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This article discusses something which was not officially endorsed by the owners of the Planet of the Apes copyright, but which was nevertheless inspired by the concepts and ideas found in the original books, movies, TV series and comics.

Saru no Gundan
(Army of the Apes) /
Time of the Apes
TV Show (Volume 1) DVD cover
Aired (Japan) 6 October 1974 -
30 March 1975
Production Companies Tsuburaya Productions /
Directors Fukazawa Kiyo Sumi,
Okunaka Atsuo
Writers Komatsu Sakyo (story),
Tanaka Koji (story),
Toyota Aritsume (story),
Abe Keiichi
Seasons 1
Episodes 26
Running time 30 min. per episode
U.S.A. Release
('Time of the Apes')
Production Company
('Time of the Apes')
Sandy Frank Entertainment
Running time
('Time of the Apes')
97 min.
Continuity Saru no Gundan
(Army of the Apes) /
Time of the Apes

They're Lost in Eternity and Trapped in


The Planet of the Apes movies were hugely successful in Japan; Japanese audiences were treated to an extended cut of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes because of their devotion to the movies. [1] In response to the popularity of the movies, a Japanese company, Tsuburaya Productions, created a TV series consisting of twenty-six half-hour episodes in 1974, with a storyline remarkably similar to Planet of the Apes but without actually making any reference to the franchise. 'Saru no Gundan' (猿の軍団, literally 'Army of the Apes') concerns a woman and two children who wake up in a world populated by sentient apes. While it doesn't directly contradict the official Planet of the Apes universe, the regular appearances of a mysterious UFO (albeit created by advanced humans) does cause some problems fitting it in with the established continuity. Although reportedly not a hugely popular show, it nevertheless completed its 26-episode run, unlike either of the Apes TV shows being made around the same time in the US. The original series has never been translated in its entirety into English, but in 1987, Sandy Frank Entertainment re-edited and translated them into a 97 minute movie and released it in the US as 'Time of the Apes'.

Primary Cast:

TV show soundtrack CD cover

Supporting Cast:

  • Dan Iwao (voiced by Watanabe Takeshi) ... Adjutant Sabo, Aide to the Minister
  • Takashima Hiroshi (voiced by Kitagawa Kunihiko / Kato Osamu) ... Secretary Ruza, head of the chimp army / Luzar
  • Ishikawa Satoshi (voiced by Yanami Jouji) ... Region Secretary Gobi / District Leader
  • Kobayashi Titose ... Sakaki Sumiko
  • Amada Toshiaki ... Sakaki Ryotaro
  • Takahashi Masaya ... Professor Sakaki
  • Nakatani Noboru ... Dr. Takagi
  • Naya Goro ... Yukomu (voice)
  • Yamada Shunji ... Narrator
  • Kawase Hiroyuki
  • Nakaya Noboru

Production Crew

TV Show DVD cover
  • Producer ... Kumagai Takeshi, Kumagai Kunio, Takahashi Mataichi (Tsuburaya Productions), Tadakuma Chang (Tadakuma Masashi) (TBS)
  • Story ... Komatsu Sakyo, Toyota Hisashi Tamotsu (Toyota Aritsume), Tanaka Akira (Tanaka Koji)
  • Screenplay ... Abe Keiichi, Wakatsuki Bunzo, Shigemitsu Taguti
  • Director ... Okunaka Atsuo (Okunakayama), Katsuki Shunichiro, Fukazawa Kiyo Sumi, Goro Tsutiya Osamu
  • Photographer ... Mori Yoshihiro
  • Lighting ... Hirukawa Daisuke
  • Music ... Tsushima Toshiaki
  • Special Techniques ... Sagawa Kazuo ('Special Effects Director' of only one story and the last episode notation)
  • Art ... Oohashi Toyokazu
  • Editor ... Kobayashi Hiroshi
  • Mixer ... Takebe Hideo
  • Recording ... Nikkatsu Studio
  • Effect ... Effect Nikkatsu
  • Optical ... Shigemiti Hisashi Palace
  • Animation Synthesis ... Koyama Akira
  • Synthesis ... Den Film Effect
  • Feature Concept and Editing ('Time of the Apes') ... William L. Cooper Jr.
  • Creative Consultant ('Time of the Apes') ... Jessie Vogel, Cinemedia Ltd


Saru no Gundan Episode Guide:[2] (Episode titles very loosely translated!)


