Friday, May 19, 2017

Space Opera Week: Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers

Western Space Opera (as with Western Pulp in general) fled the printed word with the death of the Pulps and went to comics, film, and television.

In the 1980s, some American studios got the memo that Japan has this animation thing down, so they made a deal to write and do voiceovers for an original show and then have a Japanese studio animate it. This lead not only to a general boom in animation on U.S. television, but a marked increase in American productions.

In 1986, this resulted in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, and it hit at the right time for that generation. Even now, it's still got a following and you need only see the opening sequence to comprehend why. Just take a moment, watch the video below, and try not to feel the call to adventure stir in your soul. Just you try.

Long before Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann brought forth one of the most hot-blooded anthems out of Japan's many hot-blooded anthems you had glorious '80s American rock proclaiming "No Guts, No Glory!. That may seem tame now, but back then that was a goddamn rally cry! And our heroes? It ain't just their powers; they have actual heroic character to them.

Sure, it's a television show meant to push merchandise aimed at children, but so was Mobile Suit Gundam and Star Wars, so that is not a valid complaint. This is Space Opera written and produced in the West, animated in the East, and far better than it had any right to be. Even for the time it had a significant adult fanbase, and that's because--like Batman: The Animated Series, and many anime it resembles--it didn't insult its audience or talk down to them. That degree of respect goes a long way, a very long way, such that getting your hands on a copy of the series isn't hard at all.

Don't dismiss Space Opera in animation, no matter the origin. Indeed, after the classics of the Pulp era, this is likely where you'll find many excellent examples of the genre- and the cross-cultural influence is real, substantial, and on-going. You want more? Don't wait for me, other my colleagues, to point it out to you. Go out there and look for it- or create it! You heard the Rangers: No Guts, No Glory!

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