Army of the Apes (Saru No Gundan)

In 1975 Planet of the Apes the TV series, premiered on US TV and while it would not last very long, it has an army of lasting fans and it helped keep the Apes franchise fresh in peoples minds. On the other side of the Pacific, Apes Mania found a longer run in Saru No Gundan or Army of the Apes. This was a 26 Episode Japanese science fiction series based on the Planet of the Apes franchise.

The show was produced by Tsuburaya Productions, and centered around a female scientist and two young children who have traveled through time. As we all know when you travel in time, their is a very good chance, as this show will demonstrate, you will arrive in a future ruled by Apes. That is exactly what happens to this trio and in this crazy future the three of them have adventures and all the while struggle to find a way to get back to the 20th century.

Now not many people in the USA would know about this show if not for television producer Sandy Frank. Frank edited together several episodes of the series into a movie called Time of the Apes. The film was then syndicated to broadcast and cable outlets and released on home video in mid-1988. After that release the show would be featured on MST3K not once, but twice. The first time in 1989 when they were at KTMA and then later in 1991 for Season 3 on Comedy Central.

I have only had glimpses of the original series not edited by Frank and it looks interesting. As an “Apes” fan I would enjoy watching a subtitled version of it, if it ever gets released here in the US. In the meantime, I will just sit back and enjoy the soothing music from the closing credits, Anywhere with Love sung by Toshiko Fujita.

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Garry Vander Voort

Editor/Podcaster at Retroist
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One thought on “Army of the Apes (Saru No Gundan)

  1. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Y’know, you wake up one morning and something appears and you never could have hoped for it, but it makes life that much better cuz it means that the days you thought were cool were actually that much cooler because of this unknown thing just waiting there for you to discover it and go “…” (cuz you’d be speechless).

    Yeah, this is one of those times.

    I’m sending my best apes on the job of retrieving every single episode of this alternate universe output.

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