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  • This was the best cartoon I saw as a child. Alas, with no videos or reruns the chances of anyone seeing it now are rare to say the least. It was edited down from the Japanese anime "Gatchaman" for US kids. While it lost a lot of the storyline and violence it was gifted with one the best theme tunes. While the 1990's remake of Gatchaman is available to buy, it is of nowhere near the quality of the original Gatchaman or Battle of the Planets, lacking the character and incidental score that graced the originals. Looks like Battle of the Planets will just have to live in the fond memories of the millions of school kids that it touched.
  • Having run madly around the school playground as a member of G-Force, I have fond memories of this series. I was lucky enough to discover some UK re-runs recently and I must say it doesn't disappoint. This had to be one of the most bizarre cartoon series ever. Sub-anime cartoon action, with a core of good Vs evil morality and a strange taste in feathery superhero costumes.

    Basically, our five brave orphan heroes spend their day chilling and waiting to be called into action - when they are, it's off in the Phoenix zap about and save our galaxy from another lacklustre take-over attempt by Spectra - embodied be the Evil Zoltar.

    Intros from soothing robot narrator 7-Zark-7 (and his robot dog 1-Rover-1) push the plots along, and somehow our heroes save the day by flying about a bit, throwing some banter about and coaxing this weeks traitor back to the good guys before wherever they are explodes. Zoltar then promptly escapes to pester the good peoples of Earth and her colonies another day.

    You will not find a better example of 70's haircuts, camp villains, naff plots and creaky cold-war style American morality. It's a winner!

    A few things to treasure... One: All the computers still work on ticker-tape in the future... fantastic! Two: Camp bad-guy Zoltar not only had all the best lines, but some of the most fulsome lips in the cartoon universe. Three: Possibly the most melodramatic opening spiel in tevevision history (even beats the A-team!) Four: 7-Zark-7's ongoing romance with 'Susan' the sexy computer voice that delivered the mission at the start of the show.

    In the UK, you can catch 'Battle of the Planets' on Bravo, usually in the dead of night. On reflection, perhaps this is a good thing - the children of today might not be able to handle the sheer drama and tension.

    And yes, I did have a crush on Princess. And I still do.
  • Reading the comments here, I felt so old. A recent marathon on "Boomerang" brought me back to my teen years. I was weird, and old enough to remember the original showings of "Astro Boy", "Gigantor", "Kimba, The White Lion", and other early anime on US TV. It had been awhile, and I found this, (this is before even "Star Blazers" or "Robotech"). I was a freshman, (perhaps a sophomore), and this showed up in syndication, pry out of Kansas City. I caught every episode I could. It had obviously seen some editing, yet suprising moments of violence remained now and then. Over the years, I've found that 7-Zark-7/1-Rover-1, were padding to cover time lost when violence was removed, (Mark and Princess's weapons were quite nasty, especially Princess's yo-yo!). I've wandered into the TBS "G-Force" a time or two, and, while potentially truer to the source, it just doesn't have the class of this. The soundtrack is very good, and probably quite desired by fans. It didn't change my life, but it was a fun program to watch often. I hope that the Boomerang marathon, which must contain the whole damn thing, is a sign of it's renewed availability. Japanese animation in America, without the incessant merchandising! Geez, this is before "Transformers", or "Go-Bots"! Nice to see it again!
  • The animation? Not too bad, considering it was drawn in 1972 or so. But certainly nothing special. The story? Hit and miss, mainly because BotP was made up of edited episodes of the Japanese show Gatchaman (and was therefore missing some key story elements).

    So why do people - including me - love this show so much?

    Because for almost anyone born between 1970 and 1976 in the US, BotP was one of the key television programs of our youth. It was exciting, exotic and captured our imaginations like nothing else on the tube.

    But I think you really had to be there to appreciate it. Neutral observers would probably say that BotP just doesn't hold up after all these years, and if I had to be objective about it, I'd probably have to agree.

