The early anime series that began in Japan as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972-74) aired in the U.S. in two very different versions. For Battle of the Planets (syndication, 1978), much of the violence was excised and the R2-D2-esque robot 7-Zark-7 was added; G-Force (Turner Broadcasting, 1986) was darker in tone and closer to the original Gatchaman. All three series focus on the adventures of five teenagers in bird suits. In Battle they tackle the evil Spectra in “outer space,” although the backgrounds are clearly Earth, where G-Force and Gatchaman are set. Episode 3 illustrates the difference between the series: In Battle, when a whiny little boy gets in the way of a giant mummy attacking an airport, the evil Zoltar warns him away; in Gatchaman, villainous Berg Katse tells the mummy to step on the child. Unrated; suitable for ages 10 up.
From Tatsunoko Productions, the award-winning Japanese animation team that created Speed Racer. Attack of the Space Terrapin – Center Neptune, a world defense base, lies off the West Coast, 900 fathoms beneath the surface of the ocean. There, the precious Vitaluman is mined, an amazing one that renews the depleted soil of Earth and the other planets, and without which, all life would cease to exist. Guarding the base against attack is the invincible, transmutable G-Force: Keyop, Jason, Princess, Tiny, Mark and 7-Zark-7, their robotic protector. When Zark’s scanners pick up a radio-controlled attack monster from Spectra heading for one of the Vitaluman vaults, he’s baffled. Why would anyone want to steel something that’s been given away free? The answer, of course, is Zoltar, who wants to control it, and thereby, the universe. And so begins the cataclysmic Battle of the Planets, with the entire galaxy hanging in the balance. Rescue of the Astronauts – Two astronauts find startling evidence of giant alien bases, underwater on Mars. Returning from their top-secret mission, they mysteriously disappear on re-entry. 7-Zard-7 calls in the G-Force. Their assignment: rescue the astronauts and get the taped evidence. Only problem, the astronauts have been hijacked by the aliens who don’t want anyone to know about their bases, and Zoltar is their leader! G-Force locates their huge underwater headquarters and Mark transmutes into a diver to gain access. Zoltar’s aliens attack with drill-like precision, finally ordering Mark to surrender or never see the astronauts again. Now the G-Force Fiery Phoenix is the only thing that stands between Mark and oblivion.
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