SYNOPSIS: After a war to take back the earth ends in earth becoming an off-limits area for all, a coalition called the Gaia Coalition rules the universe with an iron grip. However, one man dares to defy the coalition and attempt to overthrow the oppressor. Based on the manga and hit anime series, Space Captain Harlock is back in a new feature film from writer Fukui Harutoshi (Mobile Gundam UC) and director Aramaki Shinji (Appleseed). Using the original characters and setting (including the spaceship Arcadia), the film features a new story that offers a fresh take on this familiar tale of rebellion and adventure. One of the most expensive Japanese films ever with a budget of US$30 million, Space Pirate Captain Harlock features state-of-the-art animation that combines computer animation and motion capture technology.


Before Captain Sparrow, there’s already Captain Harlock, a famous Japanese anime character which was created by manga artist Leiji Matsumoto back in the 70’s. While he is generally not as well-known as Captain America locally, Harlock is apparently pretty big in his heydays.

Essentially serving as a reboot or retelling of the character, Space Pirate Captain Harlock is a US$30 million production by Toei Animation, quite a substantial sum consider how limited the crowd this title is going to appeal to.

In the far far away future, Earth is shrouded by dark matter and the human race is on the decline. The universe is controlled by the powerful Gaia Federation and only the fearless, immortal Captain Harlock and his crew members in his imposing looking spaceship, Arcadia is not afraid to go against them. Logan the brother of Ezra who served as Commander of the Gaia fleet is tasked to infiltrate Arcadia to await for a chance to assassinate Captain Harlock.

Just in case you are not aware, the story written by Harutoshi Fukui and Kiyoto Takeuchi has a complex opening, backstory and setting. Despite that, it contains plenty of clichéd and tired elements, stuff which you probably have seen countless times before. Rebels fighting for a noble cause, siblings falling for the same girl, plenty of techie talk and the actions of an anti-hero make up the tiresome two hours duration.  

Aside from the perplexing story, Shinji Aramaki of Appleseed fame successfully concocted an outstanding visually rich movie using the latest motion capture CG technology. The production took a staggering five years to complete and every single CG detail from the spaceships to the costumes and appearance of the characters are almost flawless if you compare this to The Polar Express. Nevertheless, a decade has passed and technology has improved leaps and bounds, Space Pirate Captain Harlock is a shining example of stunning visuals.

If you are not a strict, diehard fan of Captain Harlock’s space adventures, this timely reboot of the classic character is a passable CG sci-fi flick that boasts some exciting large scale battles and incredible animation. Those used to high-end videogames liked Halo and Final Fantasy however might not be impressed by this reboot effort.   




The superb visual and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a blast both pleasing to the eyes and packed a wallop for the ears.  



Review by Linus Tee



Genre: CG Animation
Starring: Oguri Shun, Miura Haruma, Aoi Yu, Arata Furuta, Ayano Fukuda, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Maaya Sakamoto, Miyuki Sawashiro, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Chikao Otsuka
Director: Shinji Aramaki
Rating: PG13 (Some Nudity)
Year Made: 2014




Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time:  1 hr 55 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East Entertainment