Battle of the Planets Complete Collection
Release Date: Out Now
Price: $79.95 (Buy Here)
Gatchaman is an Anime series from an era long before I was born. If my ether-memory serves me correctly, the series first aired in Japan in either the late 70s or the early 80s. Since then, the series has been adapted many times by different groups as a few different shows and each being on a different level of faithfulness to the original Gatchaman story.
A couple of iterations of adaptations aired within the same period as each other, Battle of the Planets and G-Force. Whilst G-Force was a kind of more faithful adaptation to the original Gatchaman Anime series, in this review we will be looking at the less faithful adaptation called Battle of the Planets.
In Battle of the Planets we have a team of biologically enhanced humans called G-Force. G-Force consists of a handful of members including a leader and his subordinates. One of these subordinates is a child named Keeyop who, it seems, had his entire personality wiped by the team that adapted the series and turned him, essentially, into a child with a sub-60 IQ.
Anyway, the main point of the story in Battle of the Planets is that a group of bad guys from another planet are hellbent on taking over the Earth for it’s supply of some kind of rare element that the people of Earth happily just give away to other races and cultures across the galaxy. Now I’m not entirely sure why this is the case as it is never fully explained, not even by the robot 7Zark7 that was spliced into the series because it is clearly evident that the producer wanted a show with robots.
If you have seen Battle of the Planets, as either a new viewer or a returning one, you will know that 7Zark7 rarely ever features in the actual plot of anything that goes on in the series. Instead the show will just cut into the underwater base of 7Zark7 and have him info-dump all of whats going on to the viewer. What’s even worse is that he does this at the beginning and end of each episode and explains who all the of the G-Force members are and who all of the bad guys are and why it is that the bad guys are attacking and everything else.
This is pretty bad storytelling in my honest opinion, simply because it’s like the producers are treating its audience as though they are Keeyop, rather than anyone with any actual semblance of intelligence. Any show that treats me like I’m a moron is not worth my time. Although, for some reason, I just had to keep pounding away at this series. probably because the parts with 7Zark7 were actually good… at least until Keeyop said something anyway.
Each episode in the story seemed to be some random event that just happens so that the G-Force team have something to entertain the viewer with for 20 minutes or so, rather than each episode being an integral part of the plot. In fact, outside of bad guys attacking Earth or some other planet every day, there doesn’t really seem to be too much of a plot to be had. If there is a link between episodes, it is tenuous at best. To be quite honest, it feels sort of like the producers cut out any actual story progression in favour of a useless robot so that they could have new viewers jump in at any moment. While I don’t agree with this technique, it is a valid one.
Battle of the Planets has a fairly entertaining method of storytelling. Whilst it isn’t the greatest, and certainly not up to modern standards, it still works at what it sets out to achieve, which is being entertaining and accessible for anyone wanting to jump right in. However, I think the concept has a great amount of potential for a modern reboot using more traditional storytelling techniques.
If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen the amount of Tweets I put out when I first started watching this series expressing how interesting I found the art style. But for those of you that do not, I will look a bit further into what I was talking about below.
Battle of the Planets easily has a visual style and depth of detail that is simply missing from modern animation (sans Anime). The detailed backgrounds and simple, yet realistically proportioned, character designs make this stand out even today.
What I found particularly enjoyable about this series is that whenever a character had a closeup of their of their faces, you could see how much detail the design team put into each character. While the faces weren’t 100% realistic, they were still amazingly detailed which is something that you do not see in modern cartoons or even Anime. Also panty-shots. Lots of panty-shots.
Battle of the Planets had some rather decent audio during the actual show in regards to sound effects and voice acting. However, the opening and closing themes were absolutely atrocious.
Expanding on the voice acting point, outside of each character sounding sort of stereotypical, I have to admit that the show had amazing voice acting for the quality of script that was given. The only exception to this is Keeyop. Seriously, whomever it was that wrote that characters lines needs to be removed from this industry retroactively. Like damn, really, who’s idea was it to have the child make random and annoying sounds before and after everything he says? The following quote is an example of Keeyopese:
I also like how this is really a snapshot of the time it was written in. This especially true whenever you hear one of the male team members of G-Force talking to the female member of G-Force. Like really, I don’t think anyone that even remotely supports feminism should watch this show, lest their panties be caught in a bunch.
Battle of the Planets Complete Collection comes with an amazing amount of Extras. Like damn, so, so many. Too many to even list.
On each third disc or so, you’ll find a significantly fewer amount of episodes than on previous discs but you’ll also notice a button that will take you to the special features on the disc. And then you go into that menu. The amazingly large amount of extras on each of these discs is phenomenal, you’ll have a lot of fun watching all of them.
As a bonus, to house all 15 discs of this series, the Battle of the Planets Complete Collection comes in a nice collectors sleeve made out of cardboard with some pretty awesome artwork on the cover. Definitely adds to the overall value of the product.
Battle of the Planets Complete Collection is a package designed for people that are massive fans of the Battle of the Planets franchise. While anyone that hasn’t seen the show already can jump in at any point, the packaging is clearly designed to appeal to those that have already got an interest in the series. This is not a bad thing. However, any new fans looking to get into the series should pick this package up as it is a great value for money and if it turns out to be not your cup of tea, you will still have a pretty cool looking package to display.