VCI Entertainment is releasing the first 17 episodes of the 1980s cartoon series Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs on November 18th. Produced in 1986 by World Events Production, the company responsible for Voltron, and based on the 1984 Studio Pierrot anime series Seijushi Bisumaruku (Star Musketeer Bismarck), the 52-episode Saber Rider aired in the U.S. from 1987 to 1989. World Events rewrote and reworked the anime episodes (it’s Fireball, not Saber Rider, who is the prime hero of the original anime) and actually created six new episodes. The first two-disc Saber Rider and the Star Sherrifs DVD set (MSRP $29.99) contains 391 minutes of cartoon action presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.
The Saber Rider series demonstrates that the outer space western was not invented by the creators of Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, or Serenity. The series is set in the far flung future in the frontier outposts at the edge of the galaxy where Saber Rider is the leader of the Star Sheriffs, a special unit of Calvary Command charged with defending the galaxy from the growing threat of the Outriders. The key to this interstellar defense is RAMROD (voiced by Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime in Transformers), a giant airborne battleship that can transform into a mega-robot complete with a mammoth six-gun who transforms to the rallying cry, "Head ’em up, move ‘em out. Power Stride and Ready to Ride."