Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (科学忍者隊ガッチャマン, Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman, lit. Science Ninja Squad Gatchaman') is a Japanese animated franchise about a five-member superhero team created by Tatsuo Yoshida and produced by Tatsunoko Productions. The original anime series, which debuted in 1972, was eponymously entitled Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman and is best known in the English-speaking world as the adaptation entitled Battle of the Planets (1978). The series had additional English adaptations with G-Force: Guardians of Space (1986) and ADV Films' uncut 2005 release. Tatsunoko also uses the official translation Science Commando Gatchaman in related products and media.


  • The original series is also known, somewhat infamously, for its multiple English dubs (including the aforementioned release by ADV).

Battle of the Planets[]

Gatchaman first had a US release in 1978 by Sandy Frank Entertainment, under the title Battle of the Planets. This version was heavily altered to adhere to the 1970s' standards of childrens' animation, as well as employ a "space" theme to tie into the popularity of the recently-released Star Wars. Sandy Frank utilized 85 episodes of the series for this adaptation, as that was the standard amount needed for syndication in that era. As Tatsunoko Productions wound up sending the production team the film reels for episodes out of order, this adaptation is also known for having a much different viewing order.

  • The robot 7-Zark-7, was introduced as a new character as a way to fill in the gaps left behind by cutting scenes, as well as to resassure the viewers that there were no deaths involved in the plot, whose high body count was either robots, unmanned aircraft, merely stunned, just pining for the fjords, to mention some.
    • In one episode, the team's mission was to rescue two captured astronauts. In Battle of the Planets, Zark informs the viewers that the astronauts got away safely. Said escape was not shown in the screen, as in Gatchaman, they were killed and their corpses were used as a bait in a trap.

G-Force: Guardians of the Space[]

  • In 1985, after "Battle of the Planets" had aired in reruns on TBS, Sandy Frank sought a new way to market the Gatchaman license. Turner Program Services sub-licensed the series for a new English adaptation, titled G-Force: Guardians of Space. After the initial test dub by Media 360 Group (an Atlanta, Georgia-based studio) was rejected due to concerns of cost, Turner contacted Fred Ladd and his "Sparklin' Entertainment" studio for a new pitch. Episodes 18 and 87 of Gatchaman were dubbed as pilots, and further episodes followed suit. However, as Turner only bought 85 episodes for syndication, only episodes 1-87 were utilized for this version, with episodes 81 and 86 skipped. 81 was skipped due to Tatsunoko being unable to find the simple English script for the producers, and 86 was skipped as the dub had already reached 85 episodes. This version stuck closer to the original Gatchaman with less censorship, although death was still toned down in some cases and the dub was criticized for its name changes, as well as a backbeat that was used to fill all silent moments. "G-Force" aired on TBS for a week in July 1987, to clear a contractual agreement so it could also be aired overseas. The entirety of the series would later be broadcast on the Cartoon Network from 1995 to 1997, returning briefly on Toonami's Midnight Run in 2000.