Star Fleet (X-Bomber)

28 April 2023
X-Bomber, is a science fiction television series that was first broadcast in Japan in 1980. The series was co-produced by Japanese animation studio Toei Animation and the British company, Gerry Anderson Productions.

The series is set in the future, in a universe where humanity has spread out across the galaxy and is threatened by an evil empire known as the Imperial Alliance. The Imperial Alliance seeks to conquer the universe and enslave all those who oppose them. The only hope for humanity is the eponymous Star Fleet, a space-faring military force comprised of various ships and pilots.

star fleet xbomber poster

X-Bomber was renamed Star Fleet and dubbed by English speaking actors for broadcast in the United Kingdom on ITV. The show was broadcast there on Saturday mornings, first airing on October 23, 1982, the day before Star Wars aired for the first time on British television. Due to its broadcast slot, the advertisements shown before, during and after each episode frequently included children's Public Information Films. The series was also broadcast as such on first-run syndication in the United States.

The series follows the adventures of the Star Fleet crew, including the X-Bomber, a powerful battleship capable of transforming into a giant robot, and its team of pilots led by the hero, Captain Halley. Along the way, they encounter various allies and enemies, including the mysterious Lamia, a woman with psychic powers who joins the Star Fleet on their quest to defeat the Imperial Alliance. Drawing heavily on diverse influences such as Star Wars, Japanese Anime and Gerry Anderson's various "Supermarionation" series, the show ran for twenty-four half-hour episodes (twenty-five in Japan - the eighteenth episode, titled Bloody Mary's Promotion, was not included in the English version, as it consisted mainly of flashbacks).

xbomber red robot star fleet 

In the year 2999, Earth enjoys a period of peace following the Space Wars, thanks to the Earth Defense Force (EDF), which ensures the safety of humanity. However, this tranquility is short-lived when an enormous alien battle cruiser suddenly appears, shattering the peace. The EDF's Pluto base is obliterated, and the menacing Commander Makara warns that the same fate will befall Earth unless the EDF surrenders the mysterious F-Zero-One to her. 

Fearing the unknown power of F-Zero-One and the inevitable repercussions of defiance, the EDF activates an untested and incomplete weapon from its hidden moon-base, codenamed X-Project. The X-Project turns out to be a heavily armed spacecraft known as X-Bomber. The series follows the exploits of the X-Bomber crew, comprising Doctor Benn, Shiro Hagen, Barry Hercules, and John Lee, who are joined by PPA, Lamia, and her protector Kirara. 

Commander Makara ship star fleet xbomber

They embark on a quest to uncover the secrets of F-Zero-One and shield it from Commander Makara's increasingly desperate attempts to acquire it for her menacing overlord, the Imperial Master. Eventually, it is revealed that Lamia herself is the enigmatic F-Zero-One, a formidable alien destined to bring peace to the galaxy at the turn of the millennium. The series continues with Lamia discovering her true nature and powers while the Imperial Alliance launches attacks to capture her and annihilate the X-Bomber. 

The climax sees the X-Bomber crew vanquishing Commander Makara, and Lamia ultimately confronting and defeating the Imperial Master, thus establishing peace in the universe. The screenplay was adapted for English by Michael Sloan, who in later years would create the popular TV series The Master and The Equalizer. Actress Denise Bryer ("Commander Makara") and editor Tony Lenny both went on to collaborate with Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr making another memorable sci-fi series, Terrahawks.

Commander Makara xbomber

The English version's theme song was composed by Paul Bliss and was later covered by Queen member Brian May and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen. This was released under the name "Star Fleet Project". Brian May offers a tutorial on how to play the theme on Youtube!

While the series was not as widely known outside of Japan and the United Kingdom, it has remained a popular favorite among those who grew up with the series. 

In recent years, Star Fleet has enjoyed a resurgence of interest, with renewed interest in the series prompting the release of a new DVD box set in Japan in 2018. It is also on Amazon Prime.

Overall, Star Fleet is an important part of the history of science fiction television and anime. Its unique blend of Western and Japanese influences, combined with its memorable characters and thrilling action, has earned it a place in the hearts of fans around the world.

Trivia about X-bomber - Star Fleet

  1. X-Bomber was produced by the Japanese animation company, Studio Nue, and aired on Fuji TV in Japan in 1980.
  2. The show was co-produced by the UK-based company, Gerry Anderson Productions, and released in the UK under the name Star Fleet.
  3. Star Fleet was dubbed by English-speaking actors for broadcast on ITV in the UK, and first aired on October 23, 1982, the day before Star Wars aired on British television.
  4. The show drew heavily on influences such as Star Wars, Japanese anime, and Gerry Anderson's "Supermarionation" series.
  5. The series ran for 24 episodes, with the 18th episode, titled "Bloody Mary's Promotion," not included in the English version due to its heavy use of flashbacks.
  6. The English version's theme song was composed by Paul Bliss, and later covered by Queen member Brian May and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
  7. The screenplay for the English version was adapted by Michael Sloan, who went on to create popular TV series The Master and The Equalizer.
  8. The series featured various types of puppets and models for its characters and vehicles, with the X-Bomber itself being a combination of both.
  9. The voice of Commander Makara was provided by actress Denise Bryer, who also worked with Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr on the sci-fi series Terrahawks.
  10. One of the producers of X-Bomber, Keita Amemiya, went on to become a well-known director and designer in Japan, working on various films, TV series, and video games.
  11. The character of Lamia, who turned out to be F-Zero-One, was voiced by actress Mami Koyama, who also provided the voice for other famous anime characters such as Arale from Dr. Slump and Minky Momo from Magical Princess Minky Momo.
  12. The show was also broadcast in the United States as first-run syndication, under the title Star Fleet.
  13. In addition to the TV series, a manga adaptation of X-Bomber was also created, with artwork by Toshiki Hirano.
  14. The X-Bomber toy line was released by Bandai in Japan, with various vehicles and action figures of the show's characters.
  15. The show was edited and repackaged as a feature film in Japan, titled "X-Bomber the Movie: Soldier in the Sky."


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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