|April 30, 2001|
Star Blazers is an American animated television series adaptation of the Japanese anime series, Space Battleship Yamato I (1974), II (1978), and III (1980). Star Blazers was first broadcast in the United States in 1979. Significantly, it was the first popular English-translated anime that had an overarching plot and storyline that required the episodes to be shown in order. It dealt with somewhat more mature themes than other productions aimed at the same target audience at the time. As a result, it paved the way for future arc-based, plot-driven anime translations.
Star Blazers was a Toonami Reactor exclusive, never appearing on the actual Toonami block. The series premiered on Toonami Reactor 1.0 on April 30, 2001 and then appeared again on Toonami Reactor 2.0.
Star Blazers consists of three television seasons. Each is an English-language adaption of its Japanese Space Battleship Yamato counterpart. The Japanese version, however, entails more than just these three TV seasons, and part of this missing portion of the series occurs between Seasons Two and Three.
In the first season, Earth is attacked by Gamilon, a distant planet. The radiation from Gamilon's planet bombs forces everyone on Earth underground. With no way to remove the radiation, all life on Earth will be wiped out in one year. The Earth then receives unexpected help from Queen Starsha of the planet Iscandar, who offers a device called "Cosmo DNA" which will remove the radiation. However, since Iscandar is 148,000 light years away, Starsha also sends plans for the experimental Wave Motion Engine that, when constructed, will aid whoever can travel to Iscandar. On Earth, a crew is recruited, headed by Captain Avatar, and an old sunken battleship (the Yamato) is transformed into a spaceship (the Argo), outfitted with the Wave Motion Engine, and sent to Iscandar.
The second season is set one year after the Argo returns to Earth with the Cosmo DNA and Earth's ecosystem is restored. It now faces a new, dangerous enemy, the Comet Empire, led by Prince Zordar. Unlike Gamilon, which was seeking to capture Earth to colonize it, Zordar simply wants to conquer Earth and add it to his Empire. Desslok, the Gamilon leader, also joins forces with Zordar, mainly because he wants revenge on the Argo for having destroyed Gamilon. The series revolves around the Argo, now commanded by Deputy Captain Derek Wildstar, working with the Earth Defense Force to face Zordar.
In the third season, the Argo is caught in the middle of a war between the Galmans (the re-formed Gamilon Empire) and the Bolar Federation. A stray missile fired during the war causes the sun's themonuclear reactions to go out of control. Unless it can be stopped, the sun will destroy the Earth in one year and the entire solar system in three. Derek Wildstar, now officially in command of the Argo, is charged to help find a new home for Earth's population.
Season I & IIEdit
Captain Abraham Avatar — The stern captain of the Yamato (Japanese name Juzo Okita), utterly devoted to his mission to save Earth from the Gamilus threat, even at the cost of his own life. He is in fact dying, and becomes increasingly ill during the course of the first season, but remains convinced that he will live to see his home world again. He regards Derek Wildstar almost as a replacement for the son he lost in battle, and sorely regrets his son's death in battle at Pluto, along with the apparent death of Wildstar's older brother, Alex. Even when his illness leaves him bedridden, he remains a source of advice to the crew, and to Wildstar in particular.
Derek Wildstar — A young orphan (Japanese name Susumu Kodai), it was the death of his parents during a Gamilus planet bomb attack on the Miura Peninsula that drove him to follow in his older brother Alex's footsteps and join the Earth Defence Force. He is initially hot-headed and prone to bursts of anger, and at first blames Captain Avatar for the death of his brother in battle. However, he matures during the first season thanks to his responsibility as the Yamato 's battle chief, and ultimately Avatar nominates him acting captain when he is unable to continue. Though apparently never formally promoted to captain, Wildstar continues commanding the Yamato and it's crew for most of the rest of the franchise. He is also a talented pilot, flying his own Cosmo Zero fighter as the leader of the Black Tigers, and in the second season frequently joining the Cosmo Tigers in battle.
Alex Wildstar — The older Wildstar brother (Japanese name Mamoru Kodai) and captain of Missile Ship 17, the Paladin, Mamoru sacrifices his life in the first episode to enable Avatar's stricken flagship to escape the battlefield, insisting he could not face the souls of his dead comrades if he fled. In fact, it emerged his ship had crash-landed—in one piece—on Titan, and he had been captured alive by the Gamilus, but the ship in which he was a prisoner was stricken and crashed on Iscandar, where Queen Starsha healed him. He fell in love with his rescuer and decided to stay on Iscandar, fathering a daughter named Sasha.
Nova Forrester — Initially Dr. Sane's nurse, Nova (Japanese name Yuki Mori) gained the additional responsibilities aboard the Yamato of operating the radar, performing computer calculations, taking care of the crew's morale and searching planets for food sources. She is from the outset attracted to Derek, but conceals her true feelings with girlish glee. As the only significant female crewmember, she is also frequently the victim of fan service with IQ-9 being the usual perpetrator (these incidents were edited out of Star Blazers). Her English surname is a play on her Japanese family name, Mori (which means "forest" in Japanese).