Yurika and Izumi in the lab

Episode 1 ("Plunged into a world of mystery"): Jirô and Yurika visit the institute where cryogenics is being researched by Jirô's uncle. They witness a monkey being unfrozen. Jirô climbs into one of the cryogenic chambers but a volcanic eruption causes an earthquake which seals him in. As the building is falling apart the lab assistant, Izumi, places Yurika in a cryogenic chamber to protect her, then enters one herself. Falling debris activates the chambers, so the woman and two children are frozen. The earthquake destroys the lab, burying it under tonnes of rock, but the steel capsules survive. Some time passes, eventually the three capsules are dug up and three people are defrosted. They're horrified to find themselves in the hands of apes who walk upright like men, speak and wear clothing. The three humans are tossed in a cell.


Apes in lab coats

Episode 2 ("Escape to the Tengai!"): Using bed sheets and leaves plucked from plants growing outside the cell window the three humans make a snake which they use to trick the guard. Getting his gun and locking him in their cell they escape. They eventually meet an ape child, Pepe, who is friendly and helps them to get away from the other ape villagers who are hostile. The episode ends on a cliffhanger. Yurika is caught in a snare and as Jirô attempts to cut her down someone appears out of the woods to hold a gun on the three escapees.


Village Witchdoctor

Episode 3 ("The dangerous Mountain calls!"): The gun turns out to belong to a human male, Gôdo. The traps were meant for the apes as this lone man has been fighting for his survival. The police apes know about Gôdo and his traps and are reluctant to enter his territory, but Gebâ using his laser-whip forces them to enter. All four humans are eventually captured. Gebâ, in disobedience to his superiors, tries to stir the villagers into killing Gôdo, while Pepe tries to convince them to save Gôdo. Then a village witchdoctor mandrill appears and sides with Gebâ. Gôdo is about to be executed by firing squad when Sabo, higher up the chain of command, arrives to take custody of him. A flying saucer appears overhead.


The humans are taken to Headquarters

Episode 4 ("Pepe and Jirô friendship"): The new ape takes the humans to his headquarters. Gôdo is put into a room surrounded by invisible electric force fields, while the others are locked in a room with food on a table. Pepe has stowed away in the van and is in the building looking for Gôdo. Pepe moving around the air ducts finds the woman and children. Jirô climbs into the ducts with Pepe and they find Gôdo. The single minded Gebâ talks another ape into giving him a pass which allows him into the building and tries to shoot Gôdo, but he is knocked out by Jirô and Pepe. Gôdo, Jirô and Pepe make it out the building, but without Izumi or Yurika. The episode ends with the three fugitives on a train full of apes. The humans do their best to hide their faces, but the conductor is coming and they don't have tickets.


Yurika, Jirô and Izumi

Episode 5 ("Duel! Gôdo vs Gebâ") Gôdo gets further away from the central headquarters. Meanwhile, the others are being interrogated at the headquarters, and realise that someone has been attacked there.

Episode 6 ("Human now evil side?")

Episode 7 ("Songs of Love, Songs of the Apes") The Minister meets with Yurika and Izumi, but Yurika cannot stand the attitude of curiosity and disgust from the apes. Yurika sings the song "There's Love Somewhere".

Episode 8 ("Secret legacy of man") Gôdo is told the way to the base of the human Sanbonmatsu they've been looking for.


Gôdo, Jirô Pepe and the robot

Episode 9 ("My bride will be cute")

Episode 10 ("Tears of a mother monkey") Gôdo witnesses the death of a young ape. His mother, a blind old lady, mistakes Gôdo for her son.

Episode 11 ("The man-made caretaker Robot") Gôdo arrives at the base-station on the coast. They have to communicate with someone to meet Sanbonmatsu. A robot appears.

Episode 12 ("The joy of seeing flying saucers") Besieged by soldiers led by Gebâ, Gôdo escapes thanks to the flying disk. He heads to the army headquarters and frees the two women, finally reuniting all four humans.

Episode 13 ("The chimpanzee group won!") Gôdo decides to trust the Minister. But after trying to dismiss Gebâ, a vehicle carrying the Minister is attacked by young chimpanzees.


