Space Pirate Captain Harlock (film)
|Space Pirate Captain Harlock|
Japanese theatrical poster
|Directed by||Shinji Aramaki|
|Produced by||Yoshi Ikezawa
|Screenplay by||Harutoshi Fukui
|Story by||Harutoshi Fukui|
|Based on||Space Pirate Captain Harlock
by Leiji Matsumoto
|Music by||Tetsuya Takahashi|
|Box office||$4,489,155 (Japan)
In 2010, Toei Animation announced that it had developed a pilot for a computer-graphics remake of the earlier manga-inspired TV series, and presented it at Tokyo International Anime Fair that year. In the next year, was presented a preview of Space Pirate Captain Harlock at Annecy International Animated Film Festival. This is Toei Animation's second highest production budget ever at the equivalent of over US$30 million. The story was reconstructed by the writer Harutoshi Fukui to reflect the themes of modern society and Toei provided the latest filmmaking technology for the film. An English-narrated international teaser trailer was released for promotion. It was shown out of competition at the 70th Venice International Film Festival and was screened at the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival. It received a mixed to negative response from critics and was nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year and won the Lumière award in Best International 3D Feature – Animated category at the 3D Creative Arts Award (2014).
In the future, mankind has discovered a way to travel faster than light and has built colonies on thousands of planets. With humanity fading and the resources of the universe starting to dwindle, some five hundred billion humans began the long journey back home, Earth. However, humanity has outgrown its capacity to repatriate that many people and thus began the "Homecoming War," where the many factions of humanity battled for a stake on Earth. The war was long and bloody, things wouldn't subside until an authoritarian universal government by the name of the Gaia Sanction declares Earth a sacred planet, and thus forbidden for humanity to repopulate.
To prevent various factions of humanity from immigrating back to Earth, an elite wing of the Gaia Fleet was tasked to defend Earth: The Deathshadow Martyr Fleet, led by Harlock. With the assistance of his scientist friend, Tochiro Ōyama, Harlock helped to save a dying advanced alien race called the Nibelung. In return for their help, the Nibelung gave Harlock their advanced technology and helped create the four Deathshadow-class ships with dark matter engines to defend Earth. Harlock's ships were unstoppable and he successfully defended Earth from humanity's influence, until the Gaia Sanction broke their own rules.
A peace treaty was created to prevent future bloodshed from various factions of humanity, however, it was under the condition that the diplomatic elite would be allowed to immigrate. Unfortunately, this didn't sit well with Harlock as he felt it was a betrayal of what he believed in as well as the hypocrisy of the Gaia Sanction. Enraged, Harlock broke rank and opened fire on the immigrants and turned his guns upon his own fleet. With only the Arcadia under his command, the ship was badly damaged, Tochiro was seemingly killed and they were being boarded. In a high-risk gamble for survival and protection of the Earth, Harlock asked Miime (Nibelung observer and engineer of his ship) to unleash dark matter upon the Earth to protect it from humanity. Sadly, the gamble was made at a terrible cost and the other three Deathshadow-Class ships were destroyed.
The dark matter was uncontrollable and it decimated the Earth and life was no longer sustainable. Engulfed in dark matter, the Arcadia managed to survive the incident, but returned out of the dark clouds forever changed. Harlock's body had been immortalized and Tochiro's consciousness seemingly lived on in the ship's computer, giving the Arcadia its reputation of being a cursed ship. Vowing to atone for his sin, Harlock is now a rogue pirate with a personal mission to turn back the hands of time.
100 years has passed and Captain Harlock remains at large. Gaia had covered up the real condition of Earth with a giant holographic optical camouflage to maintain their power. With his own crew of rogues, Harlock has taken 100 detonators from the Gaia Sanction in attempts to "start over." Admiral of the Gaia Fleet, Isola, got his younger brother, Yama, to help him take down Harlock. Several years earlier, Yama became angry after his mother's favorite flower dies, and accidentally destroys the whole greenhouse. The accident paralyzed Isola and reduced their mutual childhood love, Nami, severely broken and survives through a medical pod. However, through their advanced technology, she's able to live and interact with the brothers as a living hologram. Desperate to atone for Isola, Yama agreed to infiltrate the Arcadia and its crew to stop Harlock's schemes, but things became complicated.
Yama successfully infiltrated Harlock's crew, but unknown to him, Harlock and Miime always knew he was a mole. During a mission to install the 99th dimensional oscillator, Yama learned from Kei (crew member) that Harlock's plan to "start over" is by opening the time nodes to alter history and create a better time line. The mission turned awry when they realized they landed on a giant worm and Harlock came to rescue Yama. It was then Yama was about to execute Harlock, but in a life and death situation, Yama decided to cooperate with Harlock so both could survive and escaped the planet. Back on board the Arcadia, Harlock gave his gun to Yama, telling him to use it against him after freeing himself of the bonds tying him down if he still wants to kill him later. Yama's undercover identity was never exposed to the rest of the crew and Harlock's words convinced Yama to follow Harlock's plans, causing Yama to defect.
The Gaia Sanction learned of Harlock's intentions of heading towards Earth and they permitted Isola to use the Kaleido Star System, a superweapon used to destroy neutron stars to stop Harlock. Harlock then used holograms projections of the Arcadia to disguise his movements and evade the Gaia fleet near Pluto. He is eventually spotted near Saturn and Isola takes the 2nd Fleet and the Kaleido Star System to stop him. The Arcadia is seemingly destroyed by the Kaleido Star System, but it turns out to be another hologram. The real Arcadia, hidden in an Asteroid, then reveals itself in the fleet's rear and destroys most of the 2nd Fleet before ramming into Isola's flagship, the Oceanus to take them hostage. Once at Earth and past the great illusion, the crew was horrified at what has become of their Earth. It was during this time that both Isola and Miime divulged the origins of Harlock and true nature of "starting over": Harlock intends to unlock the Nodes of Time to destroy the current universe and rebirth a new one- Genesis.
