A Response to Some of the Many Criticisms Ozma is Receiving of Late

The series has received a lot of flak from viewers this month.  A lot.  Even Leiji fans have decried the series and stated it would have been better for it not to air at all.  I’ve decided to write this post not to defend the show (defending a show is meaningless, you either like it or not, what’s the point of defending it?) but to explain the rationale behind a lot of things in the show that viewers have found unreasonable.  I have consumed enough Matsumoto media to have earned a decent grasp of the man’s mind, and so there are a lot of things that make sense to me that probably don’t to you.

There is something we can call the Logic of Leiji.  You might think it’s ridiculous, you might think it’s illogical or outdated, but my point is that it exists, and it guides everything that he does.  What happened in Ozma was not unplanned, done on the spur of the moment, or randomly put together.  It is logical, albeit according to Leiji’s logic.

Q: Why does Sam suck so much?

A: I wrote about this elsewhere but let me post this again:

Here’s the deal with Sam. Leiji likes to have a character who represents us viewers. And Leiji is logical enough to realize that most of us aren’t very heroic, and that we would actually suck if we were in an anime. So this character which shares our perspective sucks a lot.

Now, this kind of character is not really the protagonist at all!! The protagonists are the heroes (Bainas, Dick), and you’re supposed to realize that gradually as your eyes go from Sam (who is you) to the heroic people around him.

The problem of course is that in a 6 episode show this strategy is bound to fail, because you don’t have time to make the switch. In Space Pirate Captain Harlock, however, Tadashi Daiba plays the Sam role and it plays beautifully, as gradually your focus shifts from him to Harlock himself. But that’s a 42 episode series…

Q: But why does Leiji do this in the first place?  Why not have us share the perspective of a cool character?

Because Leiji is an activist.  He believes the world is going to hell in a hand basket, he’s believed this ever since he was very young.  As such, he wants to motivate us to make our way from being regular people to being heroes that can save the world.  And rather than just have us fantasize we are heroes, fantasize that we are already awesome, he wants us to realize that there is gap between where we are and where we want to go.

Q: Why did Dick set up the Monokeros so that nobody else could fire it?  Why did he want to beat Ozma?  Why was he so confident the Monokeros would succeed in beating Ozma?

A: The short answer is that he wanted all the glory to himself.  Besides, if the weapon is as powerful as believed, then it would have been terrible if it had fallen in Theseus hands, so this could also be seen as a security measure.

Dick’s intention was to destroy Ozma altogether.  To ask why takes us to the old question of climbing Everest.  Ozma is the big monster on this world, and Dick wanted to hunt it down.  There likely is a thematic reference to Moby Dick here as well.

As I see it, Dick didn’t know that the Monokeros would succeed, he simply believed it would.  This is how heroes feel, they are sure they will win (Japanese heroes especially).  Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but their attitude already makes them heroes.  Yukio Mishima wrote a book on Action for young people where he said that the important thing was to fire the gun at the target.  The bullet, he taught, had its goal and was already in that sense triumphant.  It didn’t even matter if it was aimed correctly at the target or if the target moved or had some sort of protection.  The bullet had already won.

By the way, it would seem that the Monokeros did not destroy Ozma as Dick expected long ago.  It just knocked it off and brought it to its senses.

Q: Why did Bainas want to destroy Ozma, when Maya had revealed it was a force for good?

Bainas didn’t want to destroy Ozma.  The beast was enraged at the Theseus attack and threatened to destroy the entire Zone.  Bainas’ goal was to hit Ozma hard enough to stun the beast.  The Monokeros seemed like the best shot.  At the same time, Bainas still hoped to see Dick again, and he knew Dick wanted to be the one to fire the Monokeros.  For Bainas to fire the Monokeros would imply that she accepted Dick was gone forever, and this is why it was such a painful decision.  But she did it anyway.

Things would have gone horribly if the Monokeros had actually annihilated Ozma, or just as bad, if it had made Ozma turn against the Bardanos and attack the pirates as well as the Theseus.  I guess we’re expected to believe that in some way Ozma knew that Maya was behind the Monokeros attack and that it knew enough to come to its senses when it was hit.

Q: How come the Ozma project and the Ideal Children project were diametrically opposite?

