Queen Emeraldas (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, November 23, 1999
Release Date: Tuesday, November 23, 1999



What They Say
In a far distant future a would-be master race seeks to dominate the galaxy. Against these merciless Afressians, mankind has just one hope: the mysterious female warrior know as Emeraldas. Driven by the tortured memory of her lost love, Emeraldas sails the Sea of Stars like a privateer of old, blasting forces of tyranny into atoms with an amazing array of futuristic weapons.
But when the devious Commander Eldomain kidnaps a group of innocent civilians, Emeraldas is drawn into a deadly trap from which even she may not escape! State of the art computer animation techniques bring Leiji Matsumoto’s (Star Blazers) most famous creation of stunning life in Queen Emeraldas!

The Review!
Queen Emeraldas contains three audio tracks; English, Japanese and French in that order. Overall, all three tracks sound very good and in and of themselves are not a problem. There is a problem however, at least on my Pioneer player. Chapter 5, which is the beginning of the second episode, the French and Japanese tracks are reversed for the entire chapter. While playing this chapter with audio track 2 (Japanese), you will hear French. While playing it in audio track 3 (French), you will hear Japanese. When it hits chapter 6, each track plays what it's supposed. This to me is not a huge issue. It would be a recall worthy issue if chapter 5 had French on both the French and Japanese tracks. But it's definitely something to be aware of and to see if it's player specific or not.

The video throughout looks very good with only a few noteworthy moments of line noise during some particularly tough scenes. Some of the CG scenes look very stilted and shimmer, but this is more in how the source material is than the encoding as far as I can tell. Colors are vibrant when appropriate (such as when we first see Emeraldas and her cloak flows open) while the dark grungy western town scenes look just as well done in their own way.

The packaging has a lovely striking cover image of Emeraldas that I just love. The cover is definitely indicative of the kinds of character designs within. Some people detest them while others love them. Having seen some Starblazers before and being a big fan of the My Youth in Arcadia movie, it was definitely great to finally see some of these designs on DVD. The back cover contains a good amount of story description and artwork as well as a few screen captures that look well done. The color insert has what I believe is the cover to the first Japanese laserdisc release, which was what got me interested in this show when I saw it many a moon ago. As with their previous releases, there are still no region coding listed on the cover itself. Shame.

Similar to Sakura Wars, Queen Emeraldas' menus are well done and not over the top. The main menu plays a bit of the opening song and various pieces play in the sub menus. Selections are access quickly and accurately.

The only thing that really annoyed me with this release is the complete lack of Japanese credits anywhere on the disc that I could find in regards to voice actors. Considering the extra trick that went into Sakura Wars, I figured it would at the least be on a menu if nowhere else.

As for the show itself, well, there's a die hard legion of fans out there that just love anything Harlock related, and Queen Emeraldas is definitely one of the key parts of that mythos. The two episodes on the disc is part of a hopefully growing number of OVA episodes to be produced (I believe two more are already completed or nearing completion at the time of this review) and will hopefully be licensed over here and brought out.

The thrust of the opening two episodes is focusing on young Hiroshi and his journey away from Earth to a western style town in an effort to become a strong independent man. Along the way he becomes rescued by Emeraldas, who is keeping tapes on the Afressians who are foolishly flying the skull and crossbones of her and Harlock's ship.

Entanglements continue with a large scale fleet battle to please any Legend of Galactic Heroes fan. Though a bit on the happy ending side, this show does have several sequences of death. Though mostly side characters and grunts that get the shaft, it's done in a way that a lot of Harlock fans may not be used to with things having been edited.

There may be some confusion among newer fans of what's going on (you may want to check out the Starblazers primer) as there is a good twenty years of history to this show in various forms. While this won't be the highlight of my collection, it's definitely a release that I'll come back to and revisit once in awhile, especially as more of the Harlock/Emeraldas mythos comes to DVD.

Features
English Language,Japanese Language,French Language,English Subtitles,Spanish Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: N/A
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 60
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Queen Emeraldas