starvengers became The Formators, and Spaceketeers became Sci-Bots. All of these were released as Compilation Movies.


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