A live action film version of the Japanese animated series Gatchaman, or as it is known here in the United States under its imported title Battle Of The Planets, is stepping in front of the cameras starting today in Japan.
The Gatchaman (or as it fully known in Japan Science Ninja Team Gatchaman) series was one of the first anime series brought over to the United States in the 1970s to feed the demand for science-fiction adventure that was ignited by the success of the first Star Wars film. It focused on a group of teens who are recruited to fight back an invasion from the planet Spectre. Reportedly, the US version was severely watered-down from the original version in terms of violence and profanity. You can see the differences between the US and Japanese versions in the video below.
The script for this live action version is by Yūsuke Watanabe, who also wrote the two-part live action of the manga and anime Gantz as well as next year’s Dragon Ball Z feature. In the director’s chair is Toya Sato, best known for the live-action Grave of the Fireflies.
A few years ago animation studio Imagi tried to mount a theatrical film version of the show but the project was cancelled when the studio encountered financial problems following the disastrous release of their Astro Boy adaptation. Here are two trailers that Imagi released while they were still working on the project.
Currently, it looks as if there is no distributor lined up for the film. Hopefully it won’t suffer the same fate as the live action Starblazers/ Space Cruiser Yamato when it comes to a possible release here.