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Film Friday- Captain Harlock

Film Friday- Captain Harlock

Captain Harlock  is a fictional character created by manga artist Leiji Matsumoto and the protagonist of the Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga series.

Harlock is the archetypical Romantic hero, a space pirate with an individualist philosophy of life. He is as noble as he is taciturn, rebellious, stoically fighting against totalitarian regimes, whether they be earth-born or alien. In his own words, he “fight[s] for no one’s sake… only for something deep in [his] heart.” He does not fear death, and is sometimes seen wearing clothing with the number 42 on it. In Japanese culture, the number 42 is associated with death (the numbers, pronounced separately as “four two,” sound like the word “shini”—meaning “dying/death”).

The character was created by Leiji Matsumoto in 1977 and popularized in the 1978 television series Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Since then, the character has appeared in numerous animated television series and films, the latest of which is 2013’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock.

History

Though there are slight variations in each telling of Harlock’s story, the essentials remain the same. Matsumoto presents a future (2977 AD) in which the Earth has achieved a vast starfaring civilization, but is slowly and steadily succumbing to ennui or despair, often due to defeat and subjugation by a foreign invader. Rising against the general apathy, Harlock denies defeat and leads an outlaw crew aboard his starship Arcadia to undertake daring raids against Earth’s oppressors. Even though they have defeated Earth and devastated its peoples, the invaders are often presented in a sympathetic light, being shown as having some justification for their actions.

Space Pirate Captain Harlock (1978 TV series)

In Space Pirate Captain Harlock, the Captain’s crew included the mysterious, alcohol-imbibing alien woman Miime, a robot, and a drunken doctor. The series presented a story arc in which a huge black metal sphere strikes Tokyo and ancient Mayan legends appear to be walking the Earth again. The invaders turn out to be the Mazone, a race of plant-based women who explored Earth in the mythic past and are now back to reclaim it. Only Harlock and his mismatched crew are brave and capable enough to face the enemy.

Captain Harlock – Mystery of the Arcadia

This 1978 short film is ostensibly a retelling of Episode 13 of the 1978 series, ‘The Witch’s Ocean Castle of Death.’ It consists primarily of recycled footage taken from this same episode, but presented in widescreen format. Some new alternate footage is added at the beginning of the story, and some soundtrack adjustments were made throughout.

Arcadia of My Youth

The Arcadia of My Youth feature film was released on July 28, 1982. The film, set in a different continuity from the original TV series, chronicles Harlock’s beginnings as a space pirate and his acquisition of the spaceship Arcadia. The movie also includes flashback material dealing with two of his 20th-century ancestors.

Endless Orbit SSX

Arcadia of My Youth was followed by 22 episodes of the TV series Endless Orbit SSX starting in October 1982. Its official French title is simply Albator, although it early became popular among French speakers as Albator 84 since it was first aired in France as of 1984 and the 1978 series had been formerly named in French exactly the same: Albator. The series dealt with Harlock and company’s continuing struggle against the Illumidas occupying force, who still retained control of Earth at the end of the theatrical feature. Both film (Arcadia of My Youth) and second series (Endless Orbit SSX) feature a newly designed starship and lack most of the crew from the Space Pirate series, but are noteworthy for the presence of Emeraldas, a female counterpart to Harlock who originally appeared in a series of Matsumoto-penned graphic novels.

Harlock Saga

In the 1990s, Matsumoto released Harlock Saga, a mini-series based on Das Rheingold. The series recasts the Captain and his crew in roles with analogues in The Ring Cycle and pits them against a race of “gods” set on redesigning the universe to their liking.

Gun Frontier

On March 28, 2002 Gun Frontier, a buddy comedy set in the American Old West, began broadcasting in TV Tokyo. The series follows Franklin Harlock Jr. and Tochiro Ōyama as they search for a lost clan of Japanese immigrants. In contrast to other works, Harlock appears here as Tochiro’s sidekick.

Endless Odyssey

December 2002 saw the release of Space Pirate Captain Harlock: The Endless Odyssey, directed by Rintaro.

The story is set after the original TV series, with Harlock on a self-imposed exile and his crew either in jail or flying under the Jolly Roger. The series details Harlock’s return and his round-up of the Arcadia crew for a fight against the Noo, a mysterious and ancient evil which has caused the Earth to disappear, and who use fear to conquer their foes. As nearly every part of this series is geared to be a sequel to the original Captain Harlock TV series, Endless Odyssey reintroduces Tadashi Daiba to the Arcadia.

Space Pirate Captain Harlock (2013 movie)

On March 24, 2010, Toei Animation announced the release of the new Harlock movie, they announced a completed pilot for its planned computer-graphics remake of Leiji Matsumoto and Toei’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga and anime franchise, and it has revealed a preliminary image and the project’s staff. Mobile Suit Gundam UC author Harutoshi Fukui, Appleseed director Shinji Aramaki, Appleseed mechanical designer Atsushi Takeuchi, and Ninja Scroll character designer Yutaka Minowa worked on the new Space Pirate Captain Harlock pilot with Marza Animation Planet (formerly known as Sega Sammy Visual Entertainment).

The official trailer/pilot was aired at the Kawaii-Kon Anime festival in Hawaii on April 17, 2010, as a special presentation courtesy of Director Shinji Aramaki. This is the first time it has been seen/aired in the United States. The CG animated film is tentatively schedule for international release in 2012.

On January 31, 2013 during the presentation of its upcoming film lineup, Toei announced that the anime will be out in Fall 2013. According to the news source Oricon, this film has Toei Animation’s highest production budget ever at the equivalent of over 30 million U.S. dollars.

The film premiered in Japan on September 7, 2013. It also film premiered on Netflix under the title Harlock: Space Pirate with Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish audio and with English, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.

Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage

On August 2014, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his debut, Matsumoto launched the manga Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage, illustrated by Kōichi Shimahoshi, in the pages of Akita Shoten’s Champion Red magazine. Dimensional Voyage is a retelling of the original 1978 Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga.

 

Manga Monday- Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Manga Monday- Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Space Pirate Captain Harlock  is a manga series written and illustrated by Leiji Matsumoto. It was serialized in Play Comic from 1977 to 1979, with the chapters collected into five tankōbon volumes by Akita Shoten. The series follows the titular Captain, an outcast turned space pirate after he rebelled against Earth’s Government and humanity’s general apathy. On August 2014, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Matsumoto’s debut, he launched a retelling manga, Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage, illustrated by Kōichi Shimahoshi, which features some significant plot differences. Seven Seas Entertainment has licensed the manga in North America.

Plot

In the future, in 2977 AD, humanity has achieved a vast starfaring civilization, but is slowly and steadily succumbing to ennui or despair, often due to defeat and subjugation by a foreign invader. Rising against the general apathy, Harlock denies defeat and leads an outlaw crew aboard his starship Arcadia to undertake daring raids against Earth’s oppressors. Their primary oppressors are the Mazone, a race of organic plant-based alien women who explored Earth in the mythic past and are now back to reclaim it.

Characters

The Captain

Harlock is the archetypal romantic hero, a space pirate with an individualist philosophy of life. He is as noble as he is taciturn, rebellious, stoically fighting against totalitarian regimes, whether they be earthborn or alien. In his own words, he “fight[s] for no one’s sake, only for something deep in [his] heart.”

Crew of the Arcadia

Tadashi Daiba 
is the audience surrogate, the viewer’s gateway to Harlock’s world. The 14-year-old son of a scientist who was killed by the Mazone, he joined the Arcadia crew following the death of his father. He lost his mother in a disaster on the Neptunian moon Triton when her pleas for help were ignored by the indifferent government. Tadashi is sometimes in conflict with Harlock early in the series, but he would become a trusted part of Harlock’s senior staff as the series progressed.

Kei Yuki 
A young human woman with blonde hair who was already part of Harlock’s crew at the time Tadashi came aboard. She first met Harlock when he raided a ship that was transporting her back to Earth as a prisoner after she had assaulted a military officer who had belittled her father’s death. There is a slight intimation that she harbors a crush on Harlock (though this would be made more definite in the later SSX series), and initially seems inclined romantically towards Tadashi Daiba, though the two eventually settle into a platonic friendship. She is the Arcadia‘s chief navigator and science officer and the second-youngest crew member after Tadashi.

Miime 
A mysterious brooding female alien with blue skin and body-length blue hair. Like all of her race, Miime has no mouth or other facial features outside of almond shaped yellow eyes. Like others of her race, she uses alcohol as a non-intoxicating foodstuff and uses her psychic and psionic powers as a means of reducing pain of injuries. Originally from the planet Jura, she became the last of her species after being saved by Harlock and crew. In gratitude, Miime became part of the crew of the Arcadia and pledged her life to Harlock’s support and safety, becoming the pirate’s nearest companion. Having no mouth, she can still “speak” and still absorb liquids through the general mouth area. Although not provided an official position aboard the Arcadia, she will help Doctor Zero tend to injured crew members in times of crisis. Her empathic nature makes her a valuable counselor (for example, when she consoles Miss Masu following the loss of the latter’s estranged fiancé) and is capable of quelling pain/anxiety of all onboard by the strumming of her lap harp. In the 1999 Harlock Saga OVA, she is refashioned to appear as a more humanoid woman and provided a different back story, making her a member of the Nibelung clan; here, her preferred musical instrument is the pipe organ and somehow possesses the ability to control time. In 2002’s Endless Odyssey OVA her original look and history return. Miime is depicted as more distinctly alien but with a face featuring a mouth in the 2013 feature film.

Yattaran 
Harlock’s first mate on the Arcadia, he is usually portrayed as comic relief in the series, but when a battle against alien threats become imminent he will be at the captain’s side. He is also a brilliant mathematician and has a major interest in building plastic model kits of ships (he was even seen building a scale model of the Arcadia in one episode). Yattaran is based on manga artist Kaoru Shintani (best known for Area 88) who, in his early career worked for Matsumoto building models for reference.

Doctor Zero 
Chief Medical Officer. Like Yattaran, he serves as comic relief when he argues with the ship’s cook, Miss Masu, over his raids of Masu’s kitchen to get his beverage of choice, sake. He has a pet cat called Mi-kun (named Miaou in the French version), which he adopted after the then-kitten’s mother, which was injured and apparently dying, brought him to Zero’s office, and was later brought with Zero on board the Arcadia. Doctor Zero’s cat, Mi-kun also appears in Space Battleship Yamato as Doctor Sado’s cat. Mi-kun also makes on-off appearances in several other anime such as Queen Millennia and Galaxy Express 999. Mi-kun is based on Matsumoto’s own pet cat, the latest of which is named Mi-kun III.

Maji
Chief Engineer.

Miss Masu
Chief steward. Masu Tsunajima is a cantankerous spinster who is intolerant of her kitchen being raided by Doctor Zero or his cat. She is also a comic relief character in the series, although her back story had her intended to marry her fiancé, Gozo Otowara, before circumstances prevented the wedding from taking place. Masu believed she had been stood up, until she learned the truth years later and reconciled with Gozo in a brief communication before Gozo was killed by the Mazone.

Tochirō Ōyama
Harlock’s old friend and chief builder of the Arcadia. He died of illness prior to the events of the series, but his consciousness survives within the ship’s computer.