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G-Force: Animated: The Official Battle Of The Planets Companion by Jason Hofius and George Khoury

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pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 96 page illustrated softcover. Price: $15.95 (US). ISBN: 1-893905-18-7.

check out website: www.twomorrows.com

I remember when I was a kid (easy) growing up there was a plethora of cartoons for children. Most of which were shall we say easy on the mind and not really that challenging. Very few originated from Japan that I remember anyway. One that did stand out though was 'Battle Of The Planets' or the later version known as 'G-Force'. In Japan, the initial series was called 'Gatchaman'. It was repackaged from its original form in the US where new scripts scenes, characters and animation were appended to make it more appealing and acceptable to the US censors, who at that time would shy away from the original's level of violence. Later, it was sold world-wide in this repackaged form. Then later, a more accurately translated version was produced without extra scenes as 'G-Force'.



Sandy Frank brought 'Battle Of The Planets' with a last minute decision to introduce the west to Japanese animation. There had been a few Japanese animation series run in the US before, but the change in Japanese anime direction to a more realistic and action oriented style had meant it was more difficult to bring these to the US.

With the success of 'Star Wars', it enabled Sandy Frank to bring the space-orientated series of 'Gatchaman' to the US. Sandy formulated a production team of writers, animation houses, musical composers and editors to form the 85 (very loosely) translated episodes from the 105 Japanese episodes purchased for $5 million in total. It ran in the US in 1979, a huge success was then released around the world to further praise and attainment.

'Battle Of The Planets' was the westernisation of 'Gatchaman' and it concerned the secretive G-Force project. 5 Members, each with cerebonic implants which accord them super-human abilities and strength fight against Spectra. Each character of G-Force had there own special vehicle and distinct personality. Each episode usually involved thwarting Spectras invasion plans instigated by Zoltar, the lapdog of the leader of Spectra, The Spirit.

The format of 'Gatchaman', 'Battle Of The Planets' and 'G-Force' has been copied many times over since its inception. Look at 'Power Rangers' for example. This guide book gives a good insight into the history, creation and production of all the 'Gatchaman' series and its spin-offs. We get example script pages along with character profiles, episode guide and music creation for the 'Battle Of The Planets'. The book concentrates mainly on the 'Battle Of The Planets' series so if your looking for an in depth guide to 'Gatchaman' or 'G-Force' you may have to look elsewhere.

There's a chapter of the voice cast of 'Battle Of The Planets' along with interviews with Ronnie Schell who played Tiny and Janet Waldo who played Princess. The book also covers some of the world-wide merchandise for 'Battle Of The Planets' and finally includes an interview with Alex Ross who is involved with the new 'Battle Of The Planets' comic book.

Generally, this is an enjoyable look back at 'Battle Of The Planets' if a bit short. Some of the chapters are a bit on the dry side albeit the box-out snippets are an interesting aside. It would have been good to have a bit more artwork/screengrabs throughout the b

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