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In the year 2104, Carlo Morelli's international crime organization Black Orchid is building a network of weapons and bases as strong as any government's. Nations band together to create an answer to the new threat: Storm Force. Sam Scott is the leader of Storm Force 9, a team tasked specifically with "Operation Firestorm," to unmask Black Orchid's motives. Scott is a clean-cut U.S. military hero, leading an international crew. African-American Wesley Grant, sarcastic blond Brit James Brady, green-haired Australian explosives expert Laura Hope, and feisty Japanese pilot ace Nagisa Kisaragi are based with Scott on the mighty submarine base Ocean Storm (a distant cousin of Captain Scarlet's Cloudbase), commanded by the stern but heroic Drew McAllister. The team learns that Black Orchid is more dangerous than anyone ever imagined-they are in league with the Zolion, aliens who use advanced technology to mimic any living being. The fight is not just against crime, but for the survival of humanity, since a 5,000-vessel invasion fleet is just weeks away from Earth. Hence a multi-arc story structure that begins as a simple tale of fighting crime, before escalating into an operation to prevent the distribution of alien technology, and a seven-episode climax as the cast oppose the Zolion fleet.

Firestorm tries to cover too many conventional bases, and its best elements are underplayed-the evil masterminds aren't quite evil enough, the heroes are just too gung-ho and not undercut with irony. British creator Gerry Anderson enjoys immense popularity in Japan; shows such as his Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, and UFO were heavy influences on the generations that made both Ultraman and Evangelion, and he was an uncredited catalyst for the show that would become Mospeada. Firestorm, however, is a failure engendered by lack of communication between its coproducers-something of a sore point, considering Anderson's treatment a generation earlier on Thunderbirds 2086. Anderson and his Space Precinct collaborator John Needham came up with the storyline, but the series was put together in Tokyo by people who seemed to value Anderson's name on their logo more than his actual contribution. Tellingly, a show originally billed as Gerry Anderson's Firestorm appeared after a delay of many months, as just plain Firestorm, while production details were removed at Anderson's own request from a contemporary chronicle of his work. Also absent, even during production, were the names of the British designers who had actually worked on the concept-compare to similar shenanigans on Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned. Although acknowledged in the U.K., machine designer Steven Begg was nowhere to be seen on the promotional materials published in the Japanese Newtype, a fact of which Anderson and his U.K. cohorts may not have been aware. Similar obstruction hid the contribution of Steve Kyte, whose character concepts were specifically commissioned to look as realistic as possible in order to meet the parameters of the original production plans to use 3DCG. In fact, the only CG animation to be found in the final version is on the machines after budgetary issues led other aspects to be more cheaply rendered as conventional 2D animation, although many of Kyte's designs for uniforms, equipment, and logos, as well as the chilling alien mask transformation sequence he storyboarded, are unchanged in the finished series. V

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Original US Poster Art

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Name Firestorm
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Start Year 2003
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Aliases Gerry Anderson's Firestorm
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