Release: Aug 21, 2011 - Author: Mario - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB - more from this series
Comparison between the American Version (represented by the German DVDs released by Anime House) and the Japanese Version included in the limited Seijushi Bismark DVD box-sets 1 and 2 released by Pioneer LDC.
Runtime of the American Version: 00:21:42:09
Runtime of the Japanese Version: 00:24:08:05
Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs is a 52-episode American TV series with a Japanese origin. The series combines Mecha-Anime and western-elements.
The theme song (performed by Dale Schacker) has a cult status and alwaysw brings back childhood memories every time you hear it.
Naturally, the series was also licensed for other countries: England, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Poland, Russia, China, and others just to name a few. The series was also very popular in southeast Asia. It was pracically marketed and released all over the planet so you can really say that it was a huge success.
The Story of Saber Rider
In a remote future humanity lives on the planet Yuma. Soon, they start to colonize other planets. The Galaxy soon is called "New Frontier". To maintain all the laws and regulations, humanity created the Cavalry Command to protect all the planets. The peace is disturbed when aliens known as Vapor Beings or Outriders attack the planet Alamo. Unfortunately, the Cavalry Command's intervention comes too late - the battle of Alamo ends in a tragedy. Both the Outriders and the Alamos lost heavily. The Outriders fall back and planet Alamo breaks contact with Yuma. 15 years later, the Outriders strike again. The humans are heavily ountnumbered and seem to have no chance. Their last hope is a secret project which is called Ramrod - a huge battleship which is capable to transform into a giant robot. The project is planned under the direction of Commander Eagle - leader of the Cavalry Commando's special unit "Star Sherrif". When a spy named Vanquo finds out everything about Ramrod they face a race against time. Star Sheriff agent Saber Rider is supposed to catch Vanquo before he makes Ramrod's secret location public. When his mission fails, Saber Rider forms an alliance with race driver Fireball and headhunter Colt. In company with Commanrer Eagle's daughter April they're able to save Ramrod and use to obtain and keep peace for the New Frontier.
The Origin of Saber Rider
The series is based on the anime series Sei jūshi Bismarck produced by the Japanese company "Studio Pierrot.CO LTD". In Japan, the series bombed, therefore it was sold to the American company "World Events Productions"(WEP) in 1986. WEP wanted to create a child-friendly series for afternoon television in the tradition of other Sci-Fi-western series such as Galaxy Rangers or Bravestarr. Therefore, they had to change a lot of things.
The Story of Seijūshi Bismark
It's the year 2069. Humans have left the earth to colonize other planets of the solar system. However, the peace they wanted to achieve recedes into the distance - the aliens "Deathcula" attack the planets of the solar system. The humans mobilize against the offenders and form a confederation to fight against the Deathculas. However, some sectors refuse to be a b part of this confederation and choose to fight on their own. One of these "mavericks" is planet Ganymed. While the confederation is already able to defend itself against the attacks, there's a decisive battle between the Deathculas and the army of planet Ganymed. The battle is lead by General Domes. Domes asked the earth for help but didn't get any. The battle seemed to become a shellacking when susdelny pilot Shinjiro Hikari steps in the battle. Thanks to the spacepilot's brave behavior they were able to beat the Deathculas. However, Shinjiro pays for his fame with his life. The following time of piece is characterized by the cold-hearted relationship between Ganymed and the earth since general Domes lost any trust in the humans living on planet earth. The Deathculas had to return to their home planet Meteus and then tried to rebuilt their army. 15 years later in the year 2084 the enemy strikes again and starts to attack all the peoples (who now live in peace with each other) of the solar system. The solar system cofederation can't protect all the humans on all the planets who are unable to defend themselves against the enemies. Scientist Dr. Charles Louvre develops a new battle group which is called "Bismark". It is a special unit which is capable to transform into a giant robot. With this weapon they now have the strength to fight back. The team consists of 4 high qualified and very different persons: 17-year-old Japanese Shinji Hikari, 16-year-old American Bill Willcox, 18-year-old Richard Lancelot from Scotland on his Majesty's service, and 15-year-old Marianne Louvre from France who is Bismark-designer Charles Louvre's daughter.
