DRAGON BALL Z continues the story begun with DRAGON BALL, as seen recently on U.S. TV, though much farther into the future.1 Goku is now a full-grown man, with a wife (remember Chi-Chi, she of the ULTRAMAN-like axe-blade helmet and metal bikini?) and a monkey-tailed son, Gohan. With a handful of friends, Goku has to face the mance of the Saiyans, super-powered begins so strong that it only takes one Saiyan to destroy the populace of an entire planet. But oddly enough, Goku himself belatedly realizes that he himself is a Saiyan as well, one who was sent to Earth as a baby, programmed to destroy the planet on maturity. But a near-fatal head injury scrambled his programming, allowing him to grow up as the pure-hearted innocent he came to be. Goku’s team of adventurers (along with his family) includes Master Roshi, the former “Turtle Hermit,” Krillin, Piccolo, Yamcha, Bulma, Tien, Chiaotzu and Yajirobe. Will their combined powers be enough to face the villains of the piece, including Raditz, Vegeta, Nappa and Saibaimen2? [Look to next month’s feature for more info on the DRAGON BALL universe–Ed.] Like DRAGON BALL, the U.S. TV version of DRAGON BALL Z is produced by FUNimation, and–voice-actor fans take note–English voice-work is handled by Ocean “RANMA 1/2” Studios. Keep your ears open for some familiar anime-in-English voices!3
EAGLE RIDERS adapts the Japanese TV series GATCHAMAN II, the animated sequel to SCIENCE NINJA TEAM GATCHAMAN, seen on American TV in the 1980s as BATTLE OF THE PLANETS. In EAGLE RIDERS, the Gatchaman team are, of course, called the “Eagle Riders,” and fight against the nefarious “Vorak,” aliens who are dedicated to the total domination of Earth, and the enslavement of its inhabitants. With the help of the Global Security Council’s Dr. Thadeaus Keane, and their ship, the Ultra Eagle, the Riders are ready to fly into action instantly to anywhere on Earth or space. But unknown to the Eagle Riders, the Vorak’s evil leader, Mallanox, is nothing but a hired gun for another, more powerful organization, Cybercon!
The Eagle Riders are led by the brave and handsome Hunter Harris (in Japanese, Ken the Eagle). Hunter’s father died a hero’s death in the military, and following in his footsteps, his son is now a serious and dedicated man, with no time for fun. Second in command is Joe Thax (Joe the Condor), whose tragic death was the highlight of the first GATCHAMAN series. Resurrected as a cyborg, Joe is as much the angst-ridden loner as ever. The beautiful Kelly Jenar (Jun the Swan), is the Eagle Riders’ mechanical engineer. She also runs a coffee shop where the heroes hang out in their spare time. Ollie Keeawani (Ryu the Owl) is the Riders’ truly navigator, with a hearty laugh and a wry sense of humor, while Mickey Dugan (Jinpei the Swallow) is a high-spirited teenager. As a team, they possess unparalleled fighting skills (remember, it’s “Science Ninja Team”), as well as a lot of nifty gadgets, such as the G-1 “Superhawk,” G-2 “Falcon Tracker,” G-3 “Dove Cycle,” G-4 “Bird of Paradise” and G-5 “Owl Cat.”
DRAGON BALL Z AND EAGLE RIDERS: NOW ON AIR IN AMERICA ON INDEPENDENT STATIONS NATIONWIDE; CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS FOR DETAILS.