|Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs|
(Sei Jūshi Bisumaruku)
|Genre||Space western, Mecha|
|Directed by||Franklin Cofod|
World Events Productions
|Original run||September 14, 1987 – September 2, 1988|
Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs is a 1987 animated space western following a similar theme as Galaxy Rangers and Bravestarr and Adult Swim's own Trigun. Originally a 1984 anime series known as Star Musketeer Bismarck (星銃士ビスマルク Seijūshi Bisumaruku ) created by Studio Pierrot, it achieved moderate success in Japan. The English language rights to the series was purchased by World Events Productions (WEP) in 1986. WEP reorganized and rewrote the series, incorporating both the original episodes and creating 6 new ones before releasing it under the name Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.
In the distant future humans have spread beyond Earth and colonized planets across the universe, creating a New Frontier of man. In order to protect these new settlers and maintain laws and regulations in the New Frontier, Earth's Cavalry Command was created. Cavalry Command is in essence a military organization, maintaining an army and fleet of ships to protect the New Frontier. Within Cavalry Command is a unit of special operatives known as Star Sheriffs that functioned as field agents, investigating crimes and plots against the security of the New Frontier.
The main foe of Cavalry Command and the Star Sheriffs is a race of non-human creatures known as Vapor Beings (or Outriders) that jumped into our dimension in order to conquer it. They attack the settlers, destroy settlements and kidnap humans in order to mine various metals or crystals from the soil.
Outriders are superior to humans in battle technology, possessing a legion of gigantic robots with uncanny firepower against which the space-going fleets of Cavalry Command are no match. In order to have a chance against such supremacy, Cavalry Command develops a prototype ship known as the "Ramrod Equalizer Unit" (or just Ramrod) that has the ability to turn from a spaceship into a powerful robot that can fight the Outriders on equal terms.
The title character in the American version of the series, Saber Rider is the captain of the Ramrod Equalizer Unit. He is a young man, yet is described as "legendary" for his skills and marksmanship. Saber Rider hails from the Scottish Highlands, and is an expert with both swords and horses. He is generally depicted as being a gentleman with a cool head for tactics and decisions.
Saber (occasionally referred to as 'Top Sword' in the American version) often rides a robotic horse named Steed, which has high-powered thrusters and the ability to fly, run, and function in space. However, it was not capable of long space travels, so Steed is kept stored in Ramrod's cargo bay, being used mainly to travel down to planets from orbit or utilized on the planet's surface. Steed is almost sentient in nature (Saber once jokingly told someone to give him a sugar cube) and is capable of recognizing his master's voice and working independently when Saber is in danger.
In the Japanese version (Sei Jūshi Bismarck), the character is named Richard Lancelot and is of British nationality. This explains the British Union Jack on the upper arm and the helmet of his uniform. In Sei Jūshi Bismarck, Richard Lancelot is not the captain of Ramrod (Bismarck), he is part of a multi-national team assembled to man Ramrod to fight the invading Deathculas (Outriders).
Fireball once was a race car driver and the youngest champion of all time. Fireball serves as the pilot of the Ramrod Unit and also controls the chest cannons and heavy weaponry located in Ramrod's chest region. He drives a race car he calls Red Fury Racer/Turbo, which is armed with an extensive arsenal of weapons. He has a somewhat quick temper and at one time boasted of his perfect memory.
During the course of the series he discovers that his father was a fighter pilot who fought alongside King Jaray of the Legendary Kingdom of Jarr when the Outriders first attacked fifteen years ago. Sacrificing himself, his father sent his ship into Nemesis's command ship, robbing Nemesis of his body and sending them both into the Outrider dimension where he is still lost to this day.
In the original Sei Jūshi Bismarck, Fireball is named Shinji Hikari, the Japanese leader of the crew. The Japanese flag is on his sleeve and his helmet.
Colt is introduced in the series as a bounty hunter on the trail of Vanquo, an Outrider spy. He holds an almost infallible accuracy with firearms and serves as the gunner on board Ramrod, controlling the six-iron while Fireball controls the chest cannons. His character is depicted as somewhat of a loner, but also as an outrageous flirt, making passes (mostly unsuccessful) at nearly every woman he meets. His parents were attacked and presumably killed by attacking Outriders right after Colt left to join a traveling rodeo. This event prompted him to become a bounty hunter.
