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Battle of the Planets

Battle of the Planets is what I grew up watching and what started it all for me (note the Star Wars-like logo, I'll get back to that later).  In 1979 Sandy Frank Productions acquired the US rights to Gatchaman and transformed it into BoTP.  It aired in the States in the late '70's and early '80's.  The names were changed and footage was edited to remove most of the violence (I presume to protect the fragile psyche of the American youth).  To cash in on the appeal of Star Wars, the R2D2-ish 7-Zark-7 and his robot dog 1-Rover-1 were added, filling in the holes in the storyline created by the cutting and splicing of footage.  Occasionally Ken and Jun would drop by, and it is then that you can really tell that the added footage is inferior American animation.  Jinpei became a human clone with a messed-up and distracting speech problem.  Berg Katse was just the male form, with his female self changed to his sister Mala.

It is because of the many changes that most Gatchaman fans (or Gatchamaniacs) refer to Sandy Frank as the devil.  I believe we should be somewhat grateful to Mr. Frank, though, for bringing the perfection that is Gatchaman to the non-Japanese world.  In Spain it was known as Commando G.  In France as La Bataille des Planets.  The Italians knew it as La Buttaglia dei Pianeti.  Now you can identify your favorite Japanese Anime in your conversations with the foreign exchange student living in your basement for the semester.

 

BoTP Name Changes:

 

Ken - Mark (my older brother's name, voiced by Casey Kasem)

Joe - Jason (my fiancÚ's name, voiced by Ronnie Schell)

Jun - Princes (voiced by Janet Waldo)

Jinpei - Keyop (voiced by Alan Young)

Ryu - Tiny (voiced by Alan Dinehart)

Dr. Nambu - Security Chief Anderson (voiced by Alan Dinehart)

Sosai X - The Luminous One (voiced by Keye Luke)

Berg Katse - Zoltar (male), Mala (female), Agent S-9 (female) (voiced by Keye Luke)

Red Impulse - Colonel Cronos (voiced by Keye Luke)

 

I have about 12 episodes of this on VHS that I got off of e-bay.  Watching as an adult, it's hard for me to respond to the voice of Casey Kasem and the ticking and whirring of the American Jinpei, but the elements I loved as a little girl still appeal to me.  I also have the last episode which did not air in America.  It's all in Japanese, but I have the script to it in English.  The show has more depth, more drama, and more guts.  It's hard to believe how old it is, because the animation stands up very well when held against today's, especially given there wasn't anything generated by a computer.  You can't buy these anywhere, but there's usually some up for auction on e-bay.  Be cautious, though, in your expectations of what you're buying, most are probably poor quality and taped from the TV.  If you are going to bid on one, ask a lot of questions of the seller before, such as how they got what they are selling, if it's in English, if it's a tape of a tape, etc.  Also, check the seller's feedback for comments from people who bought similar items in the past.  Finally, remember that it's an auction on the Internet, and there are no solid guarantees.  Caveat emptor, buyer beware.

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Disclaimer:  Everything (with the exception of my own witty feedback) copyright Tatsunoko Productions, Turner Broadcasting, Sandy Frank Industries, Hearst Entertainment, & Saban Entertainment.  This page was created by a fan, for fans, for anyone else who might care, and for fun only.  None of the information or likenesses are to be used for profit.