This information was taken from the German "Seijūshi Bismark" webpage.
Editing the Series
The central topic of the Japanese original is an unadorned war where innocent people die.
Thus, the Japanese version is rather violent and (despite the humor) has a very serious and aggressiv undertone.
To form this into a childrens TV series they had to change this undertone as well as reduce the violence.
They also changed a lot of other things (either for the different American notion or other reasons), resulting in a completely different series in terms of story as well as mood and style.
One of the major changes of the series are the characters. Especially the "leader issue" has far-reaching consequences for the whole series.
They had to change several things in order to make Saber Rider the leader of the troop.
Even though they really tried to cover up Fireball's position as the leader of the group, it still doesn't work every time.
Fireball still is a way too dominant character. He mostly assumes control and almost constantly gets the final word for important decisions. Additionally, he's always standing in the front while Saber Rider can rather be seen in the far right.
The dubbing is the key element of the changes as well as the censorship of the series. Due to the change of names and the plot as well as the censorship, most of the dialogues had to be re-written. Some dialogues were just rephrased, while several were mitigated / changed in order to make them funnier than in the Japanese version. Other dialogues were completely changed. The American version also offers dialogues where the Japanese version is just silent. Most of these additional dialogues are just for the sake of fun.
Censorship via Dubbing
With the help of the dubbing the characters sometimes say things that are included to censor the series. These dialogues are mostly very conspicuous and one of the series' trademarks.
In the American version there are 2 types of transitions:
A transition-effect that pays tribute to the titular character.
This type of transition moves fast from right to left / left to right. Depending of the direction of the movement, the transition is either green or brown. This type of transition originates from the Japanese version, however, there it occurs way less frequently.
Most of the transitions are just regular transition effects that you know from movies.
The Japanese original was released in 2 seperate DVD-boxes as a limited edition in Japan.
Unfortunately they don't include any subtitles and have so far only been released in Japan. By now, these DVD-boxes are very rare and unbelievably expensive. So far, there are no future plans to release the series in any other country.
Comparison of the Names
You now will see a list of the most important characters along with their names in both versions.
Comparison of the Images
The Japanese version has a better image quality than the American version.
For this comparison, the images come from the German and the Japanese DVD. Generally, the image of the German DVD is more blurred and paler. Additionally, the German DVD includes interlace flickers (resulting from a bad transition from NTSC to PAL) which are very apparent when you watch the DVDs.
It's not easy to say which of the versions is the better one. The Japanese version is more complex, more serious and more realistic than the American version. The American version tones down the violence and pretty much erased death from the series. There are a few plotholes which most of the time result from all the alterations from the American version. However, the great dubbing of Saber Rider as well as the music are a great advantage of the American version. Still, the Japanese version has quite a good soundtrack as well.
So, it pretty much is a matter of your own taste, so check out both versions and make up your own mind.
If you want to have more information on Saber Rider and Seijūshi Bismark, there are plenty of webpages to choose from.
We would like to thank the following webpages for supplying us with background information about both of the series, covers, and translations for this report:
The Outriders have mounted an offensive against the Planet Pecos. On their recon flight, Colt anf Fireball find a boy named Miguel hanging out with his father in a secluded shack. Miguel's father has a dangerous past: he used to be a bounty hunter and also worked for the Outriders. The Outrider Viperon can spot him in his shack and kidnaps his son. Fireball can't prevent the kadnapping and radios his fellows. Meanwhile Miguel's father prepares to free his son evtn though Fireball adviced him not to go. He makes it and can free Miguel but gets attacked by Viperon in the last moment. The hitman has sworn to never ever become violent again but this is different because his son's life is at stake. So he gets a gun and takes Viperon out. The Star Sheriffs have to deal with two Renegades and free the planet for now.
