Three Minutes of Leijiversal Goodness

I actually want to introduce two separate things, each 90 seconds long: the climactic scene in episode ten of Endless Orbit SSX (from about 20:45 to 22:15) and the OP from Space Symphony Maetel.  Matsumoto Leiji’s stories have many wonderful moments, but what really sets the Leijiverse apart IMHO is the cumulative effect of all the stories put together, the staggering power that is generated.

I’ll go all out on SPOILERS in this post, but I don’t think anyone needs to worry.  Enjoyment of this stuff doesn’t hinge on suspense.

Promo image from the 2012 Annecy Anime Festival for the upcoming (2013? 2014?) Captain Harlock CG film.

The Sinking of the Deathshadow

Harlock used to be a captain for the Earth Defense Forces until they were defeated by the alien Illumidas.  Then he became a pirate.  His old ship, the Deathshadow, was taken over by the collaborationist regime on Earth and he fled to the stars with his friend Tochiro aboard the latter’s ship Arcadia.

In this episode, the Illumidas automatize the Deathshadow and send it to find and destroy Harlock.  The old ship has Harlock’s tactics programmed into its main computer, and so the fight between it and its old captain is perfectly matched.  Each side anticipates the other and they begin to slowly destroy each other.  Enter Captain Bentselle.  Another ex-EDF man, Bentselle has been collaborating with the Illumidas.  Being severely injured, half of his body has been mechanized and he uses a walking stick to move around:

Bentselle decides to make things right and atone for his betrayal.  He boards the Deathshadow in order to destroy its core.  Alas, the core is surrounded by guns ready to defend it:

So there’s only one thing Bentselle can do:

He tosses the walking stick into the air to set the guns on it, scrambles toward the core:

And jumps straight onto it:

The ship’s core area explodes:

The Deathshadow rapidly enters Heavy Melder’s orbit:

And crash-lands on the planet:

It’s a cool scene, and I’ve omitted some important plot points that make it rather more tragic, but you get the drift.  Bentselle dies and saves Harlock and crew.  Here’s the real kicker though: the Deathshadow remains like this on Heavy Melder for some time, and later on when Tochiro falls very sick he goes to these remains to die.  On his deathbed, he uses the Deathshadow’s advanced computer to upload his mind  to the Arcadia, making that ship the awesome monster that it is today.  None of this is explained here, though, you learn it from other sources.

Opening to the Leijiverse

Here’s the OP to Space Symphony Maetel, my favorite Matsumoto anime OP of all time:

I love this OP so much I even think it’s better than the actual show (and I do love the show).  In a nutshell: this is a great opening to the Leijiverse as a whole.  You see the 999 train and the Arcadia.  More importantly, the key heroes all show up.  The roster of characters in order of appearance is: Maetel, Nazca (running boy), Harlock, Tochiro and Tori, Emeraldas, Queen Promethium, a couple of Promethium’s men (on a screen to her left), generic mechanized soldiers.  Nazca here is a stand-in for every silly kid who thinks going off into space is going to resolve his/her problems.  Thus, Nazca represents Tetsuro and Nazca represents us fans as well.

The ships are excellently placed.  The 999 is prominent throughout the OP (only fair considering this is a Maetel series), the green Arcadia soars just before Harlock’s face turns up, Tochiro and Tori are inside the Arcadia itself and the zeppelinesque Queen Emeraldas drifts behind the heroine that gave it its name.

The song is great and the bright blue sky is as stunning as it is unexpected since the blackness of space dominates the Leijiverse…but for an opening to this set of stories this kind of blue is perfect.

If you like the song, here’s the full version with a great picture of Captain Harlock and Commander Leopard (of Promethium’s Space Panzers) for the background:

~ by Haloed Bane on August 22, 2011.

2 Responses to “Three Minutes of Leijiversal Goodness”

  1. There are but few things I really appreciate about SSX, one of them is how assailable the Arcadia is yet, it’s shocking to see cracks on the windscreen, etc. This battle is a human crew versus an intelligent machine, and the nightmare is the Arcadia is an ordinary ship and it’s Harlock’s “mind” that is the part of the other machine. Twisted. In this storyline, might be what gave Tochiro the idea in the first place…

    • Big resonance with the Tochiro situation. Maybe the reason Tochiro didn’t do the upload onto the Arcadia until the very last minute is because he remembered what had happened with the Deathshadow: he feared someday he might have to do battle with an Arcadia equipped with his mind.

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