G-Force: Guardians of Space was the second English-language adaptation of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, produced through the year of 1986 and first aired on TV in July 1987, followed by a full run on the Cartoon Network from 1995 to 1997.
This version skews closer to the Gatchaman source material than Battle of the Planets had, and had come about when Sandy Frank Entertainment wanted to market the license in a new way. However, Sandy Frank opted to not be directly involved in this production, and Turner Progam Services was left in charge of hiring people to adapt the series.
Fred Ladd and Norm Prescott (of Filmation fame) produced this adaptation through their company "Sparklin' Entertainment", with many name changes harkening back to Ladd's fondness for descriptive, pun-based names that he'd utilized in other dubs he had worked on (Gigantor, Astro Boy). The dubbing of the series was done in Los Angeles, California, and featured voice actors that had previously worked on dubs by Harmony Gold.
Key Changes in the Adaptation
While G-Force generally stayed closer to Gatchaman, there were still many changes involved in the adaptation.
- Ken Washio became "Ace Goodheart".
- Joe Asakura became "Dirk Daring".
- Jun became "Agatha June", usually referred to by the nickname "Aggie".
- Jinpei became "Peewee".
- Ryu Nakanishi became "Hoot-Owl" (due to his Bird Style theme), with the nickname "Hooty" for short.
- Dr. Kozaburo Nambu became "Dr. Benjamin Brighthead".
- Director Anderson kept his name in earlier episodes, while later episodes had him named "Commander Todd".
- Berg Katse was renamed "Galactor" (simply the name of the organization in the original), and stated to be an alien ruler from outer space. Sosai X became "Computor", an artificial intelligence that acted as Galactor's consultant.
- Red Impulse kept his name, although his civilian name was never brought up.
- The Science Ninja Team was renamed "G-Force", as they had been in the previous adaptation. This was done to explain away the "G" symbol on their belts. Their G- designations were kept, although their Bird Style names were never brought up.
Excluded elements and other changes
- As mentioned above, Katse and X had their roles altered in this version. It is believed that this came about due to religious controversy surrounding the original English version and X being called "The Great Spirit". Some scenes with Katse and X were shortened, particularly him bowing to X.
- Inter-team violence was cut, such as the scenes of Jun being slapped.
- While deaths of Galactor soldiers tended to kept in more often and they were referred to as being human, some sequences of the team beating them up were trimmed a bit. Yet, the description on the "G-Force" DVD release refers to Galactor as having an army of "androids".
- Deaths via firearms also tended to be cut, or have dialogue added that suggested a character survived.
- The Devil Stars' deaths in episode 31 were softened by the team claiming that they were only "cyborgs", along with the death of Devil Star 2 (who was renamed "STAR-ONE").
- Another edit in episode 31 involved the entire removal of Joe Asakura's backstory. In the G-Force version, Dirk explains via a voice over that his parents were "almost" killed by Galactor, and the female commander references a failed assassination. However, a later episode in the run would reference Dirk's parents as having indeed been killed by Galactor. It is also interesting to note that a scene where Dirk lies down and thinks he's hearing gun shots conveniently did not have the sound effects edited out.
- One notable edit involved the death of a king in episode 35, who had been impersonated by Katse. While in the original, the prince saw his father's skeleton and identified it by the ring on his finger, the G-Force version had the prince claim that his father had put his ring on a skeleton to let him know that he was safe and had escaped.
- Some non-violent sequences even tended to be trimmed slightly or entirely left out for time constraints, although sometimes narration by a character would sum up a missing scene.
- Although the first Gatchaman two episodes that were dubbed (18 and 85) used a series narrator, other episodes had Ace or Dr. Brighthead narrating.
- Some names and terminology were inconsistent, such as Director Anderson keeping his name in some episodes while being called "Commander Todd" in others. Hontwahl was also referred to as "St. Pierre" in its first appearance, but was called "Satania" in the two episodes that followed.
- This version did not get as far as revealing that Katse and the female commander were the same person. When the female commander did appear in this adaptation, she referred to herself as one of Galactor's most loyal followers. She was given the aliases "Ms. Tompkins" and "Veronica".
- A backbeat from the "G-Force" theme was utilized to fill all silent gaps within episodes, or to mask edits. Otherwise, the Gatchaman soundtrack was left intact, save for Episodes 18 and 85 (see below).
- Episodes 18 and 85 (Gatchaman #87) had their entire score replaced with one by Dean Andre, as they were the first two to be dubbed as test pilots for Turner to approve Fred Ladd's pitch. Andre was unable to re-score the other 83 episodes due to the dub having only three months to be completed. However, Andre did manage to make a completely new score for the broadcast versions of the pilots. The "pre-production" versions are available as an extra on Australia's PAL release of "Battle of the Planets".
