Star Blazers is the English adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato (宇宙戦艦ヤマト Uchū Senkan Yamato) and its two sequel series. Star Blazers was first broadcast in the United States on syndication in 1979.
Significantly, it was the first popular English-translated anime that had an overarching plot and storyline (story arc) 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.
Space Battleship Yamato was initially identified as a potential "kids property" by the Westchester Corporation, who bought the rights for the first two series. Dubbing and editing were done by Griffin-Bacal Advertising and production and syndication was handled by Claster Television.
The dub was comprised of mainly newcoming actors (including future Transformers and G.I. Joe voice actor Chris Latta) based in New York, and was recorded at Filmsounds, Inc. with voice direction done by Tom Griffin and Ellen S. Leinoff. Due to its non-union status, none of the voice actors were given any credit. Many of the voice actors were discovered later, starting when Amy Howard Wilson (voice of Nova) discovered the devoted online community in the late 90’s. Most of the voices are still unknown or unconfirmed.
Marketed to a school-age audience, Space Battleship Yamato was bowdlerized in editing in order to satisfy the broadcast standards and practices offices of American television stations. The main changes included westernization of character names, reduction of personal violence, toning down of offensive language and alcohol use, removal of sexual fan service and reduction to references to World War II. The Japanese language elements such as series title and scene captions were replaced or removed and new opening rolls were created featuring the Star Blazers logo.
Even so, the edits performed to the show were far fewer than other anime at the time, such as Battle of the Planets (the original English adaptation of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman). Even in its edited American form, Star Blazers retains practically all of its uniquely Japanese characteristics in terms of content, plot, character development, and philosophy. Many regard ‘’Star Blazers’’ as more “adult” than other cartoons shown in America at the time, as personal tragedy, funeral scenes for fallen comrades, and the extinction faced by humanity were left intact.
The show first premiered in the San Francisco Bay area on September 17, 1979 as part of the weekday show Captain Cosmic on KTVU 2. ‘’Star Blazers’’ initial broadcasts received high ratings, and subsequent rebroadcasts contributed to build the anime fandom in northern California. The first two seasons (known by the titles ”The Quest for Iscandar” and ”The Comet Empire”) were broadcast between 1979 and 1980.
There was a long delay between the dubbing of the first two seasons and the third season (which had yet to be completed at the time of Winchester’s acquisition of the first two). In 1984, Westchester Films was interested in licensing the third series, however Hasbro now had a direct market and was no longer interested in Star Blazers. Westchester turned to Speed Racer voice actor and dubbing veteran Peter Fernandez about adapting the third series.
None of the original cast could be contacted about reprising their roles due to the non-union status of the first two seasons meaning there was no documentation kept about them. Because of this, Fernandez had little choice but to draw from his own talent pool, consisting of a limited cast of Peter Fernandez himself, Corinne Orr, John Bellucci, Jack Grimes, Earl Hammond and possibly a few other voices. Fernandez often humbly told fans (as well as Nova’s previous voice, Amy Howard Wilson) “don’t hate me!” upon meeting them at conventions because of the cast change.
From a production standpoint, Star Blazers was essentially a repeat of Speed Racer, with Fernandez responsible for localizing the scripts, casting, voice directing and voice acting. Season 3’s production was extremely rushed and cheaply done, only being picked up in limited markets, now competing with other anime imports such as Robotech. Most fans only saw the third season when it was released on VHS in the 80’s.
