Spiral Zone: Wikis

  
  

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Spiral Zone
Spiral zone logo.jpg

Spiral Zone title card
Genre Animation
Action
Created by Diana Dru Botsford
Written by Mark Edward Edens
Michael Edens
Michael Reaves
Steve Perry
Diana Dru Botsford
Starring Mona Marshall
Frank Welker
Dan Gilvezan
Michael Bell
Hal Rayle
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 65
Production
Executive producer(s) Edd Griles
Donald Kushner
Peter Locke
Mark Ludke
Ray Volpe
Producer(s) Diana Dru Botsford
Running time 20 min.
Broadcast
Original channel Syndicated
Original run September 21, 1987 – December 18, 1987
Status Ended

Spiral Zone was a 1987 American science-fiction animated series produced by Atlantic-Kushner-Locke. Based in part from a toy line made by Japanese company Bandai, the series focus on an international group of soldiers fighting to free the world from a scientist who controls much of the Earth's surface. It only ran for one season, with a total count of 65 episodes.

Tonka acquired the license from Bandai and created a different treatment to the series, plus a short-lived toy line. Spiral Zone is known among fans as a series that stood out from other contemporary cartoons of the 80s because of its dark story. The series has not been officially released by Tonka/Hasbro.

Contents

Plot

On June 18, 2007, renegade military scientist Dr. James Bent uses a hijacked space shuttle to drop his deadly Zone Generators across half of the Earth, a region called the Spiral Zone (due to its shape).

Millions of people are trapped in the dark mists of the Spiral Zone and transformed into Zoners with lifeless yellow eyes and strange red patches on their faces. Because they have no will to resist, Bent - now known as Overlord - makes them his slave army and controls them from the Chrysler Building in New York City.

His followers are known as the Black Widows: Bandit, Duchess Dire, Razorback, and Reaper. They are immune to the Zone because of a special device called the Widow Maker. However, due to prolonged exposure to the Zone, they also share the same effects as normal people caught inside the Zone, which has dark skies and Zone spores growing in many places. Bent seeks to conquer the world by bringing everyone under control with the Zone Generators. The Zones feed off human energy, which is why Bent does not kill anyone inside.

With major cities Zoned, the nations of the world put aside their own differences in order to fight off the Black Widows. However, only five soldiers using special suits to protect themselves from the Zone could do it. While easy to destroy, Zone Generators were impossible to capture because of booby traps. Overlord would drop more generators on remaining military and civilian centers and force the Zone Riders into a standoff.

Black Widows

Bent not only invented the Zone Generators but also an antidote process giving him immunity to the bacteria. He used this antidote process on his small group of soldiers. While immune to the mind-altering effects, each Black Widow still has lesions on their skin and have yellow dilated eyes.

  • Overlord - commander and rebel scientist
  • Bandit - master of disguise, a terrorist of Middle Eastern origin;
  • Duchess Dire - assignment expert and hardened criminal.
  • Razorback - bladesman
  • Reaper - manhunter

Later in the series, French scientist Jean Duprey and truck driver Richard Welt joined the Black Widows. They were codenamed Crook and Raw Meat, respectively.

Vehicles

Overlord rides the Bullwhip Cannon, an eight-wheel all-terrain vehicle equipped with a large laser cannon. The other Black Widows ride Sledge Hammers, a one-man minitank that has triangular caterpillar tracks and have whirling mace arms on either side. They also have a special delta-winged aircraft called the Intruder.

Zone Riders

Overlord's initial strike put all the major capitals of the world in the Zone. The chaos sparked international cooperation even between the United States and the Soviet Union. To counter the effects of the Zone bacteria, British scientists created a rare material called Neutron-90. However, only a limited amount of Neutron-90 is remaining in the world after the British government orders the destruction of the only laboratory where the material was produced.[1] The material is only enough to build combat suits for a team of five specially-trained soldiers called the Spiral Force, also known as the Zone Riders.

  • Cdr Dirk Courage - Zone Riders leader, United States
  • MSgt Tank Schmidt - heavy weapons specialist, West Germany
  • Lt Hiro Taka - infiltration specialist, Japan
  • 2nd Lt Max Jones - special mission expert, United States
  • Cpl Katerina Anastacia - medical officer, USSR

As the series advanced, the Zone Riders discovered that there was still enough Neutron-90 left over from assembling the five suits, sufficient to build two additional suits. They are issued to Australian demolition specialist Lt Ned Tucker and field scientist Lt Benjamin Davis Franklin.

Vehicles

The Zone Riders are deployed around the world from a mountain base called the Mission Command Central, or MCC. Dirk Courage rides the Rimfire, a monowheel vehicle equipped with a large cannon on top. The other Zone Riders ride armored combat monocycles and wear special backpacks.

Japanese Spiral Zone

The suits and some of the vehicles in Spiral Zone originated from a line of action figures produced by Bandai that was sold from 1985 to 1988. Conceptualized by Gundam mecha designers Kunio Okawara and Kazuhisa Kondo, the Special Force Group Spiral Zone series depicted a team of special operations soldiers fighting a war in the early 21st century. The line only had 12 items, organized into Acts. They include: three 1:12 scale six-inch figures with full equipment codenamed Bull Solid, Hyper Boxer, and Sentinel Bear, two Bull Solid cloth uniform and armor sets, two Hyper Boxer cloth uniform and armor sets, two equipment backpacks, two bare human figures, and one vehicle called the Monoseed. The figures had 30 points of articulation. Non-toy media included a notebook, a novel, and a LP/story compilation released in 1986 by Warner Brothers and Pioneer Corporation called a Hyper Image Album. The LP disc in particular contains songs composed by Toshiyuki Watanabe and performed by Tomoko Aran, with the accompanying stories written by Kazunori Ito. He wrote the novel with HEADGEAR colleague Akemi Takada as illustrator.

Bandai had plans to release a fourth action figure (codenamed Fireball) and additional vehicles before the line was cancelled. They include a tank, a small flight pod, a radio-controlled assault jeep resembling the Chenowth DPV called the Fat Lynx, a fast-attack vehicle called the Mad Lemming, a bipedal mech, two personal transport backpacks, and the Monoseed Mk II assault cycle, among others.

The unreleased vehicles later appeared in the series' gashapon line, which also had a special Spiral Zone super-deformed board game and other vehicles that were not developed in 1:12 scale. The Monoseed and Monoseed Mk II were the respective basis for the Zone Riders' standard motorcycles and Courage's Rimfire Cannon, while one of the two unreleased backpacks, a monocycle called the Monodrive, was remodeled as Max Jones' Zone Runner backpack. [2]

Because of their extensive detail and high-quality construction, the Japanese Spiral Zone figures are well-regarded among toy collectors and often fetch high prices.

Releases

Toys

Although best known for producing toys of construction vehicles, Tonka licensed the rights to Spiral Zone from Bandai and created a line of seven-inch figures that were later based on the animated series. The toy line, which hit the market in 1986, comprised four of the five original Zone Riders and all five original Black Widows, plus their vehicles, six cloth uniforms, and eight equipment sets.

However, the cancellation of the series left the figures of Zone Riders Anastacia, Tucker, and Franklin, Black Widows Crook and Raw Meat, and a Zone Generator playset out of Tonka's 1988 release. The figures were also highly detailed, but were not as articulate as the Japanese figures. Each figure has a special audio cassette tape.

Home Media

Tonka first released Spiral Zone on VHS in 1987 with two episodes per tape. Only three tapes were produced before the series was cancelled. Tonka has not announced plans to release the series on DVD. However, an unofficial DVD set containing all 65 episodes and bonus materials was released in late 2006 by Spiral-Zone.com, with the cooperation of the show's supervising director, Pierre de Celles. The site's operator, Chris Millar, said de Celles volunteered for the project by providing the original master tapes of the series, which were converted to DVD. He added that Tonka and parent firm Hasbro never responded to his offers to acquire the rights.[3]

Comics

DC Comics released a Spiral Zone series in February 1987, but only lasted four issues.

References

Sources

External links








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