From Venus to Earth and the Sphinx of Egypt, Harlock continues to get around.
What They Say:
2977 A.D. Mankind has developed the technology to head into space. They've created robots to cultivate foodstuffs on other planets and live in an age of unprecedented gluttony. Mankind receives all its food from the government and is kept in check by the government’s use of hypnotic signals emitted from the television. So even high-ranking government officials have tossed their duties to the road and live a life of horse-racing and other indulgences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As Captain Harlock progresses, it’s slowly expanding the scope of what the Mazone are all about and how long they’ve been around. The positive side of it is that we get to travel a fair amount within the solar system to different places, but the down side is that it props up the Mazone too much and makes you wonder why they haven’t dealt with things on Earth long before now. When you discover that they’ve been here over five thousand years ago, wouldn’t it have been the smarter thing to deal with humanity back then instead of now? Not that the humanity of this future is all that different, based on what we’ve seen so far.
The first couple of episodes of this run deals rather heavily with Daiba and the thirst for revenge that he has. When the Arcadia ends up dealing with a Mazone ship that’s been crippled, they bring on board the surviving captain there, a Mazone woman named Lulu. Unlike other Mazone, she’s not exploding rather than be captured, so Harlock is wary but uses Daiba to his advantage by assigning him to interrogating her. This gives him a chance to possibly get past his thirst a bit, but in some ways it really makes it worse as Lola uses hypnosis to really screw with his head. This causes him to be a less cautious with her and when Lola eventually does escape, she knows more about the ship now which puts them all in danger. Harlocks attempts to refocus Daiba don’t seem to go all that well, but it does show a slight change in direction for him when they come across Lola again and Daiba really has to deal with it.
A lot of the focus of this run of episodes deals with traps being laid for Harlock and his crew on the Arcadia, both from the Mazone and from Earth which is amusing and sad. The Mazone side tries using various techniques to subdue him, including an intriguing piece with a Mazone under the Sargasso Sea that is seemingly able to manipulate time ala the Urashimo’s Turtle concept. Claiming to have waited there forever for him, Harlock falls into the trap all too easily. Another story involves the quite inept Commander Kiruta – the commander of the entirety of the Earth forces – taking young Mayu out into the desert of Egypt on a camel so he can lure Harlock and his ship to a specific spot. Once he gets Harlock out even further, he uses the situation to destroy the Arcadia and then to deal with Harlock himself. It’s so overly elaborate – and reveals an ancient Mazone weapon built into a sphinx – that you really start to struggle to figure out why they’re so dead set on stopping Harlock instead of really realizing what’s going on with the invasion.
This batch of episodes is decent, but it’s focus is more on building up the variety of ways in which the Mazone are trying to take down Harlock more than anything else. And obviously he’s not going to be taken down anywhere this early in the series, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get hit hard at some point. What we lack is any serious inroads made by Harlock in really figuring out the Mazone and what they’re up to. There are tidbits, but they feel more like throwaway pieces more than anything else. Part of this is just the way shows were told at the time, but it also feels like we’re in quasi-filler stage where nothing is really important. The best parts of the show revolves around the little nameless nods to Tochiro, his love of old vessels and what he’s done in making the Arcadia. These are great moments for those in the know and adds a really personal touch to the series. Captain Harlock hasn’t really won me over with these episodes, but there’s things to like from the Matsumoto universe here.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.