Visual Harlock

I’ve been in contact with a Japanese Leijiverse fan who also happens to be a talented artist.  He (?) sent me two lovely pics and I got permission to post them here.  The artist goes by the name of あるめ@psy (the hiragana reads “arume”) and is on pixiv as well, so definitely check all of the pictures over there.  In the meantime, look at this:

harlock tochiroAnd also:


Arume and I were talking about the upcoming Harlock CG film.  So far Japanese interest in the project is apparently pretty low.  People are complaining about the look being too different from the original (the Arcadia of course being a prime example) and the fact that they’re hiring voice actors for their looks and not for their experience as..well..voice actors.  Of course, this latter move is done to please the general population, but so far they seem to be “meh” about the whole thing.

The complaints are shared internationally, but the difference is that in countries like France and Italy, fans still look forward to the project (despite any qualms) whereas in Japan many seem to have given up hope on it.  And ardent, optimistic Harlock fans like Arume are hoping that international success will carry the film and make it successful, whatever happens in Japan.

Here’s my two cents: if this film turns out to be as good as the trailers promise, and it flops in Japan, then it won’t be the film that flops.  JAPAN, YOU FLOP.

At that point I will request that Leiji Matsumoto be given political asylum in a beautiful island nation of his choice (I’d offer mine up, except that we don’t even have the judicial power to offer asylum <damn you colonialism, you suck so much!>) and that U.N. funds be procured to support the artist in future projects, especially those relating to the conclusion of several unfinished series etc.

~ by Haloed Bane on June 11, 2013.

44 Responses to “Visual Harlock”

  1. Random Leijiverse/non-Leijiverse thoughts time.

    As I see more of Yamato 2199 I’ve come up with some odd idea that unifies things even more than before. Interstella 5555 had a gate I the Solar System that leads to a planet full of blue skinned people (and probably other worlds). A network of gates maybe. Well, by 2199, the Gamilas Empire has control of an extensive warp gate system in both the Magallenic Clouds and the Milky Way Galaxy. The Gates were build by an ancient dead race said to be from Aquarias. The Gamilas Empire has been around for a long time in one form or another, with Dessler unifying it some 103 Gamilas years before 2199. The Gate system is controlled by Gamilas, but some gates are not used and have been shut down. Yamato finds one near Beeland that leads to Balun.

    Now, if one takes Interstella 5555 as being part of Yamato 2199’s past, even though Matsumoto is not involved in the project, can we extrapolate that the gate in the Sol System was shut down sometime after the Cresendolls were returned to their homeworld. By 2191, when the Gamilas warships arrive near Pluto, some part of the Earth government (or just military…we aren’t sure yet) ordered the UN Fleet to open fire on the aliens without known reason to open fire. Could there had been word from the gate before it was closed that the blue peoples…the Gamilas…were turning militaristic and taking any non-blue peoples as second class citizens? Could they have been warned what could happen if they refused the Gamilas offer to join the Empire?

    Yet the Sol System gate remained closed. Perhaps it was destroyed earlier. It would have been useful knowledge…the warp gate, and a map of the gate system. Could have lead them straight to Iscandar. But were is the challenge in that? Save for the hundreds to tens of thousands of Gamilas warships between Earth and Iscandar of course.

    • IIRC, Mandel (author of the Integrated Timeline) has speculated on the Crescendoll-Gamilas connection and its repercussions on the Yamato situation. These are tantalizing ideas, but as you suggest, a couple of mysteries leave us totally dumbfounded: 1) What exactly is the relation between the Crescendolls and the Gamilas; 2) Why was the gate in the Solar System not exploited like crazy after the Crescendolls’ incident…

      • Perhaps trade treaties in the 21st century followed by the gate’s destruction during the Interplanetary Wars between Earth and Mars. Yamato 2199 has provided more backstory than the original version did without yet stepping on anything in particular in the Leijiverse.

  2. I have a hard time understanding how this movie would not be at least a moderate success. Perhaps we can blame it on the lack of teenage angst ridden characters or loli’s with big moe eyes?

    • I don’t know… Come to think of it, those are two things REDLINE was lacking too.. Maybe you’re onto something.

      • Maybe they know better than us how they will do Daiba again, and Daiba’s old character type (the hothead that doesn’t really do much for the plot but is the audiances eyes to the hero) doesn’t work anymore as we saw in Ozma.

        • Hmmmm, the Daiba character/story from what I’ve seen so far looks quite cool, actually, but maybe you’re right.

