Eagle Riders (also officially listed as "Saban's "Eagle Riders") was a 1996 English adaptation of Gatchaman produced by Saban Entertainment, that sourced the two sequel series (Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter) as opposed to the first series, due to the rights being tied up with Sandy Frank. 13 of its episodes aired on syndication on US television in the fall of 1996, while the entirety of the series was aired overseas, particularly in Australia.
The show covers 65 episodes, as that became the standard amount for syndication since "Battle of the Planets" and "G-Force". At least 47 Gatchaman II episodes were utilized, along with 18 episodes of Gatchaman Fighter. However, some episodes that covered Fighter were also spliced together, and a few episodes utilized some footage from other episodes that Saban did not adapt in their entirety (see the Changes section and the Episode List). The final episode was sourced from Gatchaman Fighter #15, and ended the series on a cliffhanger.
The dubbing for the series was done in Los Angeles, California and featured a modern pool of voice actors that had been utilized in anime dubs by Saban and Harmony Gold.
Key Changes in the Adaptation
- Ken Washio was renamed "Hunter Harris". His father (Red Impulse), when mentioned, received the name of "Harley Harris". Hunter's Bird Style is referred to that of the "Hawk", instead of the Eagle.
- Joe Asakura was renamed "Joe Thax". His Bird Style is the "Falcon", rather than the Condor.
- Jun received the full name of "Kelly Jennar". Her Bird Style is given as the "Dove", instead of the Swan.
- Jinpei received the full name of "Mickey Dugan", though he remained the Swallow.
- Ryu Nakanishi was renamed to "Ollie Keeawani", but remained the Owl.
- Dr. Kozaburo Nambu was renamed to "Dr. Thaddeus Keane".
- Galactor was referred to as the alien android race of "The Vorak".
- Berg Katse, when referenced, was renamed "Lukan".
- X/Z was renamed "Cybercon".
- Gel Sadora was renamed "Mallanox". Her civilian identity of "Sammie Pandora" was changed to "Nancy Aikens".
- Count Egobossler was renamed "Happy Boy".
- Dr. Sylvie Pandora became "Dr. Francine Aikens", and her deceased husband Domingo became "Herb" (though initially referred to as "Frank").
- Dr. Raphael was renamed to "Professor Andro".
- Saburo Kamo became "Avery".
- Mechandor and Kempeler became "Olaf" and "Vax".
- The New God Phoenix autopilot robot named Pimer was renamed "Auto".
- Hawk Getz (or rather, the Galactor agent that impersonated him) was renamed to "Zarnec" and explained away as an android.
- The Science Ninja Team became the "Eagle Riders", and the New God Phoenix became the "Ultra Eagle".
Excluded Elements and other changes
- Gatchaman's fictional cities and countries were changed to real-world locations.
- The entire soundtrack was changed, with a new score by Shuki Levy replacing the original Gatchaman II and Fighter score and themes.
- The ship wreck in the first episode is cut down to remove the deaths of its passengers, as well as removing the backstory of Gel Sadora. Instead, Cybercon is stated to have created Mallanox from scratch. But later on, Mallanox was referred to as being the son of Lukan (the Eagle Riders' previous nemesis). Even later in the series, it is revealed that Mallanox is the artificially-aged Nancy Aikens, the missing daughter of Francine and Herb Aikens (the latter who died in the ship wreck).
- As a result of the above, Mallanox is initially referred to as a man but it is later revealed that she is a woman, although she keeps her masculine voice when in costume.
- While Gel Sadora dies at the end of Gatchaman II and the spirit of the young Sammie Pandora leaves to reunite with her mother, Mallanox does not die. Instead, the voice over from the clouds is changed from her mother to Cybercon, who informs her that he shall transform her into a new form for her failure: a man named "Happy Boy" (Count Egobossler).
- Deaths of Galactor henchmen are toned down by the characters insisting that the Vorak are mere androids that they've deactivated.
