Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Mighty Orbots (1984)

Japan has given us quite a few cartoon classics over the years, including Gigantor, Speed Racer, Astro Boy, & Voltron, Defender of the Universe. The latter series was partially responsible for Fred Silverman's Intermedia Entertainment and MGM hooking up with a Japanese studio to create Mighty Orbots, which gave the Super Friends some company in the action-adventure department of ABC's Saturday morning lineup in 1984.

Voltron had bowed a year earlier, part of a new wave of Japanese anime hitting American television. The Transformers were making the transition to television around this time, as well. Unfortunately for the Orbots, Tonka, now part of Hasbro, filed suit, claiming copyright infringement, resulting in the series being cancelled after 1 season. 'Tis a shame, as this was one of the best animated series of the decade.

Following is the episode, "The Wish World" . Narrator Gary Owens (ex-Space Ghost) introduces us to the team as we begin.



Regrettably, because of the litigation, the series probably will never see the light of day on DVD.

Rating: A.

4 comments:

R.A.M.'67 said...

Back then, any Saturday morning show that had Japanese animation, I gave a look at. I kept coming back for more Mighty Orbots week after week, it was that good.

In general, it seems the craftsmanship of the Japanese animators was one of the few constants that kept Saturday morning cartoons afloat during the '80s. Their cartoons always looked nice, layouts were uncluttered and they flowed better than what the competition put out!

We're lucky people bothered to record MO on their VCRs back then that we can still give it a look today, whether it's on YouTube or bootleg video. A "lost" classic, for sure!

hobbyfan said...

I'm with ya, RAM. Orbots was on my to-do list back then, too. Of course, back in the day, my brother & I were also into Voltron & Star Blazers, among other things. The Japanese contingent just flat blew away their American counterparts.

R.A.M.'67 said...

Of the two cartoons you mentioned, only Voltron played in our area. Prior to that, I remember enjoying Battle of the Planets; even then, I could spot when the new, clumsy animation (often featuring the robot Seven-Zark-Seven) was inserted!

hobbyfan said...

RAM: You might want to refer to my past review of Battle of the Planets, which was another favorite of mine.