Both sides of the Pacific Ocean often regard the 1980s as the Golden Age of anime, especially, in the genre of military science fiction titles. In 1986, some of the greatest talents in the industry at the time came together to work on this 1986 OVA title. The talent of Gall Force: Eternal Story were themselves, veterans of MOSPEADA and went on to one of my favorite titles of all time: Bubblegum Crisis. In this installment of Future War Stories of the East, we will exploring and hopefully explaining the oddity that is Gall Force: Eternal Story (GFES)!What is "Gall Force: The Eternal Story"?
This is a 1986 military science fiction OVA released in Japan on Saturday July 26th, 1986 under the name of "Garu Fosa" (ガルフォース). The name has translated from Japanese is "Gulfs" or "Galls" or "Gals" and "Force" Some sites have said that originally the OVA was going to be titled "Girl Force", but it sounded too funny and it was changed. The origin story of Gall Force is very unusual and involves some of the best in the business at the time. Originally, the entire franchise of Gall Force started off as a back-page photo-comic series in Model Grafix magazine called "Star Front Gall Force" that ran monthly from March 1985 to July 1986 (the same month as the OVA was released). Star Force Gall Force told the story of three Solnoids female warriors (Rabbi, Patty and Rumy) of the Star Leaf cruiser/carrier that are separate from their main fleet and forced to use all of their awesome mecha to defend themselves from the Paranoid fleet and Commander Dohn.
The characters and mecha were garage kits that became packaged model kits of their own during the run with cartoon-like talk balloons in bad English. From the few imagines I've seen, there was a great deal of talent involved in Star Front Gall Force. However, there some conflict between sources about how Star Front Gall Force came to existence. Some sources claim that female space warrior characters were developed by Kenichi Sodona while working at Artmic studios for their client Model Graphix magazine. Other sources stated that noted writer/artist Hideke Kakinuma was inspired by the first Terminator film (seen more in The Earth Chapter) and created the genesis of Gall Force and partnered with Sodona to develop the photo-comic series for Model Grafix. Only after that did Artmic take notice of the concept and hired Kakinuma and Sodona to develop Gall Force has an anime property. Either way, Kakinuma and Sodona were the primary forces behind bring the garage model kits female warriors, mecha, and aliens into a military science fiction anime. The idea was to scratch build figures and mecha for the monthly magazine as part of a photo serials. It's a pretty cool idea. Similar stuff has run in other Japanese hobby magazines like Hobby Japan, but this idea was truly an anime fan garage kit make's dream come true. The Gall Force Star Front feature ran in the magazine on a monthly basis from March 1985 to July 1986 when the feature film came out.
The Plot and Setting of Gall Force: The Eternal Story
Just before the jump, a damaged space fighter crash-lands illegally onboard bearing an Ace Attacker and the star character of Gall Force: Lufy. From here, the OVA is told via the major issues the crew of the Star Leaf faces on their journey to Chaos and once on Chaos. During a stop to repair the Gravity-Canceller for the light speed drive, the Star Leaf is engaged by the Paranoids and Lufy defends the ship and is marooned with the ship is forced to jump away and she dies in the hands of one of the space combat Bronze-D class mecha. During this part of the OVA, GFTES descents into an ALIEN rip-off due to the joint Solenoid/Paranoid “Species Unification Plan”.
Gall Force: The Eternal Story OVA to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica story-arch and I can see it. Some have gone has far as saying that BSG for the SciFi Channel was inspired by Gall Force. When it comes to the two spacefaring civilizations that are war, we know very little. The commander of the Paranoid fleet, Dohn, has been part of the Gall Force franchise since Gall Force Star Front, and the design of the Paranoids is…odd and confusing, however, it is original.
At some distant point back thousands of years before Gall Force: The Eternal Story, Marcis was colonized and terraformed by survivors of a world that ended in holocaust and the Solnoid civilization rose from those survivors...for this has happened before and it will happen again.
The Historical Context of the Gall Force Franchise
Gall Force: The Eternal Story in the West
Why is Gall Force: The Eternal Story Considered Military Science Fiction?