Mark Venture — A quieter and more level-headed complement to his best friend Derek Wildstar, Venture (Japanese name Daisuke Shima) becomes chief navigator and helmsman of the Yamato. He suffers from a lack of self-confidence in his ability to control the mighty vessel, despite skillfully saving it on many occasions. Mark and Derek have frequent arguments in the first season, some of which escalated into physical brawls, but the end results only made their friendship stronger. In the second season, he falls in love with Trelaina of Telezart by interstellar radio, and is heartbroken when she elects to remain on her world in the face of the Comet Empire, though he vows to carry on the fight in her name.
Jordy Venture — Mark's pre-pubescent younger brother (Japanese name Jiro Shima) who remains on Earth during the series. He remains confident in the ability of the Yamato to save the world, particularly with his older brother at the helm, and even in the face of public doubt.
Stephen Sandor — The science officer aboard the Yamato, Stephen (Japanese name Shiro Sanada) is earnest and dedicated, his ideas frequently saving the ship from destruction. His limbs are bionic, the result of a childhood accident which claimed the life of his sister (her death in a flashback scene was edited out of Star Blazers) and left him bitterly resentful of science's arrogance. He was a classmate of Alex Wildstar, and blames himself for not having repaired the Paladin properly before it went into battle. When Derek Wildstar becomes acting captain, Stephen is frequently a source of advice. Stephen is the elder spokesperson for the crew after the deaths of Captain Avatar and Chief Orion.
Dr. Sane — Dr. Sane (Dr. Sado in Japanese) is frequently a source of comic relief, usually through pratfalls resulting from his love of Japanese wine (sake). Though originally a vet (albeit an unsuccessful one), he becomes the ship's surgeon. He is good humored and always willing to give advice, but he can become deadly earnest when chiding others' behavior. His drinking habits were significantly toned down for Star Blazers, his sake given as spring water or soy milk.
Mimi — Dr. Sane's pet cat, apparently the closest thing he has to family. Left behind on Earth during the first season, she is brought aboard the Yamato in the second season. Mimi (Mi-kun in Japanese) is female.
IQ-9 — A squat, human-sized robot who originally worked in the EDF's hospital, IQ-9 (Japanese name Analyzer) joins the Yamato crew on his own request, believing it to be the only place he can truly prove himself. He is capable of extending his arms, separating into independently moving pieces, lifting and throwing enemy tanks, withstanding forcefields and sensing various forms of energy. Something of a wisecracker, he frequently forms a double-act with Dr. Sane. He is also capable of becoming intoxicated, narrowly avoiding disaster on one occasion (though in Star Blazers he states that he has programmed himself to emulate human hiccups).
Chief Orion — The middle-aged, balding chief engineer aboard the Yamato (Japanese name Tokugawa) and an old comrade of Captain Avatar. He left behind a grandchild on Earth of whom he is extremely fond. Determined to remain at his post no matter what happens, he suffocates in the last episode of the second season as the engine room fills with fumes, his death was not shown in Star Blazers.
Travis Sparks — Orion's portly assistant engineer (named Yabu in Japanese).. He believes the Yamato is doomed to fail in its mission to save Earth, and thus decides that humanity should make a new home on Iscandar; to this end he and nine other mutineers kidnap Nova (their "Eve") and hide on a crystal island. However, a tsunami and volcanic eruption destroy the island and kill the mutineers, though Nova is rescued. His death and the deaths of the other mutineers is not shown in Star Blazers, but indicated from later dialogue.
Homer Glitchman — Chief communications officer (known alternatively n the Japanese version as Yoshikazu Aihara and Giichi Aihara, written with the same Japanese characters), Homer becomes homesick for his native Kitakami, Iwate during the journey to Iscandar after discovering his father on Earth was dying; in his madness he steals a spacesuit and attempts to float home before being rescued by his comrades. In series III he becomes enamored of Wendy Singleton, the EDF commander's granddaughter.
Dash — The bespectacled sub-chief of the Yamato's defenses, operating the gun turrets in Wildstar's absence.
Christopher Eager — The portly, freckled radar operator (Japanese name Kenjiro Ohta), frequently heard identifying missile attacks on the Yamato.
Peter 'Pete' Conroy — The leader of the Black Tiger fighter squadron (second in authority to Derek Wildstar), Pete is a gifted though level-headed pilot, often putting his life on the line for his comrades. In the second season he is leader of the first squadron of the Cosmo Tigers, piloting a later model of fighter craft and stationed on the Moon; he and his men volunteer to join the Yamato under Wildstar's command. The Conroy who appears in series three is actually his younger brother, as the elder Conroy is killed in action in series two (his death is edited out of Star Blazers, so the brothers are assumed in the American version to be the same character, as they look virtually identical). The elder Conroy (series I/II) is named Saburo Kato in Japanese, the younger (series III) is Shiro Kato; in the Japanese version they share the same voice actor (Akira Kamiya).
