Great Pirate Harlock
This is a one-shot story, just short of 30 pages, that appeared in 1970 and was then tacked on to the end of the fourth and last volume of Sexaroid. “Tacked on” is the right word here, as the tale has nothing whatsoever to do with Sexaroid, none of the characters are the same, etc.
Chronologically this is the first time that a character called “Pirate”, “Captain” and “Harlock” appears in one story in the Leijiverse, and this Pirate Captain Harlock already sports an eyepatch (on the left eye!) and he’s already jaded. He doesn’t have a scar. So what’s the story about?
A small fleet from Earth catches a glimpse of the pirate Harlock and his famous Deathshadow on its radars. The commander of the fleet, Vit, prepares a trap for the pirate and begins to relish his victory. Vit has some time to kill so he decides to sleep with an assistant named Nareya, who happens to be betrothed to another crew member (Sado). Vit tells Nareya not to worry because he’s just charged Sado with fixing an antenna outside the ship, and they have sex after laughing at him outside their window [yes, he’s within viewing distance!]. Little do they know that Sado knows about their affair and he can see them doing their dirty deeds with his binoculars.
Harlock suddenly appears before the naked Vit and Nareya. He’s snuck into the ship party thanks to the fact that Sado deliberately messed with the antenna so the fleet wouldn’t be alerted. Harlock offers Sado a place on his ship. Sado accepts on one condition: that Vit and Nareya be beaten up and killed.
Harlock seems to agree, takes all three people on his Deathshadow and then blows the whole fleet up (he also abducts all women between the ages of 18 and 26, but no one else). Rather than executing the illicit couple, he flies over to a primitive Earth-like planet and releases them into the wild. At this point the reader might be thinking Harlock is playing nice, but he isn’t! He tells Sado to keep looking out the ship window. The planet is full of cavemen which grab Vit and Nareya (still totally naked), have their way with Nareya, hang Vit upside down, and finish by eating them. Sado is very pleased. Harlock remarks: “only cats and humans play with their food before eating it.”
The Deathshadow flies to an asteroid much like the pirate islands that he likes to dock at in later works. Harlock releases the women and all the pirate men cheer. Sado is lodged in a luxurious bedroom equipped with a lovely lady named Françoise. The next day Harlock announces a huge fleet (700 vessels) from the Earth Federation is coming. The Deathshadow flies out of the asteroid just in time—seconds after it is obliterated. Now Harlock’s mad…and sick of it all.
He gives his pirate flag to Sado, then he entrusts his wife (Sado gasps, Françoise is Harlock’s wife!), and finally the ship. Sado doesn’t have any time to respond. Harlock flies off on a small rocket and the Earth Fleet realizes that he’s carrying a dimensional bomb but it’s too late. Harlock takes the entire ship with him (to Hell, I’ll add, but that’s just my interpretation).
Françoise explains Harlock’s actions to Sado: Harlock was an officer of the Mossland League Armed Forces. Mossland was originally a colony of Earth, but in the Seventh Great Interplanetary War, Earth attacked and beat Mossland. Earth then took all of the “Mossies” to Earth and killed or castrated all the men. Harlock was wounded in the war and then…castrated! And that’s why he hates, or hated, Earth.
Sado takes on the mantle of Harlock, calls himself Pirate Harlock, and sets out beyond the Solar System. When an Earth ship realizes the Deathshadow is leaving, a crewman asks an officer “Should we stop them?” and the officer replies: “No, let them go. I’d go too if I were young.” THE END
This story has the typical Leiji mixture of the crass and the sublime. I think my summary says it all…
I was mostly surprised at how angry and bitter this Harlock seemed to be, considering the story came out 7 years before the classic Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Clearly, the suicidal tendencies in the character have been in there for a long, long time. The end of this story is replicated in Volume 8 of Harlock Saga, where [SPOILERS ahead, be warned!] Harlock as a child gets to see his father
Great Harlock fly off into the middle of a massive fleet and kill himself and everyone else in one glorious conflagration.