Friday, November 2, 2012

Daytime Heroes: Star Blazers (1977)

Following the success of translating Japan's Science Ninja Team Gatchaman into Battle of the Planets, another anime series found its way to the US, becoming a major sensation.

Space Battleship Yamato (or, Space Cruiser Yamato) first premiered in Japan in 1977, and made its way into American syndication 2 years later under the title, Star Blazers. Claster Entertainment, better known at the time for Romper Room, handled distribution here, and ultimately became a player in the animation market after linking with Marvel Productions and Sunbow in the 80's.

Star Blazers was, for all intents & purposes, an anime serial, with a continuing story that ran for an entire season, and there were three in all. The series has been adapted into comics on a few previous occasions, most notably here in the US through the now-defunct Comico in the mid-80's, long after the series had ended. No local station in my market took a chance on the show, but thanks to cable, viewers would get their fix, thanks to WSBK in Boston, which aired the show weekday mornings. I can recall my brother & I watching before going off to school.

Oggmonster uploaded the season 1 open, which in turn was picked up from Retro Junk's website.....

During season 3, which wasn't quite as well received in the US as the first two, anime veterans Jack Grimes, Peter Fernandez, & Corinne Orr, who had all starred on Speed Racer back in the 60's, joined the cast. Sadly, I don't recall seeing too many, if any at all, episodes from the final season, but I believe all three seasons are available on DVD.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I remember watching this on WNEW Channel 5 in NY!

It was one of the first anime shows I watched (after Battle of the Planets) and the first to carry a steady storyline which also had a conclusion . I think they only ran the first season of it in my area, as I don't remember any news eps airing once the original storyline was finished. They just rewound the show to the beginning.

hobbyfan said...

Oh, that's right. Channel 5 did have Star Blazers along with WSBK. As memory serves, they did have season 2, but I'm not sure about season 3.

SaturdayMorningFan said...

They never ran season 3 in Boston, just the first 2. I read somewhere that the third season was not picked up in many areas because they thought that the change in voice cast would put people off and it wouldn't get the ratings the first 2 seasons did, and they were probably right. I know it put me off; I tried watching it decades ago on video tape, and I couldn't make it past the third episode. It's not that the cast was bad, it was just that having different voices coming out of all the familiar characters was unsettling to me.
All 3 seasons are indeed available on DVD, but they are a bit pricey at over $100 per season. They're worth it though if you're a fan of the series and can afford it even though they don't seem to be cleaned up much (if at all). At one point they had dropped to very reasonable prices, but now they seem to be back up to where they were when they first came out on DVD.

hobbyfan said...

That's pretty pricey for a cartoon. I've seen those prices for full series sets of shows like, for example, It Takes a Thief, but not for a popular cartoon like Star Blazers.

Thanks for your help.