    Still, you owe it to yourself to give it a look, just so you know what everyone's talking about.
  • culwin16 December 2000
    Wow, what happened to cartoons like this one?? This certainly wasn't the best in anime-ish art, nor did it have a particularly great plot. So why did we love it? Somehow, it tapped perfectly into the mind of a 6-12 year old! As someone who still watches cartoons (shhh..don't tell!) I look back at these types of cartoons and wish they still made them in America. It seems sad to me that kids today do not have these kinds of fun entertainment to wake up to on Saturday morning. Just about everyone I know who is my age remembers this cartoon and others like it with fond memories! Just say to anyone in their late 20's.."Hey do you remember G-Force? The cartoon with the guys in spacesuits that look like birds?" and you will surely get: "Oh yeah!!..." and probably a story of how when THEY were a kid, cartoons were good! Maybe it's just nostalgia, or maybe I'm just getting old and cranky, I don't know. I just wish they still had cartoons like this.
  • This is classic animation at its best. Compared to todays animation its antiquated. But back in 1978 it was classic. Made in the same Japanese Animation style that brought Speed Racer, its classic and one of the best shows. I miss it and hope that its either released on DVD or re released soon. Bless you internet.
  • I agree with the previous commentor. At 9 years old I would get up at 6AM to watch G-Force. A few weeks ago, on a whim, I did an internet search on G-Force. I found that the show is soon to be distributed in the US in DVD format come August 2001! Enjoy!
  • To all of those who were not even born during its debut in the United States(1978): This cartoon first went on the air in Japan in 1974 under the title "Gatchaman." It was the first cartoon to depict a super powered team. As a matter of fact, it inspired many super team action shows animated or live in Japan. "battle of the planets is the imported version for the American audience in 1978. Although not as violent as the Japanese version, the musical score is fabulous, the continuing storyline is decent, and the voice over acting is good. The animation additions of seven zark seven and one rover one are the only weak points in the scripts.
  • Battle of the Planets surely is the best cartoon series ever made. With it's hauntingly brilliant theme tune, terrific animation and superb story lines, this cartoon had it all. Originally taken from a 70's Japanese cartoon called Gatchaman, Battle of the Planets ran for an incredible 85 episodes. Who remembers these immortal words "Battle of the Planets, G-Force, 5 incredible young people with superpowers. And watching over them from Center Neptune, 7-Zark-7. Watching, warning against surprise attacks by alien galaxies from beyond space. G-Force, fearless young orphans, protecting Earth's entire galaxy, always by acting as one. Dedicated, inseparable, Invincible!" Great stuff. UK Sky Digital viewers check out the Bravo channel for regular repeats of this great show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This has to be one of the best series ever released in North America! I used to love watching this series when I was in about Grade 3. It came out right on the heels of the original 'Star Wars' which I was addicted to, and this one hooked me.

    The 5 G-Force members are supervised by Intergalactic Federation Security Chief Anderson, and directed by 7-Zark-7, a robot who inhabits an underwater defense center appropriately called 'Center Neptune'. Their ship, the Phoenix, is based here. They routinely find themselves up against invading forces from an alien world called Spectra, which wants to enslave Earth & other Federation planets. Spectra is ruled by a dark figure named Zoltar and his boss, the Great Spirit. These two are somewhat similar to the central villains in the first Star Wars trilogy - Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, although it is doubtful that either of these legendary movie villains would have tolerated the many failures that Zoltar endured. The Spectran leadership is constantly attacking various Earth resources that they plan to steal, as well as to force Earth into submission. This is usually done in the form of huge death machines in the shape of animals or birds ('Panic of the Peacock', 'Beast with a Sweet Tooth', 'Attack of the Alien Wasp'), but sometimes G-Force found themselves up against pirates ('Ace from Outer Space') or mercenaries ('A Swarm of Robot Ants') though Spectra was usually involved in some way.

    The only annoying thing I can honestly say about the series was that G-Force constantly emerged victorious. Although on several occasions their ship was damaged ('Raid on Riga', 'Giant from Planet Zyr'), or in one case, completely destroyed ('Raid of the Space Octopus'), they consistently sent the Spectrans back in defeat. A little variety might have made the series more interesting though it's easy to understand why the writers made it this way. It was, after all, intended for the younger set.

    This entire series needs to be released on DVD. It can't come soon enough!
  • Those of us who watched this series in the 70's tend to have a deep love of this show. Those who have been able to see the uncut Gatchaman episodes have seen what it could have been. Those who have seen the "G-Force" version have seen how bad it could have been. It was revolutionary in its time, and some of it still holds up well.