          Oh well, I’m glad that the project will have its day. It’d be cool if Japanese expectations were high so we could start daydreaming of further films but, well, I’ll focus on the positive fact that this will happen and I’ll likely enjoy it.

          • Yama actually comes off ok from what I’ve seen. I’m cool with him!

            Pity GFM didn’t have a Japanese “wardrobe malfunction” with the script… some of the specific gripes I’ve read might well have vanished – only to be replaced by some truly epic howls of anguish! 😉 But frankly complaining it’s not true to Matsumoto’s work is utter bull, pure and simple – the whole thing is practically a love-letter to his previous manga and series!

            OK – yes, I’m not keen on the pretty-boy voice casting when we’ve three living Harlock voices who could have been pressed into service in some capacity, plus Shibata Hidekatsu and Norio Wakamoto are still alive and well… but them’s the breaks! (I always wanted Kazuhiku Inoue for Harlock, myself… guy still has quite a range and has a previous Matsumoto history!

            • Yama/Daiba is cool, because he looks like a Young Harlock, and that’s just as it should be. And the “Endless Odyssey” shoutout scene is just lovely.

              It might sound a bit crazy for me to say this, but I think that many foreign fans actually have a more holistic view of Matsumoto’s work than some Japanese fans. Whereas some might look at this film project and says “Hey, this wasn’t in SPCH, this doesn’t look like SPCH..” you are able to say “Look at that, that’s from [insert Matsumoto work here], and this is from [insert another Matsumoto work here].” We must throw away any atomistic views of Leiji’s works (e.g. here’s SPCH, there’s GE 999, and over there’s Yamato, and the three shall never meet) and realize that the man is more than happy to refashion and mix stuff all day long. It’s what he does.

              Every work of Leiji’s since at least the Sexaroid days recapitulates everything that he has achieved before. Therefore a Harlock film in 2013 simply will not be the same, not even close, to a series that happened in 1978. Fidelity here has to be measured in terms of the whole fabric of the Leijiverse, and not any single series or set of characters.

  3. I can see why Japanese fans would be upset about the Arcadia. The whole appeal of the ship is it takes 3x pounding enemy ships take and stays afloat and has a top profile of a WWII battleship.

    I feel bad that they are getting a taste of stunt casting with this movie in Japan, part of me is thinking welcome to our life with CGI movies! This isn’t really just only aimed at Japan for once. And they pull this shit all the time in the West.

    • But the voice cast for the international audience will be different. They could have easily gone fora traditional VA cast within Japan, and then gone for a glitzy no experience cast abroad. Basically, they realize that in current Japan a CGI Matsumoto work will not draw enough fans to make it profitable, so they have to lure other people through this stunt casting. However, if this ends up alienating a part of the fandom and not luring enough new people, it could backfire spectacularly. Let’s hope not.

  4. Another new trailer, this time with the “Be the Light” song in it.

    • Yes, I saw this. So…what do you think of the song here? To me, it sounds super jarring when it comes in the middle. Not necessarily that it’s a bad song, but that they messed up how to use it in this trailer..

    • …I go to Wales for a week and look what happens! Wow… shame about the song but just…wow!


    A.K. you are so funny sometimes.

    I’m super dooper psyched for this – I don’t know but perhaps it is a cultural thing … in China it is a sign of respect to copy so perhaps the Japanese are similar and don’t like straying too far from the source material?

    Me? I’m super psyched because they ARE doing things different. Not too different but at least giving it a different spin which is a good thing. Though I come from a culture that is a carbon copy of everything so I like different sometimes.

    Also Arcadia …. Australia …. Arcadia …. Australia …. Just saying.

    And I prefer the English trailer song than the Japanese one. This one just is way too slow for me …

    • Can I direct you all over here: – scroll down to June 14th entries and then drool all over your keyboard! Ladies and gentlemen… the new Harlock and Kei figures are available for pre-order!!

      • I’m still holding out for Miime 😉

      • Thanks~ Hope Yattaran and Miime turn up at some point.

        • Wonder how well a Yattaran figure would sell, though XD

          • Some of us like to buy figures whose figures we can relate to :/

            • Given how pose-able these are, how long before someone posts some – ahem – “compromising” shots of Kei & Harlock once they’ve got them in their sweaty mitts…? 😉

              …not that I was contemplating this for a moment…. no siree!!

              Our little Kei’s all growed up though… even my father (65 this year, hasn’t even HEARD of anime (or science fiction for that matter!), no great fan of anything modern), saw a picture on my laptop and his initial reaction was basically “phwoar”…!! So – they’re nailing the male demographic 12-65!