The Ozma project is a wise and humanistic enterprise to preserve the environment and support all life on Earth.  The Ideal Children project is an imperialistic, elitist project to create a master race to abuse the planet.

I think the key here is to look at the world of Ozma in a more realistic way. Think about our world today. If I told you that humans developed the nuclear bomb, as well as penicillin, as well as Harry Potter, would that shock you in any way? Of course not. You’d just chalk it up to the fact that there are billions of human beings and 200 countries give and take and there is no “unified human endeavor”.

When dealing with fiction we tend to unify stuff and think in simpler terms, but we don’t have too. I don’t see the contradiction in humans coming up with an Ozma project as well as an imperialist genetic engineering program. Heck, I could come up with examples of contradictions like that within a single country itself (U.S., Japan, etc.)

It’d be far more fantastic if all humans had agreed to and supported both plans.  Humans do not have a unified will.  Not even a single human being does!!!

Q: What’s the deal with Maya?  Why isn’t she an Ideal Child?

A: The data we have on these human types gets rather confusing, though I reckon we have enough to figure it out.

The confusion that viewers have stems from the issue of cloning.  Ideal Children are not necessarily clones.  They probably have children just like regular people (the so-called Natura) have.  The difference is that the ICs practice genetic engineering to improve their race.  Each generation is “superior” to the one before it.  By the time Ozma begins, however, the ICs’ messing with nature has resulted in a decay of their bodies.  Some of them start to transfer their minds to healthy Natura bodies (by the way, this is a very recent development).

Maya is something else altogether.  She hasn’t manipulated her genes at all.  What she has done is clone her body generation after generation and transferred her mind each time.  We can suspect that this mind-transfer technology was held as a secret by Maya until very recently, when she allowed the ICs to employ it because otherwise they would all deteriorate and die.

Circumstantial evidence for this suspicion is in the way Maya will sometimes speak to Sam, as if she is guilty of a great crime against the Natura.  Well, that’s because she is guilty, she’s letting the ICs under her guidance take over Natura bodies.

Q: But why is Maya hanging out for a thousand years to make her decision?

A: Aha, well, we’re not really given a reason for that, but one idea comes immediately to mind: she’s a millennial queen.  The concept of millennial queen is all over the Leijiverse (Millennial Queen, of course, but also Diver Zero and even Leiji’s latest version of Space Battleship Yamato, where Yo Haguro watches over Earth for a thousand years before the Yamato resurfaces).  Millennial queens are women ordained to supervise a planet for a thousand years, after which they’re supposed to leave, or die, or something.  Part of a millennial queen’s job is to effect a transition to the next queen, and this involves assessing the situation of the planet.

Again, I’m not saying that this is awesome stuff and you should love the show for it.  I’m just explaining the rationale.

Q: What’s up with Danga?

Danga was an Ideal Child of the purist sort.  He didn’t believe in the Natura-body-snatching technology that Gido used, not because he pitied the Natura but because he was disgusted by them.  He believed that the Ideal Children should find a way to maintain their existence through genetic engineering as they always did, or perish in the attempt.

Danga’s romanticism in the face of death might sound strange to a lot of us, but it is a very important strain in Japanese culture, especially for people of Matsumoto’s generation and before.

It’s clear that Danga knew all along that Maya was about to make her decision.  If Maya chose the Ideal Children, he would support her and continue to oppose the new body-snatching plan.  If she chose to unleash Ozma, then he would do his best to take her out.

Q: What will happen after?

Once Ozma is released, the Ideal Children are doomed.  Remember that they have undergone years and years of genetic engineering to adapt uniquely, perfectly, to current conditions.  On top of this, they are starting to deteriorate.  When the environment changes radically they will be caught unawares and die by the droves.  Besides, apturing and using Natura will be that much tougher when there is a variation in the landscape and not just sand!

Sam will probably settle down and marry Mimei.  Bainas will take to the stars etc etc 😀

~ by Haloed Bane on April 27, 2012.

31 Responses to “A Response to Some of the Many Criticisms Ozma is Receiving of Late”

  1. …And I thought it was a neat and logical series! All major conflicts are resolved, it’s happy end practically. All the bad guys are gone. It’s not like Maetel seeing Promethium’s face on the monitor shortly after the grand victory. The issues you cover are issues for discussion and speculation, like, say, Maya’s status and origin, but hardly a source of exasperation?!
    Anyway, Maya explains things nicely and you fill in the gaps 🙂

    In fact, can you name any Matsumoto anime that wouldn’t leave lots of questions unanswered?