Episode 14 ("Land of the Year of the Monkey?") An ape invites the four to her native village, where they enjoy the New Year of the Monkey. Ruza, the Chief Commissioner of Police, reinstates Gebâ.

Episode 15 ("Discovery of a time capsule that a human being buried!") The four are told that there are human relics.

Episode 16 ("The voices of children from the time capsule!") The four find a time capsule, but miss the message when they are attacked. The time capsule described an aging human society with fewer children and declining fertility, leading to the creation of the computer system 'Yukomu'. The process would subsequently lead to the apes being taken as slaves, before overthrowing their masters.


Yurika and a troubador

Episode 17 ("Save the children from the evil ape army!")

Episode 18 ("Why do people become less human?") The four finally find a record left by humans.

Episode 19 ("Who is the guy siding with the monkey?") Guided by the flying disk, Gôdo finally discovers a man.

Episode 20 ("Mysterious radio call!")

Episode 21 ("Message to a beloved monkey")

Episode 22 ("Fight of chimpanzee vs gorilla") Commissioner Ruza begins a coup, following the assassination of many of the gorilla ministers by the chimpanzees.


Gebâ and the Legion

Episode 23 ("The saucer - enemy or ally?") The four learn that the Minister is to be executed and decide to rescue him.

Episode 24 ("Victory is near!") The four explore the whereabouts of Yukomu by following the direction the flying disk flew from. Meanwhile, in the ape city there is a civilian uprising against the chimpanzees, attacking the army headquarters in a gang.

Episode 25 ("Which is greater - human or computer?") Pepe says goodbye, and Gôdo and Gebâ settle their differences.

Episode 26 ("The Return of Happiness") The four people finally meet Yukomu. Yukomu offers a brutal final decision to the four.

Time of the Apes:[3]


Time of the Apes

Schoolchildren Johnny and Caroline (this dubbed version gives them English character names) visit the laboratory of Johnny's uncle Charlie, despite Johnny's parents suggestion that he stay home since there have been so many earthquakes. At the lab, where there are lots of 'important experiments' taking place, they are given a tour by young female lab assistant/chaperone Catherine and get to see the lab's 'cold sleep' (cryogenic) chambers, where they are freezing various creatures for extended periods of time. Dr. Lee says that they have gotten a warning from the seismological institute that there might be some subterranean shifting. Catherine shows a special lab to Johnny and Caroline, where they will be freezing humans. In the middle of the lab there are 3 silver chambers. Johnny sits inside one of the chambers. At that very moment a volcano erupts and the chamber door swings shut, locking Johnny inside. Catherine and Caroline take shelter in the other 2 chambers. A piece of the ceiling falls onto the control panel and hits a lever, the lever swings down and the chambers are activated. The volcano continues to erupt, then the entire building tips over into a huge crevice.


Apes with guns

The next scene then shows the three of them laying on beds in the lab. They wake up and start exploring the seemingly empty building. Johnny steps into a room full of apes, all in lab coats. They have awoken in another time populated by a militaristic ape society, the outward appearance of which is similar to 20th century earth; the apes drive 20th century vehicles and fire M-16s and hunting rifles. It is suggested that they evolved by imitation. Police Chief Gebar arrives to inspect the prisoners. Gebar establishes his authority by pointing at the prisoners with his 'laser whip'. Gebar orders the humans to be taken to some sort of quarry where they are tied to a post for execution. Johnny, Catherine, and Caroline then escape from the apes. Eventually they see a house in the distance. Thinking that they have finally found safe refuge, they run over to the house and go inside. Pepe, an ape-girl, lives in the house along with her mother, but is curious about the humans and befriends them, but the local apes approach the house, waving pitchforks and other tools, intent upon killing the 'naked apes'. Catherine and the others run off into a field. The humans are about to be captured when suddenly the apes halt their pursuit and begin pointing to stone totems standing at the forest's edge. This is a booby-trap laden jungle area Forbidden Zone known as 'Green Mountain', taboo to the apes.