Shocked by the truth, Yama now sides with Isola and even the Arcadia itself starts moving away from Earth. Yama then helps Isola and the crew of the Oceanus, held captive on the Arcadia, to escape and take over the Arcadia. With the ship and crew imprisoned, Isola confronts Nami for informing Yama of his tactical plans (which was used against him in the earlier battle) and her love for Yama. Nami wanted to release the hatred and anger within Isola and realized the source of his torment wasn't because of Yama, but because of her. Nami tells him she only loved Yama, which enrages Isola to the point of pulling the plug to her life support pod. As Nami is dying, she admits that she lied to Isola and she always loved him.
Isola makes up the excuse that Nami used a compromised system to record a hologram message for Yama, which caused her life support pod to malfunction and gives Yama the hologram message that she recorded. Yama doesn't believe Isola, but the guards hold him back as the hologram message plays after dropping on the floor. Haunted by Nami's death, Yama returns to the decimated Earth only to find a sign that life still thrives there when he discovers a meadow of white flowers.
The Gaia Sanction planned a public execution for Harlock and his crew, they are to be destroyed within the Arcadia by a large particle machine. However, the execution was halted when Yama appeared and released the crew of the Arcadia, in the process, destroying the particle machine. Yama told the crew that he was wrong, but so was Harlock and wants to show the crew something he found on Earth. While still having trust issues with Yama, the crew had no choice but to follow his lead for freedom. At Harlock's cell, Yama reveals what he had found on Earth. The flower meant that Earth is trying to recover on its own and it might be the "starting over" that Harlock wanted. Emotionally touched at the significance of this miraculous find, Harlock believes he's found his "freedom"; Harlock intends to expose the truth of Earth and escapes with the Arcadia.
Near Earth's proximity, the Gaia Fleet intercepts the Arcadia. Using its advanced speed and firepower, the Arcadia evaded destruction and successfully destroyed the hologram emitters that falsely portrayed Earth. Yattaran (crew member) managed to hack through Gaia's networks for Yama to reveal the truth to humanity, but also conveyed a message of hope that life would continue. The exposed truth of Earth's condition took away any leverage the Gaia Sanction had over its reign. Desperate to contain the situation, the Imperial Father (leader of Gaia) decided to vaporize Earth with a powerful particle cannon called the Jovian Blaster. Isola realized the Earth would be destroyed as the Arcadia was too close and decided to ram the Arcadia with the Oceanus and push it away from earth. Both ships then boarded each other and there are many casualties on both sides.
Yama then confronted Isola on the Oceanus's bridge, the two fought and Isola shot at Yama's face, causing him to lose his right eye and have a scar similar to Harlock. Isola almost killed Yama, but Harlock shot him from the back and mortally wounds Isola. It was then Isola warned them about the Jovian Blaster and Harlock remarked Isola was the only one who remained faithful to Earth. Harlock then asked Miime to unleash the full dark matter energies of the ship. When the Jovian Blaster fired, the Arcadia created a powerful shield that distorted the blast and the Oceanus's ramming had moved the Arcadia so that the Jovian Blaster missed the Earth. Yama later took Isola on board the Arcadia; as he was dying, he explained that he saved Earth because it had the flowers that Nami and their mother loved. After getting a glimpse of the flower, Isola died in Yama's arms while the Arcadia crash-landed on Earth.
Once on the planet, Harlock dropped his 100th detonator. Harlock pointed his gun at Yama and remarked that the Earth will eventually recover, but it will likely re-spark another Homecoming War; Harlock suggested they could prevent it by unraveling the Nodes of Time. However, believing that this world is a gift from Nami and Isola, Yama didn't want the world to end and similarly pointed his gun at Harlock. Harlock liked his answer and he gave the detonator to Yama and gave him the power to end humanity and the universe if another disaster like the homecoming war happens again. Harlock, with high self-esteem, remarks that so long as mankind exists, so will the myth of how Captain Harlock resented the government, destroyed the Earth once, and almost ended the universe, for all of eternity. Yama was given an eye-patch and he accepted the legacy of being the next Captain Harlock. As Gaia's fleet confronts the Arcadia again, the crew wakes up, seemingly healed by the dark matter power plant, and the Arcadia takes off and escapes into space, leaving the meadow of white flowers behind.
- Shun Oguri as Captain Harlock
- Haruma Miura as Yama (Logan in English release)
- Yū Aoi as Miime (Mimay in English release)
- Arata Furuta as Yattaran (Yullian in US release)
- Ayano Fukuda as Tori-san
- Toshiyuki Morikawa as Isola (Ezra in English release)
- Maaya Sakamoto as Nami
- Miyuki Sawashiro as Kei
- Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Roujin
- Chikao Ōtsuka as Soukan
English Voice Cast
- David Matranga as Captain Harlock
- Adam Gibbs as Logan (Yama in original release)
- Emily Neves as Mimay (Miime in original release)
- Jessica Boone as Kei
- Rob Mungle as Yullian (Yattaran in original release)
- Mike Yager as Ezra (Isola in original release)
- Rebekah Stevens as Nami
The film received mixed reviews from critics. By September 29, 2013, it had grossed ¥437,326,416 (US$4,452,519) at the Japanese box office. Space Pirate Captain Harlock is one of the most successful Japanese films ever screened in Italy, making about US$6.8 million by the end of January 2014. Film maker James Cameron praised the film for its use of 3D.
It was recognized as the best international animated feature at the fifth annual 3D Creative Arts Awards held at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles on January 28, 2014. It was nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year at the 37th Japan Academy Prize.
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