    Sandy Frank brought Tatsunoko's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman to America as Battle of the Planets. The names were changed to protect the innocent, or because they foolishly thought American kids couldn't identify with Japanese names, like Ken, Joe and June. Oh, well, Whatta ya gonna do? Instead, they became Mark, Jason, Princess, Tiny and Keeyop, with voice work from Casey Kasem, Ronnie Schell, and Janet "Judy Jetson" Waldo. To further the ties to then-popular Star Wars, a robot, 7-Zark-&, was added, with obviously inferior animation. The series was moved from Earth to outer space. People sill died occasionally, but not in as large numbers as in Gatchaman. Exploding planes and ships were always robot controlled and Spectra forces aways ejected, much like in the later GI Joe series. But what still set this apart from other animated fare was the mature storytelling.

    The characters had real feelings and motivations. They sought revenge, felt jealousy and fear, had relationships, and got hurt. The battles were spectacular, even after being heavily censored. The villains were unabashedly evil, not misguided. The heroes didn't always win, at least not completely. Plus, there was character development and ongoing sub-plots. Quite a change from the Superfriends and Scooby Doo.

    The main flaw with the series is the censorship and the added footage. The new animation was greatly inferior and detracted from the plot. The distributors didn't have enough faith in the viewers and felt an overwhelming need to protect them from violence; however, this audience was in love with Star Wars and wasn't afraid of a little violence. The later G-Force version stuck closer to the storyline and showed that most of the violence could be left in without being too graphic, editing only the most extreme scenes.

    The series was highly influential in Japan, inspiring many imitators, including the live action Power Ranger shows. In the US, it inspired a cult following, but did little to pave the way for better animated shows, at least immediately. In later years, fans of the show would end up in the tv world and would import greater numbers of Japanese animated programs. Now, Japanese shows and manga comics account for a large segment of youth entertainment. The dvd revolution has finally brought the uncut Gatchaman, along with the altered BOTP, to American homes, through legal means, rather than bootlegs. There's even talk of a continuation of the show and/or new show. Although somewhat dated, there's still quite a bit of entertainment value here.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I can't believe someone else has heard of this show. Bless the internet. The show was about an elite teenage group of "?acroboticlly" enhanced superheros. They had a phoenix type ship they would 'summon' whenever they needed to battle the evil forces of Spectra. And the villain, Zoltar, was one of the best.


    My childhood was forever scarred when they stopped showing these after the last episode *seemed* to reveal an interesting detail about Zoltar...Was that the end of the show?
  • As a kid I loved this show, and I'm watching the re-runs now since I live in Japan and caught a few minutes of the original Japanese series on TV. The English version is downright horrible, despite veterans like Keye Luke and Casey Kasem doing voices.

    The worst thing about the show, though, is the character "Keyop". Instead of hiring a child actor, they filled most of his lines with chirps and swirl type noises and then he barks out a quick short line. This becomes HIGHLY annoying, to the point that I mute the volume when he speaks. It's simply too irritating to listen. Fran Drescher speaking in a squeaky voice while a tiger sharpens its claws on a blackboard would be less annoying.
  • Brings back nostalgia. I remember when I was a little boy and couldn't wait to get back from afternoon school to see my favourite cartoon- Battle of the Planets. I remember after watching it I would use my towel as a cape and put on a toy helmet, and for the next few hours, I was in my own little world saving the planet from evil forces (mostly as Jason, my favourite G-Force). I also remember vividly being disappointed as to why I still couldn't transmute into Jason even after performing the Transmute process to perfection time and time again.

    I also recall back then that I found it strange that 7-Zark-7 always told the story from his base, something that was never done in other cartoons. I even found it stranger that whenever 7-Zark-7 had physical contact with G-Force, Mark, Princess et al always seem to be very wooden and out of proportion. Nowadays of course, we all know the reason for this as they were in fact 2 separate cartoons with 7-Zark-7 only acting as a filler due to the many cuts from the original Gatchaman.

