Space Battleship Yamato (better known to American audiences as Star Blazers) started out as an anime series in Japan in 1974. The anime series was conceived by Yoshinobu Nishizaki and directed by Leiji Matsumoto. The original 26 episodes were condensed down to a 90-minute movie that was successful in theaters. This led to the production of a second film, Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato, which had been intended to end the franchise. However, after it became clear that the franchise was popular, a second season of television episodes was produced. While it took some elements from the second film, the 26 episodes for the second season drastically changed the tone of the story that was told in the second film.
Next came the television movie, Yamato: The New Voyage, and a theatrical film, Be Forever Yamato. A third season of Japanese television episodes was produced in 1980, which contained 25 episodes. The saga for Space Battleship Yamato ended in Japan in 1983 with the release of the theatrical film, Final Yamato.
In 1979, Westchester Corporation bought the rights to the first two seasons of Space Battleship Yamato to be dubbed and edited for the American audience. These became known as the "Quest for Iscandar" and "The Comet Empire" episodes, respectively. These two seasons were originally aired on American television in 1979 and 1980.
By the time the third Japanese season was released, the American voice actors had moved on; and, since they were non-union, they were not able to be located by the American production company. So this meant that new voice actors had to be brought in to provide voices for such well-known characters as Derek Wildstar, Mark Venture, and Nova. The third season (known as "The Bolar Wars") aired to a small test market, and was not widely seen until it was released on video and DVD.
In the mid-1990s, Yoshinobu Nishizaki attempted to create a sequel to Yamato. Yamato 2520 was supposed to follow the adventures of the 18th starship to bear the Yamato name. Between bankruptcy of his company and legal disputes with Matsumoto over who owned the rights to Yamato, this sequel never came to be. In March of 2002, it was ruled that Nishizaki legally owns the Yamato copyrights. After a settlement, Nishizaki was finally able to work on Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection, which was released to Japanese theaters on December 12, 2009.
In 2012, Space Battleship Yamato 2199 began airing in Japan. This series is a remake of the original 1974 series, with Hideaki Anno designing the news series' opening sequence.
Space Battleship Yamato / Star Blazers is a very important part of anime history. This helped to define the anime of the later 1970s and early 1980s. If not for the successes of Yamato and Gatchaman in the United States, it's very likely that shows such as Voltron and Robotech wouldn't have been given the chances that they were in the mid-1980s.
|Space Battleship Yamato||26||1974-1975||Leiji Matsumoto/Noburo Ishiguro||Academy Productions||N/A|
|Space Battleship Yamato: The Movie||N/A||1977||Leiji Matsumoto/Noburo Ishiguro||Academy Productions||Voyager Entertainment|
|Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato: In the Name of Love||N/A||1978||Leiji Matsumoto/Toshio Masuda||Academy Productions||Voyager Entertainment|
|Space Battleship Yamato II||26||1978-1979||Leiji Matsumoto/Takeshi Shirato||Academy Productions||N/A|
|Yamato: The New Voyage||N/A||1979||Leiji Matsumoto||Academy Productions||Voyager Entertainment|
|Star Blazers||77||1979-1984||?||Claster Television/Sunwagon Productions||Voyager Entertainment|
|Be Forever Yamato||N/A||1980||Leiji Matsumoto/Toshio Masuda||Academy Productions||Voyager Entertainment|
|Space Battleship Yamato III||25||1980-1981||Leiji Matsumoto/Noboru Ishiguro||Academy Productions||N/A|
|Final Yamato||N/A||1983||Tomoharu Katsumata||Academy Productions||Voyager Entertainment|
|Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection||N/A||2009||Yoshinobu Nishizaki||Enagio||FUNimation Entertainment|
|Space Battleship Yamato 2199||N/A||2012-ongoing||Yutaka Izubuchi/Akihiro Enomoto||Xebec/AIC||N/A|