Captain Harlock



Captain Harlock is the main character of several anime and manga series by writer/artist Leiji Matsumoto.

Harlock is an archetypical Romantic Matsumoto hero, a space pirate with a rugged-individualist philosophy of life. He is shown with a patch over one eye, a scar across his cheek, carrying a great black cape, and frequently holding either a laser-rapier or a glass of wine. Like many of Matsumoto's lead characters, he is the embodiment of the grand individualist, noble as he is taciturn, rebellious, stoically fighting against totalitarian regimes, whether they be earthborn or alien. He has often been compared to Ragnar Danneskjöld, the freebooter of Atlas Shrugged, in character and appearance as well as many of the gallant Yakuza roles played by Takakura Ken. When asked by crewmember Tadashi Daiba for whom Harlock is fighting, Harlock's reply is "I fight for no one's sake. I only fight for something deep in my heart". Harlock's character seems to be the embodiment of many Western and Japanese conceptions of the heroic as an ideal and this has contributed to his immense popularity worldwide.

The first series featuring Harlock in the lead role was 1978's Space Pirate Captain Harlock, but his first appearance was in some of Matsumoto's manga books as early as 1966. The very first appearance of the character seems to be Matsumoto's manga "Adventures of a Honeybee" in 1953. As with most of Leiji Matsumoto's works, continuity is not a crucial issue; an appearance of any particular version of the character does not necessarily connect to any previous or following versions, and the interconnectedness of the various series is a common subject of speculation among fans.

Though there are slight variations in each retelling of Harlock's story, the essentials remain the same. Matsumoto presents a future in which the Earth has achieved a vast starfaring civilization, but is slowly and steadily succumbing to ennui or despair, often due to defeat and subjugation by an alien invader (thus invoking strong parallels to post-World War II Japan). Rising against the general apathy, the space pirate Captain Harlock denies defeat and leads an outlaw crew aboard his starship Arcadia to undertake daring raids against Earth's oppressors. Even though they have defeated Earth and devastated its peoples, the invaders are often presented in a sympathetic light, being shown as having some justification for their actions.

In the original television series, Harlock's crew included the mysterious, alcohol-imbibing alien woman Miime, a robot, and a drunken doctor. The series presented a story arc in which a huge black metal sphere strikes Tokyo and ancient Mayan legends appear to be walking the Earth again. The invaders turn out to be the Mazone, a race of vegetable-based, Modigliani-necked women who explored Earth in the mythic past and are now back to reclaim it. Only Harlock and his mismatched crew are brave enough and capable enough to face the enemy.

Matsumoto is at his best when dealing with the vastness of space and the darkness of the human heart, and Captain Harlock provides him with plenty opportunities to ply his art. The episodes features some astute directing stunts (split-screen, flashbacks) and are excellently served by a symphonic score executed by the Tokyo Philharmonic. For all its pulpy space-opera feeling and its action, the series raises a number of issues — from the importance of challenges in the life of men to the limits of violence as a solution to both small- and large-scale problems. The outcast Harlock is well aware of the plight of the Mazonese, a refugee people fleeing a dying planet, and finds neither pleasure nor vindication in his battles nor in his final, melancholic victory. Some of the mechanical design on the series is strongly reminiscent of the first Star Wars film, even if the original Harlock manga predates the American movie, prompting some controversy as to "who stole what".

In 1982 the character was reprised in the animated feature film Arcadia of My Youth (also known as "My Youth in Arcadia," a less accurate translation that nevertheless adorned many posters and other memorabilia in Japan), designed as an origin story which largely contradicted the one appearing in the 1978 series (episodes 30-31). The movie, which serves as a prequel to the original series, was followed by 22 episodes of the Endless Road SSX series (also known as Eternal Orbit SSX / Infinite Course SSX / Mugen Kidou SSX, though the title references a nebulous pathway resembling a road), which dealt with Harlock and company's continuing struggle against the Illumidas occupying force, who still retained control of Earth at the end of the theatrical feature. Both film and second series feature a newly designed starship and lack most of the crew from the Space Pirate series, but are noteworthy for the presence of Emeraldas, a female counterpart to Harlock originally appearing in a series of Matsumoto-penned graphic novels (manga).

In the 1990s, Matsumoto also released a short series variously known as Harlock Saga or as The Ring of the Nibelung. Set to the music of Richard Wagner and following the Siegfried legend, the story pits the captain and his crew against a race of "gods" set on redesigning the universe to their liking. The series' foremost point of interest is the deployment of the whole Matsumoto cast of characters (from all his series) in various roles.

