Space Battleship Yamato
Space Battleship Yamato
The first season began airing in Japan on October 6, 1974. Set in the year 2199, an alien race known as the "Gamilas" ("Gamilons" in the English Star Blazers dub) unleash radioactive meteorite bombs on Earth, rendering the planet's surface uninhabitable. Humanity has retreated into deep underground cities, but the radioactivity is slowly affecting them as well, with mankind's extinction estimated in one year. Earth's space fleet is hopelessly outclassed by the Gamilas and all seems lost until a message capsule from a mysterious crashed spaceship is retrieved on Mars. The capsule yields blueprints for a faster-than-light engine and an offering of help from Queen Starsha of the planet Iscandar in the Large Magellanic Cloud. She says that her planet has a device, the Cosmo-Cleaner D (Cosmo DNA), which can cleanse Earth of its radiation damage.
The inhabitants of Earth secretly build a massive spaceship inside the ruins of the Japanese battleship Yamato, the Space BattleshipYamato for which the story is titled. Using Starsha's blueprints, they equip the new ship with a space warp drive, called the "wave motion engine", and a new, incredibly powerful weapon at the bow called the "Wave Motion Gun".
In the English Star Blazers dub, the ship is noted as being the historical Yamato, but is then renamed the Argo (after the ship of Jason and the Argonauts). A crew of 114 departs for Iscandar in the Yamato to retrieve the radiation-removing device and return to Earth within the one-year deadline. Along the way, they discover the motives of their blue-skinned adversaries: the planet Gamilas, sister planet to Iscandar, is dying; and its leader, Lord Desslar ("Desslok" in the Star Blazers dub), is trying to irradiate Earth enough for his people to move there, at the expense of the "barbarians" he considers humanity to be.
The first season contained 26 episodes, following the Yamato's voyage out of the Milky Way Galaxy and back again. A continuing story, it features the declining health of Yamato's Captain Okita (Avatar in the Star Blazers dub), and the transformation of the brash young orphan Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar) into a mature officer, as well as his budding romance with female crewmember Yuki Mori (Nova). The foreign edits tend to play up the individual characters, while the Japanese original is often more focused on the ship itself. In a speech at the 1995 Anime Expo, series episode director Noboru Ishiguro said low ratings and high production expenses forced producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki to trim down the episode count from the original 39 episodes to only 26. The 13 episodes would have introduced Captain Harlock as a new series character.
Then in 1980 things got a bit more fuzzy as the anime got well Americanized!
n 1978, before the debut of the American Star Blazers series, the Japanese 1977 Space Battleship Yamato movie (or Space Cruiser Yamato as it was known at the time) was dubbed into English and re-titled Space Cruiser. The movie poster illustration for this little-known release contained several inaccuracies such as the Wave Motion Gun shaft acting as a launch tube for starfighters.
Following this, Westchester Corporation identified the Space Battleship Yamato series as a potential "kids' property" (Starlog, June 1980), and bought the rights to the first two seasons (which at that time were the only two seasons). Dubbing and editing were done by Griffin-Bacal Advertising and production and syndication by Claster Television. The Japanese elements such as series title and scene captions were replaced or edited out. New opening credit rolls were created featuring the "Star Blazers" logo.
Being marketed to a school-age audience, this animated space opera was bowdlerized by the American editors in order to satisfy thebroadcast standards and practices offices of American TV stations. However, far fewer edits were made than with another 1970s anime,Battle of the Planets (an edited version 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.
Principal changes in Star Blazers included westernization of character names, reduction of personal violence, toning down of offensive language and alcohol use (references to sake were changed to "spring water," and the ship's Doctor's perpetually drunken state was put forth as merely good humor), removal of sexual fan service, and reduction of references to World War II, although the sunken battleship ruins were still identified as the Battleship Yamato in dialogue. The most significant reference removed—and the longest single edit in the series—was a section from episode 2 depicting the Battleship Yamato's final battle during World War II, including imagery of the captain tied to the helm as he went down with his ship. (This section can be viewed as a bonus on the Voyager Entertainment Series 1 Part II English-language DVD release.)
Many fans nonetheless regard Star Blazers as more "adult" than other cartoons shown in the U.S. at the time, as personal tragedy, funeral scenes for fallen comrades, and the extinction faced by humanity were left intact. The very Japanese theme of "the honorable enemy" was also a tremendously important aspect of character development in the major villain of the first series, Desslok, during the second and third seasons as well as in the later movies.
The most significant change made by Griffin-Bacal was purely narrative: In the original series the Yamato and its crew were regarded as a single entity, the narrator each week urging "Yamato, hurry to Iscandar!" In English, the significance of the name Yamato as a word the viewers can identify with, signifying the land, people, and spirit of Japan is lost, so in Star Blazers the crew were named the Star Force and became the focus of the show. The ship is still the historical Yamato and is once referred to as such, but is renamed the Argo (after the shipArgo of Jason and the Argonauts) once rebuilt, and becomes merely the vessel in which they traveled.
The first two seasons (whose DVD releases are titled "The Quest for Iscandar" and "The Comet Empire") were broadcast in 1979 and 1980. By the time the third season of Yamato was released, however, the original voice actors had moved on and, being non-union, were uncontactable by the American production company. The third season (released as "The Bolar Wars") played to a small test market at the time and was not as widely seen until its release on video and DVD, and remains less popular than the first two seasons. Many of the original English voice actors have since been tracked down and interviewed for the Star Blazers DVD releases.
I'm very excited about this & well its interesting to say the least! I can't wait there's more information about the original Japanese series Here