Review by Jane Hamilton:
(Also known as Battle of the Planets/G-Force/Eagle Riders)
Gatchaman has 105 episodes and one movie consisting of extracts from the series. It's the story of five teenagers, four of whom are orphans, who must defeat an environmental terrorist organization called Galactor. The characters are well-drawn and interact neatly as they fight the various mecha and natural forces unleashed on the Earth. The series contains no sexual content or nudity, but foul language and sometimes graphic violence abound; despite the violence, no character ever seems to bleed. Main characters do die in the series, so be warned. Gatchaman is not commercially available, but translations exist of a few episodes and the movie.
The most recent English dub of the series is called G-Force and currently airs on the Cartoon Network; G-Force has no foul language at all but does contain some of the milder violent scenes. The voice-acting is lackluster and a pounding backbeat fills any gap in the original soundtrack. Because G-Force did not translate the final twenty episodes, several main characters' deaths are not shown. The earlier English adaptation, no longer shown on television, is called "Battle of the Planets" and was heavily edited for violence -- seven minutes of footage were cut from each episode and additional animation of a robot narrator was added to flesh it out to the requisite 23 minutes. The music and voice acting are excellent, but the damage done to the plot in editing the violence is very noticeable.
In 1994, Tatsunoko corp. issued a three episode OAV series called Gatchaman '94. This attempts to extract highlights of the original series in an updated format. The OAVs contain brief nudity in the context of dressing or showering, profanity, and more graphic violence than the original series. Some characters seem motivated solely by revenge. There are no main characters killed in the OAV. This is not commercially available in English format, but fansubtitled copies can be acquired.
A few months ago, Saban Entertainment (yes, the Power Ranger guys) began an adaption of the second and third Gatchaman seasons which they call Eagle Riders.
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