In 2001, Cosmo Warrior Zero: Warrius Zero presented a version of the story in which Captain Zero, a human veteran of the Earth-Mechanized war, is commanded by the Machine Men, who won the war and now rule Earth, to hunt down the Space Pirate who is still resisting the invaders. This series focuses on Zero and his misfit crew as they take on the hopeless mission, fighting a more skilled enemy who also may be more justified in his actions than they are. Harlock, Tochiro and Emeraldas put in mostly supporting guest appearances, and are shown as being slightly younger than their previous incarnations; Harlock doesn't even have his trademark eyepatch yet. Most notable is the return of Harlock's ship to the original Blue Arcadia Design (not seen since the original TV series), though now green and named Deathshadow, the name of Harlock's first battleship which appeared in the Arcadia feature and the 999 films, where it had an altogether different design. As usual, the continuity is essentially nonexistent, even though the series does feature story points appearing in previous Matsumoto films and television shows.

Gun Frontier was a 13 episode series from 2002. As a change of pace, it was a mostly comedy adventure series which featured W. Franklin Harlock Jr. and Tochiro Ōyama, distant ancestors of Captain Harlock and Tochiro, as they bumbled their way through the wild west 1880s in search of a lost tribe of Japanese immigrants. A similar old west looking planet named "Gun Frontier" appears in the "Cosmo Warrior Zero" series but it's not the same place as this story is actually set on Earth.

Captain Harlock: The Endless Odyssey OVA is something of a sequel and a re-imagining at the same time. It visits the continuity of the original series for the first time in nearly 20 years, following the final episode of Space Pirate Captain Harlock. We see a return of all the old crew, including many faces not seen in years, such as Dr. Zero and the daughter of Tochiro and Emeraldas, Mayu. The series also brings back the idea of the spirit of Tochiro actually silently "haunting" the Arcadia, rather than being infused in the computer. The first part of the series details Harlock, Miime, Dr. Zero, and Tadashi Daiba finding all of the crew of the Arcadia spread out around the universe. Harlock summons everyone from the crew (most are extremely overjoyed to return to the Arcadia) in order to fight a mysterious and ancient evil which has caused the Earth to disappear, and whom use fear to conquer their foes.

Although nearly every part of this series is geared to be a sequel to the original series, Endless Odyssey reintroduces Tadashi Daiba as if he had never been on the ship before, as well as killing his father for a second time. Many fans of Matsumoto have been completely perplexed by this, as reintroducing Tadashi was generally felt to be unnecessary. Although the SSX series had featured a similar but unrelated young hero named Tadashi Monono, many had looked forward to a reunion of the old crew including the original Tadashi. The redheaded Mazone spy Shizuka Namino also reappeared, now as a black-haired holographic assistant to Dr. Daiba, and the date of the series is approximately one hundred years after the events of the original series, demonstrating rather decisively the degree to which its author seems to disdain full and logical continuity.

While the OVA is relatively short, it was a big hit with Matsumoto fans as it was a return of many of the things many felt made Harlock so memorable, although the character of Harlock himself is far less fallibly human and emotional than in most previous incarnations. It is also the first time the spelling of "Herlock" has been officially set in the title (the spelling has appeared to change at random in Japanese videos and related publications, though the pronunciation has remained "Harlock"). While Harlock and company have made cameo appearances in later works of Matsumoto, this has been the last time so far that a Harlock themed story with Harlock as the lead has been released.

It is unknown what Matsumoto plans to do with the character from here, although he has stated that Harlock is his favorite work, and that he'll make stories about him until the day he dies.

Miime (Clio): A mysterious alien woman with long blue hair who thrives on alcohol and possesses psychic and psionic powers, she is the last survivor of her home planet Jura, from which Harlock saved her following its devastation in a nuclear attack and the subsequent slaughter of its surviving inhabitants by carnivorous plants created and brought to the planet by the Mazone, several years before the events of the original animated series. After her rescue, Miime became part of the crew of the Arcadia and pledged her life to Harlock in gratitude for saving her. She is Harlock's confidante and is willing to protect him at any cost when needed. She has a quiet, sensitive personality and, although she does not have an official position aboard the Arcadia, she will help Doctor Zero tend to injured crew members in times of need, and her empathic nature makes her valuable in a counseling capacity (for example, when she consoles Miss Masu following the loss of the latter's estranged fiancé). She is musically skilled with the harp.

Yattaran (Alfred): Harlock's first mate on the Arcadia, he is usually portrayed as comic relief in the series, but when a battle against alien threats become imminent, he will be at the captain's side. He is also a brilliant mathematician and has a major interest in building plastic model kits of ships (he was even seen building a scale model of the Arcadia in one episode). Yattaran is based on manga artist Kaoru Shintani (best known for Area 88) who, in his early career worked for Matsumoto building models for reference.

Tadashi Daiba (Ramis Valente): The 14-year-old son of a scientist who was killed by the Mazone, he joined the Arcadia crew following the death of his father and subsequent charges of high treason against himself by Earth's government. He had also lost his mother in a disaster on the Neptunian moon Triton when her pleas for help were ignored by the indifferent government. Tadashi is sometimes in conflict with Harlock early in the series, but he would become a trusted part of Harlock's senior staff as the series progressed.

