Tonight I bring you a show that isn’t known about in most circles. The animation quality and stories created a hard-hitting sci-fi drama that could be safe for kids (by 80’s standards) but still be as violent as a western set in outer space needed to be.For those who do know about it, many will find positive things to say about it. It was a show that may have been ahead of its time. This is the pilot episode for Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
Granted, the dialog was a bit stiff at times, but it was action packed, well animated by famed Japanese animation studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha, also known as TMS Entertainment. Even in the days that anime wasn’t a big deal, TMS was often called upon by US companies to animate their shows. They deserve their reputation, as their artwork and animation is fantastic.
The use of computer animation to represent computer layouts was rather inspired for the day. It’s animation. Computer effects weren’t overly used, like today where they’ll be used to animate machines (mecha in some animes, but also the vehicles for the remake Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon for example) rather than take the time to do it by hand. Computer animation combined with traditional 2D animation even with “cel-shaded” coloring styles, often stands out, especially if the CG is terrible. (Check out the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon. Talk about phoning it in.)
Storywise, I chose both episodes to set up the situation. Killing was often frowned upon in kids shows, but this may actually be to Galaxy Rangers‘s benefit. Killing people is bad enough, but stealing their life essences in order to create spies for your armies? That’s downright evil. I know there are people (adults) who make a big deal about the lack of death in kids shows of this type, but when you can work around it and actually make worse villains, you’ve proven that limitations aren’t always that limiting.
Outside of the aforementioned dialog issues (which wasn’t the majority of the time, but there are moments), the voice acting is very good, not just for the 80’s but by today’s standards. The theme is also rocking with a bit of country twang to show it’s a western set in space. The whole series is up on Hulu right now, and the show is available on DVD in a two–volume set, so if you’re an old fan wanting to relive your memories, a new fan wanting to try something different, or you didn’t really follow it as a kid, but now you’re curious to see how adult you will look at it (points to self), it’s worth checking out.
I remember this show. Had a real kick-ass opening theme, but I never really got into it.
You are also right about the lack of death in kids shows. Nowadays kids are really desensitized but back in the day, a character dying was a big deal.
I remember watching “Starfleet” (aka X Bomber), and when two major characters died I was stunned. Looking back on it now, I was just floored by how well the deaths were handled. Furthermore, even without the deaths the villains were truly terrifying (Commander Makara’s gloating in one episode as the main ship and her crew floated in a blackhole, broken and virtually unmoving, without any music was really chilling to me).
I never heard of that show. Was it ever shown in America?
In an early SNS I showed a Bravestarr episode where Bravestarr’s mentor snapped his twig and killed some guy over losing a friendly competition right in front of everybody. It wasn’t a trick, it wasn’t a delusion, and the “hero” didn’t get better and seek redemption. It was a very powerful moment for the Marshall. Unfortunately, YouTube took it down and both Hulu and Joost (who no longer has any of the Filmation series except Fat Albert) never put it up in their showing, so that’s rather disappointing. It’s a must-see episode. And it was for kids!
(See also the Sesame Street episode where they outright told the kids that Mr. Hooper had in fact died instead of sending him away somewhere when the actor who portrayed him died.)
Starfleet was mostly video only in the US. It had a long U.K. run (with none other than Brian May of Queen producing the ending theme song) though. DVDs of it occasionally crop up but it can be hard to get ahold of.
Yeah, I remember that episode of Bravestarr. Still is a real gut punch episode for me.
[…] reused into Power Rangers. Apparently another pilot called Galaxy Rangers (not to be confused with the sci-fi western) I was hoping to find the actual pilot for next week’s showcase, but since that appears to […]
[…] I did find a pilot reel for Adventures Of The Galaxy Rangers, basically a condensed version of the first episode. Since today was busy with helping family (and tomorrow may be as well) I thought I’d bring […]