There are geeks and then there are hardcore geeks. Many of the hardcore among us have fond memories of the old Japanese anime series Gatchaman (full title: Science Ninja Team Gatchaman), a weird, wonderful series about five superheroes who were essentially high-tech ninjas with powered, bird-like suits and a ship called the God Phoenix that enabled them to battle the evil forces of Galactor, who was trying to essentially destroy the planet. It was wild stuff, thick with environmental themes and some pretty solid storytelling.
Most of the English-speaking world is probably more familiar with the adaptation Battle of the Planets, also known as G-Force, which used the video of Gatchaman, but the Americanized version cut a good bit of it out, changing the overall story arcs and removing some of the more confusing or adult-themed aspects. It also suffered from some baffling English dubbing.
It was a great series, though, and a CG film adaptation has been rumored to be in development for years. Imagi studios was working on the film, except that, unfortunately, Imagi closed its doors last year, despite having a Gatchaman feature film still being worked on. As a result, we may never see the film. Which makes this post something of a heartbreaker, a classic example of what could have been. An early production trailer has leaked online, and it actually looks pretty cool. The animation is a little wonky, but the spirit of the original series is there.
So watch the trailer below, and wish for what could have been.
For those whose memories are a bit hazy, here’s the intro to the Americanized Battle of the Planets: