never saw this growing up. my cousins in West Virginia did, since he told me about the gloves that shot lasers and various other gizmos. I knew of it from the pictures in FM #114, of course, but had no idea it was such a fun movie. it finally aired in Colorado in about 1988 or so. I didn't even know it did the first time, just turned on the tv and it happened to be on. naturally I watched it all! it had been years since I had searched the TV Guide for any movies.
it was a surprise to learn that it was completely shot in English, and the Japanese actors spoke their lines phonetically. and seeing Cesar Romero was a lot of fun.
it kind of disappeared again after that, and then rumors sprung up it would never get a commercial release due to the rights being tied up. I'm kind of glad it never got a VHS release, though, since it would have been fullscreen.
finally released by Media Blasters a few years ago, we got the full length movie (most copies had been about 90-100 minutes), it was also great to see in widescreen, the effects are all really cool. very enjoyable to watch.
I think this was the last classic major Toho movie I ever got to see on tv. well, OK, I saw Battle In Outer Space later, but for whatever reason, it's not quite as much fun as this one. I think the cast has a lot to do with liking this so much.
I haven't talked too much about the movie. it's pure pulp storytelling. which isn't surprising since it's based on a series of books that was written in the 30s. it's fast and frenetic and not quite good vs evil. it would have made a great serial back in the day!
the effects here are fun, especially the ships and the rays and the explosions. the Alpha and the Black Shark are sleek and cool. ships just don't quite look the same these days. I miss them!