|Image||Character||Original Name||Seiyū||Dub Voice|
|Captain Avatar||Captain Jūzō Okita||Gorō Naya||Gordon Ramsey|
|Derek Wildstar||Susumu Kodai||Kei Tomiyama||Kenneth Meseroll||John Bellucci|
|Nova Forrester||Yuki Mori||Yōko Asagami||Amy Howard Wilson||Corinne Orr|
|Mark Venture||Daisuke Shima||Shūsei Nakamura||Tom Tweedy||Peter Fernandez|
|Stephen Sandor||Shiro Sanada||Takeshi Aono|
|Homer Glitchman||Giichi Aihara||Shinji Nomura||Michael Bertolini|
|Christopher Eager||Kenjiro Ōta||Yoshito Yasuhara|
|Dash Jordan||Yasuo Nanbu||Kazuo Hayashi||Eddie Allen|
|Chief Patrick Orion||Hikozaemon|
|Ichirō Nagai||Gordon Ramsey|
|Pete Conroy||Saburo Kato||Akira Kamiya|
|Akira Yamamoto||Kazuyuki Sogabe|
|Dr. Sane||Dr. Sakezo Sado||Ichirō Nagai||Frank Pita|
|Sergeant Webb Knox||Commander|
|Isao Sasaki||Chris Latta|
|General Stone||Kotetsu Serizawa||Mahito Tsujimura||Michael Bertolini|
|Alex Wildstar||Mamoru Kodai||Taichirō Hirokawa|
|Queen Starsha||Michiko Hirai||Lydia Leeds|
|Leader Desslok||Lord Dessler||Masatō Ibu||Eddie Allen|
|General Krypt||General Hiss||Keisuke Yamashita|
|General Talan||Kōji Yada|
|General Lysis||General Domel||Osamu Kobayashi|
|Volgar||Göru||Osamu Saka||Mike Czechopoulos|
|Colonel Ganz||Commander Ganz||Kenichi Ogata|
|Major Bane||Commander Shultz||Takeshi Obayashi|
|Prince Zordar||Emperor Zwordar||Osamu Kobayashi|
|Princess Invidia||Lady Sabera||Noriko Ohara||Morgan Lofting|
|General Dyre||Goenitz||Ichirō Murakoshi||Chris Latta|
|General Gorse||Razela||Kazuyuki Sogabe||Frank Pita|
|General Bleak||Admiral Valsey||Chikao Ōtsuka|
|General Torbuck||Admiral Goland||Shōzō Iizuka|
|General Scorch||General Zurvival||Kōsei Tomita|
|Trelaina||Teresa||Mari Okamoto||Lydia Leeds|
|Jason Jetter||Ryusuke Domon||Hideyuki Tanaka||Lionel G. Wilson|
|Michael “Flash” Contrail||Takeshi Ageha||Toshio Furukawa|
|Admiral Keeling||Nerunn Keyring||Yoshito Miyamura|
|Admiral Smeerdom||Geidel||Hidekatsu Shibata|
|Admiral Smellen||Dahl Histenberger||Mikio Terashima|
|Admiral Gustaf||Gustav||Eiji Kanie||Jack Grimes|
|Luchner von Feral||Wolf Frakken||Tamio Ōki|
|Gol Heinig||Shingo Kanemoto|
|Major Cranshaw||Frauski||Shojiro Kihara|
|Queen Mariposa||Princess Luda||Keiko Han||Corinne Orr|
Additional Voices (Unknown Roles)
- Star Blazers was not the first time Yamato had been adapted into English. In 1977 the film adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato (or Space Cruiser Yamato as it was known at the time) was dubbed into English and retitled Space Cruiser. The American release was extremely limited, and eventually ended up airing on television in the Los Angeles area in 1978. Similar to the Star Blazers dub, most of the voice actors are unknown.
- Peter Fernandez was originally contacted during the original production of Star Blazers in the 70s. He passed due to him being unable to work with his own talent stable and not having much say over production.
- Morgan Lofting as Princess Invidia is unconfirmed, though the role sounds similar to Lofting's most infamous voice, Baroness in G.I. Joe, which also featured Chris Latta. This was not a coincidence; Star Blazers, G.I. Joe, and Transformers were all produced by Claster Television, a division of Hasbro.
|Kidmark, Inc.||1988-1990||The Complete Series||NTSC||United States|
|Voyager Entertainment||1993||The Complete Series|
|2000-2003||The Complete Series||1|
- Space Cruiser Yamato (film)
- Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato
- Space Battleship Yamato 2199
- Space Pirate Captain Harlock
- Galaxy Express 999