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18 June 2014
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James: "Sweeping style"

The Phoenix: Click for larger version.When I was in short trousers, this was gripping stuff - edge of the seat space opera on an epic scale. The merging of American cartoon and Manga made for a uniquely stylised product. Nowadays, It's still impressive, but looks badly stitched together.

It's like seeing the edited highlights of something much, much grander - the sweeping style of the animation (all breathtaking zooms, pans, and flash cuts), and the ethereal cunning of Zoltar and his big floating bird boss have to jostle with the pedestrian bumbling of fussbudget 7-Zark-7. Typical American approach: add in a layer of management.

Kim: "I was Tiny"

Age six, I wasn’t sophisticated enough to realise how much the Americans hacked about with Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman.

Having said that, this show did introduce the idea of a superhero team with a hidden home life. Each character had a personality tic - Mark (Eagle Ken) the leader, focussed only on his goals, Jason (Condor Joe) was the headstrong activist, and Princess (Swan Jun) held together the emotional side.

Despite their differences, they'd all come together at the end - the whole being greater than the parts in the fiery Phoenix. That was what made it such playground fun -your friends had a role that suited their character. I was Tiny.

Stephen: "Major cities have to pay"

Phoenix battles the terrapin: Click for larger version.Battle Of The Planets admirably adheres to the original Godzilla approach toward monsters: They rise out of oceans and volcanoes. They're angry, and major cities have to pay. The reason? Just because.

This show invented the genre ressurected by Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Both teams 'transmute' via wristwatch, both wear colour coded costumes, dialogue and plot means nothing, and the combined use of their special powers saves the day.

There is also an annoying robot who bosses both around from HQ. And, of course both teams of heroes never realise that if they just used their super-duper special power before taking a beating, they'd be home in time for tea!

Battle of the Planets is © 1978 Sandy Frank Film Syndication, Inc. Licensed by Universal Playback.


VIDEO CLIP:Titles Alien galaxies beyond space - crikey!

VIDEO CLIP:Trailer Battle of the Planets Trailer

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