Is Gall Force: The Eternal Story Worth Watching today?
The Legacy and Impact of Gall Force
Wasn't there Sequels?
the first OVA and most of the original production team came back to work on the first trilogy. On November 21st, 1987, the next installment of the first trilogy came out: Gall Force 2: Destruction. This centered on the lone survivor of the Star Leaf, Lufy, who was found by another Solnoid warship and revived from being frozen in deep space after 10 years. We see the Solnoids destroy the homeworld of the Paranoids with the new System-Destroyer. With the space weapon of mass destruction possessed by both sides, the future of both sides looks bleak and Lufy goes to defend the 9th Star System and Terra with her new friends. The 3rd and final OVA in the Gall Force: The Eternal Story Trilogy was Stardust War. This is when the final battle between the Paranoids and the Solnoids will be waged and it seems that both civilizations will be lost. Both sides intend on using their "planet-destroyer" weapon ships and end it all with only stardust in its wake. This situation was told to the audience as MAD and it hit the audience with the anti-nuclear weapon message. In this OVA, we learn much of the history of the war and the races involved. With the final battle looming, Lufy and her friends go on a final mission to download the bulk of the Solnoid knowledge and send it to the moon of Chaos. The final ends with a Terran space mission to recover the data.
There was an American Comic?!
During the 1990's, Central Park Media was attempting to form their own media empire centered around imported anime and manga properties that they owned the license for. One of their ventures was the short-lived CPM Comics with titles based on their properties and one of these was a limited four-part series of Gall Force: The Eternal Story. Fellow Dallas-resident Bruce Lewis worked on this comic along with Starblazers: Magazine for Argo Press and it seems that this Gall Force comic was a very similar style and theme to the Starblazers: Magazine. There is so very little on this 1995 comic series on the internet and I cannot even tell you if the CPM Comic is an comic adaptation of the original anime movie or an original story set in the Gall Force: The Eternal Story universe. From the limited information, it seems there is not an proper Japanese manga in the Gall Force franchise. Given the cover art of the limited series, I am guess that it is a retelling of the OVA story with some fleshing out and improved dialog towards an western audience. The comics are available for just over the original asking price and again, since there is nearly nothing on these Gall Force comics by CPM Press on the internet, this is able all I can tell you. However, another property that CPM Press used was Project A-Ko, and I found a review of it and it seems that the series was an completely American comic and a new storyline and art that attempted to be within the anime style.
The Gall Force Video Games
On December 10th, 1986, few months after the release of Gall Force: The Eternal Story, a vertical shoot’em up genre video game was released by HAL Laboratory for the Famicon disk system (FDS). Unlike the US NES that took cartridges, the FDS was an add-on to the original Famicon that allowed for more complex video games due to the size increase offered by these disks. Some of the more legendary titles on the NES were originally released on the FDS, like the Legend of Zelda and the Japanese-only sequel to Super Mario Brothers. The Disk System was released in February of 1986 with the Gall Force game being released in December of 1986. While the Famicon lasted for years, the apex of the FDS was a short-term add-on and never came to the States. The original Gall Force game is similar, to me, to Xevious, and you as Rabbi, pilot a space fighter to progress through shooting (space) Paranoids to release the other members of the Star Leaf after the level boss battles. It seems that the game was well enough received for two more games under the Gall Force name. In 1986 and 1987, two more Gall Force: The Eternal Story tie-in games were released of the Japanese ASCII Corporation MSX line of home computer machines. One was called “Gall Force: Defense of Chaos” and it was another vertical shoot’em up with pilot switching. Then there was a graphic adventure game of the OVA for the MSX2 system in 1987 that looks playing of Stancher. Due to the Gall Force 1986 OVA not being exported to the US and the games themselves being on different media or machine types, none of the Gall Force titles came to our shores.
The Battle of the Sexes Among the Stars, Adam & Eve, and the Ending
Did the Gall Force Trilogy Inspire the Reimagined Battlestar Galactica?
Next Time on FWS...