Plot differences in Episode 5
Please note: Due to the SJB HP being down, I can't say anything about the story differences but I'm gonna add that information asap.
Running time Japanese Intro approx. 1.43 min
Running time US Intro approx. 1.29 min
A detailed comparison of the intro can be found in the comparison of the very first episode.
Title of the Episode
Saber Rider's Monolog
The episode begins with one of Saber Rider monologs again.
He explains he could still that day they had met Little Hombre for the first time. They had been on a secret mission. While flying over new borderland, none of them could have foreseen that they were going to be in the prairie of the night soon.
Transition at the beginning of the US Version.
The first scene after the intro has been exchanged. The Japanese Version shows interferences on Saber Rider's screen (6 sec). The US Version contains a scene from another episode instead: Ramrod is flying through a valley (8 sec). The US Version is longer.
Extended shot of flying Ramrod in the Japanese Version.
Extended shot of flying above the ground Ramrod in the Japanese Version.
The Star Sheriffs see smoke in the distance. Colt and Fireball want to check it out and spot a bonfire. In the Japanese Version, they get shot at out of the blue. After having fired back several times, they can spot the shooter. It's a little boy named Miguel. He accidentally thought they were Outriders, that's why he shot at them.
Of course there's no way that a kid gets a gun and actually shoots at people in the US Version, so the scene has been removed. But the gun is still in his hand, so the dialog has been modified. It now implies it's just a toy gun in his hand.
Fireball and Colt get shot at from the bushes. They start running to avoid getting hit.
While Colt and Fireballs are flying sideways with their jetpacks, they start shooting at the bushes the shot came from.
3 sec 20 frames
Extended shot because of Colt's longer dialog.
Shortened shot of Fireball.
Shortened shot of Miguel before the dialog starts.
The end of Migueld's dialog has been shortened.
The shot of Miguel is shorter.
Colt's dialog has been distinctly extended.
+2 sec 20 frames
The beginning of the shot os shorter.
Extended shot because Fireball says sth. offscreen.
Fireball's dialog is shorter.
+1 sec 10 frames
Because some Outriders could be close, the Star Sheriffs take Miguel home. His father is pretty upset about his son's behavior. The Star Sheriffs begin to speak for Miguel but his father sends them away. In the Japan Version, the scene is harder (as usually). Miguel gets slapped but at least he's got a real gun, not a toy gun (like he has in the US Version).
Miguel's dialog is shorter.
1 sec 1 frame
Miguel gets slapped by his father and goes down. Fireball steps forward and begins to speak. The father points his gun at Fireball and says sth. Fireball replies.
8 sec 18 frames
For continuity reasons, the shot of Miguel getting up and holding his cheek is missing.
1 sec 18 frames
For some reason, the shot of Fireball turning around to Colt is slightly shorter.
Added Sword Transition
A sword transition has been added here. The shots before and after the transition are being covered by the transition for approx. 0.5 sec each. The US Version is longer.
Explosion on the wall plus some screams. Only if the scene is being watched frame by frame, one can notice that three soldiers got blown up. Subsequently a civilian gets shot.
5 sec 14 frames
Further soldiers get killed. Strangely enough that this particular scene is also in episode 1.
Added Starting Sequence
Fireball's starting sequence has been added here. He says: "Red Fury Turbo on."
+4 sec 19 frames
A short scene is missing here. The tail of the Outrider ship is burning. Tbhe Outrider gets out of the cockpit and gets tossed on the top of the ship by an explosion. The Outrider sits on the top until he gets tossed to the ground by the exploding ship. This scene might be missing because it doesn't suit to the previous and following scene at all. To explain that: Saber Rider shoots at the ship, then the cut scene follows. Right after that, the unscathed ship goes down and finally explodes. So the cut scene doesn't make any sense at all.
