Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Space Pirate Captain Harlock (2013)
Released in Japan September 7th, 2013, DVD February 21st, 2014
1 hr 55 mins


Shinji Aramaki

Shun Oguri as Captain Harlock
Haruma Miura as Yama (Daiba)
Yū Aoi as Miime
Arata Furuta as Yattaran
Ayano Fukuda as Tori-san
Toshiyuki Morikawa as Isora (Ezra)
Maaya Sakamoto as Nami
Miyuki Sawashiro as Kei
Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Roujin
Chikao Ōtsuka as Soukan

Review by Stephen M.

Captain Harlock can be considered as one of those old classic Japanese animation characters that stands the test of time and appears again in an animation every now and then.  The latest version of Space Pirate Captain Harlock on its 60th year anniversary is a full CGI film.  While stunningly beautiful, the film's story which is a bit of a break away from the other versions of Captain Harlock is full of contradictions.  As with the other versions of Captain Harlock, Earth usually plays a pivotal role with Captain Harlock fighting against oppressors or invaders of Earth.

In this film, humans have become great space explorers expanding out to far space until it reaches a point where resources are depleted everywhere.  This leads to a reversal of which humans now seek to return to Earth but the main governing party of what is left of humanity, the Gaia Sanction looking to preserve Earth forbids anyone from journeying to it.  The movie starts off on a relatively deserted looking planet that appears to be out of a page of a western.  When the Arcadia (Captain Harlock's deathshadow battleship) is spotted, four young adventurers climb up a mountain side in the hopes of joining Harlock's crew and getting off the planet.   This is where the adventure begins.

One of those young individuals that make it turns out to be a spy for Gaia.  But the situation is much more complicated than that.  Everything about the story has twists including a love triangle, and a hidden secret by Captain Harlock himself.  The movie is a bit darker that I would have expected.  And while the characters are mostly interesting, the main focus of the story is on two brothers rather than Harlock himself.  Harlock does play a role in the film, and even have a cool fight scene towards the end with his trusty sabre.  But like Harlock, his ship Arcadia never seems to be at any real danger given his seeming immortality and the Arcadia regenerative properties.  This kind of takes some of the excitement out of it, but the end makes up for it.

Overall, I would recommend watching this if you're a big fan of Captain Harlock just to see this rendition of him.  The movie as I said before is beautifully animated though not to the point where you would not distinguish them from live action.  But with a contradicting plot, for everyone else, they may want to skip the film.  There are better Sci-Fi space faring movies out there, but of course only one Captain Harlock.


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