Retro Files Vol.2...Battle of the Planets
Way back in the late seventies when Pokemon was a mere twinkle in Nintendo's game-creating eye and Disco was the music of choice, came a cartoon that changed many a young boys TV watching habits. For the time it was like nothing else out there in the mainsteam cartoon realm and led to a vast array of cartoons 'inspired' by this revolutionary piece of anime (Japanese animation).
The original series was a revelation in it's day, it was a translation of a series that ran in Japan in the 1970's called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and it started a whole new genre for 'team' shows. The English Language version ran for 85 episodes all pieced together from 105 Japanese ones, although altogether 205 Japanese episodes were made.
The premise was simple, there were Aliens from another planet attempting to conquer Earth but blocking their path was a group of youngsters committed to saving the world. 'Heard it all before' you're probably muttering...but it really was different. It was the story of G-Force, five youngsters, all orphans who had mysterious superpowers, which they used to protect Earth from marauding evil aliens.
The leading G-Force characters were Princess, Mark, Keyop, Tiny and Jason and looking after the lot of them from there secret base was a robot called 7-Zark-7. The chief 'baddie' was a demented looking guy called Zoltar who headed up the Spectra, an evil force with the quest to find a new planet of habitance to replace their home, which had been ruined due to their plundering nature.
The G-Force Team were the classic defintion of super-heroes, taking on a normal appearance for everyday life but donning costumes when tackiling the evil Spectra. The suits were distinctly 'bird like' and each member had individual weapons, vehicle, skills and personalities making them a great team unit. The main super-hero element was they had 'cerebonic implants', which gave them super-human abilities that aided the fight against intergalactic invaders. Mysteriously there was no mention of what the implants were or what they specifically did, one of those little oversights or innuendos, but their versatile movements and inceased speed indicates that they had something good going on. Not only that but they had a wicked Spacship called The Phoenix, which shot fire...slightly handy!
While I don't remember the very first time it was on, in 1978 (I wasn't born then!) I do remember it was a particular fave of mine when I as around 4 or 5 years old (re-runs) and that was against some stern competition like Transformers and He-Man. The stories were original and exciting, the voices actually sounded cool and realistic and the morals contained in the stories weren't over the top, unlike He-Man. Thing is it's still got loads of fans and this has led to Mollin Video releasing 4 episodes with more releases coming very soon.
So am I getting excited over nothing? or is Battle of the Planets really a superb cartoon that has universal appeal for all ages from 5 year olds watching repeats, to the comic fans and collectors, to us lot who like catching up with 'blasts from the past'? Well I checked the video out to see if Battle of the Planets is as good as I remebered it.
Check Out the Video Review of Battle of the Planets
Battle of the Planets Universe- All the info you want plus more on BOTP.
TV Cream- Great retro site for BOTP and any other cool TV programmes.
Kids TV- Cool info on BOTP and other TV progarmmes form the 70's and 80's