4 sec 7 frames
Some scenes have been replaced during the Outriders' escape.
Pan shot over the destroyed city. Fireball and the Commander shake each others hand in a close-up. Then a distance shot of them letting loose each others hands. The US Version goes on when the handshake is over. That scene has been removed because the audience would come up with the question why the Commander shakes Fireball's hand instead of Saber Rider's.
Though the Japanese Version contains a shot of the fleeing Outriders, an additional scene from another episode, which shows the fleeing Outriders, has been added here. Bad luck that it's dark in the new scene. Then a transition effect to the scene after the cut.
The Japanese Version is longer.
9 sec 12 frames
2 sec 2 frames
After Fireball and April argued, the Commander's reaction is missing (he asks sth. pretty short). Fireball and April turn around to him, then Fireball's dialog.
4 sec 20 frames
Missing dialog from the Commander during the shot of Fireball.
2 sec 22 frames
The beginning of the shot is missing.
Cut/Added Sword Transition
Now a bigger scene has been cut out and replaced by a sword transition.
17 sec 15 frames
Fireball's dialog (screen 1) is 2 sec 5 frames shorter. Then a conversation between Fireball and Colt. Finally a missing pan shot of the countryside.
The beginning of the shot with Miguel at the river has been shortened.
Now a scene which pops up later one more time has been added here. We're talking about a shot of Miguel being scared here. Furthermore there are 5 more frames before the added scene starts.
+1 sec 22 frames
1 Sek 3 Frames
The Outrider makes a few steps to the house and yells sth. like "Don't move!"
The Outrider hits Miguel's father with the rifle butt in the face. He "flies" sideways in slow motion. The US Version only contains a shot of the Outrider reaches back. Then a shot of the father going down.
3 sec 10 frames
Extended shot of Miguel being scared.
+1 sec 2 frames
Extended shot of the father.
+2 sec 3 frames
The pan shot over the Outriders stops down to a black screen in the Japanese Version.
Missing eycatch scenes.
A further pan shot over the Outriders is missing.
16 sec 16 frames
Close-up of an Outrider pointing his gun at Miguel and his father.
1 sec 16 frames
Missing dialog from one of the Outriders (the right one). The beginning of the shot is also in the US Version but without dialog.
1 sec 17 frames
A couple of frames have been removed due to lip synch.
Added transition (screen 3) between two scenes (screen 1+2).
The shot of the gunshot wound is different. In the Japanese Version, the camera zooms out three time. In the US Version only once.
2 sec 28 frames
Fireball's dialog is slightly shorter.
The father's dialog is shorter.
Shortened shot in the middle of the dialog.
Fireball's dialog is missing.
1 sec 13 frames
The beginning of the shot is shorter.
Fireball gets a reply to his radio message in the Japanese Version.
1 sec 13 frames
Recut and shortened scene when Fireball goes back in the shack to Miguel's father.
Fireball enters the shack, calls for the father and says sth. Fireball walks on the right and goes to the side exit (shot from his POV). Meanwhile he keeps calling for the father.
Fireballs enters the shack and asks for the father. Before he goes to the right, the shot from his POV has been added but it's 1 sec 5 frames shorter than the Japanese equivalent. Then the shot of Fireball walking on the right side. While he's walking he says it was bery likely the father was looking for Miguel.
1 sec 5 frames
In the Japanese Version, Fireball also leaves the shacl and keeps calling for the father. He says sth. during the close-up.
5 sec 5 frames
Instead of the previous removed scene, a transition (screen 3) has been added between the two scenes before and after the cut (screen 1+2). The US Version is slightly shorter because the scene in screen 1 is longer and the one in screen 2 shorter.
Shortened shot because Fireball talks to April on the radio in the Japanese Version while he talks to himself in the US Version.
2 sec 4 frames
Extended shot of Fireball because his conversation with April via radio ends in the Japanese Version but he keeps talking to himself in the US Version.
