The Music of Star Blazers

Some may be surprised to learn that despite being an imported program, Star Blazers has some unique music of its own, all of which can be heard in the space of a few seconds, but is interesting to examine nonetheless.

First and foremost is the one aspect of the show that outshines everything else: the songs. Story details, character names, the basics of the plot, those can (and do) slip out of memory over time. More than one person who watched the show in their youth now remember the Argo as a submarine, just to give one example. But start singing those opening lyrics, “We’re off to outer space…” and the song comes flooding back. The lion’s share of the credit goes, of course, to composer Hiroshi Miyagawa, but someone had to make the English lyrics memorable, and that person’s name is Ginny Reddington.

Naturally, her music career was much bigger than writing the lyrics to Star Blazers would imply. She was best known as a writer/composer of music for advertising. Her husband, rock musician/producer Thomas Dawes, was in this game as well—his biggest claim to fame being the “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz” jingle for Alka-Seltzer. Together, they created the “Coke is it” campaign and a critically-acclaimed Broadway musical called Talk of the Town in 2004. Dawes died in 2007, and Ms. Reddington’s status is currently unknown (but we certainly hopes she contacts us if she happens to be reading these words).

Few suspected Star Blazers had a creative link to Coke and Alka-Seltzer, but everything in the universe is connected somehow.

Series 1 opening lyrics

We’re off to outer space
We’re leaving Mother Earth
To save the human race
Our Star Blazers

Searching for a distant star
Heading off to Iscandar
Leaving all we love behind
Who knows what danger we’ll find?

We must be strong and brave
Our home we’ve got to save
If we don’t in just one year
Mother Earth will disappear

Fighting with the Gamilons
We won’t stop until we’ve won
Then we’ll return and when we arrive
The Earth will survive
With our Star Blazers

Series 2 opening lyrics

We’re off to outer space
We’re leaving mother Earth
To save the human race
Our Star Blazers

A cry for help, a desperate plight
Makes our Star Force reunite
As we rush and heed our fate
The Comet Empire awaits

We must be strong and brave
To stop its evil ways
If Zordar’s plot should work
He’ll destroy the universe

We’ll fight the Comet Empire
Battle through the raging fire
Filled with the hope that Earth will survive
We’ll keep peace alive with
Our Star Blazers

Series 1 & 2 closing lyrics

We’re off in outer space
Protecting Mother Earth
To save the human race
Our Star Blazers

Danger lurking everywhere
But we know we’ve got to dare
Evil men with evil schemes
They can’t destroy all our dreams

We must be strong and brave
Our home we’ve got to save
We must make the fighting cease
So Mother Earth will be at peace

Through all the fire and the smoke
We will never give up hope
If we can win the Earth will survive
We’ll keep peace alive
With our Star Blazers

This was actually the second time the original theme had been rewritten with English lyrics. Check out the first version here.

There are exactly two episodes of Star Blazers that contain wholly original music NOT created in Japan. The first is episode 10 of series 1, the hyper-emotional “Goodbye to Earth” episode. Anyone who thinks they haven’t heard the original Japanese closing theme, The Scarlet Scarf, actually has; as the most heart-rending of all Yamato songs, it pops up repeatedly in this show. One interesting moment is when Wildstar is alone on the bridge, whistling it to himself prior to being interrupted by IQ-9. The whistling is directly from the original Japanese soundtrack, the singular case where a Japanese voice is left in the show.

Though that isn’t an example of original Star Blazers music, this next one is. A little while later, Wildstar is hanging out in the galley watching the activity. On the other side of the room, Captain Avatar is pestering the chef, Mel “Slops” Mulligan, who complains that he can’t get any work done with all the interruptions.

Avatar turns to leave and notices Wildstar loitering in the doorway. Wildstar explains that he’s just “checking” on things, and Avatar comments “That makes two of us” before he walks away. Listen carefully right after that line: the atonal music bridge to the next scene is NOT a Miyagawa score; it inexplicably replaces one from the original soundtrack.

There is another interesting musical anomaly near the end of this episode as the camera pulls out from the bridge tower while Avatar & Wildstar shout, “We will return!” In the original version, we hear Isao Sasaki sing The Scarlet Scarf, which is an absolutely perfect fit. In Star Blazers, the music is heard karaoke-style without the vocal track. In its place is a “hummed” version by the same men’s chorus that performed the opening and closing songs. They conclude with the lyrics “We will return again…we will return” sung to the Scarlet Scarf chorus melody.

Now we jump forward to Series 2 episode 15, which includes the party scene on the Comet Empire. Princess Invidia taunts poor General Talan about Desslok’s imprisonment, and Prince Zordar announces that after the conquest of Earth, they’ll all really have something to celebrate. Meanwhile, stiff-limbed wenches groove to a funky techno-beat that would probably be classified today as House Music.

As it turns out, the techno-beat is entirely American-made. The original soundtrack had a thin, unidentifiable background score that was so buried in echo that it can barely be heard. Someone on the US production staff obviously believed this needed a boost, and their decision lent an interesting new texture to the otherwise bland lifestyle of the Comet Empire City.

