Posted by psgels on 3 January 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

Matsumoto Leiji: the founder of the space opera genre. While his first work, Space Battleship Yamato, lacked a lot of polish, his next work, Captain Harlock, would feature an improvement in just about every aspect. This is the series that would define epic, and would provide inspiration for the many other space opera anime that would follow. Thank you Live-eviL, for having the patience to fully sub it.

While the set-up of the series is again simple (evil aliens known as the Mazone are attacking the earth, and Captain Harlock is the only one who can stop them with his battleship the Arcadia), this series knows how to use its 40 episodes very well. This isn’t a simple series where the Mazones just keep throwing monster after monster until they eventually die, but every episode serves to flesh out and develop the members of its cast, so that the end of the series closes off with both the good guys and the bad guys feeling complete.

Especially the Mazones and Captain Harlock provide to be more than capable of being the respective villains and hero of this series. While the Mazones are most definitely evil, this series makes them more than villains who are just evil for the sake of being evil. Harlock on the other hand stands far apart from your typical lead character. He’s a character who knows what his duty is, no matter what gets in his way, and after watching, I can really understand why Harlock managed to capture the hearts of many when it first aired.

But yeah, you really need patience in order to watch this. The best parts of this series only really start to shine in the final quarter of this series, and the building-up parts can be really nerve-wrecking at times. Especially the middle part of the series can be tedious to get through, in its attempt to give every major character a sufficient amount of background.

Nevertheless, the result of this build-up is an epic series with a rock-solid final quarter, even though it’s already more than thirty years old at this time. While this is definitely not a series you want to marathon in the beginning, it’s nevertheless a series that has a clear purpose and has found a good use for its forty-two episodes. So it’s nowhere near Tomino or World Masterpiece Theatre levels, but nevertheless it’s among the better series to have aired in the seventies.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

4 Responses

  1. senerikfred says:

    I remember there being an OVA that came out later, judging from the promo art I saw for it. Will you be reviewing that, too?

  2. Anon says:

    Especially Captain Harlock: Endless Odyssey which is a great OVA series.

  3. senerikfred says:

    Maybe it’s because my first pre-Eva show was Gunbuster, but I’ve developed a serious weakness for older shows now. I finished Harlock a month back and totally loved it. And frick, I didn’t realize there were so many spinoffs.

    I understand not wanting to embark on GE 999 for a while(it’s actually 3 eps LONGER than LoGH), but will you watch any of the spinoffs? I’m going to seek out the apparently good ones myself.

  4. psgels psgels says:

    I’ve actually tried watching Queen Millennia and 999 about half a year ago, and got through about seven episodes of both of them, but they’re a bit one-sided in my opinion. Plus, instead of having the awesome lead character of Captain Harlock, their lead character is played by a rather boring young kid.

    Apart from that, the only other spin-offs I’ve seen from the Leiji-Verse are Galaxy Railways (again not as good as Harlock, but enjoyable) and The Cockpit, a collection of three of his stories about WWII, which I really liked.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 04:45 PM)
    If sakurako-san disappoints I am ignoring everything modern that is based on a light novel from now on. I’ve been hit by these adaptations far too often.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 02:43 PM)
    ….Dear God…I have no words in which to describe hidan no aria AA, no words. The original I could take the piss out of. But this is a new low standard set for the light novel medium.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.

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