Sunday, 9 December 2012

Star Blazers: The Show that Got Me into Anime

Crew of the Yamato as well as the ship
There were so many great characters in this
For plenty of people that are into anime, there's this or that show that really got them into this type of show. Whether it was One Piece, Naruto, Dragonball, or even something much more obscure. For me that show was Star Blazers, aka Space Battleship Yamato. I remember the show being on somewhere around 6AM in my area in the early 80s, and I'd sprint down the stairs each morning to watch it.

The show was totally different from anything that I had seen before. The only other anime airing at the time was old episodes of Astro Boy every Sunday morning, and I wasn't terribly keen on that show. Meanwhile, all of the Western made cartoons that I was watching had a very different, and as far as I was concerned, boring art style. Star Blazers was totally different. The art was very unique (though later I'd learn that Leiji Matsumoto's style was very unique unto itself), and the series' story followed a massive arch. I wasn't used to such long stories being told. I'd be lucky if the show I was watching at the time was a two parter, but something that went on for 26 episodes was amazing.

There was plenty of action either from the Argo / Yamato going toe-to-toe with enemy ships, especially blasting the Wave Motion Gun, or Wildstar hopping in his fighter plane for some dogfights. The characters were pretty good too. There was the whole relationship between Nova and Wildstar, and Captain Avatar was great as a patriarch in the cast.

Captain Avatar
Captain Avatar is probably my
favorite character, probably even
more than Wildstar.
Also, there were so many themes that Star Blazer visited that I'd never seen in a cartoon before. Seeing Nova and Wildstar's feelings for one another slowly blossom was nice. What really blew me away was when Captain Avatar died after seeing the Earth one last time. It was a really sad scene, and something that I'd never experienced watching all of the usual cartoons I'd come across at that time, so it sort of shocked me that a show would kill off such a big character.

After the series ran its course it was taken off the air, and I was very, very sad because I had to go back to my usual cartoons, all of which paled in comparison to Star Blazers. It wasn't until several years later, when Robotech came along that I'd get the chance to see some more anime. Nonetheless, my interest was peaked, and I knew I had to watch this stuff whenever the opportunity presented itself. In the 90s, I'd watch Dragonball and Sailor Moon whenever it was on, and when I finally got a part time job, I started buying videos of shows that looked interesting.

The Argo firing its Wave Motion Gun.
The Argo / Yamato firing its Wave Motion Gun.
I even started to research more about Leiji Matsumoto and Star Blazers, searching out other similar series. With that, I discovered Captain Harlock, Queen Emeraldas, and Galaxy Express, all of which make up the core of my favorite anime series. Still, I have to look at Star Blazers as the most important of all the anime I've come across, at least to me, because without it who knows if I'd be as interested in the stuff as I am today.

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