~Find out stuff here about the rare 8th Man Videos~

It is the mission of this website to provide current factual information on the 8th Man series and we have been contacted with numerous inquiries as to the question if America's English-dubbed 8th Man is in the public domain at this time.

Since this page gets a good amount of traffic we will publish our latest findings here. We do not endorse or not endorse any of the product(s) mentioned on the page, we merely educate and inform the public.
The question of public domain is easily answered and no mystery when the facts are plainly presented.
The products (VHS tapes) available or that were available provide the answer by their very nature and once you understand WHAT English-dubbed 8th Man is. Once these facts are understood they are irrefutable, nuff said!

1) English-dubbed 8th Man is a mixed-media property w/ new materials added to the Japanese property, w/ no copyright established for the new materials including the intro, its music & lyric content, or any new soundtracks or dialogue additions. Thus, the new materials are public domain.

2) The English-dubbed 8th Man series as a whole is not under copyright, however different companies who release a video or compliations of certain episodes can be under U.S. copyright. This type of "copyright" gives the creator protection over his version of the work ONLY...anyone else with the public domain source materials can do the same thing! Need Proof? Go look in the Wal-Mart DVD bargin bin...this is why you see 5 different companies making DVDs of Andy Griffith and the Beverly Hillbillies with the very same episodes - it's no-brainer you see!

3) Definitely, No American-made 8th Man product to date has an endorsement from the Tokyo Broadcast System (TBS) who holds exclusive Worldwide rights to 8 Man. It should be obvious that the omission of such an endorsement proves the American-made products are unlicensed.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, "Wow, I shoulda figgered this out myself!" 8thman.com hopes this information will be of assistance to those who need it...(plus we won't get so many emails about the subject) ^___^
Refer to The U.S. Copyright Office Database of the U.S. Library of Congress:
Hint: Compare a search of "Gigantor" to 8th Man

8th Man DVD Videos are available!

Or...Just looking for 8th Man & Dont feel like reading?

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8th Man is not broadcast on TV anymore, anywhere and most likely never will be again.
Why? For various reasons, among them -- it is Black & White, too violent, his energy boosters look like ciggies...you could probably come up with some others.
So, unless you happen to have 16mm films or Japanese Laserdiscs or DVDs (and understand Japanese) you will be getting your 8th Man "fix" from VHS videotape...(until someone produces it on CeeDee)
How many folks have the 1960's TV 8th Man on videotape on your block, in your town, or city? Not too many, I would wager. Its up to the fans and collectors to keep 8th Man alive because no big corporation is going to...its b/w and 8th Man smokes (appears to), not good in today's market. Disney wont even release one of its finest Technicolor films "Song of the South" because of racial misgivings. What chance does our English-dubbed 8th Man have then? Like I said, its all up to us, 8th Man fans of the world!

Listen to the 8th Man Theme by Hal Seegar Productions.

8th Man videotapes fall into two catagories:

1) Commercially produced videotapes
Since the old ones are out of print, you obtain them from yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets or online auctions.

2) Collector produced videotapes
You obtain these from where ever you can find them...comics/animation conventions, other collectors.

These episodes are more uncommon, yet a very rewarding experience. I have not said much about them previously, but there is much to say about them. And I will now say it here because I think people in general have many misconceptions concerning the collector-produced material. So, lets clear the air about this. Just the facts.

You may choose to only seek the commercially packaged product, but then you would be limiting your collection to about 21 episodes when over 40 are available. The Non-Commercial episodes were produced just like the others: by someone with a telecine projector that converts film to video. In my opinion, and I have experience in transfering film-to-video -- there is nothing remarkable or outstanding about the quality of the "commercially produced" 8th Man videotapes with the pretty packaging. And from all the information we can gather they were not even licensed by the Japanese (TBS), apparently the different outfits that made them just assumed 8th Man to be public domain (which is true of the New Materials anyway) so they churned out some videotapes and got some distribution.

I have some of the original 8th Man VHS tapes that I have never opened just for the sake of collecting them. But, I derive much more enjoyment out of watching the episodes, dont you? =^____^=

There are very good quality collector's "lost episodes" that are available to anyone who wants more than the "21".

