Harlock: Space Pirate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Harlock: Space Pirate
Space Pirate Captain Harlock 2013 poster.jpg
Japanese release poster
Directed byShinji Aramaki
Screenplay by
  • Harutoshi Fukui
  • Kiyoto Takeuchi
Story byHarutoshi Fukui
Based onSpace Pirate Captain Harlock
by Leiji Matsumoto
Produced by
  • Joseph Chou
  • Yoshi Ikezawa
  • Rei Kudo
  • Shun Oguri
  • Haruma Miura
  • Yu Aoi
Music byTetsuya Takahashi
Distributed byToei Company (Japan)
Release date
  • September 7, 2013 (2013-09-07)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
Budget¥3 billion ($30 million)
Box office$19 million

Harlock: Space Pirate (Japanese: 宇宙海賊キャプテンハーロック, Hepburn: Uchū Kaizoku Kyaputen Hārokku, released as Space Pirate Captain Harlock in Japan) is a 2013 Japanese 3D CG anime science fiction film directed by Shinji Aramaki.[2][3][4] It is the most expensive Japanese CG anime film of all time, with a production budget of ¥3 billion ($30 million).


As resources dwindle, five hundred billion colonists return to Earth, causing the Homecoming War over Earth's remaining resources. The bloody war only ends when an authoritarian government, the Gaia Sanction, declares Earth a sacred planet forbidden to humanity. With the help of four unstoppable ships powered by alien technology, Harlock's fleet prevents Earth from recolonization until a treaty allows diplomatic elite to immigrate. Enraged by this betrayal, Harlock turns on the Gaia Sanction. With his ship, the Arcadia, badly damaged, Harlock unleashes the ship's dark matter. Intending to encase Earth in a protective force field, it instead becomes uninhabitable. The Arcadia survives but is forever changed. Now an immortal pirate, Harlock vows to atone.

Gaia obscures the condition of Earth with a giant hologram to maintain power. Harlock and his crew steal 100 warheads from the Gaia Sanction to "start over". Admiral Isora recruits his younger brother, Yama, to kill Harlock. Yama agrees, desperate to atone for a childhood accident that paralyzed Isora and critically injured their mutual love, Nami. Harlock, aware of his plan, allows Yama to infiltrate his crew. During a mission to install the penultimate warhead, Yama learns that Harlock's plan is to disrupt the timestream and alter history by exploding the warheads in strategic places throughout the universe. When the mission goes awry, Yama dooms himself to save a crew mate. Harlock rescues Yama, who briefly considers executing Harlock. On board the Arcadia, Harlock's words and attitude and the crew's acceptance convince Yama to follow Harlock.

The Gaia Sanction permit Isora to use a superweapon to stop Harlock. Harlock evades the Gaia fleet using holograms. Isora destroys the Arcadia with the superweapon, but this is another hologram. The real Arcadia ambushes the fleet, rams Isora's flagship, and Harlock takes the crew hostage. Once at Earth and past the great illusion, the crew is horrified at Earth's fate. Isora reveals Harlock's true plan: Harlock intends to destroy the current universe and rebirth a new one.

Shocked, Yama sides with Isora, and the Arcadia moves away from Earth, apparently of its own volition. Yama helps Isora and his crew take over the Arcadia. With the ship and crew imprisoned, Isora confronts Nami, who informed Yama of his tactical plans. Nami realizes that she is the source of Isora's torment, not Yama. Nami provokes Isora into causing her life support to fail. As Nami dies, she admits to loving him and sacrificing herself to bring him peace.

Isora lies about Nami's death. Disbelieving Isora and haunted by Nami's death, Yama returns to Earth, where he finds a meadow of flowers. Yama interrupts Harlock's public execution and releases the Arcadia's crew. Yama says both he and Harlock were wrong, and he shows them a flower. Overcome by the possibility of a peaceful "starting over", Harlock abandons his previous plans and decides to expose the Gaia Sanction.

The Arcadia evades the Gaia Fleet and destroys Earth's hologram emitters. The exposed truth of Earth's condition destabilizes the Gaia Sanction, which depended on a quasi-religious veneration of Earth to legitimize their rule. Desperate to contain the situation, the Gaia Sanction's leader decides to use a doomsday particle cannon to destroy the Arcadia. Realizing Earth could be destroyed, too, Isora rams the Arcadia and pushes it away from Earth. Both ships board each other, causing many casualties on both sides.

