Star Blazers (1979– )

TV Series   |    |  Animation, Action, Adventure

Episode Guide
Star Blazers (1979) Poster

In the year 2199, a starship must make a dangerous voyage to the distant planet Iscandar and back to save Earth from an alien invasion.

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  • Groovie Goolies (1970)
  • Tom Tweedy in Star Blazers (1979)
  • Star Blazers (1979)
  • Star Blazers (1979)
  • Star Blazers (1979)
  • Star Blazers (1979)

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6 June 2005 | el_nickster
Seminal anime. Classic.
This was the best animated series of its time. Star Blazers was made at a time when American cartoons were trite junk like "The Super Friends" and "The Brady Kids." When Star Blazers hit syndicated TV in America in the early 1980s, it was still categorically more engrossing than any American cartoon, any American science fiction... heck, it was better than 90% of American TV period.

In case you missed the plot summary: hostile Aliens (the Gammalons) attack Earth and defeat all of her military might. The Gammalons then proceed to launch a years-long nuclear attack against Earth which renders the entire surface unfit for life. Cowering in caves, humanity awaits its final extinction...

Until a message is received from the Planet Iscandar, offering aid. Iscander can provide "Cosmo DNA," which can resuscitate the Earth's entire ecosphere. Iscander also provides the blueprints for a powerful interstellar propulsion system: the wave motion drive. Desperate beyond measure, Earth refits one single starship, the Argo, with the wave motion drive, and sends her and her brave crew to cross 100,000 light years of Gammalon territory to reach Iscandar.

Right away, one can see that this cartoon has a much more intelligent plot than any shows intended for kids and adolescents. It is also notable that this series is a serial: each episode is part of a larger, evolving story. It would be decades before any American shows that are not "soap operas" would develop this format (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The plot is also dead serious: the world is ending, and ending in a way that was plausibly frightening to Japanese kids in the wake of Hiroshima and American kids in the wake of Three Mile Island. This didn't so much scare me as a kid, but it made the show totally riveting.

On top of the smart and emotional plot, the series had some other virtues. The "cinematography" was great, with good drawing and well-composed scenes. The lessons of the episodes were more serious and adult than typical kids shows, focusing on duty, loyalty, teamwork, and honor. The episodes themselves got a bit formulaic in the middle of the first season, usually ending in a desperate battle with Gammalon ships which can be won only be use of the wave-motion gun.

Sorry to be so long winded. If you like anime and you like sci-fi, you should watch at least the first season. Its better than a lot of anime than came after, and much more original than most anime. The second season was very good, too, although it was even more serious.

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