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Star Blazers

Star Blazers - The Quest for Iscandar is the English title for the Japanese aminated series, 宇宙戦艦ヤマト (literally Space Battleship Yamato[?]). Created as a movie by Leiji Matsumoto in 1976 for adult audiences, the program was later dubbed into English and viewed as a children's cartoon) in the early 1980s.

In themes seen in many anime, an alien race, the Gamilon, are raining radioactive bombs on Earth, rendering the Earth's surface uninhabitable due to the fallout and threatening to kill humanity, now living in refuges built deep underground. When all seems lost, a mysterious message is received by Earth's military forces, revealing plans for a faster-than-light engine[?] and that a race located in the Large Magellanic Cloud has a device which can repair the radiation damage.

Secretly, the ruin of the Japanese battleship Yamato (though referred to as the Argo in the English dub) is converted into a massive spaceship, complete with a new, incredibly powerful weapon called the "wave motion gun". An intrepid crew leaves in the Yamato to go to the Magellenic Cloud and retrieve the mysterious device, if it exists. Along the way, the crew are involved in many adventures.

Like much anime of its time, the World War Two themes and explicit violence was regarded as too explicit for Western children, and so the English dub was toned down in these respects. Nevertheless, the epic story (with echoes of many of the themes of both Star Wars and Star Trek) and high quality of the voice dub (though as the dubbing was done by non-union actors, their identities were obscured for years later) earned it many fans who remember it fondly to this day. It is a particular touchstone amongst twenty-something IT professionals.

Two more series were created after the first proved to be so successful. Originally intended to be a movie to cap off the series, Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato was later expanded into a series of its own, The Comet Empire. A third series, The Bolar Wars, was also shown on US TV. In the original Japanese versions, these three series were shown as a series of five 90 minute movies, originally for theatres, and later for TV.

Extrernal links:

Star Blazers (http://www.the-nest.com/yamato/)

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