Plus, there are key episodes and in my opinion, some of the very best 8th Man adventures ever concieved that you must obtain from collectors if you desire to fully understand the complexities of the 8th Man series. For instance the tragedy and futility of the relationship between Tobor and Jenny is nowhere so poignant and painful than the revelations found in "Intercrime's Invincible Robot". A different side of the infamous Dr. Spectra is seen through in a crisis concerning his brother, Lebo in "The Monster Bird".
I have spoken with many collectors who remembered a certain episode from childhood, like "Samantha 007" and were enthralled to finally get to see it again! I have been privileged to assist many such people in this way.
Also, though each 8th Man episode stands well on its own, there is some continuity and plot threads that continue throughout more than one episode (like the story of Dr. Katheryn Rational which travels through "The Light That Burned" & "Countdown To Zero" to "The Menace From Outer Space". You do not see these reoccurring characters and plots in the 21 episodes of "commercial" tapes.

So you see, there is much to be said for obtaining the "Collector Produced" videos!

So...What are these "commericial" videotapes like?

Our Knowledgeable Evaluation & Critique

When you understand more about how videos are produced from film, you can better appreciate the effort it takes to produce them and also accept their shortcomings: No video is going to look better than the original film print it was made from. And VHS is a magnetic-tape format that is not only prone to damage from "hungry" playback equipment -- but it is not impervious to the ravages of Time. VHS tape can decay and go bad just sitting around. When the control-track (unfortunately located on the vulnerable-edge of the tape) is damaged or deteriorates the tape cannot lock sync and its toast! So, VHS is simply a video standard who's days are numbered. Video Rarities and the others of course, are VHS -- enjoy...while you can!

Well, that was depressing -- but lets talk about how you dredge an old property out of obscurity and market it...sound like fun? Let's Go!

Video Rarities tapes were not the first 8th Man tapes released, just the biggest batch under one name. It is important to note there are different... incarnations shall we say of "Video Rarities" VHS tapes. The first volume of Video Rarities was released in 1990 and the last (#4) in 1994. This first production run was distributed and sold mostly in video rental stores, "dollar stores" and the like. It is unknown how many were produced.

Then, sometime after 1994 a well-known distributor of anime products offered the same Video Rarities tapes but these were not sold in public places, you had to order them direct.

What's the diff?
Without viewing the tapes you will have a hard time telling the difference: the cases, and artwork look the same for the most part. The difference is that the originals have a title page at the very end with contact info for the original company in Carlsbad, Calif. the second run omits this title page. After examining both types of VR tapes we thought that the video quality is better in the original production run. Plus, to compound the confusion because it is so simple to do so, many "look-alikes" exist made from both production runs, these will obviously be of a lesser quality. Notice we preclude using the term "bootleg" since technically every English-dubbed 8th Man tape produced meets that criteria no matter where it came from! Who was it that got the idea and put forth the effort to produce and release the 8th Man TV series (or part of it) on VHS videotape?
It was a film-collector! A film-collector is a person with an insatisable desire to accumulate motion-picture films -- I could elaborate on this for hours, but not here!
I would even venture to say that this film colector probably saw one or more of the eariler released videos in his local video store or somewhere and said to himself -- "Hey, I got some of those 8th Man films laying aound, why dont I do the same thing"!!
So, the outfit in Carlsbad, CA (all the original first-run Video Rarities tapes have this name and address at the end) who produced the Video Rarities tapes had the 8th Man 16mm broadcast prints -- You should also get a copyright lawyer to make sure the music, etc wasnt under another copyright. Plus, you have to make a "substanial change" to the work - i.e. the slight modification of having the VR logo added. This is about the same procedure that other companies like Goodtimes Video have done.

This type of "copyright" gives the creator protection over his version of the work ONLY...anyone else with the public domain source materials can do the same thing. Need Proof? Go look in the Wal-Mart DVD bargin bin...this is why you see 5 different companies making DVDs of Andy Griffith and the Beverly Hillbillies with the very same episodes...the episodes went public domain and each company has its own version which is protected.

Quality = Full-Color packaging is really a myth, the formula for great video from film is:
1) Film prints of outstanding quality.
2) The proper equipment and expertise to operate it.
3) Recording to high quality media for masters (videotapes)
4) Maintaining the a/v signal quality through the dubbing process to final product.

