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Volume One episodes checklist:

Disc One:
   Attack Of Space Terrapin
   Rescue Of The Astronauts
   The Space Mummy
   The Space Serpent
   Ghost Ship Of Planet Mir
   Big Robot Gold Grab

Disc Two:
   Ace From Outer Space
   The Fearful Sea Anemone
   The Jupiter Moon Menace
   A Swarm Of Robot Ants
   Space Rocket Escort
   Beast With A Sweet Tooth

June 2002                                                       SITE MAP   SEARCH
Battle Of The Planets: Volume One
voice cast: Alan Young, Keye Luke, Janet Waldo, Ronnie Schell, and Casey Kasem

directors: Alan Dinehart and David E. Hanson

285 minutes (U) 1972-74 / 1979-84
Universal Playback DVD Regions 2 + 4 retail
Also available to buy on video

RATING: 2/10
reviewed by Rob Marshall
This popular cartoon show of 56 episodes of 25 minutes each, was shown on British TV during period 1979-84, derived from three series of Japanese anime, Gatchaman (total approx 200 episodes), edited for a juvenile audience as Battle Of The Planets. It was about the scientific ninja team, G-Force; five kids with superhero powers called upon to defend the Earth against technological and extraterrestrial foes.
   G-Force comprised young orphans Mark, Jason, Princess, Tiny, and Keyop, all supervised and directed by their robot coordinator 7-Zark-7. They were assigned to various missions according to the galactic crisis monitoring at undersea headquarters, Centre Neptune, where the aforementioned machine intelligence watched out for all sorts of trouble and danger. The five heroes had peculiar abilities such as their whirlwind pyramid and the fiery phoenix, which they used to fight attacks by the bothersome Spectra and the irredeemably evil Zoltar.
   There was a lot of science fictional material in this cheap animated production, partly inspired or even copied from the likes of Gerry Anderson's internationally famous puppet series Thunderbirds, Stingray, and Fireball XL5, and a host of similar generic adventures. G-Force encountered UFO invasions, underwater monsters, big bugs and deadly robots of every description. In addition to weird superpowers they had hi-tech gizmos such as a multipurpose aircraft, starship and submarine, which assembled itself in fight and transformed from an ordinary plane into their mobile operations base.
   Of course, all this was brilliant fun to adolescent fans of Star Wars, but, today, its quirky charm is greatly diminished, and the endlessly repetitive nature of such low-cost anime quickly grows annoying. Reportedly, the westernised version that was packaged for Saturday morning's preteen TV viewers was ruthlessly cut by its US distributors, effectively sanitised by removal of any violence or palpable sense of danger to its characters, and this was responsible for the change of emphasis turning space opera into comedy. There's still some adventure in the sci-fi clichéd plots, but many episodes dwell upon the supposedly comical tedium of 7-Zark-7. (Has anyone ever discovered exactly why that robot flies across the control room?)
   That being the case, it's difficult to suss out who would buy this on disc or tape. It might have a certain goofy nostalgia value to 25 or 30-year-olds who can still - fondly - remember the original broadcasts on BBC1, but its lack of sophistication means that Battle Of The Planets is very unlikely to appeal to their own children.
   There are no DVD extras and, due to variable quality of original materials, bits of the animation and background artwork seem blurry.