- The final episode of Gatchaman II and the first episode of Fighter are spliced together into one plot, while the rest of Fighter #1 was spliced with #2. The rest of Fighter #2 was subsequently spliced together with scenes from Fighter #27 and some footage from #47.
- While Fighter #48 (the final episode) was never adapted, footage of its final scene was utilized in the opening, with phantom imagery of the Gatchaman team running in the sky, as well as a giant flaming Phoenix heading towards Earth.
- When Fighter #6 was adapted, it had a scene from #46 spliced into it (where Ken was imagining the spirits of Red Impulse and Dr. Nambu).
- While Ken Washio experiences a cellular breakdown that gradually destroys his body, and is unable to cure it (despite getting treated with an experimental cure), Hunter Harris is said to have been cured of his equivalent disease.
- While Joe Asakura never gets the bomb removed from his heart (and it plays a key moment in the Fighter finale), Joe Thax is mentioned to have had the bomb surgically removed after the first defeat of Cybercon (at the end of the Gatchaman II footage).
- A flashback in Ken's memories of Red Impulse was altered so that Hunter was reminiscing of how his father tried to order his team around, rather than them meeting for the first time. However, the rest of the flashback remained the same, with Harley Harris sacrificing himself as Red Impulse had.
- Dr. Aikens is loaded into a rocket by Cybercon and shot into space. Dr. Keane is said to have searched for her, but her status is never commented upon again. This is due to the fact that Saban cut the scene where Dr. Pandora's rocket exploded, killing her. Pandora's spirit is also entirely excised from the footage of the Gatchaman II finale.
- Episode 21 of Gatchaman II was utilized for the sixth episode of the series, although it became heavily edited: Rather than both of Ken's flight school friends Karl and Lisa dying due to Karl being an agent of Galactor, Karl simply "escapes" and Lisa survives, with earlier footage of her in the episode being utilized to provide closure. Her death, however, did make it into the episode when it was presented as one of her nightmares.
- It was aired in Spain under the title "Comando Águila", on Antena 3's Fox Kids.
- In Portugal, it was titled "Esquadrão Águia".
- While Italy had also aired straight dubs of Gatchaman II and Fighter, it later aired an Italian dub of this adaptation in 2005.
- A French version titled "La patrouille des aigles" also existed, as did a Polish version titled "Eskadra Orła".
While the first five episodes of Eagle Riders stick closely to the plot of Gatchaman II (leaving aside some censorship), episode 6 of Gatchaman II was not used, with 21 substituted in its place. Episodes 16, 17, 28, and 36 were also dropped.
The Gatchaman Fighter portion of the series skipped episodes 3, 4, 8 through 11, 13, 14, 16 through 19, 21 through 24, 26, 27 (other than clips spliced into the adaptation of the second episode), 29, 34, 38, 39, and episodes 41 through 48 (save for aforementioned clips of 47 pasted into episode 2). The anachronical ordering of some episodes partly had to do with censorship, although it was also due to Tatsunoko sending Saban the Gatchaman II and Fighter reels out of order to adapt.
Original Gatchaman II and Fighter titles and numbers are in parentheses
- "For The Global Good" (G-II #1: "Sosai X's Counterattack")
- "Temple Island" (G-II #2: "The Mysterious Feather Shuriken"
- "Visit to Alcatraz" (G-II #3: "Black Knights from Hell")
- "Reunion" (G-II #4: "Joe has Returned?")
