Without realizing it, I grew up exposed to the earliest anime, shows like Astro Boy
and The Amazing Three and Kimba the White Lion
. It was a quiet invasion overshadowed by louder, more colorful and kinetic American animation on Saturday mornings and classic Warner cartoons on weekday afternoons. As a result, I missed the next great era of American anime such as Space Battleship Yamato
and Robotech. It certainly developed a large following in the 1970s and 1980s with the airwaves packed with these shows. In fact there were so many that several shorter-run series were packed together as Force Five
. The Wednesday show was known as Spaceketeers
and ran for 26 episodes, edited down from 73 episodes and never quite concluded the story.
Now, Shout! Factory has taken the series, which was edited into three different films by Toei in 2009 and is releasing them on disc. The new version was written and directed by William Winckler