Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: A+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Central Park Media
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 156
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Harlock Saga
By Mark McPherson
February 16, 2002
Release Date: May 08, 2001
Having never seen Arcadia of my Youth or any other Leiji Matsumoto saga outside of Galaxy Express 999, I wasn't sure to expect from this title when I bought it. To my shock, it turned out to be one of my favorite anime titles yet.
The video content was done very well. No fragments or rainbows from what I saw, except for a tad of line noise during some scenes. It really only bothered me during the part when the huge Death-Star-like ship sucks up the Arcadia. Other than that, it was perfect.
I've been making a habit of watching English dubbed language first and coming back to the Japanese later. Thank goodness I broke it on this one. The Japanese language is much better than the English cast. I was surprised that Kouichi Yamedera (most well known for his voice of Spike from Cowboy Bebop) played the voices of both Harlock AND Tochiru. Both languages sound crisp and clear with no distractions.
Packaging was done with great pride. On the back, it lists some of Leiji Matsumoto's other works. Although I do wish they would have put Space Battleship Yamato instead of Star Blazers, but I suppose it helps for people who grew up with it. I really love how U.S. Manga always lists all the extras on the back including DVD-ROM extras and requirements.
If there is one reason to buy this disc, it's got to be the extras. First, you get a 90-minute character sketch video, which I thought was very nice indeed. More over, there is the Behind the Scenes video of the English cast. I was surprised to see that many of the voice actors worked on other titles such as Slayers, Irresponsible Captain Tylor and even a view that worked on Pokemon. Can you believe that the woman who does the voice of Emereldas also does the voice of Ash? Or, if you don't much approve of the English cast, there are four text interviews and one of them is with Kouichi Yamedera! There are bunch of useful tidbits in these interviews like how Kouichi is also known on Japanese radio as Bazooka Yamedera. Cap off the extras with text less opening and closings, character bios and previews.
Harlock is probably one of the more popular of the Leiji Matsumoto anime sagas. This saga take place when Tochiru was still alive and not yet the soul of the Arcadia. To keep cautious, I watched the Harlock Saga in small doses. Right from the first episode, you know you're in for a treat. And although Harlock doesn't actually appear until the end of the episode, you get to see an asteroid and a planet blow up all in the same episode! I think there is a lot of reference in here to Star Trek and Star Wars. From the Death-Star-like battleship right down to the two brothers who built something which looks like it's right out of Star Trek. The music is very beautiful orchestral work with a few scores that you'll easily recognize. The animation is like that of Queen Emereldas. Added computer graphics, but still true to classic 2D animation. Some of the character will look extremely beautiful (Harlock, Meeme, Emereldas) while some look downright cartoon-like (First Mate, Tochiru). Overall, the Harlock saga is a must have. Space pirates, gold, great music, gods, skulls and all around science fiction. What more could you ask for in an anime title?
Oritron 2001 DVD100; RCA 19-inch television