Kei Yuki (Nausicaa): A sixteen year-old human woman with blonde hair who was already part of Harlock's crew at the time Tadashi came aboard, Kei was rescued by Harlock when he raided a ship that was transporting her as a prisoner back to Earth following an assault by her upon a military officer who had belittled her father's death. There is the slightest intimation that she harbors a crush on Harlock (though this would be made more definite in the later SSX series), and initially seems inclined romantically towards Tadashi Daiba, though the two eventually settle into a platonic friendship. She is the Arcadia's chief navigator and science officer, and she is the second-youngest crew member after Tadashi.

Doctor Zero (Docteur Zero): The Arcadia's chief medical officer, he was formerly a doctor working in a blighted urban area in his hometown on Earth before joining the ship's crew. Like Yattaran, he also sometimes serves as comic relief when he argues with the ship's cook, Miss Masu, over his raids of Masu's kitchen to get his beverage of choice, sake. He has a pet cat called Mi-kun (named Miaou in the French version), which he adopted after the then-kitten's mother, which was injured and apparently dying, brought him to Zero's office, and was later brought with Zero on board the Arcadia. Doctor Zero's cat, Mi-kun also appears in Space Battleship Yamato as Doctor Sado's cat. Mi-kun also makes on-off appearances in several other anime such as Queen Millennia and Galaxy Express 999. Mi-kun is based on Matsumoto's own pet cat, the latest of which is named Mi-kun III.

Maji (Marisse): The chief engineer of the Arcadia, he married a woman who was later discovered to be a Mazone spy and later set out to find his daughter Midori, who had been kidnapped by the Mazone following the death of his wife, before joining Harlock and his crew.

Miss Masu (Suzanne): The ship's cook, Masu Tsunajima is a cantankerous spinster who is intolerant of her kitchen being raided by Doctor Zero for its alcoholic beverages, or by Zero's cat Mi-kun for whatever food he can get. She is also a comic relief character in the series, although her back story had her intended to marry her fiancé, Gozo Otowara ("Claude" in the French version), before circumstances prevented the wedding from taking place. Masu believed she had been stood up, until she learned the truth years later and reconciled with Gozo in a brief communication before Gozo was killed by the Mazone.

Tochiro Oyama: An old friend of Harlock's, he was the architect and chief builder of the Arcadia. He died of illness prior to the Arcadia's launch, but his consciousness survived within the ship's computer in a way which was left deliberately ambiguous; later versions of his death scene depicted his consciousness being downloaded into the ship's central computer from within Harlock's old ship, the Deathshadow. He is the father of a young girl named Mayu, whom Harlock later becomes a godfather and surrogate father to.

Queen Emeraldas (Esmeralda): A space pirate much like Harlock and another old friend and ally of his, she also bears a scar under her left eye, although this did not appear in the animated stories until the 1978 Galaxy Express 999 film. Two different explanations are given for the appearance of the scar, in the feature film Arcadia of My Youth and the little-seen fourth episode of the OVA series Queen Emeraldas. She is the mother of Mayu by Tochiro Oyama.

Professor Tsuyoshi Daiba (Professeur Valente): Tadashi Daiba's father, he was an astronomer and scientist. He was one of the few scientists who saw the imminent threat presented by the Mazone and he attempted to warn Earth's government officials of the hostile aliens' impending invasion, but the officials turned a deaf ear to Professor Daiba's warnings before he was killed by the Mazone. Tadashi, affected by his father's murder, joined the Arcadia crew to seek his revenge.

Mayu Oyama (Stellie): The young daughter of Tochiro Oyama and Queen Emeraldas (known as "Emeralda" in the original series), Harlock takes her under his wing following Tochiro's death and Emeraldas' departure, but she is unable to remain with Harlock due to Tochiro's wish that she remain on Earth, where she is placed in the care of a Catholic boarding school. She sometimes finds herself as a pawn in plots by the Earth government or by the Mazone to capture or kill Harlock. She plays an ocarina, given to her by Harlock as a birthday gift.

Commander Mitsuru Kiruta (Vilak): The leader of Earth's defense forces, he is Harlock's sworn enemy and will stop at nothing to try to eliminate him. Earlier in his life, Kiruta suffered the loss of his father, a government secret agent, during an ill-fated mission, followed by his mother and his younger sister Tami. Blaming the government for his family's death, he rose through the military ranks in order to effect change for the better and, like Professor Daiba before him, tried in vain to warn the Earth government of the Mazone invasion. Kiruta eventually puts his grudge with Harlock aside and sacrifices himself defending the Arcadia's main computer against Mazone troopers.

The Mazone is a race of intelligent plant-based beings in female humanoid form, with a few taking male form. As the race is asexual, their apparent gender is superficial rather than functional. Curiously, when a Mazone dies, its corpse spontaneously burns up until nothing is left but ashes.

