R1 Pubisher: Voyager
Animation: Academy Productions
Producers: Academy Productions
Original Release: 10/6/1974
US Release: 9/10/1979 (TV), 4/20/2004 (DVD)

What is it?

Space Battleship Yamato is a space-faring adventure set in a distant future, and a far-away galaxy. In the future, an alien race known as the Gamilon is waging war on humanity. Earth is uninhabitable, after what seems like an eternity of bombardment by radioactive asteroid bombs.

All seems lost for the Earthlings. They are outclassed, outnumbered, and out-equipped. Their fortunes begin to change, though, when a message capsule is discovered on wastes of the Red Planet. Inside the capsule is a set of blueprints, and a message. The blueprints are for the wave-motion drive: a special engine that allows faster-than-light speed. The message is an offer from Queen Starsha of the planet Iscandar. Queen Starsha claims that she has a solution to Earth’s radiation problem. The Earthlings would be able to use the device, on the condition that they retrieve it. To prepare for the task, the people of Earth create the Space Battleship Yamato, a spacefaring vessel created from the remains of the World War II vessel. 168 individuals set out in the ship, in hopes that they will be able to make the 148,000 light year journey and return within one year. If they fail, the consequences will be most dire.

Why is it important?

Space Battleship Yamato is recognized as being the first major Space Opera genre of anime. The series was a major driver of the career of Leiji Matsumoto, who quickly became a prominent figure in the anime world for his contributions to Yamato, Galaxy Express 999, and Captain Harlock.

The series was also the first anime broadcast on American TV to feature a large, over-arching plot. The series was released as Star Blazers in the US, and began a syndicated  TV run on September 10, 1979.

Any Interesting Stories?

  • The series was originally conceived in 1973 by Yoshinobu Nishizaki. Before Matsumoto joined production, the series was to be a space-faring version of Lord of the Flies titled Asteroid Ship Icarus. Coincidentally, Sunrise would use a very similar concept to Icarus in its 1999 series, Infinite Ryvius.
  • Iconic hero Captain Harlock was originally supposed to appear in the series’ final arc, as the crew began their journey from Iscandar. The idea never came to fruition in anime form, unfortunately. Instead, Harlock made his anime debut in the 1979 film Arcadia of My Youth.
  • Star Blazers was released in the US primarily as a means to cash in on the Star Wars phenomenon.
  • In the US run, the Yamato was renamed to the Argo, after Jason and the Argonauts, to avoid offending WWII veterans.

Intro (Japan)

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3yG3ZhrRnk’]

Intro (US)

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMcrep48Wz0′]