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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  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 11:09 AM)
    @ninja: I certainly hope that they got better shit to do.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 11:08 AM)
    @Emma: I agree. I also had no clue that it was a Shoujo, tines have certainly changed. I enjoy me a Ray Mustang type of character every once in a while.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:52 AM)
    @Bam: Furthermore watching these ovas , its like being twelve again =P
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:49 AM)
    @Bam: Of interest twilight of the dark master is considered shoujo and its such a shame that the demographic has gone to for most part shit since the old days.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:48 AM)
    @Bam All this talk about drugs being bad is for the benefit of my personal NSA monitor. I just want them to know I’m right with the DEA. The NSA is reading everything we type so it’s nice to give them some fanservice when you can.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:48 AM)
    @Bam: And would you believe Akiyuki shinbou directed this? It was interesting enough to trace back to his early work/beginning of his directing style and compare it to now.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:46 AM)
    @Bam: I just finished twilight of the dark master, enjoyable nonsense. What I liked about these old ovas is that you don’t really end up caring about the why, you get a bit of fun violence, an artstyle you just don’t see enough of anymore, the plots are simple, quick, entertaining and digestable.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:31 AM)
    @Emma: easier said than done. The results of a mixture are often strangely unpredictable and quite overwhelming
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 08:21 AM)
    @ninja: a bit of an over-generalization don’t you think m8?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Nov 21. 2014 07:53 AM)
    @Friend: And speaking of scenes from a marriage, I really do wish that anime could, like some films like that, focus on a mature couple.

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