One of the early shows that helped to build an audience for anime in America, Battle of the Planets began in Japan as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman in 1972-74. For its 1978 U.S. release, the 105 episodes were cut to 85. Muc... more »h of the violence was excised and new animation, featuring the R2-D2-esque robot 7-Zark-7 and his robo-pooch 1-Rover-1, was created to bridge the gaps. Turner Broadcasting acquired the property in 1986 and recut it into 85 different episodes. The resulting G-Force included more violence, yet it wasn't shown in its entirety in the U.S. until it aired on the Cartoon Network in 1995. This release includes all three versions, enabling viewers to compare and contrast. In episode 1, five highly trained teenagers--incongruously clad in bird suits--tackle a giant biomorphic enemy vessel. The group executes the commands of their brilliant scientist-leader in the virtually identical Gatchaman and G-Force. When they take on the bad guys, the punches, kicks, and yo-yo weapons connect forcefully; to escape, they convert their ship, the God-Phoenix, to "Firebird Mode," an avian cloud of glowing plasma. In Battle, the quintet takes orders from the dithering, Hanna-Barbera-style Zark. The hand-to-hand combat is heavily censored and the heroes somehow turn themselves into a "Fiery Phoenix." It's campy and silly, rather than exciting. Unrated; suitable for ages 10 up. --Charles Solomon« less
D. Knouse | vancouver, washington United States | 03/16/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw this for sale I was absolutely giddy with excitement. One of the greatest shows of my childhood was now available on DVD! I got it home and popped it in and..."I don't remember it being this lame?" For what it's worth, there were some nostalgic moments. One, was finally seeing my heroes in their colorful costumes saving the day and another was hearing Key-op talk in his very funny way, "Brrrrrr-toot-toot!" But after that I thought everything else was fairly second-rate. It's amazing what glorious images I can conjure in my memory of this show, and how the reality of my adult perspective shatters all the charm it once held. However, there are the "Gatchaman" episodes, which is the only feature of this DVD that saves it from being a complete failure. While "Battle of the Planets" is broken up with freeze-framing and the intensely annoying 7-Zark-7 filling in plot holes with voice-over narration, not to mention his equally annoying companion 1-Rover-1 doing his side-show antics, the "Gatchaman" episodes flow more fluidly with more action and acceptable violence. If I had known better I would have bought only the "Gatchaman" episodes. It just fits the ideas better that they speak in Japanese. I've seen enough Japanese animation to know that more things are possible in the hyper-reality of their highly creative shows than in the saccharin-based shows of America where the violence is tempered, if shown at all. Something that I recently noticed about world-wide animation is that virtualy all the characters are caucasian. Being white, I guess I just never noticed. Most Japanese animation, in particular, has a tendency toward white Americanized heroes. It might be because we are the largest consumer nation in the world, but this is not a new trend. Just like the cutting-edge animation from Japan like "Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within," the show "Battle of the Planets" has an all-white cast. It's just an interesting, cultural note, one that makes more sense these days than in days past. Anyway, get the "Gatchaman" series on DVD if you must insist on purchasing anything for nostalgia's sake. I got this out of a deep-seeded feeling of nostalgia, and I was disappointed overall. Be careful."
Compare and Contrast!
D. Knouse | 05/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's about time someone put out this great cartoon series on DVD! It sure beats shelling out the several thousand dollars that the Japanese Laserdiscs are demanding. THANK YOU, Rhino!!!I think it was a stroke of brilliance on the part of Rhino to team up episodes of Battle of the Planets with the corresponding G-Force (Turnerized version of the show) and Gatchaman (orignal Japanese version) episodes. This gives the viewer the ability to see how the show was ORIGINALLY envisioned as Gatchaman (THANK YOU for the subtitles, Rhino!), how it was pathetically watered down as Battle of the Planets (I hope 7-Zark-7 rusts!!) and how G-Force tried to strike a balance by leaving in more of the violence and action (yet still missing the consistency and flow evidenced in the Japanese version).The only problem I encountered on the DVDs dealt with the audio tracks for both Gatchaman episodes -- the one on Volume 1 and the one on Volume 2. The English audio track was VERY low and sounded like people were speaking underwater. It was unintelligible. Does anyone else out there have this problem with these disks? ...For the record, the Spanish and Portuguese audio tracks work just fine on the G-Force episodes (in case you speak Spanish or Portuguese!) All in all, a great product, well worth the money. Like several who posted before me, I hope for a full run to be released!"
A big surprise
The Breech | Long Beach, California United States | 11/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered Vol. 1 of the "Battle of the Planets" DVD wanting to re-live some childhood memories of watching this show after school. It was nice to see the "G-Force" team in action after some 20 years. The episodes are great, that is until you watch the original "Gatchaman" episodes on which they were based. Then you realize just how much your childhood viewing experience was shortchanged. Put simply, the American version pales in comparison. As a viewer, you will get to see just how how much drama, action and pathos were excised from these cartoons because of violence concerns by U.S. broadcasters. Many of those edited scenes were replaced with narration by "7-Zark-7", an "R2D2" rip-off created to capitalize on "Star Wars" which had been released a year or so earlier. Watching some two decades later, you realize just how jarring this proved to the show's pacing. "Gatchaman," however, moves at a more rapid clip. I almost forgot to mention, that "Gatchaman" was set on Earth and there were no 'battles' with other planets. That said, you also realize just how awkward the premise of "Battle of the Planets," was. I gave the DVD 5 stars, but only for the "Gatchaman" episodes."
The Breech | 04/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having fond childhood memories of "Battle of the Planets", I eagerly purchased the DVD. I never had a problem with 7-Zark-7 when I was a kid, but now he makes me cringe. However, I still prefer "BOTP" over the "Gatchaman" episodes that are also on the DVD. I found the "Gatachman" characters extremely unlikable, especially "Ken" (Mark on "BOTP") who was particularly abrasive. My dream version of "Gatchman"/"BOTP" would be if Sandy Frank productions reassembled the original "BOTP" voice cast and dubbed the "Gatachman" series into English WITHOUT changing the plot or adding an innane robot to annoy us. As far as the "G-Force" episode included goes, well... the voice talent had none, the character names were [bad], and the music sounded like it had been dubbed from a bad porno. You may be wondering why I gave this DVD five stars and an "Excellent!" title - well, "BOTP" made me feel nostalgic and it's really nice to see what Sandy Frank cut out ("Gatchman"). Now if only they'd make my "dream version"..."
Slight technical difficulty
Amy Button | Houston, TX United States | 06/08/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lots of other reviews here do an excellent job covering the content of this DVD. I just wanted to mention that there is a slight technical problem with this DVD (and the rest of vols. 1-4). The English language track on the G-Force episode is virtually inaudible, which is a real disappointment and knocked the DVD down a star. I tried on two different players (Pioneer DV-626D and Playstation 2), and they both have the same trouble. I even wrote in to Rhino's technical support and they kindly exchanged the discs for me, but sadly, the replacement discs are the same way. I just wanted to put out the warning here. The rest of the disc is fine and has great content - it's just that one problematic audio track."