Cover of the Madman Australia release

Cover of the Madman Australia release

The 2013 CGI Space Pirate Captain Harlock is a fairly typical entry in the Captain Harlock franchise. Which is to say: its own continuity[1], very pretty to look at, very stylish, and don’t expect it to make too much sense[2].

Unfortunately the local release blu-ray that I picked up some time ago is a very bare bones release: English dub only, no extras at all[3].

The dub is OK, although there are moments when the synching is spectacularly bad and the delivery sometimes seems flat. I wouldn’t mind taking a look at a subtitled version at some point.

The design work is fabulous, and the Arcadia has probably never looked more menacing than it does in this version.

As for the story, well there is one and it is the usual Lejji Matsumoto fare of haunted pasts, quests for redemption, betrayals, and epic space piracy from Harlock’s elite crew. Don’t expect this to make too much sense, or to answer all of your questions.

Much like Queen Emeraldas[4] in the Queen Emeraldas OAVs, Harlock is arguably not the main character with that role falling to a new character yet to come of age. This is for much the same reason as the Queen Emeraldas OAVs: Harlock is power incarnate and not actually all that interesting as a protagonist.

Kei Yuki makes a strong appearance, and is not damselled along the way. And yes, if you hadn’t worked it out already Kei Yuki is a shout out to the Dirty Pair. That said: gratuitous zero-g shower scene is gratuitous.

Overall Space Pirate Captain Harlock is a pleasant enough way to spend an hour and a half watching things explode prettily. Check your brain at the door, don’t examine this too closely, and enjoy the ride.

[1] I’m having trouble thinking of any two instalments of the franchise with reconcilable continuity.

[2] Or indeed any sense at all.

[3] The main menu has precisely two options: Play and Select Scene. No, seriously, that’s all there is.

[4] Queen Emeraldas does not, alas, appear in this film. I’m not even sure if she could be fitted into the continuity of this universe. Pity.