The early anime series that began in Japan as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972-74) aired in the U.S. in two very different versions. For Battle of the Planets (syndication, 1978), much of the violence was excised and the R2-D2-esque robot 7-Zark-7 was added; G-Force (Turner Broadcasting, 1986) was darker in tone and closer to the original Gatchaman. All three series focus on the adventures of five teenagers in bird suits. In Battle they tackle the evil Spectra in "outer space," although the backgrounds are clearly Earth, where G-Force and Gatchaman are set. Episode 3 illustrates the difference between the series: In Battle, when a whiny little boy gets in the way of a giant mummy attacking an airport, the evil Zoltar warns him away; in Gatchaman, villainous Berg Katse tells the mummy to step on the child. Unrated; suitable for ages 10 up. --Charles Solomon
From the Back Cover
Before Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles or Pokemon... there was Battle of the Planets. The Space Serpent
The Space Mummy - 7-Zark-7 discovers a new planet, much like Earth, hiding behind Venus and it is named Zarkadia after himself. Lately, mysterious plane crashes have been occurring there and G-Force is sent to investigate. But when mark reaches the crash site, he's attacked by a colossal space mummy powered by Plutonium X. A new synthetic mineral, Anti-Pluton, is the only defense against it. Mark meets a young boy, Buddy, a mission pilot's son, whose uncle is the inventor of Anti-Pluton, and he agrees to help. But Zoltar himself, disguised as the boy's father, returns to wreak havoc and launch an all out assault on Zarkadia with help from the invincible space mummy.
: Something is out there and it's approaching Earth: something massive enough to affect the movement of the stars is passes. Could it be another Spectra attack? It is, and this time Zoltar has outdone himself. He's commissioned a huge space serpent with an insatiable appetite for crude oil. It attacks Earth's oil refineries from underground, causing major earthquakes and upheavals. Mark's old friend, a famous seismologist, is lost in a quake and the doctor's daughter, Debbie, blames Mark. Now Mark takes it on himself to avenge his friend's death, but the battle won't be easy: blow the serpent apart and it quickly reassembles. Has Zoltar finally won? Will G-Force have to use their ultimate secret weapon?