Queen Lafresia (La reine Sylvidra): The reigning monarch of the Mazone, she is determined to lead her people to make Earth their new home following the destruction of their home planet. As cruel as she is beautiful, Lafresia was once a wise and kind ruler, but the situation of her people leads her to changes for the worse as the series progresses. She initially did not see Harlock as a major threat and even saved his life early on, but would later come to regret it. Faced with a plot to kidnap Mayu Oyama as a means to draw out Harlock, Lafresia resists at first, considering such a tactic as unethical at best, but she later gives in when faced with the threat of the Arcadia to the Mazone, which later causes discord among the alien invaders. During a final showdown against Harlock, it is eventually discovered that Lafresia is not Mazone, but human. After defeating her in their duel, Harlock allows Lafresia to leave Earth with her people and settle elsewhere.

Commander Cleo (Créa): The commanding officer of the Mazone Royal Armada and Queen Lafresia's chief confidant, she would come up with the plot to have Mayu kidnapped to get Harlock's attention and draw him into battle with the Mazone ruler. Cleo is later killed by Tadashi Daiba.

Commander Cassandra (Cathan): The ruthless commander of the Mazone Royal Armada's Third Quadrant, she is willing to use dishonorable tactics to attempt to win battles, including using the Mazone civilian fleet as shields against attacks by the Arcadia, a tactic devised following the destruction of a civilian ship she tried to protect, which Harlock erroneously believed was a Mazone command vessel. She is killed when Harlock lures the main force of her fleet away with his mobile repair dock, leaving Cassandra's ship open to undefended attack.

Shizuka Namino (Jasmine): A Mazone spy posing as the Earth Prime Minister's secretary. She attempts to assassinate the Prime Minister and set Kiruta up to take the blame for the deed, then springs Kiruta from prison and attempts to seek sanctuary on the Arcadia, with the intent of sabotaging the ship from the inside. Harlock discovers Shizuka's origins and subsequently grants her asylum on his ship after Queen Lafresia deserts her and later orders her killed. Unable to return to the Mazone caravan, Shizuka, showing admiration for Harlock's noble actions in taking her aboard, forces him to kill her rather than face certain death at the Mazones' hands. Harlock later tells Kiruta, who had feelings for Shizuka, that she had died a hero battling the Mazone, never revealing to him that she was a Mazone herself. Shizuka would later return in the 2002 Endless Odyssey OVA series as the holographic assistant of Professor Daiba (aside from having dark hair in that series instead of the red hair she had in the Space Pirate series, she looked the same in both shows, but she is intended to be different characters in the two series).

Aki: Mazone spy who later married Maji, then the chief engineer of the battleship Braves, and had a daughter named Midori. Maji's commanding officer, Captain Yamanaka, discovered Aki's origins and was forced to kill her in self-defense when Aki attacked him.

Lola (Erosa): Commander of a Mazone combat squad stationed at a base on Venus. She is captured by Tadashi and Yattaran, and Tadashi takes charge of questioning her when Lola uses hypnotic powers to appear to him as his late mother, Mitsuko Daiba, who was killed when Tadashi was six years old, to manipulate him into giving her information on the Arcadia and then releasing her. The Mazone later assault the Arcadia and Lola again faces Tadashi, who would then kill her.

Elza (Elsa): Mazone pilot. She kidnaps Yattaran to extract information about the Arcadia, then learns about Yattaran's ship model building hobby and his desire to have it taken seriously, and pretends to take an interest, persuading him to build a scale model of the Arcadia, with the ulterior motive of bringing the model to her commander for planning out a strike against the ship. The Arcadia arrives before the plan can be executed, and Elza is killed with a laser shot by Miime during Yattaran's rescue.

Teshusse (Tessia): A civilian scientist employed by the Mazone Royal Armada and an old friend of Queen Lafresia. Teshusse initially supported Lafresia's plan for the Mazone to emigrate from their dying home planet to Earth, but the long trip and the unforeseen circumstance of Harlock and the Arcadia defending Earth lead the scientist to reconsider Lafresia's plan and lock horns with Cassandra over the Mazone civilian populace and their well-being. Teshusse defects from the Royal Armada and takes a group of civilians with her to settle on the planet Beta, but they are all slaughtered by Cleo on orders from Lafresia, who feels betrayed by her friend's change of heart.

Lucia (Rubya): A nurse in the Mazone caravan, she later deserts the caravan after falling in love with Zorba, the son of Tokargan soldier Zoll. While tending to him after his ship is gunned down by the Arcadia, Lucia encourages Zorba to break away from enslavement by the Mazone, which he takes her up on. Lucia and Zorba are granted asylum by Harlock, but when the Arcadia comes under threat by the Mazone Royal Armada and Queen Lafresia demands their return, the couple chooses to leave the ship in order to spare it from destruction, only to be shot and killed by Mazone soldiers on Lafresia's orders.

Jorjibel: A former prisoner on the Arcadia who had been released after Miime, who saw the Mazone's resemblance to an old friend of hers, Fure, showed her compassion. The two meet again on Miime's homeworld of Jura, which has since been turned into a royal garden for Queen Lafresia following the planet's devastation by the Mazone, and Miime kills Jorjibel in a final duel.

