Sunday, February 05, 2017

Battle of the Planets

Forget Star Wars. Forget Star Trek. Battle of the Planets, originally Gatchaman, is my favorite Sci-Fi and animated story of all time. Battle of the Planets was the first Japanese Anime to reach North America. Debuted in 1978, Battle of the Planets set the template for many animated series that followed after. Gobots, Transformers, Voltron, G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers were all second and third rate copies of Battle of the Planets.This series changed the nature of animation. While animation has certainly come a long way since 1972, most animation today traces its roots to Battle of the Planets.
By the 1970s American animation had become stale by.Hanna-Barbara had become trite and bland. Filmation Studio under the reactionary producer Lou Scheimer had one dimensional characters were one dimensional. While some series were funny, namely the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes, the story lines were simple. Battle of the Planets was not only serious but dealt with vital political and social topics. Though initially successful and popular, Battle of the Planets was taken off the air in most North American markets after just one year on air. I suspect that it revealed too much about the nature of capitalism and power and was thus censored.
In the mid 1980s, American cable broadcaster Ted Turner revitalized the series as G Force. However, in that remake the characters' names were changed, new actors were used and the outstanding soundtrack was removed. The remake is generally considered to be a flop and very few people that know Battle of the Planets can stomach Ted Turner's debasement. I could write a book on Battle of the Planets. Indeed volumes of books could and should be written on Battle of  the Planets. I encourage viewers to pay close attention to the music. You might recognize it as it's been copied and borrowed in popular culture from the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining to  the rock duo They Might Be Giants.

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