Animé and Toons
Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers Volume 1
By Hervé St-Louis
August 9, 2011 - 01:03

Studios: Gaylord Entertainment Company, Tokyo Movie Shinsha
ISBN: 141723041X
$29.99 US
Starring: Robert Bottone, Alexander Marshall, Maia Danziger, Corinne Orr, Laura Dean, Jerry Orbach, Earl Hammond, Ray Owens, Hubert Kelly, Doug Preis, Henry Mandell
Directed by: Robert Mandell
Produced by: Robert Mandell
Running Time: 716 minutes
Release Date: May 13 2008
Distributors: Koch Entertainment
Genre: anime

The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers was a syndicated animated television show airing in 1986 in the United States and Canada featuring four rangers, Captain Zachery Foxx, metamorph Shane Gooseman, telepath Niko and computer psychiatrist Doc. Its decade after the year 2086 when Earth has entered into an alliance with the League of Planets, following the visit of two alien ambassadors, from the planet Kirwi and Andor. In exchange for technology enabling men to travel in space at hyperdrive speed, Earthlings create the Bureau of Extra-Terrestrial Affairs (BETA) which heads the Galaxy Rangers in their fight against various type of gangster in the frontier planets of space and against the evil Queen of the Crown and her empire based on slavery. The first 32 episodes are included in the four-disc set.

I had totally forgotten about the Galaxy Rangers after watching a few episodes as a kid. The series was another action oriented cartoon of the 1980s with a limited toy distribution but unlike other series such as M.A.S.K., Transformers or G.I. Joes, was more mature in storyline and had more innovative animation. As a kid, it was tough to catch this series. It played very early on Saturday mornings. What I do remember was that the series was unlike other ones that was playing at the time and that the stories were moody and epic. But has it aged well? In my recent review of M.A.S.K. I complained about the fact that it completely smashed the ideal I had of the series as a kid. Galaxy Rangers faired better than M.A.S.K. but many episodes were still very cheesy and really made for kids. Back then, the audience was  not composed of kids and tweens, but older kids and college students.

There are running storylines in Galaxy Rangers but each episode only touches on parts of the larger theme establishing their universe. Even lighter stories like Tune-Up where the robot companion of the Galaxy Rangers and the son of Zachery Foxx are the main protagonist, still offer an opportunity for the show creators to introduce major characters that appear continually in the series, like villain Lazarus Slade. Each of the Galaxy Rangers is part of the series five order of the Galaxy Rangers. That means that each of them has received cybernetic implants giving them super powers or increasing inborn abilities. Captain Foxx had already some cybernetic implants on the left side of his body giving him stronger strength when he touches his Galaxy Ranger star. Niko, the female telepath, gets boosted telepathic, precognition and telekinesis powers quite similar to the X-Men’s Jean Grey, when she touches her star. Doc’s powers are impressive but appeared lamer when I was a kid. Touching his star allows him to tap into a series of programs that can hack and infiltrate any computer or mechanical device. Fin ally, there is the loner and mystery man, Gooseman who was created as part of an experiment to create super soldiers. His powers allow him to morph his boy and survive any environment or attack. He’s the Wolverine of the group, but although he stole almost every scene he was in, he did not become the main star of the show, like Wolverine did to the X-Men.

For a cartoon of the 1980s, there are many on screen deaths when lower rangers and other villains get shot in their ships or in battles. But many times when shots hit the main rangers, they are only stunning. I have to say that Doc’s character really annoyed me and he was made into comedic relief in many episodes. This did not happen to the other Galaxy Rangers. However, the creators of the show still managed to show how impressive a fighter he was. Each of them was competent. Foxx was the no nonsense straight shooter of the gang, while Niko was the softspoken token woman of the group. Not every episode contained the entire cast which was good for developing the characters’ personalities against one another even more.

As for extras, there are many episodes with commentaries from the show producer and creator Robert Mandell, his brother Henry Mandell and story editor Christopher Rowley. There is also a short interview with Mandell where he shows his passion for the series and shares many details about the project and hardships the team faced. These are great extras. One senses that Mandell was not part of the inner circle of cartoon producers in the 1980s even if through his family’s company they produced a lot of series. And this is what made Galaxy Rangers so exciting and unique. The series was not conventional, although today, it’s not as groundbreaking as it was back then. Mandell took chances with the animation and the Japanese studio hired to work on the series.

In terms of designs, the animation, while old is still crisp. The remastering process was kinder to some episodes but not for all. Some feel awash with toned down colours. Others are bright and free of visual noise. Yet, the series will appeal to most fan of 1980s cartoons and those that were not there back then. Nowadays, it seems that running storylines are the norm in adventure cartoons.Back then it wasn’t. Also, the number of alien cultures, planets, locales and technology created was quite impressive. In some episodes, you’ll witness gigantic farm tractors. In others, huge mega tanks. Visually, the series keeps viewers on their toes, although there is quite a large amount of reused animation.

When this series was first released, I completely missed it. But I have to say that I recommend it a lot and hope that the well-done DVD release and care used in the series will help spark some kind of revival. The series is that good.

DVD Features:

4-Disc Set
Full Frame - 1.33
Audio:Dolby Digital - English
Additional Release Material: Music Video: Original Music Tracks & New Music Video
Audio Commentary: Robert Mandell - Creator
Text/Photo Galleries: Photo Galleries - Recreated Audio/Image Slideshow of the Talking Story Book "Tortuna the Outlaw Planet"
Additional Products: 36-Page Collectible Booklet With Original Illustrations and Character Profiles

Rating: 9/10

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Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers Volume 1