Eagle Riders is an combined adaptation of Gatchaman II (1978-1979) and Gatchaman Fighter (1979-1980), the two sequel series to the original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman.
Due to Sandy Frank owning the rights to Battle of the Planets, Saban pitched Eagle Riders as a completely unrelated series rather than a sequel. In order to adhere to Saban Entertainment's strict censorship guidelines, which forbid any explicit references to death, the show was heavily edited and re-written, arguably more so than the editing done to Battle of the Planets. The dub featured new music composed by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban.
Although the dub starts off as a relatively straight dub of the first sequel, Saban quickly began skipping episodes and cherry-picking whichever ones felt "safest" for them to translate, as well as airing others out of order. Much like Sandy Frank and Battle of the Planets dubbing order, this was due to Tatsunoko sending the film reels out of order. Character deaths were generally covered up or cut out, entire episodes were dropped while others were spliced together, and Saban's dubbing effort proved very inconsistent as the writers stumbled to get themselves out of plot holes they'd created.
One notable example of the inconsistent changes made to the series is the removal of Mallanox (Gel Sadora)'s origin and transformation, which originally happened in the premiere episode of Gatchaman II. Instead, it is said in the first episode that Mallanox was created by Cybercon (Leader X), then it's changed in a subsequent episode where he's referred to as the son of Lukan (Berg Kattse from the first series). Even later in the series it reverts back to the original backstory that Mallanox is in fact an artificially-aged Nancy Aikens (Sammie Pandora), the missing daughter of Francine Aikens (Sylvie Pandora). As a result, Mallanox is initially referred to as male, then as female, still speaking in a masculine voice when in costume. It's important to note that even in the original Japanese version, Gel Sadora was voiced by a male actor, thus the character's gender is often a source of confusion.
In an attempt to cover up the villains death at the end of Gatchaman II and to try to merge the two series closer together, the footage is edited so that Mallanox is transformed by Cybercon into the villain of Gatchaman Fighter, Happy Boy (Count Egobossler) - so titled due to Mallanox's habit of laughing constantly. The cutting and pasting only increased once the dub reached Fighter, with episodes spliced together and some scenes from later episodes being put into earlier ones with rewritten context.
The final 8 episodes of Gatchaman Fighter were never translated, due to the objectionable content involved. Instead, the 15th episode of Gatchaman Fighter served as the series finale, offering no closure for the storyline. All in all, 65 of a combined total of 100 episodes (52 for Gatchaman II, 48 for Gatchaman Fighter) were adapted. The series only aired for 13 episodes in the United States, while it aired in its entirety in Australia.
|Image||Character||Original Name||Seiyū||Voice Actor|
|Hunter Harris||Ken Washio||Katsuji Mori||Richard Cansino|
|Joe Thax||Joe Asakura||Isao Sasaki||Bryan Cranston|
|Kelly Jenar||Jun||Kazuko Sugiyama||Heidi Lenhart|
|Mickey Dugan||Jinpei||Yoku Shioya||Mona Marshall|
|Ollie Keeawani||Ryu Nakanishi||Shingo Kanemoto||Paul Schrier|
|Dr. Thaddeus Keane||Dr. Nambu||Tōru Ōhira||Greg O'Neill|
|Dr. Francine Aikens||Dr. Sylvie Pandora||Miyuki Ikeda||Lara Cody|
|Mallanox||Gel Sadora||Masaru Ikeda||R. Martin Klein|
|Happy Boy||Count Egobossler||Kōji Nakata|
|Cybercon||Leader X||Nobuo Tanaka||Peter Spellos|
- Sandy Frank originally approached Tatsunoko Productions about also adapting Gatchaman II for a sequel Battle of the Planets series, though these negotiations went nowhere.
- Sentai Filmworks has expressed interest in acquiring both Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter and giving them a proper uncut dub as was done by them with the first series, movie and OVA. However, due to complicated legal entanglements, it's unlikely to happen anytime soon.
- As with all Saban productions, Eagle Riders was sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2001 after Saban sold the company and the Fox Family Channel to them.
- On December 20, 2016, Sentai Filmworks announced the North American release of the Gatchaman II Complete Series DVD set for April 18, 2017. However, it will be subtitle only.
- Richard Cansino, Mona Marshall, Lara Cody and R. Martin Klein would dub for the 1994 OVA a year later. Mona Marshall would reprise the role of Jinpei, while Cansino took the role of Joe, Cody voiced June, and Klein voiced Berg Kattse.
- Richard Epcar cites this dub as one of his favorite animes.