This was one of just three examples of source music in the series. Another was the aboriginal jungle-beat of the Bee People music in Series 1. This has never appeared on any Yamato album, giving rise to the suspicion that it was sampled from an outside source under different copyright. The third example definitely was, a folk tune called Northern Nocturne heard in Homer’s visit to snowy Okinawa in the holography room.

There is one more oddity to be found in the Star Blazers soundtrack, and even today it still takes longtime fans by surprise. It is the sound of the Wave-Motion Gun, which is different in Star Blazers than it was in Yamato.

The original can be heard here (starts at 1:55)…

…and the Star Blazers version is here (starts at 7:00).

An extra layer, almost certainly a human voice, has been added to the sound to give it someone must have thought would be a little more punch. Whether or not they guessed correctly is a matter of personal opinion, but it’s just one of many things that gives Star Blazers its own personality.

This last story is a bit of a tangent, but one that provides another American twist to Yamato music. On May 19, 2008, the Space Battleship Yamato theme got its very first known live performance on American soil when it was played by the band at Port Angeles High School in Washington.
The sheet music was procured by superfans Ed Hawkins and Don Gaiser. Don attended the performance in person and recorded it for all time. Click here to see what will hopefully be remembered as the first stop on Yamato‘s US concert tour.

Visit Nova Shipyards by Don Gaiser here.
Visit Ed Hawkins’ Yamato site here.

The End

13 thoughts on “The Music of Star Blazers

  1. Please help! I’ve purchased the original Yamato soundtrack for Season 0, and Season 2, but as you pointed out. THEY’RE DIFFERENT!!! The songs I really want the most are the ones you mentioned.
    The music during the Saturn Battle is soooo good! Some funk in the orchestra. 😐

    Where can I get a high quality release of that!?

    • The music you’re looking for comes from the “disco” album. You can find information about it in the Farewell to Yamato discography. ( The latest edition of it (found at the bottom of that page) is in the Sound Almanac CD series. Unfortunately, it’s one of the few “starblazers sound almanac” titles you can’t get on iTunes.

  2. Just a day or so I had “added” extra lyrics to “We Will Return”.

    I wish I had worked on Star Blazers.


    Beyond the shores that we know,
    our journey takes us far away,
    but have no fear, for we will return,
    yes we’ll return one day.
    Let our hearts take flight with thoughts
    of home to see us through.
    Rest assured that we will come back,
    yes, we’ll come back to you.
    Let our hearts sing of that day
    when we see our home once more,
    with that dream to guide us through
    letting our hearts soar.
    No matter how long,
    no matter how far,
    we will return again,

  3. Hi, did Kitaro (Japanese New Age composer) ever contribute to Star Blazers music? My 15-year-old self recalls my older brother pointing out Kitaro in the credits. I cant seem to locate any credit.

    • No, Kitaro never composed or performed for Yamato. The only anime soundtrack he did (that I’m aware of) was for the Queen Millennia movie, a Leiji Matsumoto production.

  4. I remember hearing another piece of music in Star Blazers not heard in Yamato. It was during Season 2, while the Earth Commander was discussing with Captain Gideon on what to do about the Comet Empire approaching Earth. He asked if they can beat them and Gideon said if he had a number (can’t remember the exact number) of ships like the Andromeda, he could. It remember most of the music was a repeating bass rift.

    Here is the real kicker. I only remember hearing it on the Kidmark VHS tapes. I had both the 2 episode per tape and the later boxed sets. They even differed as the 2 episode versions had the longer narration when Wildstar and Venture see the wreck of the Yamato. That one said something about a legend will rise again. The boxed set version just said, “What is the secret?” or something to that effect.

    Anyway, I love all of the resources you have compiled and all of the hard work you have put into the site. I am looking forward to when you publish the Yamato 2202 discography.

  5. I did some searching. The episode I was referring to is Episode 10 of Season 2 where they use the Asteroid Defense again. The scene is occurs at about 7:15 to 8:30. Gideon asked for 5 more ships like the Andromeda in 100 days. None of the versions I have seen online has the music. I wish I still had my VHS tape.

  6. So did the the US version of Star Blazers ever get a soundtrack release?
    Is there anyway of getting the two theme songs from series 1 and 2, than going to Youtube?
    The ones on youtube that I have been able to find are either from dvds which don’t sound like a very “clean recording”.
    One other one on youtube has the music sounding very bright but has the Japanese lyrics being sung underneath the english sung lyrics. This one I am guessing is a fan made up version or though I could be wrong?
    Just seems funny how they went to all the effort of getting english lyrics written and recording the song but not have some sort of release.

    • You have identified one of the gaping holes in the world of Yamato music. No commercial recordings anywhere of the Star Blazers themes.

      • Thanks for the reply.
        Although that has left me flat! Such a pity that this wasn’t released.
        Does anyone know who the male singers were who sang on the english versions?
        There has to be somewhere a master recording, gathering dust…

  7. I may be just poor at searching, but is there a phonetic version of the Japanese lyrics for season 2 and the final credits/bolar wars lyrics? I found the first season, but not the other two.

    • If you mean the opening title lyrics, they were the same in all three TV series in Japan. Only the end title songs changed. I haven’t done any phonetic work on the end titles.

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