+2 sec 5 frames
The order of two scenes has been changed here. The Japanese Version begins with a shot of Miguel's father, followed by a shot of the machine. It's the other way around in the US Version. Furthermore both shots are shorter.
Two scenes of Viperon ahooting at Miguel's father have been added here. These scene pop later later once again.
+3 sec 1 frame
A shot of Miguel's smiling father avoiding a blaster hit has been removed here. That exact scene recently popped up in both versions.
1 sec 24 frames
Viperon's execution has almost completely been removed. The US Version contains the actual shot in slow motion and than a transition to a white screen. It continues with Viperon lying on the ground. The following is missing:
The bullet is on its way to Viperon and finally its his helmet visor. He goes down with a scream and a lot of black blood. Then a cut to Viperon on the ground. A blood fountain is leaking out of his wound. The shot without the blood illustration has been removed as well. The remaining footage of that scene is also in the US Version (last screen).
9 sec 18 frames
Cut/ Added scene
The second Outrider gets bloodily shot by Fireball.
To cover up that cut, the US Version contains a short flash of light including gun sound. I deducted these 6 frames difference from the total difference at once.
1 sec 14 frames
After Fireball shot the second Outrider, he lands next to Miguel and his father. In the Japanese Version, he immediately turns his head sideways and looks at Viperon lying dead on the ground. In the US Version, 8 frames of a previous shot have been added before Fireball turns his head.
Fireball looks at Viperon lying dead on the ground.
1 sec 12 frames
Shortened dialog of Miguel's father.
This time, only the shot of Ramrod is different during the transformation sequence.
The shot of Ramrod's legs is different. The background varies and only the Japanese Version contains the lightnings. The US Version is longer.
+1 sec 11 frames
4 sec 14 frames
Shortened shot of Ramrod.
Exchanged scene + New scene
The scene after the Renegade's destruction has been exchanged. The US Version continues with a new scene, taken from episode 5. That's why the transition to the last scene of this episode is also different.
The Japanese Version contains a shot of Fireball. He gets his helmet without saying a single word. Then a transition to the next scene, a shot of the mountains, before the camera pans down to Miguel's shack.
The US Version contains a shot of Saber Rider instead. He says the others did good work.
Now the new scene pieced together with footage from episode 5.
A short conversation between Nemesis and a stranger follows, then a monolog by Nemesis.
Nemesis wants to know if there were any news about planet Yuma. The stranger replies Viperson had been defeated by the Star Sheriffs. Nemesis can't believe it and says Outriders didn't lose against humans. He adds the Star Sheriffs only sent them back to their own dimension where the Outriders could regroup and attack again until victory was going to be theirs.
Transition to the tracking shot of Miguel's shack at the end of the scene.
The entire scene is pretty lousy method to remind the audience that Outriders just can't die.
The US Version is longer
+21 sec 15 frames
The beginning of Miguel's dialog has been removed.
1 sec 24 frames
Extended shot of Miguel's father talking to his son.
Extended shot in the Japanese Version.
1 sec 1 frame
Extended shot of Miguel's father.
1 sec 13 frames
After having tossed his gun in the fire, he also tosses his weapon belt in the fire.
2 sec 7 frames
Another shortened shot of Miguel's father.
2 sec 6 frames
Extended shot of the burning shack in the Japanese Version.
Extended shot of Miguel's father.
2 sec 6 frames
Earlier down stopping to the credits at the end of this shot.
7 sec 13 frames
Saber Rider's final monolog
The episode concludes with a monolog by Saber Rider again.
Miguel's father finally left his past behind. He took Little Hombre and they lived near the fort where he became a scout and a reliable counselor of the base commander. And he became a personal friend of Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs.
A detailed comparison of the different credits can be found in the comparison of episode 1.
Running time of the credits in the Japanese Version 00:01:20
Running time of the credits in the US Version 00:01:03