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Encyclopedia > Space Pirate Captain Harlock
Captain Harlock in Galaxy Express 999 the movie

Captain Harlock (宇宙海賊キャプテンハーロック Uchū Kaizoku Kyaputen Hārokku, Space Pirate Captain Harlock (also transliterated Captain Herlock)) is the main character of many animated Japanese series and manga by writer/artist Leiji Matsumoto. Image File history File links 'Captain_Harlock'_screenshot_from_Galaxy_Express_999_the_movie. ... Image File history File links 'Captain_Harlock'_screenshot_from_Galaxy_Express_999_the_movie. ... An animated series or cartoon series is a television series produced by means of animation. ... For other uses, see Manga (disambiguation). ... Leiji Matsumoto (松本 零士 Matsumoto Reiji) is a well-known creator of several anime and manga series. ...

The first series featuring Harlock in the lead role was 1978's Captain Harlock, but the first appearance of the one-eyed, scarred-face space pirate with a laser-rapier in one hand, a glass of wine in the other and a great cloak billowing behind was in some of Matsumoto's manga books as early as 1966. The very first appearance of the archetype that would lead to Harlock 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. Fans of Harlock spend a great deal of time debating how various series connect or not, and which version of the Pirate is the "real" one. 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... 1953 (MCMLIII) is a common year starting on Thursday. ...


Summary of Storylines

The basic story of Harlock has been told many times over and in many different media. Though there are slight variations each time, 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 outright despair, often due to defeat and subjugation by an alien invader (thus invoking strong parallels to post-World War Two Japan). Denying defeat and rising against the general apathy, the scarred moody space pirate Captain Harlock leads an outlaw crew aboard the cyborg starship Arcadia in both daring raids against Earth's oppressors and the resignation of his countrymen to their fallen status. Even though they have defeated Earth and devastated its peoples, the invaders are often presented in a sympathetic light, having done as they have not without good reason. German soldiers at the Battle of Stalingrad World War II was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world, involving the great majority of the worlds nations, being fought simultaneously in several major theatres, and costing tens of millions of lives. ...

In the original television series, Harlock's crew included an alcohol imbibing alien, the mysterious woman Miime, a robot and a drunken doctor. The series presented a story-arc in which a huge black metal sphere impacts the Earth capital city 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 that explored our world in the mythic past and are now back to grab it. Only Harlock and his mismatched crew have the know-how and the spark to face the enemy. The adjective Mayan is sometimes used to refer to the indigenous peoples of parts of Mexico and Central America, their culture, language, and history. ... Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884 – January 24, 1920) was a Jewish Italian painter and sculptor. ...

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. As a result, a heated debate about "who stole what" is still raging among the fans. Space opera is a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic adventure, interstellar travel, and space battles where the main storyline is centered around interstellar conflict and character drama. ... The cover of the 2004 DVD widescreen release of the modified original Star Wars Trilogy. ... For other uses, see Manga (disambiguation). ...

In 1982 the character was reprised in the animated feature film My Youth in Arcadia, designed as a prequel to the 1979 series (though in terms of continuity, it is many ways an alternate telling of the same story). The movie was followed by 22 episodes of the Mugen Kido SSX series, again set before or in an alternate version of the original 1979 storyline and describing the events leading to Harlock's exile from Earth. Both film and second series feature a newly designed starship and lack most of the original crew, but are noteworthy for the presence of Queen Emeraldas, a female counterpart to Harlock originally appearing in a series of Matsumoto-penned graphic novels (manga). 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

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. Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 in Leipzig – February 13, 1883 in Venice) was an influential German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as he later came to call them). ... In Norse mythology, Sigurd (also Siegfried) was a legendary hero, as well as the central character in the Volsunga saga, Nibelungenlied and Richard Wagners opera, Siegfried, which see for more details. ...

Gun Frontier was a 13 episode series from 2001. As a change of pace, it was a mostly comedy adventure series which featured W. Franklin Harlock Jr. and Tochiro Ōyama as they bumbled their way through the wild west 1880s in search of a lost tribe of Japanese immigrants. 2001: A Space Odyssey. ...

In the 1990's, 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. 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. As usual, the continuity is extremely shaky, this is treated as yet another possible alternate universe.

Captain Herlock: The Endless Odyssey OVA is something of a sequel and a remake 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 as resummoned everyone (most 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 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, hence the remake part. Many fans of Matsumoto have been completely perplexed by this, as reintroducing Tadashi was generally felt to be unnecessary. Although it isn't the first time Tadashi has been introduced again, many had looked forward to a reunion of the old crew including the original Tadashi. 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. It is also the first time the spelling of "Herlock" has been officially set in the title. While Harlock and co 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. A human ovum An ovum (loosely, egg or egg cell) is a female sex cell or gamete. ...