    Your post on the first 3 SPCH episodes addresses all Daiba/Sam-related complaints very well, by the way.

    • Thanks for pointing it out. Let me put the link up here:


      • I’ve always liked Daiba but the more I think about it I might just like that voice actor apparently it’s the same actor as Kogoro Mori in Detective Conan for the first 500 episodes or so.

        I do get the shift thing you are talking about because the same thing happens in New Doctor Who you start out following a companion like Rose but in the end your more interested in The Doctor.

        • I’d say for most people, Daiba is more likable than Sam. I mean, Sam is so silly, and we don’t get to see him do anything of use (partly of course because it’s only 6 episodes). But the parallels are super strong. Episode after episode Daiba wants to rush in and beat the Mazone, and every time he actually gets to go out and try it he fails.

          As I think ithekro mentioned elsewhere, Galaxy Express 999 presents another model altogether. Tetsuro is actually a capable lad from the beginning. By the end of the 100+ episodes he is a superhero known throughout the galaxy. I think in this case Leiji wants us to identify with Tetsuro and not Maetel. And maybe this model would be more relatable to young people watching anime today..

        • The voice actor for Daiba in SPCH is veteran seiyuu Kamiya Akira (City Hunter (Ryo), Hokuto no Ken (Ken), Getter Robo (Ryouma), Yamato (Katou), Danguard Ace (Takuma) Gaiking (Sanshirou), Raidenn (Akira)… the list is seemingly endless! Also a fine singer!

          … as far as I can tell from listed works, SPCH is the only instance where Kamiya’s character is second fiddle (at least in the command structure!) to Makio Inoue’s where the two play cast regulars…! If anyone knows some other examples let me know! I love hearing these two go head to head!

          As an old-time (Tom Baker/Lis Sladen) Who fan (and yes, I AM that old!!) – I should mention that although modern ‘Who tends to lionise the Doctor, trying to use him as a viewpoint character is not usually a good thing – the trouble with over-powered characters like the Doctor is that eventually they get a bit boring unless you can up the stakes to a point where you can tear them to pieces! (Power gamers still love ’em though…)

          I have a strong suspicion that this is what happened to the original SPCH manga – it has all the hallmarks of a writer letting a character (in this case Harlock) run away with the plot and then not knowing quite what to do with him…! (I think CJ Cherry’s Website (or Jane Fancher’s, her housemate) might still have a link to “Man in Black” syndrome that people might find ringing a familiar bell worth looking up!)

          (Back when Virgin and then the BBC were keeping the show going in print form, prospective writers were actively banned from using the Doctor as a pov character in the guidelines – the couple of “names” who got away with it weren’t too successful at pulling it off, it has to be said!)

          Sadayuki Murai seems to have let the same thing happen in Endless Odyssey that’s happened to the Doctor of late – turning Harlock into someone who can flip the bird to Cthulu and get away with it, rather than the original (in both cases!) rebel without a cause getting caught up in events and often only getting out by the seat of his pants! Also like modern Who, the writers get out of a potentially universe-destroying scenario by simply shooting a mcGuffin at it in the last second…!

          • The little of Doctor Who I’ve watched did play out from another person’s POV (a young woman IIRC). The ban sounds funny but makes perfect sense to me.

            I agree that Endless Odyssey is one show where there are serious “issues” with the way things are set up. It is the most brutal case of god-like Harlock. This kind of stuff turns a lot of people off, so I only recommend the series to the -ehem- initiated.

            • —it is the most brutal case of god-like Harlock

              And yet oddly, also Harlock at his most withdrawn and remote. He’s certainly been surgically separated from his sense of humour! (Gone are the smirking little grins of SPCH for one!) The show’s short length doesn’t really give the story time to breathe either – Harlock and the plot would have benefitted from a 26 episode run IMO.

              One thing about the upcoming film that worries based on the pilot footage is that it seems to be going even further in this direction… I hope not – I kind of prefer even Young Harlock by comparison!

