What happened to the classic character names?

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  • What happened to the character names? They’re all different to the Star Blazers names I know and love!

    Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is a remake of the original series, aimed primarily at a Japanese audience. Thus the original Japanese names are used.

    It should be noted that in the promotional English dub of the first episode, the Japanese character names were used. Also, 2199 introduces a lot of new characters into the storyline.

    The following list shows characters' names in Star Blazers and their equivalent in the Space Battleship Yamato in parentheses:

      Captain Avatar (Captain Juuzo Okita)
      Derek Wildstar (Susumu Kodai)
      Nova Forrester (Yuki Mori)
      Mark Venture (Daisuke Shima)
      Sandor (Shiro Sanada)
      IQ-9 (Analyzer) (2199: Official name AU-09, calls himself Analyzer)
      Doctor Sane (Doctor Sado)
      Orion (Tokugawa)
      Conroy (Saburo Kato)
      Hardy (Akira Yamamoto) NB: A trick one, since in 2199 Akira is now female
      Homer (Aihara)
      Eager (Ohta)
      Dash (Nanbu)
      The Commander (Commander Todo)
      General Stone (General Serizawa)
      Starsha (Starsha) (yes, the name didn't change this time around either)
      Astra (Sasha)
      Alex Wildstar (Mamoru Kodai)

      Desslock (Desler)
      Krypt (Hyss)
      Lysis (Domel)
      Volgar (Goer)
    Analyzer
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  • I loved what the voice talents did for the characters in the original Starblazers. It just does not feel the same without Orion's Scottish accent, Eager southern draw, Desslock's smooth voice. Even Mark Ventures slight British accent (the voice actor was British) gave the character some charm. Just seeing all Japaneses names and voices for me, takes away from the charm of the show and what made it so great. Sorry if I sound Amerocentric but that's one of the things that made it such a great show.
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    Todd S
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  • The voice talent for Star Blazers produced some memorable work. I remember seeing Battle of the Planets (the dub version of Gatchaman) right around the same time as Star Blazers in original syndication, and despite BOTP using more famous names (Hanna-Barbera longtime staples Casey Kasem, Janet Waldo, and Alan Young, among others), the Star Blazers cast (and storyline) produced a more intriguing show by far.

    The accent of Tom Tweedy, Venture's original voice actor, isn't British--instead, it's a New York accent. Most of the cast (at least, the ones we know about) hailed from or attended school in New York. From what we know, Tom Tweedy grew up in the area and remains there today.

    It's possible that the new series could receive an English dub, though we haven't heard a confirmation of anything other than a two-episode sample dub yet. So the question is, if there is a dub of the new series--do the Star Blazers character names provide a bridge to the old series, or are they necessary at all?
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    Robert Ratliff
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  • Robert Ratliff wrote:The voice talent for Star Blazers produced some memorable work. I remember seeing Battle of the Planets (the dub version of Gatchaman) right around the same time as Star Blazers in original syndication, and despite BOTP using more famous names (Hanna-Barbera longtime staples Casey Kasem, Janet Waldo, and Alan Young, among others), the Star Blazers cast (and storyline) produced a more intriguing show by far.

    The accent of Tom Tweedy, Venture's original voice actor, isn't British--instead, it's a New York accent. Most of the cast (at least, the ones we know about) hailed from or attended school in New York. From what we know, Tom Tweedy grew up in the area and remains there today.

    It's possible that the new series could receive an English dub, though we haven't heard a confirmation of anything other than a two-episode sample dub yet. So the question is, if there is a dub of the new series--do the Star Blazers character names provide a bridge to the old series, or are they necessary at all?


    I'll put aside for the moment my firm believe that rebranding Yamato 2199 as Star Blazers 2199 is a mistake of the first magnitude. :)

    The problem facing the production is the same one that faced Westcape Corp back in '82 when they, without the Claster/Hasbro backing or money, attempted to transliterate Yamato III into the third Star Blazers series. What do you do with all the new characters that don't have established American names? (and that's not even addressing the whole 'Sgt. Masterson' nonsense.)

    When Yamato and Yamato 2 were undergoing Americanizing the writers seemed to take some care, some work in throwing American names on. You have to give them 'Wildstar' because of the whole Star Wars Mania bit (without which we may never have gotten Star Blazers) but everything else seems pretty decent, even real. Mind, I'm not sure how much of a concern 'matching lip flap' entered into creating names, I can't help but think it wasn't too big a deal as to my eyes at least Star Blazers wasn't THAT focused on perfect lip flap synch.

    Note I am biased. I know most of the burdens that were behind the choices made for Star Blazers III, I still find it an overall lesser production. Name choices come across as more comedic, more jokey, dare I say more a throwback to the earlier ways of doing things?