Yama confronts Isora. Isora shoots at Yama's face, scarring him similarly to Harlock. Harlock mortally wounds Isora, saving Yama. When Isora warns them about the particle cannon, Harlock remarks that Isora was the only one to remain faithful to Earth. Harlock again unleashes the Arcadia's dark matter. With the Arcadia moved further from Earth and protected by a dark matter shield, both Earth and the Arcadia survive the cannon's blast. As Isora dies, he explains that he saved Earth because he knew Nami and their mother loved flowers.

After the Arcadia crash lands on Earth, Harlock sets the final detonator and says another Homecoming War is inevitable. Believing Earth is a gift from Nami and Isora, Yama refuses to destroy it. Liking his answer, Harlock gives the detonator to Yama and says the universe needs the myth of Captain Harlock. As the Gaia Sanction fleet confronts the Arcadia, the crew wakes up, seemingly healed by the dark matter, and the ship escapes, now commanded by Yama who then becomes the new Captain Harlock.


English Voice Cast[edit]


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 they presented a preview of Space Pirate Captain Harlock at Annecy International Animated Film Festival. This is Toei's 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.[3] With a production budget of ¥3 billion[5][6] ($30 million),[3] it surpassed Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy (2004) to become the most expensive Japanese anime film of all time.[5]

An English-narrated international teaser trailer was released for promotion.[2] It was shown in the competition of the 70th Venice International Film Festival[7][8] and was screened at the 33rd Hawaii International Film Festival.[9]


The film received mixed reviews from critics.[10][11][12] Filmmaker James Cameron praised the film for its CGI animation and use of 3D.[13]

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.[14] It was nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year at the 37th Japan Academy Prize.[15] It won the Lumière award in Best International 3D Feature – Animated category at the 3D Creative Arts Award (2014).[16]

Box office[edit]

By September 29, 2013, it had grossed ¥437,326,416 (US$4,452,519) at the Japanese box office.[17][18] It went on to gross ¥500 million ($5,123,179) in Japan.[19]

Space Pirate Captain Harlock is the most successful Japanese film ever screened in Italy, making about US$6.8 million by the end of January 2014.[20] Having earned more in France and Italy than it did in Japan, the film went onto gross $13,557,798 overseas,[17] bringing its worldwide gross to $18,680,977.


  1. ^ "Harlock Space Pirate [2D] (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Space Pirate Captain Harlock Remake's English Teaser Posted". Anime News Network. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Captain Harlock Sci-Fi Anime's Remake to Open This Fall". Anime News Network. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  4. ^ Frater, Patrick (10 May 2013). "Toei's Harlock captured by GFM". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b Isao Taniguchi, Hajime Asō (June 2017). 図解入門業界研究最新アニメ業界の動向とカラクリがよ〜くわかる本 [Introductory Illustrated Industry Research A book that gives a good understanding of the latest trends and karakuri in the animation industry] (in Japanese) (2nd ed.). Japan: 秀和システム (Shuwa System). p. 75. ISBN 978-4-7980-5038-6.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link) CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ Leyland, Matthew (26 November 2005). "Steamboy". BBC. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Out of Competition". La biennale. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Venice film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. London. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Harlock: space pirate". Program. HIFF Fall Festival. 2013. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  10. ^ Rooney, David (5 September 2013). "Harlock: Space Pirate: Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Harlock: Space Pirate is a Big, Pretty, Action-filled Disappointment". Kotaku.com. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  12. ^ Leslie Felperin (6 September 2013). "'Space Pirate Captain Harlock' Review: Shinji Aramaki's Epic a Nerd's Delight". Variety. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  13. ^ "James Cameron loves the hell out of the CG Captain Harlock movie". 13 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Space Pirate Captain Harlock Awarded Best International Animated Feature". Anime News Network. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Wind Rises, Madoka, Lupin vs. Conan, Harlock, Kaguya Earn Japan Academy Prize Nods". Anime News Network. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  16. ^ "'Captain Harlock' named best international animated feature at 3D Creative Arts Awards". Anime news. 17 February 2014. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Japanese Box Office, September 28–29". Box Office Mojo. 6 October 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Japanese Box Office, September 28–29". Anime News Network. 6 October 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  19. ^ "2013年 日本映画・外国映画業界総決算". Kinema Junpo(2月下旬決算特別号). Kinema Junposha (1656): 201. 2014.
  20. ^ "Captain Harlock CG Film Now Available on Netflix in U.S., U.K." Anime News Network. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2015.

External links[edit]