Crap From My Childhood: Spiral Zone (1987)

Remember that old eighties cartoon Spiral Zone?

Well, I can barely remember the series myself. All I have are memories of '87 or '88, catching it on some afternoons right after I get home from school.

I thought it was kick-ass though. It made a great alternative to other cartoons like G.I. Joe and the Transformers, and I liked the whole concept around the "let's-put-together-a-crack-team-of-commandos-from-around-the world" idea. Check out the intro from a clip we found on YouTube right here:



What's Spiral Zone All About

Supposedly a renegade military scientist who calls himself "The Overlord" managed to envelop a significant portion of future Earth in a strange dark mist using some new form of biological warfare.

Our main villain managed to put up "Zone Generators" which spewed forth clouds that covered vast population centers. End result: millions of people stuck in this spiral-shaped territory (thus, the title) become zombie-like thralls- or Zoners- from which The Overlord now builds his army.

Naturally, he's got himself some henchmen as well- The Black Widows- which act as his lieutenants and special agents, riding around Zoned areas in Sledge Hammers: one-man vehicles with tracked wheels, overhead guns and flails on the side. The Overlord has a special command ATV with a cannon for himself.

Anyway, the world finally unites against this global menace, and puts together a crack team of commandos to go in the Zones and blow up the Zone Generators to liberate the planet one city at a time. We got:
  • Colonel Dirk Courage. American field commander. Rides around in this monocycle with this massive cannon mounted on top.
  • Lieutenant Hiro Taka. The team's recon, infiltration and melee combat expert from Japan.
  • 2nd Lieutenant Max Jones. The team's African-American special missions expert.
  • Master Sergeant 'Tank' Schmidt. The team's heavy weapons specialist from Germany.
  • Corporal Katerina Anastacia. The team's medic from the Soviet Union.
So these guys don a special body armor that renders them immune to the effects of the Zone. From a mountain base, they're flown to the mission-of-the-week via a jet transport, then ride into enemy territory in fast-attack monocycles.

Spiral Zone Now

It's hard to get a hold of clips or pictures of this old cartoon. Personally, I only have a VHS tape of a few shows myself, and I'd really like to get me a DVD copy (if I could find one). Found a website which supposedly distributed copies of the series, but it's all sold out for now.

Bandai actually had a toy line going on in Japan, years before the franchise (and the accompanying TV series) was developed for the American market. So if you're into collecting the action figures, it means that there should be a number of collectors out there with a few pieces you might be interested in.

Check out Spiral Zone on TV.com and on IMDb.com. You can also catch bits and pieces of Spiral Zone on RetroJunk, and its entry on Wikipedia.

"Crap From My Childhood" is a special feature on old cartoons and kiddie shows from the 1970s and 1980s. Read all about it on Renzie's personal blog on all things television: "Too Much TV!"

Cheers, everyone.

 

7 comments:

  1. zrielass said,

    Definitely my favorite 80's cartoon. Back then I already thought it was a bit dark for a kids show (with the zombie-like victims and the heroes not being able to rescue all).

    The DVDs are hard to come by, but the website have already released it four or five times already, so there's bound to be a next time. The DVD quality ain't that great considering it's not a company licensed production but it's a lot better than watching from an old moldy VHS tape.

    on May 20, 2008 at 5:06 PM  


  2. zrielass: it's great to know there are others like yourself who appreciate this cartoon just as much as i do.

    that's all we have, really- a couple of old moldy VHS tapes :)

    thanks for dropping by!

    on May 20, 2008 at 5:34 PM  


  3. Kristina said,

    Actually...I am the proud owner of the DVD set when it first came out last year, seeing that we no longer have any working VHS player in house for over 2 years, and I've been obsessing the show for far far longer.

    on May 20, 2008 at 9:19 PM  


  4. kristina: well good for you :) i'm still hoping to get a copy for myself. which means i'll have to keep dropping by that website from time to time to check :|

    so how was the dvd set?

    on May 20, 2008 at 10:13 PM  


  5. zrielass said,

    Darn it. That recent reply was mine too (forgot to change the id).

    The DVD quality's a bit grainy considering it's fan produced and the master tape the show was copied from is almost 20 years old but everything's there: all 65 episodes, clear audio, and the extras.

    Brought back a lot of memories of trying to catch the show during the weekday afternoons.

    on May 21, 2008 at 5:12 AM  


  6. ambi said,

    check www.ioffer.com - I got my DVD box set from there. Apparently cheaper than the official website.

    on May 19, 2009 at 8:35 PM  


  7. K said,

    Mine was from the very first batch of DVDs released by the official website back in Dec. 2006.

    on June 5, 2009 at 7:23 PM  


Just A Regular Dude Watching TV

I might be a media guy, but my field is really more into radio and marketing more than anything else. For the most part, it means that what I know about television is pretty much stuff just about anyone can know- so don't expect me to go technical or anything.

I'm just a regular dude who just happens to appreciate me some good TV.

TV has so much to offer- a show I like might not exactly appeal to your tastes and vice versa. And that's the beauty of it all- with just so much TV going on, there's definitely something for everyone out there. We even have our own guilty pleasures- and that's just all good.

Feel free to share your thoughts on whatever TV show you like (or don't like). As long as you're all mature about it, with a genuine desire to inform, educate, or just someone with an honest opinion- come, sit and let's talk about TV.

Cheers, everyone.

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