              • Oddly? Many would say god is nothing if not withdrawn and remote~

                Last thing I heard about that trailer is that it will have nothing to do with the final product, so that apparently we can’t make any inferences from it at all. It was purely fanservice. But I agree with you, the Harlock that seemingly showed up there was too detached for my taste too.

                • —Oddly? Many would say god is nothing if not withdrawn and remote~

                  Ah. Middle Eastern Monotheism… I was thinking small g… (atheist comparative mythology hobbyist specialising in Celtic/Nordic/Teutonic…)

                  RE; Trailer… thank Hades for THAT!! I hope they keep the badass Kei though (perhaps less – erm – “sprayed” into her costume?? I’ve not seen anything that tight since Erin Grey strolled across our TV screens in Buck Rogers!!)

                  • I’m ambivalent about the Kei in the trailer, but when you consider the possibilities, I think both Kei and Harlock look pretty good. Then again, we’ll have to see what they end up coming with in the end. We’re really due for some updates on this film project…

  2. The shift from Daiba to Harlock works better than Sam’s shift of focus not just because there is more room to play with it – in actuality in SPCH it starts very early on, and actually culminates by episode 13, where Rin Taro pulls off what has to be the best bait-and-switch of all time in fiction: having moved our focus to Harlock, he then introduces another level – the missing sun around which all of the other characters orbit, detectable at first only from it’s effect on them.

    I remember the effect it had on me the first time I saw it – that moment when, all hope seemingly lost, Harlock reaches out for help and calls out – And the Arcadia answers… Goose bumps. OK, you can see it coming in hints eariler, but still…

    By the time you reach the end of SPCH, the misdirection is long revealed and you have to admire the trick – because in the end, Harlock isn’t the hero – it’s Tochiro. Small, bandy legged, short sighted , nerdy *Tochiro*. It always was, and still is.

    On a side note SPCH has several things going for it Ozuma lacks apart from length: the greatest anime director of all time who understands subtext like few people I’ve ever know. One of the greatest voice casts ever assembled, superb writing and Kazuo Komatsubara providing some of the most gorgeous artwork (poor quality colouring aside!) that I’ve ever been priviledged to see. Poor Ozma was never going to be more than a slight taster of things Matsumoto – people should cut it a little more slack – as a 2hr film it doesn’t do badly!

    • I think whether Tochiro is the ultimate hero, to the extent that Harlock plays second fiddle to him, or not is definitely up for debate. There are certainly times in SPCH when it “feels” that way, but I think that’s because we’re getting Harlock’s feelings represented much more than Tochiro’s. There’s a friendship here at the center of things. Harlock of course has the inclination to idealize and maybe even idolize his friend, but Tochiro does the same thing for Harlock (you can possibly even throw Emeraldas into the mix).

      Re: Ozma, this is likely a project pretty much initiated by a particular cable network (not one of the major TV channels in Japan by far!!) to add pizzazz to its anniversary. There is no comparison to the CG Harlock and Mahoroba film projects…definitely.

      • Ostensibly in manga incarnations they’re equals – IIRC in Nibelung no Yubiwa’s Gotterdammerung flashbacks we even find out that Tochiro has engineered the Arcadia so that the central computer will be graced with the “soul” of *which ever of the two dies first*!!

        In Gun Frontier both manga and anime Tochiro is defintely the lead – and Harlock’s the goofy sidekick (go figure!) and you’re right – whatever the truth of the relationship, Harlock defers to Tochiro (wait till you’ve watched a bit more SSM and come back to me on this one!) almost every time we see them together in a Leiji penned work (CWZ keeps them separated for most of it but both Emeraldas and Harlock defer to Tochiro in the gaiden “Hunt for Young Harlock”, I notice…!) There are even a couple of Cockpit stories featuring lookalikes that also have the Harlock type as the goof-off merchant backing up the slightly more competant Tochiro-type!

        I’ve always had the feeling that it’s Rin Taro who plays this up – E/O defintely goes out on a limb not only by making Harlock uber remote and hard, but also in giving all of the decisions – and the final heroic save-the-day moment – to Tochiro/Central Computer. (Same as in SPCH, where it’s the Arcadia breaking thorugh the Docras’s hull that ultimately pulls Harlock out of a funk, and then in the final episode decides to go after the remaining Mazone after Harlock’s dithering in the face of human apathy…) It’s the soul of Tochiro that scares the bejayzuss out of the Noo – not Harlock – they quickly realise he’s not the threat. It’s only in Rin Taro’s versions that the computer lacks a voice – and Harlock is noticeably less sure of his decisions and much more withdrawn in both (GE999 films aside where I hear Matsumoto insisted Harlock’s “real” personality be restored – and please note again the central computer is more active…!)

