Leiji Matsumoto, a highly influencial manga-ka who was most influential during the 70s when many of his series got made into anime:
Space Battleship Yamato
Galaxy Express 999
His work was massively influential, and many of those titles still populate best anime of all time as voted by japanese fans. He made lots of space opera shows, and there was some cross-over between them. Later shows tried to enforce even greater cross-over, and the canon is labeled Leiji-verse.
That said the guy kept himself busy, and they still make anime in this setting. Modern efforts include Captain Herlock, Galaxy Railways, Space Symphony Maetel, Queen Emereldas, Maetel Legend, Cosmo Warrior Zero, Gun Frontier (most relevant to Desert Punk). Though I have always wanted to see the early stuff, only Yamato is completely available in some english form (on fansub, but you might also be able to find the dubbed/edited Starblazers around too) there are some fansubs for Captain Harlock & Galaxy Express 999 too. Well worth checking out.
The modern stuff is more readily available, most of it got licensed and is available on import. Hell they are even making a second season of Galaxy Railways.
I would kill for translated versions of the original shows though.
aww is this from the guy that did interstella 5555... that was the first anime i ever saw at a cinema at the belfast film festival 2004 i think... it blew me away... i gotta check more of his stuff out... really love his style
EDIT: WOW just checked this out on ANN and sounds f**kin class... the english dub is supposed to be much better than the originally japanese. check out this review.
It's a neat little series with a fairly good central character in that he's neither good nor bad but just out for himself, and he seems to get into a fair few scrapes that involve using his knowledge of guerilla warfare, tricks as much as muscle.
It's light hearted and doesn't take itself seriously so it's very much something to sit back and enjoy rather than get into deeply. There's a fair bit of fan-service cleavage in the show but it's not totally gratuitous, highlighting how much Sunabouzu is a stupid pig, skills aside.
It's a shame that the subbers gave up, even if some have sporadically resurrected this, I hope the DVDs catch up to what I've seen quickly as it was a fun little show.
Because it's so tongue-in-cheek I can see a dub working well.
I remember watching the first episode way back when Gonzo were streaming the first few episodes when the TV show first aired. I fell in love with it when the main character (I don't think he was ever named or at least I can't remember it if it was) coined the nickname of his well-endowed female adversary as Boing-chan. That whole sequence kind-of summed up the premise of the show for me; a lecherous punk in a desolate world with a reputation as a tough nut. A great idea for a fun show if you ask me...