Star Blazers entered the US market in the mid to late 1970s when Japan was still a defeated country best known for producing cheap tin toys, transistor radios and little cars that people pointed and laughed at. Things have changed a lot since then, but the idea of using an Imperial Japanese Naval ship that was destroyed in the closing parts of World War II as a space ship still seems pretty obtuse.
If one can suspend their disbelief, however, the show works well on a lot of levels. Both children and adults can watch it and everyone can appreciate the idea of brave people ignoring staggering odds to undertake a desperate journey in the hopes of saving their homeland - not a little unlike the final journey of the real Yamato.
I will say that the English version loses some of its drama because the producers felt that some of the events were not appropriate for kids. Most obvious is how the English version glosses over the way that Sergeant Knox sacrifices himself to buy time for Wildstar to escape from the Comet Empire. Perhaps it would have bothered some kids, but maybe what happens in a war should bother people...
The show has its quirks but overall it holds up surprisingly well when viewed as an adult. I bought it on DVD and think of it as a good purchase. I recommend it.