I’m at the end of my tether trying to identify an animated series, aimed at children (but containing mature themes/scenes), broadcast in the UK in the mid to late 1980s.

I have vivid memories of large scale space battles, featuring predominantly capital-type ships, visually distinct opposing factions - distinguished by their clothing/uniforms, and a climactic episode prominently featuring a ship or space station, shaped like a sculpted head - similar to the Easter Island standing heads.

That episode also features a black hole, or other singularity, that causes massive destruction on that ship/station, with one of the main supporting characters being crushed to death by building rubble.

From memory, the animation style seems very Japanese.

I do not believe the series is either of the two listed below, but please correct me, if I’m mistaken:

  • Il était une fois… l'Espace (Once Upon a Time... Space)
  • Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu (Legend of the Galactic Heroes)

I really hope somebody can help identify the show I’m describing - I’ve been looking on and off for years!

  • 3
    Based on your time scale and the fact that there was not much sf on UK TV in the 80's you might well be looking for either Ulysses 31 or Battle of The Planets. If you remember which channel you watched it on that would help. Starblazers could also be an option...
    – skyjack
    Jan 27, 2023 at 23:57
  • 1
    Here are some more titles... see if any ring a bell... Galaxy Rangers, Thundercats, Defenders of the Earth... the easter island spaceship sounds like something Mobuis would have drawn and he did spaceship designs for Ulysses 31 can't say if any details you describe match though... here's a link to an episode of that show on Youtube. see if it jogs any memories... youtube.com/watch?v=diH8TXZKfuQ
    – skyjack
    Jan 28, 2023 at 0:03
  • @skyjack, I don't know if that's strictly accurate, the 1980s in the UK had a lot of science fiction shows because of the popularity of Star wars. Some of the best known franchises were showing, from the original battlestar Galactica to Odyssey 31. Arguably there was more children's sf in the UK in the 1980s than the 1990s as a percentage of overall television. Jan 28, 2023 at 12:59
  • @skyjack - Definitely not Ulysses 31; I remember that series quite clearly and it is a lot different from the description.
    – occipita
    Jan 28, 2023 at 14:54
  • The sculpted head bit reminds me of, it was either Starcom or The New Adventures of He-Man, think it was the base of the bad guys Jan 28, 2023 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


Have you looked at Robotech? It's not a complete match, but there are enough similarities to be worth considering.

It's adapted from several different Japanese anime, fitting the art style you recall, and was broadcast in the UK in the mid-80s - this on satellite channels at the time, although there were also some video releases.

There are battles at different scales; a lot of the focus is on the Veritech fighters that transform between jet and 'robot' forms, but fleet battles between capital ships are also a part of it. As the combat is between humans and aliens (the Zentraedi in the first series) they are visually distinct, both by uniform and general appearance (although humanoid).

The space fold used to jump away from Earth had an appearance similar to a singularity effect, leaving a vacuum behind and appearing quite destructive:

There are also scenes where the human ship, the SDF1, transforms which are quite destructive, including debris falling on people and being asphyxiated; at this point none are lead characters:

Nothing I can find that looks that close to the Easter Island heads, but there are some vague similarities with the Veritech fighters and the transformed SDF1 - potentially close enough for old memories to consider a match.

Some of the prominent characters do die later in the series (e.g. here), although not quite in the way you describe.

  • Based on the OP's description, I would almost certainly Robotech. I'd say more likely the movies than the series. Jan 28, 2023 at 13:01
  • 1
    I did wonder about the movie versions, but the question referred to a series.
    – Michael
    Feb 24 at 10:43

Is it Star Blazers?

Japanese series, is Space Battleship Yamato in Japan, with a HUGE cult following. I absolutely love it.

The theme is the only march I really love listening to


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