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Star Fleet

FANDERSON-riffing Japano-European puppet-driven Saturday Morning epic responsible – with BATTLE OF THE PLANETS – for introducing an entire generation to the murky delights of ‘anime’. Rod-enabled crew of X-Bomber (or, in old yen, ‘Bomber-X’) in full – intense beardy boffin Dr. Benn, irritating ear-flapping hoverdroid PPA (‘Perfectly Programmed Android’, apparently), archetypal Japano-European puppet space hero Shiro Hagen, Shaft-esque foam-haired bad boy Barry Hercules, and comedy ginger fatso John Lee – were charged with transporting cross-galactic princess type Lamia (and her Honey Monster Gone Feral protector Kirara) across, well, the galaxy, for the purposes of her ascending to the status of F-01, whatever that was exactly, at a predetermined point in time. Somewhat misleadingly-named ‘Imperial Alliance’ aimed to prevent them doing this, with the aid of gender-ambiguous Commander Makara and ‘her’ talking eyepatch thing, hapless Dan Quayle-esque second-in-command Captain Orion, mad silver-headed weapon developer Dr. Caliban, and big bug-like battle cruiser manned by comedy-panic-prone insectoid types. Insectoid-comedy-panic largely inspired by X-Bomber’s being kitted out with X-Impulse (massive cross-shaped beam of white light with apparent main collateral effect of causing people to go “AIEEEEEE!”) and three miniature fighters that famously combined, Transformers-predictingly, to form Dai-X, gigantic narked-looking red robot capable of smashing anything in its path and dominating playground natter for weeks on end. Also on hand to complicate matters were mysterious X-Bomber-aiding galleon-shaped battleship ‘The Skull’, and rock-faced Imperial Master, so massive in stature he was actually played by a human in a costume. Bonkers FM -friendly soft-metal theme song famously covered at ‘squiggle’-overloading length by Brian May and Eddie Van Halen.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. The Barry Hercules Experience

    April 29, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Why do all sci-fi songs involve “sending a message?” Anyway, considering there’s a puppet thumbing his nose at you at the start of every episode, and the fact that they had not one but TWO timewasting clip shows halfway through the series, this was high quality for a Thunderbirds/Star Wars ripoff/hybrid (that’s what creator Go Nagai said it was). Best character was the space yeti Kirara, so much so that what happens to him in the end is still puppetry injustice.

  2. Richard16378

    March 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Me & my brother really got into this when it was on in the 1980s.

    It could be fairly creepy for a childrens show, a bit like Battle of the Planets, even after Sandy Frank toned BotP down.

    Barry Hercules had more than a passing resemblence to David James IIRC.

  3. Ivan

    January 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Loved this as a kid and only recently managed to get my hands on every episode. Shame only one season was made.

    Every Saturday morning this programme would be in my mini morning schedule right before going outside and playing.

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