Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (科学忍者隊ガッチャマン Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman) is a Japanese animated series created by Tatsuo Yoshida and produced by Tatsunoko Productions.
Battle of the Planets
Gatchaman was first adapted for English audiences in 1978, after the international license was acquired by Television producer Sandy Frank. The acquisition was partly to capitalize on the success of Star Wars, which was released the prior year. Battle of the Planets differed significantly from its original source material. The adaptation was heavily edited to remove violence and character fatalities, usually through cutting or dubbing explanatory voice-overs. Animation of outer-space was added to give the impression that the Phoenix was flying through space, and that many of the episodes took place on Earth-like planets - another attempt to assosciate itself with Star Wars. The voice cast consisted mainly of Hannah-Barbara regulars, such as Casey Kasem (Shaggy Rogers in Scooby-Doo) and Janet Waldo (Judy Jetson in The Jetsons). The episodes kept the original score by Bob Sakuma, though new music by American composer Hoyt Curtin was blended in to either fill in gaps where cuts were made or fill in silent moments.
One change, likely to put emphasis on the sci-fi nature of the show, Keyop (Jinpei) became a genetically engineered lifeform rather than a child. Due to slightly defective engineering, he picked up a bizarre verbal tic of stuttering. The character of Zoltar (Berg Kattse) was altered to avoid controversy, as Kattse was originally a hermaphroditic character who had a male and female-half. The episodes where his female half appeared were all written off as seperate characters.
In order to explain away a lot of the cuts as well as pad the episode length, new animation of a robot character named "7-Zark-7" was animated by Gallerie International Films. Zark would primarily provide narration, as well as light comic relief. As another Star Wars influence, Zark highly resembles R2-D2 while having a somewhat campy personality similar to C-3PO. Notionally, 7-Zark-7 ran the undersea monitoring station Center Neptune, from where he received information regarding incoming threats to Earth and relayed that information to G-Force. In addition to Zark, was his robotic pet 1-Rover-1 who would occassionally appear.
The episodes were wildly out of order, (for instance, the 3rd episode aired was actually the 65th in Gatchaman) this is due to Tatsunoko Productions sending them the film reels in that order, and the dubbing team proceeding to translate as they received them. References to previous episodes that had yet to be dubbed had to be written out. In all, 85 sporadic episodes were covered, with the latest being Episode 101. Although it was originally planned to cover all 105 episodes, Sandy Frank had decided that 85 episodes were adequate for syndication.
G-Force: Guardians of Space
During the 1980's, Television standards had relaxed significantly. Sandy Frank, wanting to take advantage of this, partnered up with Turner Broadcasting to create a new more faithful adaptation of Gatchaman, this time titled G-Force: Guardians of Space. Despite this, Sandy Frank was not directly involved with this adaptation, opting to leave Turner Program Services to hire people to adapt the series.
Originally, a pilot dub of Episode 26 was produced for Turner by the Media360 group, and dubbed in Atlanta, Georgia using local actors (including future Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actress Faith Salie). Turner rejected the pilot as it was deemed too expensive to utilize their facilities. Turner would turn to Fred Ladd, a pioneer in translating and distributing Japanese animation in the U.S., having previously worked on famous titles such as Astro Boy, Gigantor and Kimba, the White Lion. Ladd, through his production company Sparklin' Entertainment, put together two "test" pilot episodes chosen by Turner (Episodes 18 & 87), and sent them in for approval. Within days, Ladd and his company were given the greenlight to produce the adaptation, and work on G-Force began in the fall of 1986.
G-Force stuck significantly close to the original script, but was still watered down significantly. Though none of Battle of the Planets original elements were retained, many of the plots, backstories, violence and deaths were edited or softened. Many silent moments were filled in with a sole repetitive synthesized backbeat, which clashed with the music of the original series. Originally it was intended to create a new score, though this was scrapped due to the cost and time constraints. Although this version was less heavily edited and had a relatively faithful translation, the voice acting, background music and the Americanized character names were all criticized.
Only 85 of 87 episodes were dubbed, skipping Episode 81 due to not receiving a translation for it and Episode 86 for unknown reasons. The reasons behind this decision are not exactly known; some sources claim that only 85 episodes were licensed while others claim that budget constraints or lack of interest in adapting the remaining episodes cut it short. Unlike BotP, the episodes were in order. The show initially aired for a week in the summer of 1987 as a "test run" on TBS in America. It would later be used as a timeslot filler for Cartoon Network in 1995-1997, where it received a larger audience.
At Anime Central 2004, ADV Films announced that they had sub-licensed the rights from Sandy Frank to do an uncut dub of the series. Between 2005 and 2006, 18 volumes were released on DVD containing all 105 episodes uncut and redubbed by ADV's Houston, Texas based voice cast. The dub was a more faithful translation than G-Force with no attempts to modify it for a younger audience, retaining all swearing, deaths and violence. Though the dub did contain some creative changes such as 70's slang and profanity.
