theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


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theengineer

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Gatchaman

Saturday as I was crossing College at Spadina heading south, I encountered a yellow Lego brick sitting in the middle of the crosswalk. When I reached the sidewalk on the south side, I found another one. Drawn irresistibly further down Spadina, I found one more, but then lost the trail despite my best efforts in either direction. I'll never know what I missed.

Also on the weekend I caught the new Dr. Who Xmas episode, The Runaway Bride, at Irwin and Lisa's place, and thought it was quite good, much better than last year's. The Tardis flying down a motorway was especially worth it. Did that ever show here in Canada? Because if it did, I missed it completely. And considering that the CBC paid for part of it (and got a big credit at the end) would make that especially nuts on their part.

Also saw the pilot of the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures, which is pitched at a younger crowd than Dr. Who, and had some real silliness in it, but I enjoyed it overall. Some of that may be residual Sarah Jane worship.

Sunday was Janet's birthday, and she had some people over to her place to watch Battle of the Planets / Gatchaman episodes. As most of you probably already know, in 1978 Sandy Frank took the anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and recut and redubbed it to create Battle of the Planets, adding in the annoying 7-Zark-7 (an R2-D2 like robot) to narrate over all the footage of death and mayham they had to cut out. The inserted footage was of obviously different style than the rest of the show, but when you're a kid that doesn't matter so much.

Anyway, Janet has this collection of the first 20-odd BotP episodes, with the corresponding uncut and subtitled Gatchaman episodes, so we would watch one episode, and then the other, and laugh at the differences. One of the biggest plot changes in BotP was that the team would be flying to a different planet each week to fight the bad guys, whereas the original show was completely based on Earth. That confused me as a kid as there was a BotP episode involving an Apollo-style space mission. If they could go to other planets why was a simple orbital shot such a big deal? Also, I never realized before that the BotP theme is a lot like the Superfriends theme.

Actually, we got some very interesting comments from one of her friends (also named Janet) who speaks Japanese. Apparently Ken (the leader of our heroes in Gatchaman) speaks Japanese like he's a yakusa, and is always literally speaking down to the rest of the team. which completely changes what I've always assumed the dynamics on the show to be. Now I have an excuse to re-watch all my 105 original episodes.

And to round out the weekend of animation / SF, thanks to my brother for telling me that all three seasons of Superman: The Animated Series were available at Second Spin. Got them all for less than $20 each!

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(Deleted comment)
I've heard a number of anime series involve characters who are in some kind of social hierarchy (high school srs/jrs etc) that doesn't translate clearly, leaving the North American viewers wondering why one character is pushing the other around for no visible reason.

(Deleted comment)
Childhood trauma. This explains much.

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