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Army of the Apes (Saru No Gundan)
In the year 1975, the television landscape witnessed the debut of "Planet of the Apes," a series that, while relatively short-lived, left an enduring imprint in the hearts of devoted fans. Across the Pacific, a unique strain of Apes Mania unfurled through "Saru No Gundan" or "Army of the Apes." This Japanese science fiction series, spanning 26 episodes, found its foundation in the expansive "Planet of the Apes" franchise.
The creative helm of this endeavor was held by Tsuburaya Productions, steering the narrative around a female scientist and two young companions thrust through the corridors of time. As the chronicles of time travel often dictate, the trio finds themselves in a future governed by our primate counterparts—an outcome that this show artfully demonstrates. Thus unfolds their escapades within this zany future, fraught with challenges as they strive to navigate back to the comfort of the 20th century.
Intriguingly, much of this series remained a hidden gem to audiences within the United States, were it not for the efforts of television producer Sandy Frank. Frank ingeniously amalgamated several episodes into a cinematic experience dubbed "Time of the Apes." This film gained momentum through syndication, gracing broadcast and cable platforms while also making its way to home video in the mid-1988. This release heralded the series into a fresh wave of recognition.
"Planet of the Apes" would soon find a curious haven within the comedic realm, thanks to its appearances on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (MST3K). The show made a double appearance on MST3K, first in 1989 during their KTMA run, followed by a second stint in 1991 during Season 3 on Comedy Central. The legacy of "Saru No Gundan" echoes through time, interwoven with the whimsical threads of television history and the realm of cult classics.
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.