For personal transportation and solo battles he uses a blue and white one-man spaceship named Bronco Buster. In the Japanese version, the character is called Bill Wilcox and comes from the United States, therefore a US flag is seen as a patch on his uniform.
April Eagle is the daughter of Commander Eagle, and the engineer who designed and was in charge of Project Ramrod. She was trained at Cavalry Command under General Whitehawk. Before joining the Star Sheriffs she was a professional tennis player. In early episodes of the series, April had an unrequited crush on Saber Rider, which may explain why in the WEP produced episodes, April has a robotic horse named Nova with the abilities of Saber's Steed.
Throughout the course of the series, April's three love interests were Saber Rider (one-sided on her part), Jesse Blue (one-sided on his part), and Fireball (eventually reciprocated on both sides). It is an interesting quirk of the American version of the series that the heroine does not end up with the main hero, Saber Rider. (Fireball/Hikari was the hero in the original Japanese version.)
In the Japanese version, April is known as Marian Louvre and she is of French nationality, which is why her uniform bears the French tricolor.
April's father, Commander Eagle, is the leader of Cavalry Command which includes all of the fleets and armies that protect the United Star Systems - including the special forces unit known as the Star Sheriffs.
Eagle takes his responsibilities seriously, but underneath has a warm heart and caring nature. Commander Eagle loves his daughter and passionately supports project Ramrod.
In the Japanese version, the character's name is Charles Louvre.
Outriders are humanoids who come from another dimension called the Vapor Zone. They have no need of oxygen but require great quantities of water. They have also mastered the ability to disguise themselves as human beings, to the point where even a medical examination will not reveal their true identities.
Their personal existence is bleak, as is their home dimension, and they have squandered all the resources on their home planet, forcing them to move to an artificial planet. It is often said that Outriders do not know how to have fun, but in truth, they are just like human beings. It is due to their leader Nemesis's inability to enjoy himself that they are said to be unable to enjoy themselves. They want to be able to conquer mankind and control the universe unhindered, thinking the human dimension has much more to offer than their own. When an Outrider is shot or wounded, they do not die, but rather "dimension jump," a process where they vanish and return to their home dimension to reform, leaving behind no trace save for a wisp of poisonous-green gas and a smudge where they stood. A self-initiated dimension jump leaves no trace.
In the Japanese version, green gas does not mean Outriders teleport, but actually means they have died.
A huge, darkly clad and masked being, Nemesis is the evil genius in charge of the renegade Outriders. He created the Vapor Trail that allows the Outriders to cross from their dimension into the human dimension and he is the mastermind behind their insidious schemes. In the last episodes of the series it is revealed Nemesis is a cyborg, and his consciousness also existed as the Nth Degree, a powerful computer on the Outrider's artificial homeworld.
Saber Rider is the only member of the Star Sheriffs to meet Nemesis one-on-one. In the episode "Stampede," the two faced each other in a laser sword duel after Saber crossed into the Vapor Zone in the wake of an Outrider ship travelling along the Vapor Trail. When Saber Rider was on the verge of winning the duel, Nemesis saved himself by emptying the oxygen from the chamber where they were fighting (Outriders do not need oxygen), rendering Saber Rider unconscious.
A somewhat unusual looking character with blue-green hair and a sarcastic streak, Jesse Blue was a promising cadet at Cavalry Command until he fell in love with April Eagle during a training exercise. When April rejected his advances and inadvertently embarrassed him in front of the other cadets, he turned against the Star Sheriffs and cultivated a personal grudge against Saber Rider, thinking it was April's affection for Saber Rider that made her refuse his love.
Jesse planted a bomb on board Ramrod in an attempt to kill Saber Rider, but when he learned April was on board at the time it would detonate, he panicked and confessed what he'd done to Saber. While it was too late to stop the bomb from exploding, Saber was able to reach Ramrod in time to prevent the ship from being destroyed.
Jesse Blue escaped while Saber Rider was thus occupied and became a fugitive, turning his back on Cavalry Command and joining forces with the Outriders. He became obsessed with defeating the Star Sheriffs and conquering the New Frontier.
In the Japanese version, however, Perios is not a human but a Deathcula. There is no love-affair between him and Marianne.
Gattler(occasionally preferred as Gattler the Rattler) wears a foreboding fanged space mask, which when removed reveals his form as a glowering, dark villain. Heavy handed with a heart of stone, Gattler answers only to Nemesis.
