Oriental CinemaIssue 8, 1995, to be precise. This magazine was referenced by an article on another web site, and was totally new to me. I thought, well, if I can track down Fantastic Films I ought to be able to use the power of Google to track down a source for this one too. So a week or so later (July 2002) a parcel arrived from the US... Oriental Cinema has a funny sense of style, very casual, but reverent in a tongue in cheek sort of way. This issue looked at "Live Action Mainly Non-Superhero Sci-Fi of Japan". I kid you not, that's what's on the index page!
As I'd already suspected from the cover images I saw before ordering, this issue doesn't mention just Star Fleet - it also covers Message From Space, also known as San Ku Kai. If you've read about the Production of the show you'll know that there's always been a question mark about this series and its relationship to Star Fleet.
What this article makes clear is that Message from Space, the movie, the Message from Space TV series, and then the edited together TV movie Swords of the Space Ark, were all made 2 years before X-Bomber came out in Japan. If you read through the excerpts from the magazine, you'll see that one of the comments about X-Bomber is that Makara looks like one of the Gavanas from Message from Space. So it seems very likely that if there was any cross pollination between the series, it was X-Bomber borrowing from Message from Space, not the other way round. Look at the bottom right hand corner of the front cover scan to see an example of the similarities.
Message from Space aside, what does the magazine have to say about Star Fleet? Well, it mentions both Star Fleet and X-Bomber but not in very flattering terms. Technically good, but slow moving. This highlights the reason why X-Bomber didn't take off - put in context with all the other shows from Japan, it just didn't rate with the likes of Godzilla, Ultraman, and Star Blazers around. So die hard Star Fleet fans may be upset by the comments below! These excerpts are slightly incorrect as well as being unflattering, but do confirm that the series never seems to have aired on any US TV channels...
Last updated 14 December 2013