Gebar with the District Leader


Godo's cave on Green Mountain

At police headquarters, the District Leader commands Gebar to find the humans. Gebar commands his ape police to move into Green Mountain and find them. A human in hiding, Godo, helps them escape from the apes. A hermit, Godo knows little about his own background or other humans in the world, but is well-known to the apes as a fearsome warrior. He takes them to his home in the caves of Green Mountain. Gebar and his squad of apes have crossed the barb-wire fence and are setting off booby-traps. Pepe has come to help, she is running through the fields and into Green Mountain in order to make contact with the humans. Meanwhile, a UFO appears overhead. It turns out that Godo is also friends with Pepe. Pepe informs Godo that Gebar has set fire to Green Mountain, apes appear and take the humans prisoner again. Back at the quarry, we see that Godo has been tied to a stake while an ape 'witch doctor' is pounding on bongo drums. Gebar orders the soldiers to present arms. Just as it looks like it's the end for Godo, the Commander and the District Leader arrive in a car and approach Gebar. The District Leader tries to explain to the Commander that Gebar has ordered the execution without approval, and the Commander orders Godo to be released. He orders the humans to be taken to his headquarters in the ape city. The Commander protects the humans and wants to integrate them into ape society.


The Ape City

Godo is bundled down into a cell which is rendered escape-proof by some sort of electrical field that zaps him whenever he gets too close to the door. Meanwhile, Pepe has infiltrated the headquarters. Crawling through the air ducts, he winds up directly over the cell holding Johnny, Catherine, and Caroline. Johnny climbs into the ducts with Pepe in order to find Godo. Pepe and Johnny reach Godo's cell. At that instant, in walks Gebar, intent on executing Godo with or without the Commander's permission. Johnny jumps down from the air duct onto Gebar's shoulders. A fight ensues and Gebar is knocked unconscious.


Ape on motorbike

Ape soldiers

Ape Soldiers

Godo, Johnny and Pepe jump into an unguarded truck, but a squad of soldiers runs out of the building and jump into the truck, driving away with Godo, Johnny and Pepe in the back with the ape soldiers. Godo has managed to put on a soldier's uniform complete with a visored helmet while Pepe is sitting on Johnny's shoulders within another soldier's uniform. Eventually the truck stops and the ape soldiers jump out. Godo, Johnny and Pepe get out of the truck and make their way through town and back to headquarters in order to rescue Catherine and Caroline. Godo and Johnny make their way through the back alleys toward the building where the others are being held prisoner. Somehow, they manage to get inside the building and look for the cell holding Caroline and Catherine. Godo opens the door to the cell and a tearful reunion ensues. As they try to shoot their way out, the UFO appears overhead again. Gebar orders the soldiers to shoot down the UFO but the UFO sends out a red beam of light and somehow jams the apes guns before they can open fire on it. Caroline suggests that the UFO might be signaling them, and the beings in the saucer appear to communicate telepathically with Catherine, who reveals that the saucer belongs to an organization known as EUCOM, a group trying to take over the ape country. They decide to try and contact EUCOM for protection, since EUCOM is soon going to attack the apes. Meanwhile, back at headquarters, there has been in-fighting within the ape community. An one-eyed ape named Luzar has led a rebellion to wrest power from the Commander. The Commander decides to forgive Luzar but agrees to punish the humans in return for getting his authority restored.



After Godo has brought Pepe back home to her mother, Godo and the others drive along a dirt road back to Green Mountain in order to find EUCOM. Catherine notices Gebar's jeep parked off to the side and Gebar suddenly leaps out and explains that he has come alone to deal with Godo once and for all and can now finally avenge the death of his wife and son. The UFO appears overhead once again and jams Gebar's gun. Gebar charges the UFO, which has now landed at the cliff top, demanding to know why they won't allow him to kill the man who murdered his wife and son. Suddenly a panel opens on the UFO showing footage of the events which lead to the death of Gebar's family. As Gebar watches in stunned silence, we see Gebar's wife and son clinging to a vine, hanging over a cliff. Now the screen shows Godo running to the cliff's edge and pulling up Gebar's wife and son but Gebar's wife loses her grasp and falls to her death. At that moment, we see Gebar enter the scene and shoot at Godo, but he misses his mark and accidentally kills his son. Realizing that he is responsible for his son's death, Gebar has a nervous breakdown and begins to babble about how he doesn't deserve to live. The UFO takes off, leaving Gebar weeping on the ground. Then the Commander arrives. Gebar asks for Godo's forgiveness and walks away sobbing, while the Commander warns the humans that EUCOM can be treacherous and that they are better off to stay with the apes, especially since the rebellion is over. Catherine speaks for them all when she declines the Commander's offer of life among the apes that basically translates to 'separate but equal' status. The Commander wishes them well on their journey.


