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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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:34 AM)
    @Vincent No shit.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:40 AM)
    @Bam There also was the fractures within the Korean Peninsula itself. Quite astounding, really, that a nation as small as Korea is divided to this day. Not even counting the Japanese and Chinese aggression.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:39 AM)
    @Vincent: you probably know of it twinfold: both with the aborigines and then again with the Japanese invasion of Korea.

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