One great thing about being a pack rat living in the 21st century is that a lot of what you [ahem] "archive" is in digital format. Thus your acquisitions can be saved to a computer's multi-gigabyte hard drive, or stored on an even larger external drive...where they can then be completely forgotten all about, as was the case with these now vintage animated gifs depicting robots from the Mobile Suit Gundam anime universe. Who knows what this blogger intended to do with them when they were downloaded from Buddha-knows-where in the spring of 2000. He wasn't even doing much in the way of blogging then, and wasn't a follower of Gundam-related anime, instead being a tremendous fan of the transforming robots of Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross (aka Robotech), MSG's biggest rival in anime then. But these animated gifs were super cool looking in the "low-fi" early days of the interweb, and today they've provided a fairly fantastic bit of fodder for this backwards-glancing blog post, fifteen years after they were [ahem] brilliantly stored away for posterity.
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Anyway, with an expanding sense of nostalgia for the anime of that bygone time gnawing away at my heart's innards, I pulled a box out of the closet and began thumbing through some old copies Heavy Metal magazine; this done with the desire of finding an old two-page ad of Streamline's so called "Video Comics", whose forgotten place in my memory had somehow been recalled. When I'd found what I was looking for, I wasn't sure that I'd discover anything pictured on those pages I'd want to watch now that I hadn't already bought or borrowed in the twenty-plus year since those ad pages were printed. But I was fairly certain that looking at the pages would stir up again an old sense of longing that this same act always had in the not-so-distant past.
The black and white kid's show Prince Planet (aka Planet Boy Papi), for countless numbers of snot-nosed kids living in and around "Chicagoland" in the mid-1970s, was an innocent-looking cartoon gateway drug that lead an untold many into lifelong spiral patterns of addiction for the animated films and TV shows of Japan.
This blogger/failed addict in recovery was an impressionable 4 year-old when Prince Planet was aired at 3:00 in the afternoon on WSNS Channel 44, a station situated on the ultrahigh frequency or UHF dial of antique analog TVs.
On weekday afternoons, after being awakened from my midday nap, I would scramble like a little lunatic to the television in the living room, 'jonesing' like a junkie for my quick fix, my daily dose of that half-hour high called Prince Planet.
It's nearly indescribable, the hold that this cartoon had on myself and also many others who, I would learn later as an adult, were similarly effected by its habit-forming charms. It was an appeal that grabbed at us all from multiple levels; from the catchy, kid-voiced theme song and the show's brave kid hero, to the crazy cast of equally brave supporting characters, wicked villains, and planet-spanning adventures.
Prince Planet was like no other cartoon show on TV. Unless, of course, you'd been a kid in during in the 1960s –– which I hadn't –– and had the pleasure of seeing episodes of the exciting Astro Boy or Gigantor (which I didn't), two other black and white imports from Japan that also featured pint-sized heroes.
And then, quite unexpectedly, I turned on the TV one day to find that Prince Planet was gone, replaced in the 3:00 time slot by another show called Speed Racer.
Unlike the monochromatic cartoon that I had come to adore, Speed Racer had been produced in color––apparently the kind of thing that was more attractive to advertisers, whose dollars paid for the commercial airtime that sustained TV stations like WSNS.
I, of course, being a lil' kid, had no idea about the very shady business side of the TV racket. It took a while to get over the sense of loss that was felt, but soon enough I warmed up to Speed Racer.
Despite my age, I was still astute enough then to realize that, like Prince Planet, Speed Racer characters had similarly large eyes. And though I was still too young to understand the connection, I was satisfied just thinking that there was one, and that the large-eyed look suggested something in the way of uniqueness.
Yes, The download link on the old Finger 5 post on YKFS has been broken for a while, so... "I Want You Back" is being made available again here for a limited time. (Meaning for as long as the free downloads last.) You're welcome.