    Yamato 2199 has something like triple the characters of Original Yamato. All of them have 'full' names too that, while maybe not spoken aloud anywhere in the series, should be part of the Americanizing process. The impression I have is that much attention was given to where everybody comes from, and that's a shorthand way to create character background (If a chara comes from Okinawa, I assume that a native Japanese would assume that chara is rougher, tougher person than someone from, say, Kyoto), and I also assume that each chara's name is in some way tied to where they come from. So that's a very large transliteration job, needing to understand all that context.

    The Gamilas are slightly more easy as it looks like 90% of them are variations of officers in the WW II German military and political hierarchy, taking the German, putting it into Katakana, then switching around some of the Kana. Dommel (or Domeru) for Erwin Rommel being the most easy example. The trick HERE is making the names pronounceable! My take has always been to listen to how they say the name and not get hung up on trying 1-on-1 strict replacement of Kana for English. Desular is correct for how it's rendered, Dessler is more like how it's pronounced, Death Ra seems to be how Matsumoto desired it to be. :)

    It's a huge job. It would be best to do it before any actual ADR scripts are written.
    Steve H
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  • Accents are always a tough call. I think we got very lucky with Star Blazers. Tom Tweedy's New York accent is genuine, so it doesn't call attention to itself for the wrong reasons. Orion was voiced by the same actor who did Avatar (Gordon Ramsey), and since they were often in close proximity he had to have an accent - and he happened to do a good brogue. Eager sounded good as a southerner and brought some variation into the bridge crew.

    Some Gamilons seemed vaguely European, a little tough to pin down. Gantz and Bane might be Russian, might be German. It was indistinct enough not to be problematic. So we dodged four bullets there. I think that's as lucky as we're going to get.

    If I were consulted today on doing accents in Star Blazers 2199, I would counsel against it since they almost always sound phony and distracting. MAYBE if you get native-German speakers for the Gamilas roles, I'd go with it. Otherwise, not worth the risk.
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    Tim Eldred
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  • Tim Eldred wrote:Accents are always a tough call. I think we got very lucky with Star Blazers. Tom Tweedy's New York accent is genuine, so it doesn't call attention to itself for the wrong reasons. Orion was voiced by the same actor who did Avatar (Gordon Ramsey), and since they were often in close proximity he had to have an accent - and he happened to do a good brogue. Eager sounded good as a southerner and brought some variation into the bridge crew.

    Some Gamilons seemed vaguely European, a little tough to pin down. Gantz and Bane might be Russian, might be German. It was indistinct enough not to be problematic. So we dodged four bullets there. I think that's as lucky as we're going to get.

    If I were consulted today on doing accents in Star Blazers 2199, I would counsel against it since they almost always sound phony and distracting. MAYBE if you get native-German speakers for the Gamilas roles, I'd go with it. Otherwise, not worth the risk.


    Agreed on accents. My preference would be just find a crew of stage-trained actors with decent voices and be natural.

    I was just pointing out a level of subtext in Yamato 2199 that goes completely past us darn roundeye gaijin, the whole regional thing. :)
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  • My bad on Tom Tweedy, I got my info from a Starblazers comic book form the late 80's. Oh well. Anyway like I said the voice talent from the Starblazers did such a great job with capturing the characters like Eagers "Missiles approaching" and Orion's "Up and down, up and down, do they think I'am a Yo Yo!". C'mon, those are classics!
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    Todd S
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  • Todd S wrote:My bad on Tom Tweedy, I got my info from a Starblazers comic book form the late 80's. Oh well. Anyway like I said the voice talent from the Starblazers did such a great job with capturing the characters like Eagers "Missiles approaching" and Orion's "Up and down, up and down, do they think I'am a Yo Yo!". C'mon, those are classics!


    That comic was written long before the epic discovery of some of the key Star Blazers voices.

    Yes they're classics. I stand second to none in my appreciation of the work the voice actors (and, honestly, the directors and writers) in the original two series of Star Blazers. It all worked because there was some kind of goal, some image everyone was striving for, beyond the expected "It's a job" attitude. SOMEBODY was inspired to make it more than just a throwaway kiddy show.

    It's so regretful that so many people have died, so many opportunities were lost back in the day. Too many people who had access, time and money spent it just listening to Claude Hill and never went beyond him in search for information.

    I'm not saying it's impossible to capture the same kind of 'lightning in a bottle' with an Americanizing of Yamato 2199, but any ADR group doing the work would have to have motivation, a desire to more than just a crank it out dub job. It would require, dare I say, a producer with a Nishizaki-level of obsessive attention to detail and strong will to push a vision.
    Steve H
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