Space Pirate Captain Harlock

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Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Postby shooraijin » Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:17 pm

This CG full-length movie isn't strictly anime, but it's based on the manga and anime, so there you go. I picked up the Blu-ray 3D which comes with the International Cut (dubbed to English) and the Japanese domestic version (subtitled), which is a few minutes longer. It plays in 2D as well.

It plays pretty fast and loose with the canon, but the series kinda did that too, so I won't hold it against the movie. The CG is excellent (sort of Final Fantasy-esque, but this is no sin) and the mo-cap only occasionally lapses into the uncanny valley. Although the 3D is upconverted, the space battles are spectacular in it, with laser bolts and ships shooting all over the screen, and the Arcadia has never looked so good. Harlock still has his throne and the ship still has its helm, and it all looks fabulous. Even 2D is quite nice but this movie really wants you to see it in 3D if you have the means.

Where it's less good is the plot, which verges on incomprehensible. I won't give any spoilers but suffice it to say everything piles a twist on top of a twist and a fair bit of it feels like they tacked it on just for cheap drama; you may need to refer to a plot summary to understand what happened, and it would have made more sense if they had told the story strictly chronologically than in flashbacks. There is a weird 3D-only issue with the subs where the subtitle is at the wrong depth compared to some of the on-screen elements (it really should be sitting on top of everything and it doesn't always), and the subtitles are sometimes ungrammatical or have odd typos. Plus, even though I don't understand Japanese that well, what I did understand sounded occasionally inaccurate and the sub uses the English character names (such as Logan for Yama) which doesn't match the audio. The dub has competent VAs but the synchronization is poor (not helped by the excellent lipsync to the Japanese audio, which would be difficult to overcome anyway) and some aspects of the plot are subtly different as a result of the script changes. Also, be aware of a brief shower scene with Kei, though the bubbles are strategically positioned.

I think I got my money's worth from the experience alone. If you're a Harlock fan, or even just like Leiji Matsumoto's stuff in general, I think the art design pays homage while giving it a new (ahem) dimension and it will be worth your time even given its deficiencies. Make sure you watch all the way through the credits for a fun retro throwback at the very end.
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Re: Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Postby Kaori » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:35 pm

Just read a synopsis of the plot, and wow, that is *really* different from the orignal story. Japanese adaptations do almost always have a tendency to be pretty loose, but this is more like a totally different plot, with the character "Harlock" and the ship "Arcadia" as the only constants. Frankly, though . . . I think this plot has a lot more going for it than the original manga, LOL.

Anyways, it's pretty neat that they made a CG film for this IP. The live-action Space Battleship Yamato movie they made a while back was fun, too, though its plot also diverged quite a bit from the original animated series . . . not so much as to change the entire premise, though!
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Re: Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Postby shooraijin » Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:01 pm

I didn't feel that it was totally dissimilar from the anime -- just radically rewritten, particularly the origin story. It had the same general feel to me, particularly because of the production design, despite its notable variances. I enjoyed it, and if you don't expect a great deal from it, you'll have fun. But it's definitely better in 3D, and I overall prefer the sub.
"you're a doctor.... and 27 years.... so...doctor + 27 years = HATORI SOHMA" - RoyalWing, when I was 27
"Al hail the forum editting Shooby! His vibes are law!" - Osaka-chan

I could still be champ, but I'd feel bad taking it away from one of the younger guys. - George Foreman
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