In comparing the 8th Man videos that were on the commercial market to "un-official" ones which collectors produced I see very little difference. Your advantage of purchasing a original Carlsbad, CA Video Rarities is you will get a fairly low generational dub, and transfers are pretty good.
When you buy collector produced videos unless you find the earlier sources the quality won't be quite as good. Some of the source films for both versions are very good though and some not as good. All the episodes I have seen are very nice except for one called "Misguided Machines" which has poor audio. So, please don’t assume that unless it is in a pretty box that had free popcorn in it that its crummy junk! And watch out for counterfeits, because the Video Rarities tapes are known to have been counterfeited and probably still are.
Although packaged in generic clear-sleeve clamshell boxes with a inexpensive insert, Video Rarities had the gumption to record the episodes at the professional SP speed affording buyers with better quality images than the “cheapo EP” tapes often seen in this genre.

Of course the video recording can never be better than the original film elements are (unless you spend bookoo bucks for digital reconstuction) and we know that 8th Man is not going to generate enough sales to spend a quarter-million in post-production.
That being said, the films that VR used were on the average pretty good, as good as anyone could expect after 20 yrs. Personally, I wasnt that impressed with the actual transfering of the films, it could have been better in my opinion. I dont have any idea the equipment used or any other details. It does not take a lot of expensive gear to make black and white transfers off 16mm prints. You can do it very cheaply.

Because the telecine process can be quite tricky in producing videotape masters from 16mm film prints, the outcome can vary greatly. And this also depends on the condition of the prints used - I see notable lack of contrast in some VR episodes and an "overexposure effect" when going from dark frames to light ones; an improperly set iris-control (or no iris regulation at all) on the pickup camera or too high-wattage projector bulb could cause this, among other things...but the effect is not that distracting and I would recommened these video dubs to anyone that wanted decent tapes of 8th Man.
Twenty of the 52 English-dubbed episodes were released on Video Rarities, “The Greatest Adventures of 8th Man” four tape series.

Again, everyone should be very careful when purchasing this product now because the originals are rare to find and of the ease of duplicating the originals, you could be purchasing "look-alike" dubs of the Video Rarities tapes – all they would need was a scanner to copy the insert, black clamshell cases, etc…

Really minor details:
Video Rarities Insert-artwork looks really, really great because it was penned by the "master" himself, Jiro Kuwata!
Yes, these images were "lifted" from the original Japanese mangas (Vol. V inside splash page and last page of the manga I believe) -- these illustrations were from the saga of the "Super-Human Mutant" which has to do with three kids who have superhuman powers or inventions. I dont read Japanese but they seem to be from another planet or dimension and this is made known at the end.
Anyhow, if you are really into details, the thing in Dr. Spectra's hand that looks like a weird top or ball can vibrate so quickly it becomes invisible -- it also destroys everything it touches when in that state, so 8th Man has good reason to be running in the opposite direction!

I have noticed some differences in the printed inserts of the VR tapes -- the earliest copies have no UPC bar-code printed on them and later the bar-code was added. Also, I have seen different colored ink used in printing the inserts for the same Vol #! For instance, I have two Volume II's -- one with a black-ink and one with a red-ink insert!
So, maybe this here revelation could be the start of a new angle in collecting VR tapes -- find all the older ones and collect all 5 Colors!! hoo boy.

Other 8th Man Tapes -- These are the oldest ones!

Only 1 other different episode was released on videotape, “Goldshrinker and the Numbers Gang” on New Age Video's "Kiddie Popcorn Klassics" label recorded at EP; and also on TransAtlanic/DEC...thats the one that came with the Popcorn! Buy it if you can as it is a better transfer recorded at the profesional SP tape speed. These are the only known sources of this neat early (#6) episode, which is the first time we see Skip Pepper, but he was also in some of the eariler eps, ones that no one has in English!
There was also a single episode tape of “The Armored Man” released in 1988 on the "Star Classics" label which is probably the first commerical video release of 8th Man. Look for it also on the Video Rarities Vol. 4 tape.

Is This Great Artwork or What? I'm Impressed! Where's my wallet???

So, the Commericial videos and the Collector produced videotapes are both very cool to collect and to watch! Basically somewhere, someone has 16mm film prints that were transferred to video and dubbed and circulated among collectors or sold in conventions. Some collectors of animation have websites like this one where dubs of these 8th Man episodes can be found. Maybe YOU are interested in finding them!

Find for over forty (40) Great 8th Man episodes & More!
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