As for the post title, the tag line from the ADV release was too good to pass up. 🙂
Almost inevitably for Lejji Matsumoto that story is a coming of age, possibly the birth of new legendary space pirate.
The other protagonist is the young boy Hiroshi Umino who gets caught up in her conflict with the Arfressan space empire after he flees Earth by stowing away on a freighter.
Along the way his determination to stand alone, doing everything himself, transforms into the strength to trust his companions, and the will to fight for the right reasons.
And, Matsumoto being Matsumoto, this is all done very stylishly, if perhaps lacking in sense .
However having Umino be the character facing the real challenges in these episodes does make a lot of sense.
This is because, at least in this version, Emeraldas is power incarnate. Emeraldas, and her ship the Queen Emeraldas, are far and away the most powerful characters in this show. No one else comes close .
Her appearances in these episodes are always awesome, and were wisely limited to preserve the effect.
As a result I come away with the impression that these two episodes are mostly about Emeraldas watching, and judging Umino: Is he worthy? Will he one day have my strength, the strength of Maetel and Tetsuro, the strength of Harlock and Tochiro?
These are a lot of fun to watch, but it is now somewhat frustrating to know that there are two more episodes out there that I haven’t seen.
 Not that I ever expect Matsumoto’s work to make sense.
 Except maybe the Arfressan Empress herself (and even she doesn’t quite manage it). Cf Authority equals Asskicking on TV Tropes.
- Sakura Wars (1997): The opening is the best thing about it (piratesobg.wordpress.com)
- Phantom Quest Corp (1994) (piratesobg.wordpress.com)