Midori (Madelaine): The daughter of Mazone spy Aki, she was taken by the Mazone following her mother's death, leading to Maji (who assumed her to also be his daughter, although the Mazone reproduce asexually) to search for her before he joined the Arcadia crew. Maji eventually finds her, but she is now a fully-grown Mazone soldier going by the name Patoras. Maji, hurt by Midori/Patoras' claim that she never really loved her "father" but merely used him as part of her mission, is forced to destroy her ship to protect the Arcadia.

Space Pirate Captain Harlock

1. The Jolly Roger of Space
2. A Message From the Unknown
3. A Lady Who Burns Like Paper
4. Under the Flag of Freedom
5. To the Shores of Distant Stars
6. The Phantom Mazone
7. The Pyramid on the Sea Floor
8. The Queen's Space Fleet
9. The Fearsome Plant Lifeform
10. Approaching the Mystery Planet
11. When Lola Shines Golden
12. Mother, Be Eternal
13. Witch Castle in the Sea of Death
14. The Sphinx's Gravestone
15. Unrequited Love! The North Pole Aurora
16. Kei: A Song of Farewell
17. The Skeletal Hero
18. The Evil Shadow Soldiers
19. Queen Lafresia's Trap
20. The Dead Planet Jura
21. Gohrum! The Tragic Soldier
22. Space Graveyard Deathshadow
23. Yattaran: Song of the Model Lover
24. The Shooting Star of Virgin Love
25. Doctor Zero and Mi
26. The Long Journey From Afar
27. The Will of the Arcadia
28. The Ulysses Nebula
29. Life-and-Death Struggle on the Rainbow Planet
30. My Friend, My Youth
31. The Arcadia's Secret History
32. Call of the Star Flute
33. The Lone Man's Charge
34. The Galactic Lullaby
35. The Beautiful Mystery Woman
36. The Eve of the Showdown
37. Tears on a Red Sweater
38. Farewell, Mayu
39. Courage: The Death of the Commander
40. And Then the Angels Sang
41. Duel! The Queen Versus Harlock
42. Farewell, Cosmic Corsair

These are the French-language episode titles (original French listed in parentheses).

1. The Black Sphere (Le pavillon noir)
2. Squadron of the Void (L'escadrille du néant)
3. Flaming Torches (Les torches embrasées)
4. Under Freedom's Flag (Sous la bannière de la liberté)
5. Baptism of the Void (Le baptême du néant)
6. The Den (Le repaire)
7. The Engulfed Tomb (Le tombeau englouti)
8. The Royal Armada (L'armada royale)
9. The Plant People (Les humanoïdes végétales)
10. Planet of Love (La planète de l'amour)
11. Castaway Souls (Les naufrageuses d'âmes)
12. Oedipus Complex (Le complexe d'Œdipe)
13. The Remains of Time (Une micro-poussière du temps)
14. Sand Trap (Le piège des sables)
15. Defended Love (L'amour défendu)
16. The Sacred Islet (L'îlot sacré)
17. When Death Takes the Helm (Quand la mort tient la barre)
18. Shadow of Memory (L'ombre du souvenir)
19. The Queen's Trap (Le traquenard de la reine)
20. Planet of the Wildflowers (La planète des fleurs sauvages)
21. Testament (Le testament)
22. Planet of Nothingness (La planète du néant)
23. Almost a Traitor (Presque traître malgré lui)
24. Shooting Star of Love (L'étoile filante de l'amour)
25. The Lost Cat (Le chat perdu)
26. Return Voyage (Le voyage de retour)
27. Power of the Arcadia (Le pouvoir de L'Atlantis)
28. Confines of the Nebula (Aux confins de la nébuleuse)
29. Battle of the Rainbow Planet (La bataille de la planète de l'arc-en-ciel)
30. Childhood Friends (Mon ami d'enfance)
31. Building the Arcadia (La construction de L'Atlantis)
32. Trap on the Planet of Storms (Le piège de la planète des tempêtes)
33. One Man's Sacrifice (Le sacrifice d'un homme)
34. Salvage (Le sauvetage)
35. Mysterious Escape (La mystérieuse évasion)
36. Wolf in the Sheep's Pen (Le loup dans la bergerie)
37. The Sacrifice (Le sacrifice)
38. Departure for Death (Le départ pour la mort)
39. Kiruta's Revenge (La revanche de Vilak)
40. And the Angels See Themselves Singing (Et les anges se mirent à chanter)
41. Harlock vs. Lafresia: Duel to the Death (Albator contre Sylvidra: le duel à mort)
42. Goodbye, Space Pirate (Au revoir, corsaire de l'espace)

Endless Road SSX

1. Arcadia, Blast Off!
2. Lady Captain Leotard
3. Lullaby of the Battlezone
4. The Cosmic Treasure Island Legend
5. Girl of the Ghost Ship "Sell"
6. It Appears! The Great Space Fortress
7. X=Emeraldas
8. Mother and Son of the Steel Planet
9. Who's the Spy?
10. Snowfall in the Sea of Stars
11. The Sound of Freedom's Bell Rings Out
12. The Heart's Control, the Heart's Vessel
13. Riddle of the Golden Goddess
14. Riddle of the Glowing UFO
15. Eighty Minutes in the Sea of Death
16. The Cat Taken Aboard in Space
17. The Great Sandstorm: Communication Impossible
18. The Deliverance of Emeraldas
19. The Mystery of Planet Maicon
20. The Gate of Arcadia: Will it Open?
21. Fight on, Tochiro, Until Life's End
22. Return to the Mother World Earth: Be Eternal, Cosmic Hero