        OTOH it’s only in Rin Taro’s 2 shows where you REALLY start to wonder just what the two of them have got going on – sheesh, Brokeback Arcadia, anyone?!! (The US dub gag reels for both CWZ and GF don’t half play this up…I’m not fond of US dubs but Steve Blum (Harlock) hams it up for all he’s worth!)

        • Brokeback Arcadia sounds funny, but it’s a totally serious question, isn’t it. There are scenes in Gun Frontier that get me thinking in that direction as well.

          Tochiro seems to be the sage that knows what to do, and then Harlock is the warrior that gets it done. They both need each other. This isn’t to say that Tochiro is all intellectual and idealistic and Harlock is very down to earth. Actually, the opposite seems to be the case. The fact that one is Japanese and the other one is German is super important in this connection.

          Hopefully this week I’ll write a post on the cockpit series and of course there the question of nationalities takes center stage..

          • —Brokeback Arcadia sounds funny, but it’s a totally serious question, isn’t it.

            Yep… check out some of the body language on display in SPCH… Harlock’s wouldn’t be out of place in a few gay bars in SoHo I’ve been in (Doctor who fandom… don’t ask!! ) I’ve run some screen shots and posters past some friends of mine and they picked up on it straight away! (My other half took one look and said “no way he’s straight”!)

            For a real question mark just check out the look on Harlock’s face when Emeralda (sic) first shows up on Heavy Meldar in SPCH – sheesh, if looks could kill!

            Lessee… this guy can shrug off the love of his life dying in his arms but seemingly falls apart at the seams losing his BFF… Matsumoto’s denials apart, you can’t help wondering! (Even if you *do* have to question Harlock’s taste… ;-P )

            “In universe” however, the frontier worlds do seem to be lacking in women – at least one’s that aren’t a) married or b)double baggers (a bit unkind but…) (or c – duplicitous bounty hunters…) …it’s not unheard of, to say the least in a low male/female ratio environment! Nor uncommon for young men to experiment.

            For an historical analysis I’m so tempted to pick up the following from Amazon: “Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean” or “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash: Piracy, Sexuality and Masculine Identity” (no, I’m NOT making these up!) – I suspect they’ll make interesting reading!

            However – the real culprit here again is Rin Taro – later shows might be playing with the subtext (and I strongly suspect that’s true of CWZ but he’s the one who originates it and reinforces it again in E/O (Star of David be damned – if I was Leiji-san I’d be seriously ticked off over the subtext in that regard!! That disclaimer on screen is a little strong for a special effect that doesn’t even show up in the finished product…)

            —There are scenes in Gun Frontier that get me thinking in that direction as well.

            The manga seems to go out of it’s way to deny it (both of them get their fair share of booty…)

            BTW – did you know the anime draws on elements from another (unfinished) manga called Kagerou no Monshu??

            …and those of you cursing any premature ending to Ozuma feel for those of us left hanging by the end of Gun Frontier (by this time having thrown out the plot of the manga with the bathwater…) Harlock! Zeppelins! And when will they rescue Shizuku!!? Aargh!! Want more!!

            —This isn’t to say that Tochiro is all intellectual and idealistic and Harlock is very down to earth. Actually, the opposite seems to be the case.

            Harlock – in any incarnation – isn’t stupid – IIRC he and Tochiro BOTH work on constructing the Arcadia in most manga versions (I love the scene in Gotterdammerung where the two little tykes blow a hole in the side of the Deathshadow I experimenting with the power source for their Arcadia!!) We’ve all seen (I hope!) Tochiro’s more martial side – a demon with a sword!

            —The fact that one is Japanese and the other one is German is super important in this connection.