Vanquo ultimately had a strange fate for an Outrider: he became human. He was confronted by Saber Rider in the Vapor Zone shortly after Saber's duel with Nemesis in "Stampede". Vanquo presented a rather piteous figure, abandoned by Nemesis and knowing he was defeated, he was at Saber's mercy.
Saber Rider reasoned if he shot Vanquo inside the Vapor Zone he wouldn't be able to dimension jump and reform anew since he was already in his own dimension. This meant shooting Vanquo would make him a solid being. Saber consoled Vanquo by telling him he might like being a human. And when the deed was done, Vanquo looked down at his new human body and said in somewhat teary happiness "I think I might."
Vanquo was last seen doing what it always looked like he'd been dressed for: being a cowboy. In the Japanese version, Vanquo died in the first episode.
Ramrod (voiced by Peter Cullen) was developed by April Eagle (in the American version) as the technological "miracle weapon", with which mankind could oppose the Outriders. Although it can be flown by one person, the ship is designed to be operated by four people, each sitting in separate units that control specific functions: navigation (April), gunner unit (Colt), pilot (Fireball) and the commander/tactician (Saber). Once the transformation sequence is initiated the ship transforms into an enormous combat robot the Star Sheriffs sometimes refer to as the "Big Sheriff".
The battle conversion to robot form is used mainly when the Star Sheriffs encounter the Outrider's form of giant robot, which is known as a Renegade or Desperado Unit.
Ramrod was named Bismarck in the Japanese version, hence the name Sei Jūshi Bismarck. The Americanized name for the battleship Bismarck, "Ramrod", possibly originates from a cowboy slang whereby "Ramrod" refers to the person-in-charge of an outfit, the leader of the pack, or the person who gets the job done.
A highlight of every episode is Ramrod's transformation from an airborne battleship into a giant robot. When the Ramrod Equalizer Unit undergoes the "Challenge Phase" it calls out its rallying cry in a heavy Western drawl, "Head 'em up, move 'em out. Power stride and ready to ride!" The Ramrod vehicle will transform into a giant robot packing an oversized six-shooter at the hip, and appears to be wearing a cowboy hat and a cape. In "Maverick Quick-draw" mode, an array of assorted cannons will be deployed at Ramrod's chest, delivering the final blow to send an Outrider "Renegade Unit" back to the Vapor Zone.
The series was fitted with music score by Dale Schacker. Much of the appeal of the series can be also credited to this very special score. Dale Schacker was given complete artistic freedom for the music creation and used his own ideas for the composition of the whole score without any interventions. The score features almost timeless guitar based music in a fast rhythmic yet very fashionable Country Western style. Despite the fact that the music uses synthpop elements it's predominant instrument is the electric guitar not a synthesizer thus creating a unique sound. Just like a real Western movie score the music is sometimes enriched by whip cracking, rattle snake, harmonica or similar Western sounds. The music is also intentionally composed with a recurring musical theme (sort of a leitmotif) so the show can be easily recognized. This adds a sense of familiarity each time the show is viewed. Despite this aspect, the music does not sound repetitious since only key elements of the composition are repeated but using different sound. The opening and closing credits music vocals were also sung by Dale Schacker.
Two OST compilations are available each containing 2 CDs.
- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs - Soundtrack I
- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs - Soundtrack II
- Rob Paulsen - Saber Rider, Jesse Blue
- Pat Fraley - Fireball
- Pat Musick - April Eagle
- Townsend Coleman - Colt
- Peter Cullen - Narrator, Commander Eagle, Nemesis, Ramrod
- B.J. Ward - Emily Wyeth, Sincia
- Cam Clarke - Philip
- Lennie Weinrib - Colonel Wyatt
- Neil Ross - Buck, Grimmer
|US#||JP#||Title||Japanese title||Original US airdate|
|01.||01.||"Star Sheriff Round Up"||宇宙の冒険野郎 Uchū no Bōkenyarō||September 14, 1987|
|02.||—||"Cavalry Command"||(no Japanese version)||September 15, 1987|
|03.||—||"Jesse’s Revenge"||(no Japanese version)||September 16, 1987|
|04.||02.||"Iguana Get To Know You"||俺とあいつとあの野郎 Ore to Aitsu to Ano Yarō||September 17, 1987|
|05.||14.||"Little Hombre"||ラスト・シューティング Rasuto Shuutingu||September 18, 1987|
|06.||21.||"Greatest Show On The New Frontier"||恐怖のロボット・ショー Kyōfu no Robotto Shoo||September 21, 1987|
|07.||03.||"Little Pardner"||小さな名保安官 Chisana Nahoankan||September 22, 1987|
|08.||04.||"Brawling Is My Calling"||デスキュラ・スパイを撃て! Desukyuura Supai wo Utte!||September 23, 1987|
|09.||08.||"Wild Horses Couldn't Drag Me Away"||謎のスペース・ホース Nazo no Supeesu Hoosu||September 24, 1987|
|10.||16.||"The Castle Of The Mountain Haze"||よみがえる騎士道 Yomigaeru Kishido||September 25, 1987|
|11.||41.||"Oh Boy! Dinosaurs!"||恐竜の星 Kyōryu no Sei||September 28, 1987|
|12.||24.||"Four Leaf Clover"||四つ葉のクローバー Yotsuyō no Kuroobaa||September 29, 1987|
|13.||—||"The Highlanders"||(no Japanese version)||September 30, 1987|
|14.||29.||"What Did You Do On Your Summer Vacation?"||再会、そして旅立ち Saikai, Soshite Tabidachi||October 1, 1987|
|15.||31.||"Jesse Blue"||アンドロメダから来た男 Andoromeda Kara Kita Otoko||October 2, 1987|
|16.||05.||"Show Down At Cimarron Pass"||激突!! 荒野の決戦 Gekitotsu! Kouya no Kessen||October 5, 1987|
|17.||—||"The Saber And The Tomahawk"||(no Japanese version)||October 6, 1987|
|18.||—||"All That Glitters"||(no Japanese version)||October 7, 1987|
|19.||06.||"Sole Survivor"||美少女エリスの秘密 Bishōjo Erisu no Himitsu||October 8, 1987|
|20.||07.||"Legend Of The Santa Fe Express"||小さな愛の物語 Chisana Ai no Monogatari||October 9, 1987|
|21.||13.||"Snake Eyes"||死神キッド Shinigami Kiddo||October 12, 1987|
|22.||10.||"Famous Last Words"||ガニメデの鬼将軍 Ganimede no Kishogun||October 13, 1987|
|23.||11.||"Sharpshooter"||老いたる不死鳥 Oitaru Fushicho||October 14, 1987|
|24.||12.||"The Monarch Supreme"||星空のクリスマスカロル Hoshizora no Kurisumasu Karoru||October 15, 1987|
|25.||26.||"Gattler’s Last Stand"||ガニメデ最後の決戦 Ganimede Saigo no Kessen||October 16, 1987|
|26.||32.||"Dooley"||デスキュラ・ハンター Desukyuuran Hantaa||October 19, 1987|
|27.||09.||"The Hole In The Wall Gang"||明日への戦い Ashita He no Takakai||October 20, 1987|
|28.||22.||"The All Galaxy Grand Prix"||爆発!! 死のレース Bakuhatsu!! Shi no Reesu||October 21, 1987|
|29.||15.||"Snow-Blind"||白銀の決闘 Hagukin no Kettō||October 26, 1987|
|30.||17.||"Tranquility"||君の手で村を守れ Kimi no Te De Mura wo Mamore||October 27, 1987|
|31.||33.||"Bad Day At Dry Gulch"||幽霊戦隊を叩け! Yūrei Sentai o Takate!||October 28, 1987|
|32.||39.||"Snowcone"||真心が見えた時 Magokoro ga mieta toki||November 2, 1987|
|33.||40.||"Sneaky Spies"||魔のレト星フィールド Ma no Reto Sei Fiirudo||November 3, 1987|
|34.||—||"Stampede"||(no Japanese version)||November 4, 1987|
|35.||27.||"The Challenge (1)"||新たなる決意 ACT-1 Atanaru Ketsui Akuto Wan||November 9, 1987|
|36.||28.||"The Challenge (2)"||新たなる決意 ACT-2 Atanaru Ketsui Akuto Tsuu||November 10, 1987|
|37.||25.||"Born on the Bayou"||猛撃! ブラスター・パルス Mōbaku! Burasutaa Purusu||November 11, 1987|
|38.||37.||"April Rides"||50%の賭け Go-juu Paasento no Kake||November 16, 1987|
|39.||38.||"The Walls Of Red Wing"||わんぱくWARS! Wampaku Woosu!||November 17, 1987|
|40.||35.||"Jesse’s Girl"||女戦士チルカ Jōsenshi Chiruka||November 18, 1987|
|41.||18.||"The Amazing Lazardo"||地獄から来た聖者 Jigoku Kara Kita Seija||August 18, 1988|
|42.||19.||"I Forgot"||秘密暗殺計画を暴け Himitsu Ansatsukeikaku o Abake||August 19, 1988|
|43.||34.||"Lend Me Your Ears"||虹に願いを! Niji ni Negai o!||August 22, 1988|
|44.||43.||"Born To Run"||デスキュラの秘密 Desukyuura no Himitsu||August 23, 1988|