The ever-changing backstory

Any continuity within the works of Leiji Matsumoto depends on two things: in what period of his career from which the story comes and Matsumoto-san's mindset at the time. This is often explained by his personal writing philosophy of toki no wa, which can be loosely translated as "the infinite possibilities of space and time." This in part explains the seeming contradictions with the stories involving Captain Harlock and his friends. There is, however, a simpler explanation to the confusion. Captain Harlock and his world have been developed and occasionally re-developed as Matsumoto changes his conceptions about them. Captain Harlock has come a long way from his days as the dark, brooding, eye-patch bearing man of Matsumoto's early manga stories.

For example, the original Captain Harlock television series was conceived as an independent, standalone work. Captain Harlock, the roguish space pirate (and pointedly celibate per the tale), displays the full range of human emotions at one point or another during the course of the story. When Captain Harlock made the transition to the big screen for My Youth in Arcadia, as well as the two Galaxy Express 999 feature films and the subsequent Endless Road SSX television series, his back story was significantly changed. He was a military officer before he became a space pirate, the circumstances of which were related in My Youth in Arcadia. This was also the only on-screen incarnation in which Harlock was married (per the early manga stories). The tragic death of his wife Maya at the hands of Earth's alien conquerors plays a large part in turning Harlock from unconquered space captain to brooding space pirate. The backgrounds of other major characters, such as fellow pirate Emeraldas and best friend Tochrio Oyama, were also altered in accordance with Harlock's new backstory.

This incarnation of Captain Harlock also brought about a new green-painted Arcadia, replacing his blue one of old. According to published reports it was developed in cooperation with Studio Nue at the request of the film studio involved so they would not have to pay licensing fees for use of the design from the original television series. Captain Harlock used a completely different ship in his early manga stories, the Death Shadow, which makes a cameo appearance as his last military command in the feature film My Youth in Arcadia, as well as in the Galaxy Express 999 features, where it is seen as the rusted remnants of a ship sitting at the base of Mt. Gun Frontier on planet Heavy Meldar. The 1983 SSX series attempted, with some degree of success, to bridge this gap by showing the final fate of the ship, after it is used by the Illumidas invaders as a tool to destroy the Arcadia, and subsequently crashes on Heavy Meldar. Tochiro Oyama eventually returns to the derelict ship near the end of the series as his death is imminent, for a somewhat re-imagined version of his death scene in the 1979 Galaxy Express 999 film.

When Matsumoto's works again became popular in the 1990s and he began to pen the original manga for Harlock Saga, he again changed the backdrop of Harlock and his universe. This time it was based in part on Wagner's Ring cycle and required significant reworking of almost every one of Matsumoto's stock stable of characters in order to make the story fit. With Harlock Saga, the continuity established in the "classic" Harlock anime movies (and Endless Road SSX) was completely pitched out the window and rewritten from scratch. Harlock's character reverts to that in the original 5-volume manga from which the TV series was derived. He has never been married; he has always been a space pirate and always will be. He is only a teenager when the Earth is conquered; it is his father Great Harlock who first takes up the "fight for freedom" touched upon in My Youth in Arcadia (albeit under different circumstances). The Deathshadow was his father Great Harlock's ship. In fact Great Harlock had two Deathshadows of two different designs, the older of which just so happened to look like the original Arcadia from the original Captain Harlock television series (but this time in green instead of blue!). This one Captain Harlock inherits from his father after Great Harlock's death as depicted in the Harlock Saga manga; and so on, and so on. While the basic concepts of Captain Harlock and his world remain the same, the backstory and timeline have changed yet again.

The "revival" backstory from the Harlock Saga manga and anime is the one Matsumoto has been using for Harlock and company in every story since, from Maetel Legend through Cosmo Warrior Zero and Captain Harlock: Endless Odyssey. It even plays its part in his latest animated effort, Space Symphony Maetel, which tries (and succeeds to some degree) in resolving part of the problems created by multiple contradictory background stories for Captain Harlock and his friends. The apparent contradictions between the old "classic" tales and the newer "revival" ones continue to confuse many Captain Harlock fans.

Controversy

Matsumoto initially cancelled the Endless Odyssey series due to Director Rin Taro's use of the Star of David as the demonic aliens' symbol. Matsumoto was reportedly horrified and made the following statement: "My blood was frozen when I found the Star of David symbol appeared. I believe you cannot debase any religion...I bear that in mind whenever I make stories. I cannot allow my characters to appear in any anime that tramples on my philosophy."