            Of course, the Gun Frontier manga might blow a hole in that – isn’t Harlock said to be “the same as Tochiro” and both from Samurai Creek (although this is apparently based on comparison of their… how can I put this delicately?? Erm… “Joy departments”??) and Harlock’s recitation of his bloodlines is a total cock and bull story given that you can’t be 1/4 English/French/Russian/German AND have Italian grandparents… so either Matsumoto’s talking BS, or Harlock’s yanking Shinonoura’s chain… 😉

            • I remember the scene in Gun Frontier now. Tochiro’s gone off on a dangerous mission. Shinunora and Harlock are having sex. Harlock moans “Tochiro”, supposedly because he’s worried about his friend. Anyway, LOL. Gun Frontier can totally be read on the basis of a really strong bond between the two men. Really strong.

              The Amazon books you mention sound interesting but could totally be fluff. I guess there’s no way of knowing that except for leafing through them.

              I know the name “Kagero no Monshu” but have never seen or read any of it. Someday, someday~

              Re: Gun Frontier again, there is constantly an insinuation that Harlock has Japanese blood, so the bloodline becomes even more complicated. I agree with your second hypothesis, I think he was just messing around when he said he had all those nationalities, and very possibly trying to throw off Shinunora, who clearly would be extremely interested in knowing about a potential Japanese ancestry. We gotta guess he is essentially a German-American with a dash of Japanese (maybe via Dutch merchants?!).

  3. Getting back on topic, I notice there’s one possible failure for Ozuma that’s characterised by all the questions people are asking (myself included!) as well as by the nature of the discussions…

    Simply this – this little show was intended to be a statement about the way we humans treat our environment, and our inevitable arrogance about our place in it. Yet we’re *all* distracted by the packaging (Dick’s resemblance to Harlock, why Sam’s such a dork, parallels with other Leijiverse works etc… ) or by other issues raised in passing but never really examined (the morality of body-stealing, or how QTF fields turn sand into a substance acting like water ;-P )

    Does Ozuma even pose a real solution to the problems it purports to tailk about? We get a pile of waffle and a (literal) deus ex machina giving humanity a second chance to prove itself – did We earn that chance? Well, Dick’s sacrifice trying to stop Ozuma from destroying everything (including the ICs) might have helped. Sam’s innocent insistence on trying to save Maya despite rather futily pitting himself against a foe who outnumbers and is significantly stronger than he is might have served to show Maya that despite our limitations, we’re willing to try, and the strong bonds and honesty of the crew of the Bardanos certainly set a good example!

    At the end of the day however, the rather instant add-Maya-to create-new-biosphere solution is too easy an answer IMO. Yes, the seedbank is only the start of a new world, but it still seems to be a bit of a cop-out. Possibly the short length of the story requires that it’s enough to provide a solution and walk away, but I for one am not a huge fan of the reset button – and this is a biggie!

    I think in the end Ozuma has the makings of a great story and raises several issues that deserve exploring, but its short length (and some of the production decisions ) don’t really give them a chance to be explored in the depth they deserve. In the end it delivers a sweet typical Matsumoto tale, but I personally think it seriously undermined his attempt to get across its stated message.

    So, anyone up for changing the world?!

    • I wrote somewhere in this connection that the fundamental problem is that we don’t have an Ozma lying around somewhere (that I know of!), so yeah, the message kind of stays very much in the fictional realm.

      Of course you and I have watched tons of Leiji so we can de-Leijify the story a bit and see what he’s trying to tell us, but many of the new viewers are still trying to cope with the Leijiness of it all.

      Ultimately, I think young viewers (internationally) were stunned at how little effort was made to update the Leijiness of this. They get that this is an old guy doing old stuff, but they’re used to production crews modernizing and paying tribute to the new way of things. They are unawate that Matsumoto is truly a cultural and historical force in Japan and is respected as such, so you have to be a truly powerful personality yourself (like Rin Taro maybe) to dare fiddle with the master’s work. We’ll see what the Appleseed dude does or doesn’t do with the CG Harlock..

  4. re: Wow, that sword looks so weathered. Hmm, we need some expert analysis here..

    Well Dave & I just dragged out the source books (helps to have 2 people living together who used to RPG back in the day and stil have all their weapons guides!)

    The sword hilt is a variation on a mid 15th South German style (the downward pointing crossguard…). The articulation of the armour (and the style) supports my original guess of anywhere between 1540-1600 (or even a bit either side!). But I’m no armourer so open to correction here!