    Back to the real world though and a few years back, I was very happy to find that BOTP was released on DVD (at quite a high price I must add), of which I bought both seasons 1 & 2, hoping to relive back my childhood days. It was however a case of Must-Watch-Because-Buy syndrome. Whilst the first few episodes were good such as Attack of the Space Terrapin, and whilst the Phoenix transformation was (still) cool, in summary BOTP has unfortunately aged with time. And I only realized how the 7-Zark-7 scenes disturbed the flow of the show- G-Force was busy saving the world, and what is Zark busy with? - How to get into bed with Susan.

    Since buying those BOTP DVDs I have also since purchased Gatchaman, and whilst it has aged (as with BOTP), it is IMO a much better prospect than Battle of the Planets with a more stronger storyline.

    So in conclusion, if there are any middle-aged people out there wanting to relive their youth and watch what was arguably the best programme during their childhood days, I would recommend watching a few episodes of BOTP to get your adrenaline going and relive fond memories, but don't overdo it, and then proceed to watching the original Gatchaman.

    P.S. Even after 20 years of not watching BoTP, I still found that I had the same excitement and lust I had for Princess whenever she was on-screen.
  • "Battle of the Planets" was a great animated series. It's classic, but it's been lost throughout the years. As great as it was, I think Americans have butchered it a lot due to the censorship. The original "Science Ninja Team: Gatchaman" was the best. American censorship thought it was too violent that's why they butchered the series, because they thought American kids will be exposed to too much violence. Say, that sounds like every day in LA or NYC. And to cover the holes, they created an ill-fated robot 7-Zark-7, who surprisingly had his cameras everywhere and always knew where the G-Force was and where and when Spectra will attack. And after Ted Turner bought it.......well, it was dead by then. What was the point of changing the characters' names for the third time? Afterall, Americans know how to butcher things.
  • I agree that this was also one of my FAVORITE shows growing up and actually forgot about it until recently. I checked out and they have 2 videotapes coming out next month. Each tape has 2 episodes on it, in fact, I remember one episode in particular: The Space Terrapin. This does bring back memories. Even If I saw it today, however cheesy it may be, I would still enjoy it as I did when I was 9. Somebody out there...bring this show back!!
  • But you have to live in France and understand french. It is displayed now (05/05) on France 4 on Digital Television, in french version only. But I don't know if it all episods or only some of them. Also, I was afraid that it could have aged too much but it is still perfectly watchable. Much unlike Sankukai... Even better : graphics are not as bad as in my memories... Voices (translated) did not age at all. Only costumes are now a bit too much "seventies", and 7-Zark-7 is talking about punched cards :D And, but I am not sure, I think that DVD collection is available in France, for french version. I don't know if English version is enclosed on the disks. Anyway, the price is, most of the time, really accessible !
  • I remember watching this on TV when I was younger and being a huge fan and this was my start into anime in general. To my 10 year old eyes the stories were tense, action packed and something really new. And I carried that with me long after I had stopped watching it.

    Since then I've discovered the original Gatchaman this was based off of and need to say this is a pale imitation of the original. Not only was the whole space thing really overplayed, due of course to "Star Wars" being really hot during that time. But any time you saw somebody die, they didn't really die or they were a robot or something happened. Even the baddies in this, Spectra, were polite enough to warn of their attacks so people were able to evacuate the cities. To make up for this material that was left on the cutting room floor they needed to add some new material and so they created new characters, new scenes which looked really cheap in comparison to the original material and Battle of the Planets was born.

    It's not really a bad show and I'll admit that the opening still gives me goosebumps all these years later. But it's just not what I would call a good show. If you're interested check out the original this was based off of. It's much better.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was born in 73 so I'm from the Star Wars generation, I was blown away as a little 4 year old in the theater watching that epic, world changing show. I really was the perfect age, it was really the first movie I remember seeing in the theater as well. About a year later I was watching TV and Battle of the Planets came on, I'm sure I'd been watching other cartoons before this one but this was the first one I have memories of. It's also the first cartoon I can remember watching where I said to myself "Wow this show is awesome!" It's not as good today of course but it still is so cool to me. When I watch it I can totally feel the 70s all over again. I got a toy for Christmas 78 or 79 called the Big Loader Construction Set and I must associate it with this show as when ever I see a BOTP episode I can't not think about that toy set. I loved the cartoon Voltron as well probably because it's just like BOTP with the five main characters and the villains and plots seem similar. It also looks like it could've been drawn by the same people. Anyway, the best thing I can say about this show is how unique it was, it was like anime before anime was popular. I still love it, I have nothing but great memories from it. I'm just sad time has gone by so fast.
  • Starring:Casey Kasem(Transformers the movie)


    Summary:Its basically a futuristic animated version of Power rangers.

