Sunday, January 29, 2006

Battle of the Planets

Rummaging through the DVD collection (online version is a tad out of date) today, looking for something to amuse the 5 year old on a freezing cold day and I pulled out one of my BOTP (Battle of the Planets) boxed sets. I started picking these up when they first came out to re-live fond memories of my childhood, back in 1978 to be exact. It's been awhile since I put one in, and it's STILL COOL! I didn't realize it at the time (I was like, 9 years old) and I only found out a few years ago when I was cruisin the net, that this guy in the states had bought up all this footage from a Japanese show 1970's anime cartoon called Gatchaman and then hacked it together , sometimes in different sequences, with English voice-overs and small bits of cheap US Animation add-ins, to create this show I ate up as a kid. That explained a few things. I used to draw like crazy back then and I could never figure out why the animation went from 1st-class stuff, to cheap crap from scene to scene (now I know!). I learned how to draw eyeballs from that show (and crotch buldges, it's a long story, but if you see the show, you know what I mean, suffice it to say that I used to daw crotch buldges upside down at first, when trying to re-produce cel frames from the TV show).

I think what really got me was the depiction of futuristic technology, and the whole Japanese Anime tradition of little frickin vehicles that all fit together in one big one, each of the parts contributing to the whole and making it better. They usually go off on this concept with big-ass robots, but in this case it was a space-ship. Another thing I didn't realize at the time were that these were essentially Ninja guys. The Ninja craze of the early 80's had not hit, but this sure set me up for it!
Speaking of the Ninja angle, they really edited the hell out if it in most cases, to remove the violence. Each of the 5 team members had a special weapon, and the leader had this sharpened sonic boomerang thing. Now I'm pretty sure when he let fly with that that thing, it was designed to hit you in the thoat and rip your larnyx out, but they never showed that(grin). And to make matters worse, the R2D2 rip-off robot they had on the show would always chime in with a re-assuring remark that the bad guys were only 'momentarily' rendered unconcious and still had their larnyxes and all that. Bummer!

Also, the cartoon girl, Princess, was hot(grin). They would purposly flash her panties on a regular basis just to play with young male viewer's minds (did I just mention cartoon panties in my Blog? I think I did.. Oh well, I was 9.)
The main characters wore these cool wrist radios too, I used to make them out of paper and cover them with scotch-tape(to form a lamination layer) and wear them to school. I didn't get beat up either(grin), everyone thought it was cool, and pretty soon I had to make them for everyone.

One memory I have is setting up to watch the show everyday after school and having a pencil and paper at the ready. The damned wrist radio on the show would change designs on the face when it did something special (this Transmutation thing). It looked like a real neat design but they'd only flash it for like 2 seconds once or twice an episode. It took me two weeks, but I copied that frickin thing down! It was like my secret. I was the only kid in Canada who knew what that damned thing looked like! (hehehehehehe). Years later when I was a teen and we had our first VCR I recall thinking how handy VCR technology would have been on that one.

This is getting long, I'll have to Blog more about this. Anyone else remember that show? Leave a comment! Or ridicule, I'll take either(grin)


Anonymous said...

I have no recollection of the show but I sure would love one of them wristbands.

Zartimus said...

I'll make ya one(grin). You have to wear it in public though. Pretend it's like one of them biking guy testicular cancer wrist bands or something.

Anonymous said...

I remember the show well. I haven't seen it since the end of the 70s. I used to make the firey phoenix out of my younger brothers big lego, and he used to smash it up.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I remember this show! Watched it faithfully, memorized the opening monologue, learned how to play the American theme (it was geared toward sounding like Star Wars) on my clarinet, created a paper version of Mark's mini-Boomerang thingy where the nose and wings slid out (when I was a kid not now - though there's nothing wrong with that), learned how to draw Anime and talk in broken computer studders like the little kid -Keyop, figured out that Casey Kasem was the voice of Mark, (takes deep breath),...and I use PHX in arcades across America as my callsign/nickname in homage to the Firey Phoenix transformation. So yeah, you could say it had an influence on me (LOL!). I'll have to save up and order that box DVD set you mentioned- from a good source of course there's a lot of knockoff stuff out there... and convince my wife that "'s an investment, honey."
I compose game music and put some free stuff on CNET that is themed for that.
Thanks for the memory lane to share.
DJ xSUBn ({-_-})

Anonymous said...

Christmas Eve and just finishing opening presents and for some reason something made me think of this cartoon. So I had to go online to do a search for it (forgot the name) and found your blog.

I freaking loved this cartoon! I thought it was the coolest thing on, and I loved the Phoenix ship! I think I'll have to look for some dvd sets of it too.

miked66 said...

the show was great, the animi better.. i watched the show all the time .. i to was thinking of the show and wanted to show my 7 year old son. was the show also called g force? this is the reason i did the search. when i heard the advertisment for that new hamster movie i thought cool, but then got pissed that the movie was about hamsters .my friends and i would draw for hours (i still have allot of the pictures) but must buy the series . it would be cool to see this show again, but its allso cool to see others who remember it . maybe someone will make a movie and include the violence

Christopher said...

I always loved this show!

Staci said...

Watched faithfully after school with my best friend who was a boy but I guess I thought he was cool enough to watch the show with but that was it. This was my all time favorite show. I think I even liked it better than speed racer. Is it still possible to get the dvds?