The world has been conquered by aliens. But Harlock, with his proud heritage as a pirate-knight of Arcadia, isn’t giving up the fight yet.
This is the second work of Matsumoto Leiji I’ve seen, after Space Battleship Yamato, so indulge me while I compare the two. They both have the same bittersweet feel— the certainty of loss coupled with a twinkle of hope. Arcadia is the stronger of the two, emotionally. It left me feeling fairly depressed.
Both works tell similar stories, where the Earth has been invaded by aliens. But the characters, given this setting, make completely contradictory choices. In Yamato, the crew is often given the choice to stay behind and live in space. But they don’t. They decide that they must come back and save the earth no matter what, because the earth is precious.
Harlock is given the same choice. He could remain and fight in the resistance to free the earth from tyranny. Instead, he decides to leave the earth behind and make the vastness of space his home. The people of earth are petty, short-sighted and cowardly, and aren’t worth fighting for, especially once his lover is dead.
And again, like Yamato, this is the epitome of manliness. See that short guy above with the glasses who looks like a dork? He is the biggest badass in the entire show.
I should also point out that the music is amazing, much like Yamato except more so since this is a movie. It’s a full orchestral score, and for half of the time I was honestly paying more attention to the music than the visuals.
This is supposedly the second Harlock movie, but for those who are wondering, it stands by itself, so you don’t need to have seen any of the rest of the series. Although you could probably get a bit more out of it if you knew who all the characters were beforehand. Some of them came out of nowhere and it seemed like we were supposed to know who they were, such as Emeraldas. Speaking of which, she is awesome and I need to watch whatever else she’s in.
- Plot / Script – A – Bittersweet and tragic.
- Characters – A – The main characters are memorable and sympathetic. I’m not sure I understood everything I was supposed to about the side characters though.
- Production – A – Great music.
- Overall – A-
Recommendations – Space Battleship Yamato, Simoun, The Place Promised in our Early Days
Note: If you’re wondering where my Mouretsu Pirates, Mirai Nikki and Another posts are, I have this huge deadline Wednesday morning at 3 AM. So don’t expect updates until Wednesday afternoon.