Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rein-Toon-Ation: G-Force: Guardians of Space (1986)

After its initial American run ended, Japan's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman saw American licensing rights transferred from Sandy Frank Productions to Turner Program Services. Ted Turner's Superstation TBS was the last American channel to carry Battle of the Planets before it was phased off the air in 1985. A year later, the show was back, with a new title, new voice-dubbing, music, etc..

G-Force: Guardians of Space redubbed all 85 episodes that Frank had used for Battle, but this time in the order in which they were produced. The characters' names had been changed as well. Unfortunately, it somehow slipped under the radar around these parts, even though TBS was available on the cable system. To this writer, TBS back in the day meant two things: Braves baseball and wrestling.

Turner aligned with King Features Entertainment (now Hearst Entertainment) for distribution purposes. The series would resurface on Cartoon Network in that channel's early years. As we've documented before, Gatchaman would be adapted again in 1996, this time by Haim Saban, as Eagle Riders, which proved to be the least successful adaptation.

Former Filmation executive Norm Prescott is the announcer, filling Bill Woodson's role from Battle, as we serve up a sample intro:

I never saw G-Force, as noted, but, to me, Battle would've been the better show anyway. No rating.


magicdog said...

Sandy Frank sanitized and reedited Gatchaman until it was unrecognizable to the few Americans who knew of it. I didn't - I was part of the kiddie crowd he was aiming for. I had no idea until the Internet offered the subtitled original episodes. I did always have a hunch there was a strange reason why the animation was noticeably different for the main episode and the parts featuring robot 7-Zark-7. By the time I did a little more reading, it made more sense.

I did see a little of the other two but I didn't like them - mostly because the characters' names were changed (unless it was for contractual reasons, they shouldn't have done it) and I wasn't keen on the voice work. They didn't have to being back Casey Kasem, Janet Waldo, et al, but they could have had a better cast than what we ended up with.

I wouldn't mind a reboot of the show in the US (Japan has rebooted it in movie form a few times) if they can straighten out the basics of the universe (in Sandy Franks' version, it was all about Spectra attacking from outer space and the G-Force team always ending up on planets that are somehow just like Earth, whereas in the original it all took place on Earth), and get superior voice work and some good action sequences, I'd be onboard.

hobbyfan said...

I believe the original Gatchaman is available on DVD, too, with English subtitles, so comparison shopping may be in order.

-DS- said...

I'm really not sure what they were going for with Ted Turner's G-Force. The music was repetitive and irritating, with only one drum beat that played over almost every scene in the entire show, regardless of whether it was dialogue or action. The voice work was, as noted, not that great.

And the goofy new character names (especially "Dick Daring" and "Ace Goodheart") made it sound like they were going for a parody. But it wasn't a parody, so the names gave the show a very uneven tone, since we were supposed to take guys like Mr. Hoot Owl (apparently his real name) and Mr. Pee Wee (ditto) seriously as superheroes.

It was, basically, an inconsistent mess.

hobbyfan said...

I think all Turner did was redub the previous series.