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.

Other appearances

Captain Harlock, or characters indistinquishable from him, have made frequent "unbilled cameo" appearances in many other works of Leiji Matsumoto, including Galaxy Express 999 and Queen Emeraldas. Galaxy Express 999 (銀河鉄道999; Ginga Tetsudō Three-Nine) is a manga written and drawn by Leiji Matsumoto, as well as various anime films and TV series based on it. ... Queen Emeraldas is a four-episode Japanese anime OAV that continues the Harlock Saga created by Leiji Matsumoto. ...

Continuity seems to be no great concern of Leiji Matsumoto and many of the stories featuring Harlock don't seem as though they could occur in the same timeline. For example, the origin story given in My Youth in Arcadia contradicts the origins given in flashback episodes of the original Captain Harlock series. There are also at least three conflicting accounts of the death of a major supporting character. Most notable is what seems to be the presence of at least two different Arcadia designs, one blue (seen only in 1978s Space Pirate Captain Harlock) and the other green. This has never been explained in the context of the story and we are left to assume that there was only ever one pirate ship Arcadia. It would seem that the only two Harlock works that chronologically fit together seamlessly are My Youth in Arcadia and Endless Orbit SSX.

Captain Harlock was originally intended to appear in Space Battle Ship 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.

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. Megas XLR is an American animated series that aired on the Toonami block on Cartoon Network and is produced by Cartoon Network Studios. ...

Foreign Releases

An English dubbed version of a handful of the 1978 Captain Harlock TV episodes saw limited release in the U.S. (around 1981), mostly on cable and produced by Ziv international. What little was seen appeared faithful to the original story. Several names were changed such as the Mazones becoming Zetons. One of the most highly joked elements in this adaptation was the change of Tadashi Daiba's name to Tommy Hairball Dexter. This series was dubbed again in 1985, this time by Harmony Gold USA (of Robotech fame). Using the same style as Robotech to meet TV syndication's 65+ episode requirement, the Harlock Series was connected with another Matsumoto series, Queen Millenia to tell an intertwining story. It was released as Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years. Never seeing wide release, this version is not too well known, even to hardcore fans. And 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 and New York City. This version was shown once and the tapes apparently destroyed.

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. Since a massive airplay on the French and Canadian TV (Antenne 2 and Radio-Canada) in 1979, 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, the last but not the least, the French main theme of "Albator 78 - Les Sylvidres" was anthemic and a big hit on the French radios. Both complete series Space Pirate (1978) and Endless Orbit SSX (1982) have been dubbed into French as has the My Youth in Arcadia Movie (respectively known in French as "Albator 78 - Les Sylvidres" and "Albator 84 - L'Atlantis de ma jeunesse". Belgian writer-artist Georges Remi, a. ...

In Latin America, a dubbed version was widely shown in the early 1980s. In this version, Harlock was renamed as "Capitan 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 [宇宙海賊キャプテンハーロック] (Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Albator78, Die Abenteuer des fantastischen Weltraumpiraten Captain Harlock) (TV series) (42 episodes, 1978-1979)
  • Waga Seishun no Arcadia Mugen Kidō SSX [わが青春のアルカディア無限軌道SSX] (Albator 84, Arcadia of My Youth: Infinite Course SSX, Harlock 84, My Youth in Arcadia: Endless Road SSX) (TV series) (22 episodes, 1982-1983)
  • Uchū Kaizoku Captain Harlock Arcadia-gō no Nazo [宇宙海賊キャプテンハーロック アルカディア号の謎] (Harlock Movie 1, Space Pirate Captain Harlock: Riddle of the Arcadia Episode) (movie) (34 min, 1978)
  • Kaizoku Kikan Arcadia [海賊旗艦アルカディア] (pilot) (4 minutes, 1982)
  • Nibelung no Yubiwa [ニーベルングの指輪] (pilot) (4 minutes, 1999)
  • Waga Seishun no Arcadia (Harlock Movie 2, Arcadia of my Youth, My Youth in Arcadia)[わが青春のアルカディア] (movie) ( 135 min, 1982 )
  • Queen Emeraldas (OAV) (4x 30min episodes, 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, most notably in Geneon's release of Space Pirate Captain Herlock: Endless Odyssey. Direct transliteration of the Japanese Katakana name would be haarokku. Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Katakana (片仮名) are a Japanese syllabary, one of the four Japanese writing systems. ...

Harlock's full name

There is some speculation [1] as to whether Captain Harlock bears the same name as his 20th century ancestors (both were named Phantom F. Harlock). However, it is unknown if Captain Harlock carries this name as well.



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