|45.||44.||"The Legend Of The Lost World"||星の神話 Hoshi no Shinwa||August 24, 1988|
|46.||45.||"The Rescue"||奪回! ルヴェール博士 Dakkai! Ruveeru Hakushi||August 25, 1988|
|47.||46.||"Eagle Has Landed"||ビスマルク解体! Bisumaruku Kaitai||August 26, 1988|
|48.||47.||"Cease Fire"||戦士の復活 Senshi no Fukkatsu||August 29, 1988|
|49.||48.||"Alamo Moon"||ハイパーフォトン砲発射! Haipaafoton Pōhatsui||August 30, 1988|
|50.||49.||"The Nth Degree"||ヘルペリデスを撃破せよ! Heruperidesu wo Gekihaseyo!||August 31, 1988|
|51.||50.||"Who is Nemesis?"||ヘルペリデス脱出 Heruperidesu Dasshutsu||September 1, 1988|
|52.||51.||"Happy Trails"||夢銀河 Yume Ginga||September 2, 1988|
|—||20.||(no US version)||危険な来訪者 Kiken na Raihousha|
|—||23.||(no US version)||キャプテン・ホリデー Kyaputen Horidee|
|—||30.||(no US version)||戦え! 平和のために Tatakae! Heiwa no Tame ni|
|—||36.||(no US version)||ジュノー星救出作戦 Junoo Sei Kyūshutsu Sakusen|
|—||42.||(no US version)||大要塞接近! Daiyōsai Sekkin|
Previously, ten episodes of Saber Rider were released on DVD in America in 'The Best of Saber Rider vol. 1' by the U.S. rights-holders World Events Productions. Several episodes were also released on VHS. At Otakon 2008 WEP announced that the entire series would be released on DVD through VCI Entertainment. The first of three DVD sets was released on November 18, 2008.
The second DVD set was released on August 25, 2009.
In the UK one DVD, titled Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs - Volume 1, has been released by Anchor Bay Entertainment and two additional DVDs have been released under their Kids Entertainment label. The entire series has been released in German on 10 DVDs. Special Editions of Volumes 5 and 10 featured a slipcase to hold 5 DVDs each. A limited-edition box featuring the complete series as well as three tin figures was also released.
The German company Anime House, who released the initial 10 DVD set, planned to release the original Japanese series subbed in German as well, but it was canceled due to copyright problems.
Recently Anime House offered single episodes via T-Online VOD in Germany at the price of 0,95€ each.
The complete Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs DVD boxset has been released on October 20 2009.
As of March 2010, the 52 US episodes are available for free streaming in the US on Crackle.
- ↑ "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs". Otaku USA. http://www.otakuusamagazine.com/SearchAudience/News1/Saber_Rider_and_the_Star_Sheriffs_3199.aspx. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
- ↑ "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=2401. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
- ↑ "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs DVD news: Announcement for Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Saber-Rider-Star-Sheriffs-Volume-1/10487. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
- ↑ "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs - Vol.2 - Set for the Series from the makers of Voltron". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Saber-Rider-Star-Sheriffs-Volume-2/12068. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
- ↑ "Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs - Complete 6 - DVD Release: Date, Price, Art, Extras & More". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Saber-Rider-Star-Sheriffs-The-Complete-Series/12478. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
- World Events Productions - Saber Rider and the Star Sherriffs
- Studio Pierrot
- Tribute to Saber Rider and the Star Sherrifs
- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs at the Internet Movie Database
- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs at TV.com
- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs at YouTube
- Cavalry Command
- Yuma City
- Anime House (publisher of the German DVDs)de:Saber Rider und die Starsheriffs
el:Ο Σερίφης του Διαστήματος και οι Αστρομαχητές es:Jinete Sable y los Comisarios Estrella hr:Saber Rider i Zvjezdani šerifiru:Космический рыцарь и звёздные шерифы sr:Сабља и Звездани шерифи tr:Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs zh:宇宙奇兵