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Wow, my how the years pass…  AND how anime has evolved since then.. But one thing really remains clear, there is truly NO SCHOOL like the OLD SCHOOL and we salute one here.  A Sci-fi anime that remains dear to the hearts of all Generation X-er fans of anime, and the like.  A animated space opera like no other shown, loved the world over, and has been a classic in that right as well. The intrepid rebel freedom fighter for earth and galaxy, with the unmistakable look of eyepatch and draping lock-of-hair style, We at Comic Book Therapy salute 35 years to SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK!!




It began with the creation of the manga SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK with its publication first in January 1977, written and illustrated by anime/manga creator legend, Leiji Matsumoto.  In 1978, Legendary anime director and co-founder of Studio MADHOUSE (Studio of Trigun, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust),  RINTARO( director of Arcadia of My Youth, X/1999, Metropolisand Toei Animation came up with the animated series and released on the 14th of March of that year..


Leiji Matsumoto, creator of Captain Harlock, Space Battleship Yamato and other classic sci-fi anime

Leiji Matsumoto, creator of Captain Harlock, Space Battleship Yamato, and other classic sci-fi anime.


The story follows about in the distant future, almost about a thousand years time ahead where Mankind’s reliance on technology for running the day to day muddle in society has reached a zenith. This results in most of the world’s governing factions spending their time idling away…leaving them vulnerable to hostile alien attacks and invasions, bringing them and civilization itself further in more apathy.  One man, Phantom Frederick Harlock, rises above all this torment, gathers a like rebel-minded crew aboard his starship, the Arcadia, and ventures forth to take on Earth’s alien oppressors.  The oppressors, most notably are the Mazone, a female organic plant-based race bent on claiming the earth.  And so begins Harlock’s adventures…


Space Battleship Yamato old anime

Matsumoto’s earlier creation at the time, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO was a monumental success the same.

Having come off the immense success of Matsumoto’s other recent sensation at the time, his other space opera saga, 1974′s (SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (Later Known as SPACE CRUISE YAMATO/STAR BLAZERS in the US), it is easy to see why Harlock would have an immediate following off the bat.  The Harlock original series would run for 42 episodes but its legacy would carry it quite a bit further.  It’s popularity and broadcast would go global, being shown in parts of Europe, and most notably Latin America (known as Capitán Harlock: El Pirata Espacial (Spanish)). The franchise would later go on to release of OVA and film releases, including the full length anime motion picture classic ARCADIA OF MY YOUTH, rated one of the most highly acclaimed anime sci-fi drama classics.




Back to Harlock’s following here in the US…it was in limited showing but still, with neighboring success in Mexico and even Canada (under its French AND English titling), Harlock acheived solid cult status among anime fans and classic sci fi fans alike.  A following, like all other old school animes that made their name in the last century, Battle of the Planets(Science Ninja Team Gatchaman), the aforementioned Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato), Voltron (Golion), and Robotech (Macross), gave Harlock a place in pop culture fandom in the US and the world over.

Parody elements of Harlock would go on to appear in scifi and other animation hits like hit Cartoon Network robot/mecha action comedy, MEGAS XLR, the anime classic, SDF Macross, and anime studio Gainax’s more recent scifi sensation, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

CARTOON NETWORK’S MEGAS XLR Season 2 episode 7, “Space Booty”  (with guest character villain Captain Warlock (A parody of Captain Harlock).  Copyright@2004  Cartoon Network

[Disclaimer: All rights held by copyright owner and any content will be removed immediately at their request. Presented here for educational, criticism, entertainment and nostalgia purposes only.]


Harlock’s following, along with other Leiji Matsumoto classics, also have led a successful fan following by some of the big names in music, particularly International house music sensations DAFT PUNK, and Horrorpunk/Punk Metal legend Glen Danzig (The Misfits, Danzig), who was often seen wearing a T-shirt sporting the same skull and crossbone design as Harlock’s Uniform front, flag, and ship, the Arcadia.


Matsumoto with DAFT PUNK (Left) and Glen Danzig in his Misfits days sporting a Captain Harlock T-shirt(right)

Matsumoto with DAFT PUNK (Left) , Glen Danzig in his Misfits days sporting a Captain Harlock T-shirt(right)


Coming in Fall of 2013, there will be a new CGI movie of SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK.

Update from Captain Harlock, Wikipedia:

“Space Pirate Captain Harlock Movie

On March 24, 2010, Toei Animation announced the release of the new Harlock movie, they announced a completed pilot for its planned computer-graphics remake of Leiji Matsumoto and Toei’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga and anime franchise, and it has revealed a preliminary image and the project’s staff. Mobile Suit Gundam UC author Harutoshi Fukui, Appleseed director Shinji Aramaki, Appleseed mechanical designer Atsushi Takeuchi, and Ninja Scroll character designer Yutaka Minowa worked on the new Space Pirate Captain Harlock pilot with Marza Animation Planet (formerly known as Sega Sammy Visual Entertainment).

The official trailer/pilot was aired at the Kawaii-Kon Anime festival in Hawaii on April 17, 2010, as a special presentation courtesy of Director Shinji Aramaki. This is the first time it has been seen/aired in the United States. The CG animated film is tentatively schedule for international release in 2012.

On January 31, 2013 during the presentation of its upcoming film lineup, Toei announced that the anime will be out in Fall 2013. According to the news source Oricon, this film has Toei Animation’s highest production budget ever at the equivalent of over 30 million U.S. dollars.”




Truly, Captain Harlock is one of the anime space opera hero greats!Please look forward this fall to when we celebrate the 35th of Matsumoto’s other super scifi creation  GALAXY EXPRESS 999 and official announcement release for the Captain Harlock movie!!

The Arcadia

The Arcadia

Catch our next ANIME LEGENDS lookback when we salute Shinichirō Watanabe‘s revolutionary retro scifi masterpiece, COWBOY BEBOP!! AT 15!!




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