- The title cards to episodes were left out, leaving the titles unknown for years until they were revealed via Usenet and from those who had worked on the adaptation.
- A Spanish version titled "Fuerza G: Guardianes del espacio" was released in the late '80s and aired on Canal 9. The names were translated rather literally into Spanish, with Ace Goodheart becoming "As Corazón-Noble".
- It also aired in Portugal under the title "G-Force: Defensores do Espaço", while the team members' names were kept in their English versions.
- It was aired in Poland under the title "Zaloga G".
- G-Force also aired in countries such as Turkey and Sweden, though there is little to no available information. The English version aired in Russia, with Russian dubbing overlaying the English audio track.
85 episodes were utilized for G-Force, as it was deemed the appropriate amount for syndication, however some also believe that Turner's budget only allowed for 85 to be dubbed.
Episodes 18 and 87 of Gatchaman were the first to be dubbed by Ladd's company, as a way for him to show Turner that the series could employ an adventure story as well as a character-centric one. However, they are still placed in their proper order in the actual episode listing, although they still contain a few differences when viewed alongside the rest of the series.
Episode 81 of Gatchaman was not adapted, and it was long believed this was due to the violence and religious themes present in it. However, the real reason had to do with Tatsunoko not being able to locate the simple English script for Ladd to use. Episode 86 was also skipped, as with the two pilots and the dub reaching episode 85, the production team had filled their quota of episodes to adapt.
Unless otherwise stated, the episode order follows that of Gatchaman.
- "The Robot Stegosaur"
- "The Blast at the Bottom of the Sea"
- "The Strange White Shadow"
- "The Giant Centipoid"
- "The Phantom Fleet"
- "The Micro-Robots"
- "The Bad Blue Baron"
- "The Secret of the Reef"
- "The Sting of the Scorpion"
- "The Antoid Army"
- "The Mighty Blue Hawk"
- "The Locustoid"
- "The Deadly Red Sand"
- "The Rainbow Ray"
- "The Giant Jellyfish Lens
- "The Regenerating Robot"
- "The Beetle Booster"
- "The Whale Submarine (pilot #1)
- "The Racing Inferno"
- "The Mightiest Mole"
- "Race of the Cyborgs"
- "The Fiery Dragon"
- "The Mammoth Iron Ball"
- "The Neon Giant"
- "The Rock Robot"
- "The Secret Sting Ray"
- "The ANIrobot"
- "Invisible Enemy"
- "The Project Called "Rock-E-X""
- "The Attack of the Mantis"
- "The Sinister STAR-ONE"
- "The Giant Squid"
- "In the Tentacles' Grip"
- "Operation Aurora"
- "The Sun-Bird"
- "The Deadly Sea"
- "The Particle Beam"
- "The Dinosaur Man
- "The Monster Plants"
- "Those Fatal Flowers"
- "Killer Music"
- "Swan Song Prison"
- "Human Robots"
- "The Shock Waves"
- "The Case of the Kalanite"
- "The Deadly Valley"
- "The Super-Z-20"
- "The Camera Weapon"
- "The Mechanical Fang"
- "The Skeleton Curse"
- "Wheel of Destruction"
- "The Secret Red Impulse"
- "The Van Allen Vector"
- "The Vengeance"
- "The Micro-Submarine"
- "The Bird Missile"
- "Battle of the North Pole"
- "The Super-Lazer"
- "Mystery of the Haunted Island"
- "G-Force Agent 6"
- "Dream of Danger"
- "The Snow Devil"
- "The Strange Strike-Out"
- "A Deadly Gift"
- "The Iron Beast"
- "When Fashion was Fatal"
- "The Proto Monster"
- "Radioactive Island"
- "The Devil's Graveyard"
- "Mummy Mania"
- "The Abominable Snowman Cometh"
- "Plague of Robots"
- "The Mammothdon"
- "Secret of the Power"
- "The Crab Robot"
- "The Reverser Ray"
- "Shock Waves"
- "Battle on the Ocean Bottom"
- "Stolen Identity"
- "The Mind-Control Machine"
- "Force of the Mega-Robots (#82)
- "The Flame Zone (#83)
- "Web of Danger" (#84)
- "The Secret of G-4 (#85)
- "Galactor's Deadly Trap" (#87, pilot #2)
Media360 test pilot: "The Zol Intruders"
Before Fred Ladd's "G-Force" pitch, Turner had received a different pitch from another studio, "The Media360 Group" at around some point in 1985. Media360 was ordered to produce a pilot, but were purposely not provided with Tatsunoko's translation, in order for them to only rely on the visual content.