Jefferson Davis Hardy — One of the Black Tiger pilots, recognisable by the shock of hair covering his eyes, Jefferson (Japanese name Akira Yamamoto) has only one appearance in the first season, in which his fighter is shot down just before the Yamato undergoes a major warp speed test. Almost left behind, he is waved into the hangar by Wildstar, and is injured in a crash-landing. He has a more significant presence in the second season, as commander of the Cosmo Tigers' second squadron.
Earth Commander Charles Singleton — The mustached leader of the Earth Defense Force, who in the first season sends the Yamato on it's voyage to Iscandar to save the world, and reports to it via long-distance communication. In the second season, he attempts to stop Wildstar and the other crewmen from stealing the Yamato, but becomes convinced by their faith that he must let them go, as they are "Avatar's children".
Mel "Slops" Mulligan — Chief Cook of the Yamato Galley. He tells Captain Avatar to get out of the kitchen in episode 10.
Frederick Lance — One of the Yamato's Commandos, he accompanies Wildstar on the mission to destroy the Reflection Satellite Gun on Pluto. He is electrocuted when he steps into an electrified corridor. His death was covered up in Star Blazers, and his survival is further implied by an off-hand reference to "Lance" in a subsequent episode.
Harold Kato — Another commando on the mission to destroy the Reflection Satellite Gun on Pluto, he is shot by guards protecting the gun. His death was edited out of Star Blazers.
Merrill Ryder — A member of the Navigation Group, he is seen on the 2nd Bridge during the coffee break in episode 15.
Captain Draco Gideon — A famous captain whose battle tactics are legendary, and is given command of the new super-battleship Andromeda. Wildstar comes to his attention when the Yamato refuses to give way to the larger ship; initially dismissing the acting captain as an upstart, he is charged with preventing Wildstar from stealing the Yamato, but the younger man's confidence inspires him to let him leave. Gideon later leads the EDF's battle against the Comet Empire's fleet, and it is only his inspired thinking that defeats them.
General Stone — Staff officer at EDF HQ under the command of Earth Commander Charles Singleton. He is enraged by the Yamato crew's insubordination and uses every tool at his disposal to stop the Yamato from leaving Earth for Telezart. This includes using magnetic missiles and the Battle Satellite.
Sergeant Webb Knox — The commander of the Space Cavalry's 1st Armored Division stationed on Planet 11, rescued by the Yamato after a fierce Comet Empire attack. Uncouth and belligerent, he and his men refuse to respect the crew of their new home and frequently get into fights, frustrated at their reduced role as "passengers". However, on the surface of planet Telezart, inside Desler's flagship and within the Comet Empire's own space station, Knox and his men prove their worth in ground combat. Knox is the last surviving member of the team, and detonates explosives in the Comet Empire's power centre and he escaped.
Neville Q. Royster — An extremely nerdy (and comically drawn) scientist cadet, addressed by all but Wildstar—including his superior officer—as newbie. Despite his clumsiness, he proves his worth as a scientist and engineer, and in one episode comes up with an idea to use the wave motion gun as propulsion to save the ship that even Sandor did not think of.
Jason Jetter — A new recruit (Japanese name Ryusuke Domon) assigned to the Kitchen. Originally resentful of his position, he quickly learns to accept it. A focal character in Season 3, he often becomes involved in missions outside of his kitchen duty.
Takeshi "Flash" Michael Contrail — A new member of the Cosmo Tigers (Japanese name Takeshi Ageha). His father did not support his decision to become a pilot, but allowed him to remain with the Yamato at his wife's insistence.
Alan Hardy — A veteran member of the Kitchen crew, he serves as a mentor to new recruit Jason.
Namio Sakamaki — Yamato 1st Cannon Gunner; very short.
Goro "Buster" Block — A very tall, hulking member of the Navigation group.
Heiji "Beaver" Bando — A new recruit assigned to the Science group.
Ace "Toughy" Diamond — Works in Engine Room. Former space trucker.
Ben "String" Bean — A 1st Cannon gunner. He is a friend of fellow gunner Sakamaki.
Tsutomu "Whizzer" Makunouchi — A husky, bespectacled member of the Kitchen crew.
Wendy Singleton — Granddaughter of Earth Commander Charles Singleton's and works as his secretary (Japanese name Akiko Todo). Has a mutual attraction with Homer Glitchman.
Star Blazers is a 77 episode English-language adaption of the Japanese anime series, Space Battleship Yamato. However, the Japanese series consists of more than just these three seasons. The English adaptation was originally broadcast in syndication across the United States from September 17, 1979 to December 4, 1984.
The series was released on DVD in 2002 by Voyager Entertainment, who titled the three seasons: "The Quest for Iscandar," "The Comet Empire" and "The Bolar Wars". Each season is contained on six discs. The discs are available individually or as collections, in three separate boxed sets of six discs each. The entire series has also been made available for download through Amazon Instant Video, while only season 1 is available through the iTunes store.