I'm not really into anime movies but recently Space Pirate Captain Harlock poster visuals intrigued me and ultimately this film surprised me.
Wikimedia Commons Fair Use Movie Poster
This 1 hour 51 minute 3D CG odyssey was produced by Toei Animation, a Japanese company originally founded in 1948. They've been producing anime TV shows and films for decades; Captain Harlock (2013) has won them both success and awards including best international animated feature at the 2014 Annual 3D Creative Arts Awards in Los Angeles.
Captain Harlock is a curious mixture of dystopian sci-fi, steampunk, and gothic with romantic overtones. Harlock is the immortal captain of the Deathshadow-Class ship, Arcadia, a renegade space ship. Originally a captain in earth's Gaia fleet, Harlock turned against conniving diplomatic elite that only wanted to save their own skins. In his rage, Harlock accessed dark matter through an alien friend and unleashed it on the earth destroying the planet in the process and concomitantly ensuring his own deathlessness.
100 years pass by with Harlock moodily roaming galaxies in the Arcadia.
As we being the movie, Logan (Yama in the original Japanese language version), the younger brother of the Gaia fleet admiral, is sent in to infiltrate the Arcadia and take down Harlock, but things don't pan out the way they're supposed to. And Logan has his own complicated and messy issues with older brother,
While the romantic brooding Harlock and even Logan are drawn as what can be considered as haunted and handsome males (can anime guys be considered that?), I admit I enjoyed these gothic overtones in a story layered with human relationship quandaries and the survival of mankind. Will Logan fall in with Harlock's ultimate regeneration hopes for the destroyed earth instead of taking him out? Is that even possible?
The English voiceovers are really great; Captain Harlock is done by David Matranga, and Logan by Adam Gibbs. The lead female, Mimay, (a trooper on board the Acadia) is done by Emily Neves. These are nothing like what you'd expect of usual child-like voices in oriental anime and I think will make a big difference for mainstream North American audiences. And anime is getting increasingly lifelike (budget = $30 Million U.S.).
Overall, this story is a unique blend of dystopian, Star Wars, and steampunk elements with gothic romantic overtones with broad appeal. I love the ending with Logan coming into his own and there is a positive note for wretched mankind who are doomed to wait for the regeneration of earth from their disintegrating space outposts.