The time indicator

Back on Green Mountain, the UFO shows up and guides them to a back door at the EUCOM underground bunker. Inside, they encounter a malevolent supercomputer created by humans, which then turned against them because of their over-reliance on ape soldiers and slaves. The supercomputer explains how apes came to rule and that they are the last humans, and gives our intrepid time-travelers a chance to travel even further into the future or live life on another planet. Weird lights fill the screen and we hear Catherine say "We must have come into the future!". Soon we see them waking up on hospital beds, back home. Dr. Lee explains that everything is OK now. Catherine asks where Godo is, to which a puzzled Dr. Lee tells Catherine that there were only three of them that came back. Catherine runs to the lab to look into the empty capsule that was to have held Godo. She reaches into the capsule and pulls out Godo's necklace. Catherine expresses disbelief when Dr. Lee tells her that they were buried for only 7 days while the rescue team dug through the rubble to save them. She can't believe that the 6 months that they spent in ape country could have happened in only 7 days. Dr. Lee says that he believes her, the indicator shows 3714 years and the thermometer shows an incredibly low temperature, and that these temperatures could have elongated the time scale. "You reversed into the past". We then see Godo walking alone through a desert. Catherine explains to the kids that they returned to the present while Godo journeyed to another time zone.


  • Japanese names used on this page have been written in the Japanese form, i.e. with the family name first followed by the personal name. Most English-language websites rearrange the names into the 'Western' style.
  • Saru no Gundan was broadcast every Sunday from 19:30 to 20:00 on TBS TV, from 6 October 1974 to 30 March 1975. In the same time-slot, NTV 7 was airing another sci-fi series, 'Space Battleship Yamato', and Fuji Television was broadcasting the popular series 'Heidi'.
  • The "Theme from Saru no Gundan", backed with the featured song "There's Love Somewhere (Yurika's Song)", was released as a single at the time of the series' original broadcast, through the JVC/Victor Music Industry label 'Amon' (# AMON-10). With music for both sides written by Tsushima Toshiaki, the theme tune's lyrics were by Taka Takashi and sung by Shimon Masato. "There's Love Somewhere" had lyrics by Abe Motoharu and was sung by 'Yurika' actress Saito Hiroko on the TV show, and by Fujita Toshiko on the soundtrack album. There may have been a second version of the single, sung instead by Koh Ikeda and Komaki Mari respectively. An LP of the soundtrack music may have followed. The soundtrack received a CD release on 9 September 2006 through Solid Records' 'Ultra-Vybe' label (# CDSOL-1139).
  • The series was accompanied by a similar merchandising campaign as Planet of the Apes was receiving elsewhere, including toys, books and games.

Saru model1 Saru model2 Saru model3 Saru model4 Saru model5 Saru model6 Saru model7 Saru model8 Saru model9 Saru model10


  • Time of the Apes was satirized in 1991 by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), giving it probably its biggest audience to date. The writers seemed to take particular delight in Johnny's offhand remark, when warned to be careful of a possible earthquake: "I don't care!"
  • The Planet of the Apes TV series (all 14 episodes) was broadcast by Fuji Television on Thursdays from 8:00 to 8:55, from 1 May 1975, but also suffered from a lack of popularity. They referred to Roddy McDowall as Roddy Saru ('Saru' means monkey or ape). The Japanese forms of the character names were fairly close, Galen was 'Geiron'; Burke was 'Baku'; Virdon was 'Badon'; Zaius was 'Zeiusu' and Urko was 'Ako' (the Japanese have no 'v' sound in their language, nor anything like 'er' sounds; 'b' is as close as they have to 'v', and a long 'a' sound for the 'er').[4]
  • The militaristic, hawkish chimpanzees were set against the mild, dovish gorillas; a zoological perspective of their species more accurate than that depicted in Planet of the Apes, which reversed those character traits.

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