Sandy Frank's International license expired in early 2007, thus forcing ADV's sets out of print (along with Rhino Entertainment's Battle of the Planets DVD's). ADV itself would go bankrupt a year later. However, in 2013 ADV's successor, Sentai Filmworks would license the series from Tatsunoko Productions and re-release the ADV dub on Blu-Ray, along with a new dub of the 1990's OVA. In addition, Sentai also owns the streaming rights to Battle of the Planets, available to stream on The Anime Network.
|Ken Washio||Katsuji Mori||Casey Kasem||Sam Fontana||Leraldo Anzaldua|
|Joe Asakura||Isao Sasaki||David Jolliffe (ep. 1)||Cam Clarke||Brian Jepson|
|Jun||Kazuko Sugiyama||Janet Waldo||Barbara Goodson||Kim Prause|
|Jinpei||Yoku Shioya||Alan Young||Luci Christian|
|Ryu Nakanishi||Shingo Kanemoto||Ronnie Schell |
|Gregg Berger||Victor Carsrud|
|Alan Dinehart, Jr.||Jan Rabson |
|Dr. Nambu||Tōru Ōhira||Gregg Berger||Andy McAvin|
|Jan Rabson |
|Director Anderson||Teiji Ōmiya||Michael Rye||Gregg Berger||Marty Fleck|
|Jan Rabson |
|Red Impulse||Hisayoshi Yoshizawa||Keye Luke||Cam Clarke||John Tyson|
|Berg Katse||Mikio Terashima||Bill Capizzi||Edwin Neal|
|Leader X||Nobuo Tanaka||Charles Campbell|
|Narration||Hideo Kinoshita||William Woodson||Norm Prescott||George Manley|
- Don Spalding as Lucas (Ken)
- Barry Stoltze as Jason (Joe) & Professor Nicholas (Dr. Nambu)
- Faith Salie as Rachel (Jun)
- John Ferguson as David (Jinpei) & Commander Tiros (Leader X)
- Doug Paul as Quintin (Ryu), Commander Zol (Berg Kattse) & Narrator
Each respective adaptation of the dub would rename the characters, excluding ADV which retained the original Japanese names. This was done so as to differentiate Battle of the Planets from G-Force.
|Original Name||BOTP Name||G-Force Name|
|Ken Washio||Mark||Ace Goodheart|
|Joe Asakura||Jason||Dirk Daring|
|Ryu Nakanishi||Tiny Harper||Hoot Owl|
|Dr. Nambu||Chief Anderson||Dr. Brighthead|
|Director Anderson||President Kane||Commander Todd|
|Red Impulse||Colonel Cronos||Red Impulse|
|Leader X||Luminous One||Computor|
- According to Australian anime historian Kelly Patrick Lannan, an early alternative English dub titled The Gutman was said to have been produced in the late '70s, although little is known about this version except that it had 39 episodes.  According to his summary, Lannan himself had no clue of its origins. The most common theory for its existence is that it was an early English-language test dub that was directly commissioned by Tatsunoko themselves, before the sale to Sandy Frank. Its existance is unconfirmed by any other sources though.
- In 2002, Frank created a 70-minute compilation film editing several different episodes of Battle of the Planets together. Surprisingly, scenes of civilian violence and death were included in this edit. Although most of the original voice cast was left intact, 7-Zark-7 was redubbed by David Brent Egan.
- The voice actors other than Casey Kasem, Ronnie Schell, Janet Waldo, Alan Young, Alan Dinehart, and Keye Luke were only ever listed in the credits for Battle of the Planets. The knowledge of the other actors comes from records at Sandy Frank Entertainment.
- Due to Sandy Frank owning the International Rights to the show outside of Japan until 2007, most foreign dubs were based on Battle of the Planets, so in other-words are dubs of a dub.
- Fred Ladd was previously offered to produce Battle of the Planets by Sandy Frank, though he declined citing location conflicts. (Ladd was based in New York, while the show was dubbed in California)
- Frank was looking to doing a new redub of Battle of the Planets in 2003, with voices provided by Ocean Productions's Vancouver-based talent pool. The series would have compacted the 85 episodes and 20 unadapted episodes into 52 episodes, as well as having 7-Zark-7 rendered in CGI. These plans were scrapped due to cost concerns.
G-Force: Guardians of Space
Battle of the Planets
|Rhino Entertainment||2001-2003||Eps 1-38||1|
2 Special Editions
|Playback||2004||The Complete Series||2|
G-Force: Guardians of Space
|Rhino Entertainment||2004||The Best of G-Force||1|
|ADV Films||2005-2006||The Complete Series||1|
|Section23 Films||2013||The Complete Series||A|