- "Primal Instinct (G-II #5: "Mystery of the Primitive Man Invasion")
- "Old Friends, New Enemies (G-II #21: "The Broken Wings of Youth")
- "Camouflage" (G-II #7: "Fearful Mutant Operation")
- "On the Far Side of the Moon (G-II #8: "Firebird on the Moon")
- "Pyramid Power" (G-II #9: "The Impact of Pyramid Power")
- "Deep Freeze in the South Seas" (G-II #10: "Snowstorm at the Equator")
- "Second Chances" (G-II #11: "The Hypernium 600 Contest")
- "Signs of Intelligent Life" (G-II #12: "Dr. Raphael's Secret")
- "Under the Volcano" (G-II #13: "Youthful G-2")
- "Abduction and Return" (G-II #14: "Red Impulse from Space")
- "The Island Girl's Secret" (G-II #15: "The Pure Heart of G-5")
- "Big Eye meets Small Fry" (G-II #18: "The Spaceship Isn't Responding")
- "Realities" (G-II #19: "The Trap in Extradimensional Space")
- "The Impostor" (G-II #20: "Crisis at G-Town")
- "Crisis!" (G-II #22: "The Enigma of Stonehenge")
- "Panic at the North Pole" (G-II #23: "The Love that Vanished at the North Pole")
- "Circuits Down" (G-II #24: "G-2 Under Suspicion")
- "Professor Andro's World" (G-II #25: "The Cyborg's Lament")
- "The Mysterious Dr. Aikens (Part 1)" (G-II #26: "Pandora, the Mysterious Private Secretary")
- "The Mysterious Dr. Aikens (Part 2)" (G-II #27: "Dr. Nambu Dies!")
- "K3" (G-II #29: "Life or Death: The Evil North Wall")
- "Coward of the Cosmos" (G-II #30: "Ryu Returns Home")
- "Down in the Alps" (G-II #31: "The Eagle, Shot Down")
- "Remembrance" (G-II #32: "G-1's Andes Love")
- "Shake Down in the Big Apple (G-II #33: "G-1's Rage")
- "Adventure in the Amazon" (G-II #34: "Demon Monstermech of the Amazon")
- "Old Ties" (G-II #35: "Berg Katse's Legacy")
- "Childish Things" (G-II #37: "Burn, Steel Wings!")
- "Facing the Dragon" (G-II #38: "The Electromagnetic Dragon Monstermech")
- "Hide and Seek" (G-II #39: "The Crimson Condor")
- "Wild Country" (G-II #40: "Violent Battle: The Evil Animal Maneuver!")
- "Mallanox in a Mess (G-II #41: "Gatchaman vs. Gel Sadra")
- "Evil in Disguise" (G-II #42: "The Observatory in the Darkness")
- "Krall" (G-II #43: "Invaders from Mars")
- "Mission to Mars" (G-II #44: "Fight the Evil Mars Base")
- "Unnatural Disasters" (G-II #45: "The Demonic Solar Shift Plan")
- "Identities" (G-II #46: "Gatchaman Exposed")
- "Fire and Ice" (G-II #47: "The Two Firebirds' Fatal Blow")
- "Catastrophe" (G-II #48: "The Greatest Tidal Wave in History")
- "Falling Prey" (G-II #49: "Burn, Condor!")
- "Relativity" (G-II #50: "Mystery! Mystery? Gel Sadora's Mother!")
- "Allegiance and Amends" (G-II #51: "Gel Sadora's Lament")
- "Encounter of Evil" (G-II #52: "The Destruction of Leader X" and GF#1: "New Dark Clouds")
- "A New Threat" (GF#1: "New Dark Clouds" and GF#2: "Debut! Gatchaspartan")
- "The New Resistance" (GF#2: "Debut! Gatchaspartan" and GF#27: "The Mystery of Egobossler's Birth", plus scene from GF#47: "Earth Extinction! 3 2 1")
- "Conflict of Melly Island" (GF#5: "Charge! The Terrible Soldiers")
- "One to One" (GF#6: "Burn! Gatchaman Fencer", with last portion sourced from GF#46: "G-1 Desperate for High Power")
- "The Steel City" (GF#7: "Steal the Giant Iron Beast")
- "Energy Crisis" (GF#12: "The Order to Destroy the Mantle Base")
- "Negotations" (GF#19: "Don't Touch the Super Stuff")
- "The Document" (GF#25: "Sky Riders from Hell")
