Tatsunoko Productions celebrates 55 years of badassery with the animated crossover event, Infini-T Force. The CG anime series gathers heroes from four of its classic titles to form a new band of superpowered saviors. Dating as far back as 1972, these iconic characters have been through many iterations across the decades, finally arriving together in this television story that unifies them all in grand fashion.
In case the amusingly on-the-nose meta-joke in the name “Infini-T” doesn’t ring any bells, this team consists of four main players, nearly all of which have had some connection to the English-speaking world, even if only in a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon sort of way.
First there’s Ken the Eagle from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. His anime adventures are well-known to anime fans in the US who may have followed their story under the names G-Force or Battle of the Planets. The cast also bears a vague resemblance to the bird-themed hero team Chojin Sentai Jetman (as well as just Super Sentai in general, since it’s a five-person group with powers and vehicles galore).
Then came the android hunter Casshan, perhaps best known to general audiences for his appearance in the Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars fighting game, in addition to multiple live-action and animated renditions.
Next is the enhanced alien-fighter Tekkaman, whose animated exploits eventually made it to American shores under the name Teknoman, in a dub by Power Rangers production company Saban. He may not be the most well-known of the four, but I remember cursing myself every time I missed that opening theme on Sunday mornings.
Last but not least is Hurricane Polymar, who hasn’t enjoyed quite as much reinvention over the years as the others in his company but he managed to squeeze out a live-action movie deal last May, with Power Rangers action director extraordinaire Koichi Sakamoto (Ultraman Geed, Kamen Rider Fourze).
Together, the four come together to make Infini-T Force, the definition of #SquadGoals.
Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of CG anime, and I still would have preferred to have a more classic animation style in play here. But I have to say, it looks quite a good deal better than expected given what I had known before coming across this footage. I’m intrigued.
And maybe a little scared. What exactly does that girl intend to do with that giant pencil anyway? And where’s the rest of the Gatchaman crew? Is Joe flying solo as the one Science Ninja dude for the full duration? Perhaps the full team will show up for a special appearance in the theatrical film release which has already been announced in conjunction with the program. Or maybe I should stop thinking only in Toei scenarios, where eventually everyone you’ve ever known ends up standing on the rock quarry mountain ridge with a pyrotechnics show going on behind them before it’s all said and done.
The Infini-T Force TV series hits Japanese airwaves next week, October 3, followed by their big-screen outing, February 2018.