Friday, June 10, 2011

Another "Forgotten Space Hero"!

When anime was a rare thing & a Thursday night would roll around I'd travel 40  miles  to a small comic shop/ hobby shop for anime night in Wallingford,Ct. We'd have a large screen tv, VCR/DVD player, & snacks. There would be about 15 or so of us. I'd crash on a friend's couch & spend the weekend playing games (D&D,Gamma World, WOD,etc.), BSing, & having a good time. Ah youth with your four day weekends.
  Those days are so much memory & dust. The comic shop is gone, the owner has passed beyond,& only my fond memories remain. One of the animes that stands out is this guy!

Captain Harlock!

 The captain belongs to another time period when anime wasn't quite so familiar & had a bit of the dangerous element associated with it. Anyhow Captain Harlock is the space pirate's space pirate. His adventures were pretty amazing.

This was 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". 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 words "shi ni" -- meaning "to death").
There are some pretty amazing consistences to his background universe. From Wiki:
Though there are slight variations in each telling of Harlock's story, the essentials remain the same. Matsumoto presents a future 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.
So basically its space pirate vs the universe of tyranny. Yeah I can get behind that! 

Here's where he's appeared in & again from Wiki:

Space Pirate Captain Harlock

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.

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. The film was followed by 22 episodes of the Endless Road SSX series (October 1982), which 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 and second series 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 originally appearing 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 Herlock: The Endless Odyssey,[1] directed by Rintaro.
The story is set after the original TV series, with Herlock on a self-imposed exile and his crew either in jail or flying under the Jolly Roger. The series details Herlock'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 Herlock TV series, Endless Odyssey reintroduces Tadashi Daiba to the Arcadia.

 Space Pirate Captain Harlock 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).[2]
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.

Cast & Crew

Supporting characters

Tochirō Ōyama (大山トチロー Ooyama Tochirou?). Harlock's old friend and the architect 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.
Emeraldas. A space pirate much like Harlock, she bears a scar under her left eye.
Mayu Ōyama (大山まゆ Ooyama Mayu?). The daughter of Tochiro Oyama and Emeraldas. Harlock takes her under his wing following Tochiro's death and Emeraldas' departure, but she is unable to remain with Harlock due to Tochiro's wish that she remain on Earth.
Miime/Mime/Mimay/Melody, a female alien harpist serving onboard the Arcadia as Harlock's adviser and source of morale. Her body design resembles a slender humanoid female with purple hair, blue skin, and yellow pupil-less eyes. Her face has no apparent mouth, although she can speak and somehow absorb liquids through her face. Miime requires alcohol as her single (non-intoxicating) nutrient; when ingesting some, her body gives off a bright yellow light. Miime's talents include mental and emotional empathy to sentient beings, a trait she uses medicinally as member of the sickbay staff. During moments of violence/trepidation she plays a lap harp, her music instilling serenity to her on-board colleagues, particularly Harlock. Her race was apparently exterminated when the planet's indigenous flora became ambulatory predators after exposure to radioactivity. The Captain and crew saved her from her world's fate, predicating her eternal loyalty to the Arcadia's captain even to the point of risking her life to ensure Harlock's safety.
Professor Tsuyoshi Daiba. Tadashi Daiba's father, an astronomer and scientist. He was one of the few scientists who saw the aliens' threat and attempted to warn Earth's government before he was killed by the Mazone. Tadashi, affected by his father's murder, joined the Arcadia crew to seek his revenge.
Mitsuru Kiruda (切田 満 Kiruda Mitsuru?). The leader of Earth's defense forces, he is Harlock's sworn enemy and will stop at nothing to try to eliminate him. Earlier in his life, Kiruta suffered the loss of his father, a government secret agent, during an ill-fated mission, followed by his mother and his younger sister Tami. Blaming the government for his family's death, he rose through the military ranks in order to effect change for the better and, like Professor Daiba before him, tried in vain to warn the Earth government of the Mazone invasion. Kiruda eventually puts his grudge with Harlock aside and sacrifices himself defending the Arcadia's main computer against Mazone troopers.
The Captain's Ship The Arcadia

Now tell me that is not old  school space bad assery at its best. It was so good that recently 40k decided to use it. In the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay tabletop games, the legendary Rogue Trader Solomon Haarlock is presumably named after Captain Harlock and Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane.
USING Captain Harlock in your Game!

The captain is the perfect stereo type interstellar pirate fighting against the tyranny of the galactic empire. His template could be used for anything from West End Star Wars to a  Star Trek style game. The story line can be adapted in a number of ways to suit a brooding swash buckling interstellar game of epic grandeur!
 Sort of like Goonies is one of the best movies for making a modern dungeon so is Captain Harlock the perfect formula to keep the players guessing. His style of character might also make a perfect patron for a Rogue Trader game as a retired adventurer turned patron. The character is tragic & broody which should appeal to the romantics out there.
Now meeting the real Captain in game? That's up to you but it could be done in a wide variety of ways from time travel to dimensional doubles including alternative histories. Also mounting a mission to recover the remains of the Arcadia for its super science equipment after its destruction might be an option.

One the best fan sites !

Still not convinced that this is a great series? Go watch for yourself!*

* This is old school anime & so you've been warned. This link might not be available in some countries as well. This is a legal way to watch the series. No I haven't included anything about Queen Emeraldas she gets her own entry!


  1. Great post! I LOVE Harlock and the all of Matsumoto's sci-fi universe like Star Blazers and Galaxy Express 999!

  2. Thanks very much. More to come! Stay tuned folks!


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