- "Rebel Defiance" (GF#28: "Desperate Fight! Valley of Betrayal")
- "Outbreak" (GF#30: "The Creeping Alien")
- "Wild Ride" (GF#31: "Runaway! The Great Train Chase")
- "Uncle Avery" (GF#32: "Mystery of the Space Pulse")
- "Ollie Undercover" (GF#33: "A Promise Kept")
- "The Price of Glory" (GF#35: "The Shadow of Death Approaches G-1")
- "Scorpius Force" (GF#36: "Hypershoot Crisis")
- "A Ray of Hope" (GF#37: "Revive Gatchaman")
- "The Lost Children of Melly" (GF#40: "Surprise Attack of the Mecha Waterspout")
- "Vorak Resolution" (GF#15: "Hell's Burning Ambition")
Producer and Story Editor: Rita M. Acosta
Screenwriter: Marc Handler
Voice Directors: Richard Epcar, Steve Kramer, Dave Mallow, Heidi Noelle Lenhart, and Michael Sorich
Production Assistant and ADR Coordinator: Gregory C. Ireland
Sound Operation: Clive H.Mizumoto, Xavier Garcia
Sound Effects Editors: Keith Dickens, Martin Flores, Zoli Osaze, Ron Salaises, and John Valentino
Re-Recording Mixers: Michael Beirenger, Mark Ettel, R.D. Floyd, and Wayne T. O'Brien
ADR Recording: Carl Lange, Kevin Newson, David W.Barr
Foley Artists: Susan Lewis, Kalea Morton, and Taryn Simone
Audio Assistants: Brian Densmore, Andrew Kines, and Don Sexton
Music Composers: Shuki Levy, Kussa Mahchi
Executive In Charge Of Music: Ron Kenan
Music Supervisor: Lloyd Michael Cook II
Music Editors: Barron Abramovitch, Bill Filipiak
Music Engineer: Barron Abramovitch
Second Engineers: James Dijulio, Frank Bailey-Meier
Music Assistants: Jeremy Sweet, Tim Gosselin
Offline Editor: Terry Marlin
Video Traffic Coordinator: Jerry Buetnner
Online Editors: Michael Hutchinson, Harvey Landy (Hollywood Digital Inc.), John Bowen, and David Crosthwait (Modern Videofilm)
Telecine: Lee Ann Went (Varitel Inc.), Greg Hamlin (Film Technology, LA)
Post Production Supervisor: John Bryant
Post Production Coordinator: Francesca Weiss
Executive In Charge Of Production: Dana C. Booton
- Hunter Harris: Richard Cansino
- Joe Thax: Bryan Cranston
- Kelly Jennar: Heidi Noelle Lenhart
- Mickey Dugan: Mona Marshall
- Ollie Keeawani: Paul Schrier
- Dr. Thaddeus Keane: Greg O'Neill
- Dr. Francine Aikens: Lara Cody
- Auto: Dena Burton
- Mallanox: R. Martin Klein
- Cybercon: Peter Spellos
- Additional uncredited voice actors: Bob Bergen, Joshua Seth, Dave Mallow, Richard Epcar, Julie Maddalena.
DVD Releases and Home Video Availability
- Eagle Riders has never had a home video release in the US, and it remains unlikely as the rights for the Gatchaman sequels have since reverted to Tatsunoko (after a period where Buena Vista Entertainment bought out Saban's animation library).
- Eagle Riders Episode Guide at "Jun's Joint", a Gatchaman fansite. Summarizes the entire series and contains sound clips.
|TV animation||Science Ninja Team Gatchaman · Gatchaman II · Gatchaman Fighter · New Gatchaman (unproduced)· Good Morning Ninja Team Gatchaman · Gatchaman Crowds · Gatchaman Crowds insight · Battle of the Planets: Phoenix Ninjas|
|Movies||Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie · Gatchaman (2011 - unproduced) · Gatchaman (2013)|
|Adaptations||Battle of the Planets (movie) · Eagle 5 Brothers · G-Force: Guardians of Space · Eagle Riders· Battle of the Planets: The New Exploits of G-Force (unproduced)|
|Other||Gatchaman (OVA) · NTT Gatchaman · Tachimals Theater · Infini-T Force · Time Bokan: Royal Revival|