In the first episode, Captain Avatar's defiant reply to the Gamilons' demand of surrender - "Idiots!" - is clearly inspired by General McAuliffe's reply to the German surrender ultimatum in World War II: "Nuts!"
Star Blazers is not the first English adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato. It is actually preceded by a little known English adaptation of the 1977 Space Battleship Yamato film. It was titled Space Cruiser and had limited release in the UK and at various film festivals such as Cannes. Unlike Star Blazers, Space Cruiser keeps the original Japanese name of the ship as Yamato throughout the entire film.
During the Bolar Wars series, Derek Wildstar and Gamilon Leader Desslok recall a past battle against the Comet Empire. The flashback scene is actually footage from Yamato: The New Voyage, where the enemy was the Dark Nebula Empire. This change was made because the average American viewer of Star Blazers would not have been familiar at that time with the events from the Yamato films which had yet to be imported and translated. However, it did suggest that there were remnants of the Comet Empire, an idea that was expanded on in the 1987 Comic adaptation.