I was first attracted to Space Pirate Captain Harlock from an illustration of him included in Robotech Art 1, the program guidebook/album of the Robotech TV series. And so when the times came, I bought two of the dubbed Harlock videos from the TV series and the dubbed versions of Arcadia of My Youth (the unfortunately cut-down version from Celebrity Home Video) and the two Galaxy Express 999 movies. I'll limit my comments to the TV series tapes in this statement.
As the story begins, Earth is in a period of economic prosperity and lax morality, somewhat akin to the Roaring '20s in America. The people have become apathetic about themselves and each other--even the planet's President would rather watch the racehorses on TV than do his job.
Rebelling against this madness is Harlock, captain of the rogue battleship Arcadia, who raids the ships carrying luxury items to Earth not out of greed but as a political statement. His Jolly Roger is not a symbol of terror but of personal liberty and morals.
When the threat of extraterrestrial invasion looms, only Harlock and his 40 thieves are ready to face it--while the Earth government can only panic and blame their only savior out of their stupidity.
The animation for the show is typical for 1970s material. Some of the special effects--like the collision between two planets later on--hold up well by modern standards. But bear in mind that this series was made long before computers became a tool in the art of animation.
The dubbing job added narration that was needless (and in some cases, totally WRONG storywise), and humorous lines for comic relief that were also needless. But the flavor of the show is mostly intact, something to be grateful for.
The series spawned a feature film version, not at all related to Arcadia of My Youth. I haven't seen it, but I expect it to be the highlights of the series, the same as the initial Space Cruiser Yamato movie and the Danguard Ace movie.
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