    That sword’s seen some action though – you should see it in the larger print (mine’s somewhere between A3-A4 size, but the limited ed. prints are 100cm long! (and 15,000yen…)

    It’s the look on his face that gets me… Matsumoto’s not the best artist in colour, but that’s a very young man who’s seen waaay too much action… Leiji san does capture the sorrow and the resolution (hmmm…perhaps defiance would be better??) *perfectly*…

    • The gap between sword date and armor date makes sense. The sword looks so battered it’s likely an heirloom, while Harlock is probably posing with his own, current, armor. I did see a bunch of swords from the 15th century (in Oakeshott) that do look like this, even one owned by Maximilian I’s son, Charles I’s dad, Philip of Burgundy. Neat.

  5. Oh my, I’ve been offline for 4 days, and when I’m back Harlock is as gay as a maypole 😀

    Obsession with Tochiro, yes, I believe the whole Endless Odyssey is about it. (@Helen, if you are interested, I explained my EO theory on the old Leijiverse forum, here: http://www.save-point.net/rabbitrevolution/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=165&hilit=gendo&start=110). And the strength of this obsession is mind-blowing. But it is the ultimate manifestation of loyalty to people /ideals chosen by the Captain that makes one of the most important and constant Harlock’s traits throughout the mythos. Like, once a friend of Harlock, always a friend of Harlock… In EO Harlock has enough guts to acknowledge to himself that he doesn’t give a damn about anything or anybody in this and the other dimension but Tochiro, but does it really mean he wants to sleep with his friend? Does sex always underlie obsessions of this kind?

    My sense is in some reincarnations Harlock does feel inferior to Tochiro in some ways (could be exactly in the “theoretical” part) and looks up to him. So when Tochido dies, he carries on with Tochiro’s ideas and dreams. In other stories, it’s all about sharing beliefs and ideas – which is, I guess, the epitome of idealistic friendship.

    I can’t turn the blind eye to Gun Frontier’s evidence, but it should be treated with caution (and we have to finish it first yet). Gun Frontier manga is such a primordial soup of Harlock-Tochiro part of the Leijiverse, it deserves a whole post!

  6. >>>Oh my, I’ve been offline for 4 days, and when I’m back Harlock is as gay as a maypole

    Well, more that it can LOOK that way! ;-P And mostly only in the two TV shows directed by Rin Taro… (SSX’s Harlock certainly doesn’t seem to have a problem handling the opposite sex…. although there’s a rather damning screen cap I’ve got on my computer I really should post online…. *snigger*…)

    Could just be he never grows out of the “girls have cooties” stage that most of the brash young Leiji heroes seem to go through! That, and a ton of survivor’s guilt…

    • Do post it! 😀 But wouldn’t it be better to move to the forum? I saw you registered there. I’ve got more questions and comments about Harlock, Emeraldas, Tochiro, etc., but those hardly have anything to do with Ozma ending 🙂

  7. Well I’ll be darned! You make everything make sense! XD
    KIdding aside, thanks for answering some of the questions my dad, I, and many others had about Ozma. It really helped and made a heck of a lot more sense. Plus, my dad laughed so hard at the ‘why does Sam suck?’ 😀
    I really enjoyed the short show and dad did as well, but he says that there’s one thing he can’t get over:
    My answer? “DON’T QUESTION THE LOGIC!”
    Again, thanks for the posts! I’m now off to bed at the fact that I had an endoscopy done today and I’m tired. *Yawn*
    Till we talk again,

    • Goodness, suicune, I hope you’re feeling much better tomorrow and everything’s OK.

      Your dad’s question is one I wouldn’t touch with a 20-foot pole. Maybe sand is like that in the future, I don’t have a clue!!

      • Playing the “advanced science hand-wave” joker here: because they’re using a field (the Quantum fields referenced in dialogue) that creates that effect? Gido’s ship ends up embedded in the wall remember, when Ozuma’s QTF field either moves out of range or shuts off? (or their own field fails – I misremember…) I just assumed that was what the QTF did once they mentioned it!

        There is a rippling/distortion effect in the sand movement that I assumed was NOT simply due to watching streamed low-res copies of CGI animation… ;-P I’d assume the missiles have a smaller built in field.

        • Hmm, the one thing I remember about the QTF field was that every time I saw it on the subs I misread it as WTF field. But yeah, your theory is better than my absence of one 🙂

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