While Matsumoto eventually allowed the series to air with the necessary corrections being made, he has firmly distanced himself from the project. Each episode now carries a disclaimer of the production being a "Rin Taro" vision of Matsumoto characters and concepts.

Other appearances

Captain Harlock, or characters indistinguishable from him, have made frequent "unbilled cameo" appearances in many other works of Leiji Matsumoto, including Galaxy Express 999, Queen Emeraldas, and Galaxy Railways (as the joker in a deck of playing cards).

Captain Harlock was originally intended to appear in Space Battleship Yamato during their return voyage from Iscandar. The idea was dropped for a number of reasons which probably included the fact that the rights to Yamato were at the time owned by executive producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki. This idea evolved into simply finding Mamoru Kodai (Alex Wildstar) alive on Iscandar. The idea was still used later in a Yamato manga by Matsumoto where Yamato later encounter's Mamoru who assumed the false identity of Captain Harlock (as revealed when hero Susumu Kodai finds a copy of a Captain Harlock manga among his supposedly dead brother's belongings).

Character prototypes for Captain Harlock go back as early as 1953 when Leiji Matsumoto, as a teenager, drew his first acclaimed manga "Adventures of a Honeybee". The character was originally called Captain Kingston and over the years underwent slight revisions until around 1966 when he emerged as the Heidelberg-scarred, one eyed, cloaked pirate with which he is mostly associated.

Studio Nue's take on the Arcadia makes a brief cameo at the end of the original Super Dimensional Century Orguss television series during middle of the show's climatic battle sequence (episode 34); and also in a couple of shots during the battle in episode 27 of The Super Dimension Fortress Macross. The cameos were an homage to Matsumoto, who was then in the heyday of his "movie" period (the 1980s).

In Kia Asamiya's Space Battleship Nadesico manga, there is a comic one of the main characters reads called Space Vagrant, in which a character called Captain Government features (who pilots the Death Skull mech). The Captain and his ship (The Space Vagrant) resemble Harlock and the Arcadia closely, which is most likely intended as a homage by Asamiya.

There is a rather surprising parody of Captain Harlock as the center of the episode "Space Booty" in the cartoon series Megas XLR as well. The legendary establishing shot of Harlock's ship, the Arcadia, is directly ripped in every detail in the Megas episode. Although the Harlock rip-off and the parody of the Arcadia are named differently, and the Harlock parody is considerably different in personality to the real Harlock; it is impossible for those familiar with the material to not notice.

In a storyline in Marvel Comics Star Wars series, the character Lando Calrissian adopted the alias of "Captain Drebble" for a mission, with his disguised appearance strongly resembling that of Harlock, prompting many surprised letters from anime-loving readers.

In the anime, Lost Universe, Kain Blueriver, makes several reference to Captain Harlock.

An English dubbed version of a handful of the 1978 Captain Harlock TV episodes saw limited release in the U.S. (1981), mostly on cable and produced by Ziv international. In all, four episodes of the series were dubbed, with the initial two episodes produced (episodes 1 and 9) appearing faithful to the original story. Several names were changed, such as the Mazones becoming Zetons and Yattaran becoming Youngblood. Two further episodes (2 & 3) were given a far less serious dub by Ziv, and one of the most highly joked elements in this adaptation was the change of Tadashi Daiba's name to Tommy Hairball. These episodes were subsequently acquired and redistributed in the early 1990s by Malibu Graphics, who advertised the episodes as "never-before-seen," and "completely unedited," neither of which were the case. The tapes were also mastered badly, with music often drowning out dialogue and the audio and video out of sync by as much as five seconds at times.

The 1978 series was dubbed again in 1985, this time by Harmony Gold USA (of Robotech fame) and known as Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years. Using the same style as Robotech to meet TV syndication's 65+ episode requirement, the Harlock series was connected with another Matsumoto series, Queen Millennia to tell an intertwining story (Harmony Gold had originally planned to combine the original series with the 1982 Harlock series, Endless Orbit SSX, but they had to change their plans upon learning of the cost of obtaining the American rights to the second show [2]). Unlike Robotech, however, episodes were made by inter-cutting whole scenes from each of the component series in each episode, with the Queen Millennia story not actually reaching its original conclusion. The story as it unfolded was very confused and difficult to follow, and plot points would often change from one episode to the next with no apparent explanation. Never seeing wide release, this version is not too well known, even to hardcore fans. Considering Matsumoto fans' intensely fierce attitude towards preserving the artistic integrity of his work, that is probably for the better.

In 1979, a subtitled version of the original series appeared on Japanese language UHF broadcast channels in Hawaii, New York City and San Francisco. This version was shown once and the tapes apparently destroyed.

Unofficial

As an unedited version of the 1978 series has never been released officially in English, the entire original series was fansubbed on VHS by the amateur film group Corn Pone Flicks, while digital fansubs of several episodes have been made subsequently.

A fan edit of the Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years series has also been produced, which has separated the component Captain Harlock and Queen Millennia series back into two separate productions, and removed all of the added dialogue that linked the two unrelated series.