Media360 utilized episode 26, "The God Phoenix Reborn", and retitled it "The Zol Intruders". The pilot took 30 days to complete, and was produced by Steve Bell and Bill Anderson (who also created an entirely new musical score). The dubbing was done through an Atlanta, Georgia-based ADR studio called JBS.
Media360's version was ultimately rejected, as Turner felt it would be too expensive to go with the company. The entire episode has never been released, presumably due to rights issues, though Media360 has shown the first few minutes as a sample clip on their YouTube account.
Name Changes in Media360 version
- Ken Washio was renamed "Lucas".
- Joe Asakura was renamed "Jason".
- Jun was renamed "Rachel".
- Jinpei was renamed "David".
- Ryu Nakanishi was renamed "Quintin".
- Dr. Kozaburo Nambu was renamed "Professor Nicholas".
- Berg Katse was renamed "Commander Zol", and a Galactor commander that appeared in the episode became "Commander Tiros".
- Ryu's brother Seiji was renamed "Timmy".
Note: Due to the G-Force ending sequence not crediting the voice actors and other people who worked on the show, it is still unknown how many people were left unaccounted for in production. Due to the lack of proper credits, it has been debated if this was a union or non-union dub.
Distributed by: Turner Program Services (1986-1995), King Features Entertainment (1995-2002), Sandy Frank Entertainment (2003-2007)
Producers: Fred Ladd, Norm Prescott (uncredited)
Voice Director: Fred Ladd
Additional Music Composer/Music Editor: Dean Andre
ADR Production: Sparklin' Entertainment
Post-Production: Bruce Austin Productions
Video Tape Editor: Kurt Tiegs
Executive Producer (for Turner Program Services): Prudence Eddy
- Ace Goodheart: Sam Fontana
- Dirk Daring, Red Impulse: Cam Clarke (all episodes save for 39 and 40)
- Agatha June, Peewee: Barbara Goodson
- Hoot Owl, Dr. Brighthead, Computor: Gregg Berger (some episodes), Jan Rabson (others)
- Galactor: Bill Capizzi
- Opening Credits Narration: Norm Prescott
Cam Clarke was unavailable for the recording of two episodes, leading to his roles being filled in by another actor in the group. Due to the lack of availability for the entirety of the series, as well as recordings being hard to find and no official statements made, it is difficult to tell when Gregg Berger's roles were filled in by Jan Rabson.
Production Staff (Media360 pilot, "The Zol Intruders")
Producers: Bill Anderson, Steve Bell
Voice Director: Bill Anderson
Music Composers: Bill Anderson, Steve Bell
Audio Engineer: Brad Jones
ADR Production: JBS Studios
Post-Production: Crawford Post Production
Executive Producer (for Turner Program Services): Prudence Eddy
- Lucas: Don Spalding
- Jason, Professor Nicholas, Newsman: Barry Stoltze
- Rachel: Faith Salie
- David, Commander Zol, Timmy: John Ferguson
- Quintin, Commander Tiros, Narrator: Doug Paul
DVD Releases and Home Video Availability
- The first six volumes of the "Battle of the Planets" DVDs by Rhino contained one episode of "G-Force: Guardians of Space" on each disc, in total covering the first six episodes. The practice was stopped after volume 6, as Rhino planned to eventually give G-Force its own DVD release.
- "The Best of G-Force", released by Rhino in 2004, is to date the only DVD release of the series outside the BOTP volumes. It contains the episodes "The Racing Inferno", "Invisible Enemy", "The Sinister STAR-ONE", "The Dinosaur Man", "Wheel of Destruction", "The Secret Red Impulse", and "The Van Allen Vector".
- A PAL DVD of "G-Force: Guardians of Space" was released in the UK in 2003, and contains the first three episodes of the series.
Due to Sandy Frank's master license having expired in 2007, it is unlikely that any more of the series will see release.
|TV animation||Science Ninja Team Gatchaman · Gatchaman II · Gatchaman Fighter · New Gatchaman (unproduced)· Good Morning Ninja Team Gatchaman · Gatchaman Crowds · Gatchaman Crowds insight · Battle of the Planets: Phoenix Ninjas|
|Movies||Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie · Gatchaman (2011 - unproduced) · Gatchaman (2013)|
|Adaptations||Battle of the Planets (movie) · Eagle 5 Brothers · G-Force: Guardians of Space · Eagle Riders· Battle of the Planets: The New Exploits of G-Force (unproduced)|
|Other||Gatchaman (OVA) · NTT Gatchaman · Tachimals Theater · Infini-T Force · Time Bokan: Royal Revival|