    Rated Y7:For Power rangerish violence.

    The good:Well as just for animation this is only decent. But as a anime there is nothing all that much here. Though the cast does try to save it.

    The bad:If you don't like power rangers then don't bother here. If you like campy sci-fi animation then I guess you can give it a shot but I can't promise anything. Even if you don't take it seriously it is still not for the cynics.

    Quote:N/A (Sorry its been a while since the last time I saw this.)
  • i just read one users comments on the battle of the planets set and felt it was necessary to put up a differing opinion. the botp (gatchaman) series was wonderful. if you watch the original Japanese version and not the dumbed down americanized mess. all the dvds come with the original episodes hidden in the bonus materials section. please watch those (with sub titles of course) and if you ever hear casey kasem, you're watching the wrong ones. the originals are the way the series was meant to be viewed. action, blood, swearing, not sanitized for a younger viewing audience. do yourself a favour, buy or rent these, watch the right ones, and you will be pleased.
  • While the quality may not be the best, the concept and action were perfect for anyone under the age of 12! Now, years later, I find myself remembering the oddest parts of this show, mostly the outfits and vehicles. I seem to remember the Cartoon Network running this late at night; a nostalgic must-see!

    Ace Goodheart and crew boarding their ship, the Phoenix, to do battle with the menace from space,...or some such place. The creative force behind these concepts is impressive, most impressive!
  • This was, without a doubt, hands-down, my FAVORITE show when I was eight years old. I wish there were re-runs of it or videotapes. It seems like everyone my age (born around 1970) remembers this show. Yet the way it has disappeared, I'm guessing it was not a success. I suppose if I saw it today it would be really lame and the animation would look poor, but for me the music, direction, action and sound effects all combined to make a great show. It was anime before anime was big in America. And frankly, I don't like anime but I didn't mind it here. Probably because it wasn't true anime, it was just cheap, foreign-made animation.
  • Five extraordinary orphans called G-Force fly their spacejet Phoenix to protect humanity from threats across the universe. Zoltar from the planet Spectra is the main evil villain. They are guided by robot 7-Zark-7 who flies around by flapping its cape in the underwater Center Neptune. There is also the robot dog 1-Rover-1 with a propeller tail and computer voice Susan. The five kids are Mark (Casey Kasem), Jason, Princess, Keyop, and Tiny. Mark flies a plane into the tail of Phoenix. Jason has a race car. Princess rides a motorcycle. Tiny has an all-terrain vehicle. Keyop stutters gibberish.

    This was adapted from the Japanese cartoon Gatchaman. There are so many bits that I remember from my childhood although most of it is in the introduction. The stories are a jumble of wild monster of the week. Most of them are long forgotten but there are some very memorable ones. I also remember the ping pong game which they often reuse. 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1 are fun robots for little kids but those scenes are disconnected from the rest of the show. So much of these are great childhood memories and problematic adult watch. The episodes are disjointed and simplistic. One begins to understand how the show was cobbled together from the Japanese anime and robot additions. The memories are terribly sweet and the reality of watching this show as an adult is a recognition of interesting monster ideas.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I love "Battle of the Planets" (Also known as "G-Force) It was one of the coolest cartoons ever made, and it was way ahead of its time, which despite being made in the seventies, predates the aesthetic and themes from many action and superhero cartoons from the eighties and nineties.

    This show also had a cool cast of heroes and villains, which were also very cool and interesting, and made this series to work so well.

    I consider "Battle of the Planets" to be one of the most underrated animations from the seventies, totally deserving the title of cult classic despite all the "dated" elements that this series could have, at least from a modern perspective. Personally, I still like it a lot, and I consider "Battle of the Planets" to be a part of my childhood, like the original Transformers cartoon, Robotech and Saint Seiya.