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(aka "Space Pirate Captain Harlock" )


directed by Shinji Aramaki
Japan 2013


In the distant future, space travel technology made it possible for the the Earth to colonize the galaxy, leading to a population explosion that exhausted resources that resulted in a severe decline in birthrate. A movement arose to return to the replenished Mother Earth, but the planet could not withstand such an epic repatriation, sparking the "Homecoming Wars." The governing body called The Gaia Communion was formed and declared the Earth an eternal sanctuary to be worshiped only from afar as humankind awaited its eventual demise on other planets. Immortal space pirate Captain Harlock has been roaming the galaxy in the ghost ship Arcadia salvaging resources from the dying planets and raiding supply ships.

Would-be botanist Logan becomes the new recruit to Harlock's band of pirates, but the skeletons in his closet are not of the same criminal league of his cohorts. He is the younger brother of Gaia Communion Prefaectus Ezra, assigned to get on board the Arcadia and assassinate Harlock before he can blow up the galaxy with the detonators he has been planing on the planets where they have landed. Before he can carry out his orders, Logan discovers that Harlock has discovered the locations of the one hundred nodes of the Genesis Clock and believes he can turn back time to a point before humanity messed things up beyond repair; however, engaging the Genesis Clock requires the destruction of everything as it exists. Logan is torn between his loyalties to his brother and Harlock's goals. As he switches sides, he learns that things are as the Gaia Communion would have the populace believe; but, in exposing the Gaia Communion's deceptions, Harlock also reveals to Logan and the crew his own true intentions.

Toei Animation's big screen adaptation of the manga series by Leiji Matsumoto - adapted a number of times before as shorts, video features, and two television series in the seventies and eighties - HARLOCK: SPACE CAPTAIN is not only a wonder of state-of-the-art animation, but also a smartly-plotted and affecting piece of science fiction for the mature viewer. While there are plenty of exciting explosions - although few aliens since the film's narrator reveals that the downside of developing the technology to move faster than the speed of light was to find out that humanity was desperately alone - the film does not lose sight of the human motivations that drive both the noble intentions and corrupt behavior of the characters (most of whom grow over the course of the story with the exception of the comically villainous Gaia Communion elites). That the film has gone straight to DVD in the United States compared to the 3D/Imax dreck that hits theater screens regularly is quite unfortunate.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 7 September 2013 (Japan)

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DVD Review: Ketchup Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Ketchup Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:51:12

2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.84 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Ketchup Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.40:1

Edition Details:
� Start-up trailers for 'Linsanity: The Jeremy Lin Story' and 'The Starving Game'

DVD Release Date: March 31st, 2015

Chapters 12





Ketchup Entertainment's dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic widescreen DVD serves this visually stunning piece of Toei animation well-enough for standard-definition. It is hard to tell with an animation film how much detail should be apparent and how much of the smoothness to the textures is intentional and how much might be from the encode or HD master, but I'm thinking the film looks even more impressive on the Japanese and Hong Kong 3D Blu-rays (the latter is a two-disc affair with both 3D and 2D versions and English subtitles). The Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 track is definitely the preferable option on this DVD. The English dubbing conveys the story well-enough but takes plenty of liberties with the translation (with plenty of back-biting comments from various characters whenever they turn away from camera or the camera cuts away). The narration (by a female on the English and a male on the Japanese) is more philosophical on the Japanese and more expository on the English, telegraphing aspects of the plot that should be apparent to attentive viewers (a Japanese language song in the first scene is also replaced with a radio broadcast on the English track). As such, it is interesting to watch the film with the English dub track and the optional English subtitles turned on (although the Japanese track is definitely recommended for a first viewing).

There are no extras aside from start-up trailers.

  - Eric Cotenas


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DVD Box Cover

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Ketchup Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC


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