In France and Quebec, "Captain Harlock" is known as Albator, to avoid confusion with the completely different character Captain Haddock, and is very popular there. The name "Albator" was first proposed by Eric Charden, who designed the French version of the 1978 series introductory song, in memory of one of his friends, whose family name was Balator, sometimes nick-named The Albatross and having a psychological profile close to Harlock's.

Albator debuted in Canada on Radio-Canada Télévision (where the show recently played once again) in 1979, and in France on Antenne 2 in 1980. Since that massive airplay on French and Canadian TV, Captain Harlock/Albator has become a cult hero for an entire generation of French-speaking people, so that French people often use the expression "Génération Albator". The whole soundtrack has been re-recorded for the French version. The Tokyo Orchestra was replaced by intimist but futurist synthesisers performed by the French musician Eric Charden. And, last but not least, the French main theme of Albator 78 - Les Sylvidres was anthemic and a big hit on French radio. Both complete series Space Pirate (1978) and Endless Orbit SSX (1982) have been dubbed into French (respectively known in French as Albator 78 - Les Sylvidres [Sylvidres being the French name for the Mazone] and Albator 84 - L'Atlantis de ma jeunesse) as has the My Youth in Arcadia Movie.

In Latin America, a dubbed version was widely shown in the early 1980s. In this version, Harlock was renamed as "Capitán Raymar". The series shown there were the complete uncensored original series. Another complete version dubbed in Spain also exists, and retains the original character names.

List of Titles

* Uchū Kaizoku Captain Harlock (Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Albator 78, Die Abenteuer des fantastischen Weltraumpiraten Captain Harlock) (TV series) (42 episodes, 1978-1979)
* Uchū Kaizoku Captain Harlock: Arcadia-gō no Nazo (Space Pirate Captain Harlock: Riddle of the Arcadia, Harlock Movie 1) (featurette) (34 min, 1978)

* Waga Seishun no Arcadia (Arcadia of my Youth, My Youth in Arcadia, Harlock Movie 2, Vengeance of the Space Pirate) (movie) ( 135 min, 1982 )
* Kaizoku Kikan Arcadia (Pirate Flagship Arcadia) (pilot) (4 minutes, 1982)
* Waga Seishun no Arcadia: Mugen Kidō SSX (My Youth in Arcadia: Endless Road SSX, Albator 84, Arcadia of My Youth: Infinite Course SSX, Harlock 84) (TV series) (22 episodes, 1982-1983)
* Queen Emeraldas (OAV) (4x 30min episodes, 1999)
* Nibelung no Yubiwa (pilot) (4 minutes, 1999)
* Harlock Saga Nibelung no Yubiwa Rhine no Ōgon (Harlock Saga: The Ring of the Nibelung) (OAV) (6x 30min episodes, 1999)
* Space Pirate Captain Herlock: The Endless Odyssey/Outside Legend (OAV) (13x 30min episodes, 2002)

Harlock vs. Herlock

Both "Harlock" and "Herlock" are common translations of the Japanese name into Roman script and both have been used in both Japan and America. "Harlock" has been used more often, but some recent American releases have used the "Herlock" spelling. The OAV series released in 2002-2003 in Japan (and also in America by Geneon) is titled as SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HERLOCK, OUTSIDE LEGEND The endless odyssey.

The word "harlock" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon "hoarlocke," meaning "one with gray hair." It is interesing to note that Captain Harlock actually had white hair in at least one of his early manga appearances.

While there remains some speculation as to the name, it is commonly accepted by fans that Captain Harlock bears the traditional name of his male ancestors. The first Phantom F. Harlock was a World War I German flying ace who was also a baron with an estate near Heilgenstadt. This is the traditional home of the Harlock family and is located in the German province of Thuringen. This man is the same Phantom F. Harlock featured in the Owen Stanley Mountans scene that opens the feature film My Youth in Arcadia. World War I flying ace, 1920s air pirate, and famed "aerial explorer" were but three of the hats that the first "Captain Harlock" wore.

What the F.in Phantom F. Harlock stands for has never been explained. The most likely answer is Frank or some other Germanic form of the same name. Franklin Harlock Jr., a relative of the above-named Phantom F. Harlock, was a gunslinger who played a major role in the Gun Frontier stories of Leiji Matsumoto. He also happens to bear more than a passing likeness to other notable members of the Harlock family. Franklin Harlock's age would have made him a close ancestor, uncle, or distant cousin of Phantom F. Harlock I.

There are three other men named "Captain Phantom F. Harlock" that are of note in the Harlock family tree. The first, of course, is everybody's favorite space pirate. He was the 99th and last to bear the traditional family name. The second was the Captain Harlock that came so close to appearing on-screen in the very first Star Blazers (Uchuu Senkan Yamato) series. Circumstances conspired against this happening; however, he too is part of the Phantom F. Harlock tradition. The third is Captain Phantom F. Harlock II, son of the first Captain Harlock and a World War II ace in his own right. The end of his flying career is depicted in the World War II flashback sequence in the feature film My Youth in Arcadia.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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