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Anime Profile: Force Five

Fields
USA Info
Japanese Info
Image
Title
Force Five   Force Five
Force Five
· · ·
Dangard Ace Wakusei Robo Dangard A
· · ·
Grandizer UFO Robot Grandizer
· · ·
Gaiking Daiku Maryu
· · ·
Spaceketeers SF Saiyuki Starzinger
· · ·
Starvengers Getter Robo
· · ·
  Getter Robo G
Released
130 TV episodes 56 TV eps.(Dangard Ace); 74 TV eps.(Grandizer); 44 TV eps.(Gaiking); 64 TV eps.(Spaceketeers); 90 TV eps.(Starvengers; 51 Getter Robo & 39 Getter Robo G)
Dates
1980–81 1977(Dangard Ace); 1975(Grandizer); 1976(Gaiking); 1978(Spaceketeers); 1975(Starvengers)
Company
Jim Terry Prod. Toei Animation
Creator
   
Director
Kenny Feuerman  
Genre
Mecha Mecha
Related
Getter Robo Armageddon Shin Getter Robo: The Final Days of the World
Characters
-- listed below -- -- listed below --

Last I checked, this anime was available on VHS at Amazon.com (Danguard Ace), Amazon.com (Grandizer), Amazon.com (Gaiking), Amazon.com (Spaceketeers), and Amazon.com (Starvengers).

Anime Characters: Force Five

English Name
Japanese Name
English Name
Japanese Name
Brenda(Grandizer) Hikaru Makiba Lance Hyatt(Grandizer) --?--
Orion Quest(Grandizer) Duke Fleed Porkos/Pigsy --?--
Aramos/Sandy --?-- Princess Aurora --?--
Dr. Monocle --?-- Prof. Valconian(Grandizer) --?--
Jesse Dart(Spaceketeers) --?-- Vega(Grandizer) --?--

Anime Description: Force Five

Force Five was not a single television show, but a syndicated series that showcased five different anime programs once a week, dubbed into English for an American audience. The compilation was mainly shown in New England in the early 1980's, with Danguard Ace airing on Mondays, Starvengers on Tuesdays, Spaceketeers on Wednesdays, Grandizer on Thursdays and Gaiking on Fridays.

In 1978, before Force Five reached American shores, Mattel released a popular series of toys called "Shogun Warriors," which were based on the characters from the five Japanese cartoons. By the time Jim Terry Productions created Force Five to show the anime programs in the U.S., Mattel had lost the rights to the characters, leaving no toys available in America during the course of Force Five's run.

The syndicated anime package did, however, spark a revived interest in giant robot cartoons, paving the way for shows such as Voltron, Transformers and Gobots to find receptive American audiences.

Anime Description: Force Five Danguard Ace

Danguard Ace ("Planetary Robot") centered around Earth's discovery of a new planet called Promete. Earth had become ravaged and almost uninhabitable due to overpopulation and a lack of natural resources, so a ship was sent to the remote outreaches of the solar system to explore the unspoiled Promete, which shared similarities with Earth's environment.

Unfortunately, the evil scientist Komisar Krell also discovered Promete, and he planned to move his own people onto the planet. After Krell attacked the first Earth ship journeying to Promete, the Earthlings built Danguard Ace to protect them from future assaults.

Danguard Ace had some parallels to the sci-fi classic Star Wars, focusing on a conflict between the good son and bad father. The hero of the story, Lieutenant Winstar, was the son of a great pilot whom he believed was dead. But in fact, Winstar's father was a prisoner of the evil Krell, who controlled the pilot's mind through a mask. Like Darth Vader, Winstar's father hid his true identity, taking instead the pseudonym Captain Mask.

Anime Description: Force Five Starvengers

Starvengers was another robot show, this one starring three robots that fought another evil empire (the Pandemonium Empire with Colonel Fuerer). The Starvenger robots—Star Dragon, Star Arrow and Star Poseidon—were created to combat the Pandemonium Empire, which sought to (what else?) take over the Earth.

One strange aspect of Starvengers was its villain, Colonel Fuerer (or possibly Captain Fuerer, or Fuhrer), the commander in charge of getting rid of the Starvengers. Like his name implied, Fuerer was an Adolf Hilter caricature, complete with a bad German accent, Nazi uniform, and weirdest of all, two horns protruding from his head.

Anime Description: Force Five Spaceketeers

Spaceketeers followed the adventures of Princess Aurora and her band of protectors as they tried to accomplish a dangerous mission for their Empress. An evil energy source from the star system of Dekos caused the once-peaceful creatures of the universe to change into evil mutants. The Empress enlisted Aurora and three spaceketeers to find and destroy the energy source.

Aurora had her hands full with one of her cohorts: Jesse Dart, a super-powerful but arrogant spaceketeer who followed his own whims. The other two spaceketeers, portly Porkos and intelligent Arimos, were based on the characters or Porthos and Aramis from The Three Musketeers.

Spaceketeers is an adaptation of the classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West" Which chronicles Buddhist monk Xuanzang's pilgrimage to India to obtain sacred texts. Princess Aurora represents Xuanzang.

Jesse Dart represents the monkey king Sun Wukong who rebels against heaven and is trapped under a mountain by Buddha for his transgressions. He possesses enormous strength, is skilled at fighting and has a staff that weighs 8,100 kilograms. He is released from his prison in order to aid Xuanzang in his pilgrimage.

Aramos represents Sha Wujing who is also referred to (in English) as Sand or Sandy. Wujing was a general of heaven who broke a vase in a fit of rage and was sent to Earth as punishment to be reincarnated as a sand demon. As part of his punishment seven swords would fly down from heaven to stab him in the chest and as a result he had to live in the river in order to avoid them.

Porcos represents Zhu Bajie also referred to (in English) as Pigsy or Pig. Bajie was also a disgraced heavenly marshall who was exiled to Earth after a drunken attempt to get fresh with the Goddess of the Moon. He was sentenced to a thousand lives that all ended in a love tragedy. When sent to Earth he fell down a pig well and was reincarnated as a man eating pig. While his other fellow pilgrims become enlightened on the way, he remains a creature of base desires. Unlike his fellow pilgrims who become Buddhas as a reward, Bajie is rewarded with all the leftovers he can eat.

Anime Description: Force Five Grandizer

Grandizer starred Johnny Bryant, a.k.a. Orion Quest. Orion was seemingly the sole survivor of the planet Antares, which had been destroyed by Vega the Strong's flying saucer squad. Spearheading the attack was the great battle robot Grandizer, which Vega hoped to use to help him bring the entire universe under his rule. But that crafty Orion stole back Grandizer and took it to Earth, where he hid the robot and assumed a human identity.

Orion Quest fought evil all on his own and was a very popular hero from the Force Five series. Like Superman, he had dual identities and hailed from an alien planet, which gave him greater strength and agility than his human counterparts. And also like Superman, Orion spent a lot of his time saving hapless humans from the clutches of Vega the Strong and his henchmen.

Anime Description: Force Five Gaiking

Gaiking chronicled Earth's struggle against a looming invasion by the people of the planet Zala, which was about to be swallowed by a black hole. Desperate to maintain their civilization, the leaders of Zala made plans to secretly overtake Earth for their preservation.

A few Earth people caught onto the invasion and built a powerful robot called Gaiking, their only hope to protect themselves. The Gaiking Super Dragon was piloted by Ares Astronopolis, a former major league pitcher who now used his telekinetic abilities to fight evil.