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Name: Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
Abbreviation(s): Kagaku Ninja-tai Gatchaman, Gatchaman, Battle of the Planets (BotP), G-Force: Guardians of Space, Eagle Riders
Creator: Tatsuo Yoshida
Date(s): 1972-1974 (Original run); 1978-1980 (BotP); 1986 (G-Force); Eagle Riders (1996-1997).
Medium: Animated television series, animated film, live-action film
Country of Origin: Japan; United States
External Links: Wikipedia
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Gatchaman is the shorthand name for Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, a Japanese animated series and its various offshoots. The series originally aired in 1972 in Japan, but was adapted into English a number of times, as well as having both an OVA and live-action film. Despite its age, the series has a small but strong fan following ranging from the 1980s onwards.


Gatchaman tells the adventures of five bird-themed super-human teens who protect the world and the environment from the predation of technologically superior super-villains Galactor. The episodes largely followed a "mecha villain of the week" format, but also explored the personal lives and histories of the main characters.

Original Series

The original series, Kagaku Ninja-tai Gatchaman, ran from 1972 to 1974 with 105 episodes. It was followed by an animated film version (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie) in 1978 and then two sequel series, Gatchaman II (1978-1979, 52 episodes) and Gatchaman Fighter (1979-1980, 48 episodes). In 2013 Gatchaman Crowds was released with loose connection to the previous series.

English Adaptations

Battle of the Planets

In 1972, Sandy Frank Entertainment released 85 of the original 105 episodes of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman as Battle of the Planets, with a new English speaking cast and some changes to the story to make it more palatable to American tastes by removing the graphic violence and profanity. The series ran for two years. A comic was also produced; the first series (1979-1981) by Gold Key Comics and the second series (2002-2003) by Top Cow Productions.

G-Force: Guardians of Space

Sandy Frank Entertainment collaborated with Turner Broadcasting to create a newer, more faithful translation of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman for a new audience in 1986, using the same original 85 episodes but removing the additions from Battle of the Planets and restoring the parts previously removed. It was also shown in the original order, unlike BotP which had bounced around somewhat.

Eagle Riders

In 1996 Saban obtained the rights to Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter and released 65 episodes as Saban's Eagle Riders. Again, changes were made to remove objectionable content for America audiences, with the 15th episode of Gatchaman Fighter being used as the finale instead of the original ending to Gatchaman II.

Characters [1]

Gatchaman Battle of the Planets G-Force Eagle Riders OVA (Harmony Gold dub) Rank Bird Uniform Weapon Mecha
Ken Washio Mark Ace Goodheart Hunter Harris Ken the Eagle G1 Eagle Razor boomerang Airplane
George "Joe" Asakura Jason Dirk Daring Joseph "Joe" Thax Joe the Condor G2 Condor Pistol Race Car
Jun Princess Agatha "Aggie" June Kelly Jennar June the Swan G3 Swan Yo-yo Motorcycle
Jinpei Keyop Pee Wee Mickey Dugan Jimmy the Falcon G4 Swallow Bolo Dune Buggy
Ryu Nakanishi Tiny Harper Hoot "Hooty" Owl Ollie Keeawani Rocky the Owl G5 Owl Pistol God Phoenix


The fandom was at its peak in the late 2000s. In a rarity for anime fandoms, many of the most prolific authors loved both Gatchaman and Battle of the Planets and would write for both equally. But some fans preferred the unedited Japanese Gatchaman, while others leaned towards Battle of the Planets due to it being easily viewable compared to the original.

By contrast, G-Force and Eagle Riders were much less popular.


Ken/Jun is the most popular het pairing. Jun is canonically in love with Ken, while Ken struggles with his own feelings due to his emotional issues and sense of duty conflicting with his affection for her. Shippers ate this up in the fandom's heyday, many a fanfic would center on the pair struggling to work out their relationship despite the hurdles and limitations they faced. This is also common with Mark/Princess fics despite Mark's feelings in Battle of the Planets being much more overt.

Joe/Jun was another popular het ship among fans who felt the more overtly romantic Joe was braver with his feelings and would be a better match for her. Some fics about the pairing had Jun realize Ken would never return her feelings and move on with Joe, only for Ken to realize too late what he'd lost.

The polyamorous solution of Ken/Jun/Joe was much rarer.

Ken/Joe was a big slash pairing due to the pair constantly butting heads but trusting each other with their lives.

Notable Authors






  • Timeless (amv) - Gatchaman is featured as part of this tribute to anime history.


External Links