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Toei Funded Live-Action U.S. Pilot of Starzinger/Spaceketeers Anime

posted on by Egan Loo
Tekkaman's William Winckler directed pilot; anime had aired as Force Five's Spaceketeers

American producer William Winckler revealed, in an interview posted on Saturday on the website SciFi Japan, that he wrote, produced, and directed a nine-minute live-action pilot "based very, very loosely" on Toei Animation's Science Fiction Saiyuki Starzinger television series. (A shorter 3-minute pilot was also produced.)

Jim Terry Productions had dubbed the 1978-1979 Starzinger anime into English and aired it as Spaceketeers as part of its syndicated Force Five package in the United States. The original anime centered around a princess and her three android companions who embark on a journey to the Great Planet and save the universe.

The Toei-financed live-action pilot of Starzinger used Red Digital Cinema Camera technology along with green-screen compositing, computer animation, and music by Mel Lewis. Winckler reported that he presented the pilot to the American television channel Syfy, "and the president of Syfy liked it and wanted to see the finished movie." William Winckler Productions (WWP) is "now waiting to hear back from Toei on the next step," although the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster "put a hold on a lot of things."

Over the past two years, WWP produced 23 English-dubbed, feature-length compilations of several Toei Animation titles, including three for Starzinger. Winckler had previously worked on the 1984 English dub for Tekkaman, the Space Knight (Uchū no Kishi Tekkaman, 1975), as well as the English dubs for other animated and live-action works.

Toei also commissioned pilots for computer-animated remakes of its Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Gaiking anime, and it first screened the pilots during Tokyo International Anime Fair in 2010.

Image © Toei Animation

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