It’s a sad day for vintage anime fans, as it was announced that Amy Howard Wilson, voice actress of Nova from the breakout hit Star Blazers, has passed away at the age of 65 in Petersburg, Va. Originally from Detroit, she moved to New Jersey in 1966 and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where she learned voice acting. Amy took the role voicing Nova in the Star Blazers anime.
In 1979, Claster Television — who would go on to make big bucks with Transformers — identified Leiji Matsumoto’s Space Battleship Yamato as a potential for their children’s television lineup. The show was a hit from the start, receiving high ratings and winning many fans. The first two seasons were dubbed, and brought more drama and delightful storytelling to the genre of animation than anything we’d ever seen in our lives. (There are more details on Space Battleship Yamato and its two excellent recent remakes in this post.)
Star Blazers was a life-changing event for me, no less than Star Wars, and is definitely responsible for me being where I am today. The huge drama of the story — humans must make a journey of 148,000 light-years and back within a single year or everyone on Earth will die of radiation sickness — positively blew my mind, and the fact that you had to watch the episodes in order or you wouldn’t be able to follow the story was unheard of in animation at the time. I remember when my TV broke, and I was unable to follow the Iscandar saga for a week, so I went to watch it on the TVs at JC Penny’s.
Star Blazers was special because, while some edits were made to meet America’s broadcasting standards of the day, they were very few and far between. The name of the Yamato was changed to the Argo (though it’s named properly in the first episode), some fanservice scenes were removed, and the obvious bottle of sake Dr. Sane is always carrying around is referred to as “Captain Avatar’s spring water.” All the core story elements were left intact.
Amy Howard Wilson was a great voice actress, and a wonderful person at fan events, always happy to go to anime conventions and sit on panels. Here’s an interview with her from 2011.
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) March 13, 2021
We’re sorry to say goodbye to Amy Howard Wilson, who voiced my first 2D waifu. Thanks for all the great memories, Amy!
Spring is almost here, and that means an excuse to enjoy delicious new snacks from Japan. The new J-List Box snack boxes are ready for you to order and will start shipping out around the middle of the month. Order your snack box now, or read a blog post on all the good stuff that’s inside this month!