Ken! Joe! Jun! Jinpei! Ryu!
Don’t recognize the names? Okay. Let’s try it again.
Mark! Jason! Princess! Tiny! Keyop!
That’s a little more like it. Most American viewers, especially anyone who ever sat transfixed by the TV after school in the late 1970s and early 80s probably remember these as the heroes of the animated series Battle Of The Planets.
Of course, however, Battle Of The Planets never quite achieved the critical mass of popularity necessary to rate anything more than coloring books in the U.S., but in its native Japan, where the show was known as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, it was much more popular. And thanks to a resurgence in interest in the show on both sides of the Pacific, there’s now a long-overdue and really very nicely sculpted set of figures.
Though not action figures, and slightly smaller in scale than your average 33/4″ figures (the typical size established by such popular toy lines as Star Wars and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, among other Kenner and Mego ranges), the Gatchaman box set captures the characters’ expressions and costumes perfectly. The detail is impressive, right down to those “transmute!” communicator bracelets. The smaller figures – Jun and Jinpei – can barely stand on their own, however; fortunately, the box includes five clear plastic stands which, when joined, form the G-Force logo.
Now, if only we could get Chief Anderson, 7-Zark-7, 1-Rover-1, Voltar, and maybe one of Voltar’s ubiquitous green-clad guards into a second set…ahhh, the bliss of childhood. (Editor’s note: Before anyone gives me a lecture on the difference between Battle Of The Planets and Gatchaman, I do know that the aforementioned cute robots didn’t appear in the original Japanese version.)