              Frankly though if I was to limit myself to figures I relate to I guess I’d be in the market for Anita from SSX, or that chunky trucker from E/O…! 😉

              • Hehe. You know, I showed the next-to-last trailer to my no-fan-of-anime wife and she was like “I want to watch that!! So it looks like they’re nailing a lot of demographics here~

                • I remember watching Arcadia of My Youth with a friend who had elderly parents. Him – big anime fan – fell asleep. His parents wandered in and were both absolutely captivated by the visuals…! (The classical soundtrack helped as well, I think!)

                  • I totally get that. AOMY is probably the best Leiji anime for the elderly. It’s got that feel to it. Speaking of which, I’m getting older and feel like rewatching it~

                    • I did that during Cannes week! 😉 Couldn’t resist. Also re-watched Endless Odyssey, and re-started the manga (since it’s available from EBooksJapan it’s now sitting on my tablet as well as on my shelf, and a lot more portable than my 3 volume hardbacks!!)

                      Oh – before I forget – CDJapan are now listing a novel due out in September – no details yet but I’m guessing it’s the tie-in! Since I had tons of credit points with them, I’ve pre-ordered it…

                      As previously discussed, my hypothetical firstborn have now been pawned to two online retailers – HLJ for the Harlock & Kei figures and an Italian outfit for the smaller SEGA Harlock figure…. I just hope there’s not TOO much merchandise waiting in the wings!

                    • I looked in CDJapan, it says the Harlock novel is coming out in July!! And the synopsis mentions a character called Yama, infiltrating Harlock’s ship, so most definitely this is the tie-in!! For only 550 yen??!! I will preorder it as well, though if it turns out that the movie will play in America sometime this year, then I’ll wait to watch it before reading it..

    • They have to change it somewhat, I agree. A clone of the old stuff would be stupid.

  6. Oh, it’s not just the Japanese fans who are complaining, though. The international fans are complaining too – for a bit different reasons. Here is just one example

    • International fans have lots of complaints, I’ve heard them. But the general attitude is different. Most international fans I think are hopeful that despite their qualms, it’ll be great or at least good. Whereas in Japan you feel utter hopelessness. They’re not complaining, they’re already condemning. They’re claiming they won’t even watch it (though I hope they’re lying!!)

      If the film does really badly in Japan, I could see it having a snowball effect, where Toei panics and cuts back on international exposure, trying to minimize losses. And of course that would suck for us. That’s what wracks my nerves.

    • I assume it’s that scene between Mimay & Harlock that’s put this bod’s panties in a bunch?

      Without obvious touching?! She’s ALWAYS putting her hand on his arm in the TV series!! Not to mention they’re outright cuddly in Nibelung no Yubiwa 😉 (previously discussed on this very blog IIRC!) Ears & mouth – nothing new! She even has a mouth in Harlock Saga! And frankly, if the scene that’s got that bod riled is from where in the film I think it is – slagging it off out of context – kind of pointless (and you will eat those words, whoever you are…! Wait and see…)

      Like most of the criticism I’ve seen, seems to come from someone who doesn’t really seem to know what they’re talking about! Context, context, context is always the way to look at Matsumoto’s work!

      But I’m with AK here on the worries – OK, picking up a DVD from Japan no big problem if it gets pulled back – I will get to see this – but I WANT this to be a success – I love the guy’s work, I especially love Harlock to bits and I want to be able to shout it from the rooftops! And as I’ve said before – if this is the trailblazer for a new Animated world order, I can guess what’s likely to be in the wings – and I wantwantwant!!!

      • I think a problem with this movie will be that the majority of the international fans will only be familiar with only the Harlock animes and may be a hell of a confused at some of the things that were taken from the mangas.

        • I guess too much to hope for they just accept it on it’s own merits?!

        • It’s always a burden for a film project based on extensive source material, balancing the needs of new people watching vs the needs of fans. Let’s hope they get it right. I support the notion of a trilogy so everything can be set up alright 😀

          • Given the lead time on this one!?! (though if that script is the final version and accurate, then I want a front row seat for a conversation a couple of characters would probably have five minutes after the credits roll…!)

            I’d love a series… though hopefully of better quality than say Captain Scarlet or Roughnecks! Though history is rather against Harlock holding his own as lead character… he tends to work better as a supporting character! (Which he is… it just takes 13 episodes of the original series to find that out! 😉 )

            …Unlike his main competition (and contemporary) for viewers and readers’ attention, Cobra, Harlock doesn’t tend to go off and have “Adventures” as such… probably because Harlock’s more of a political rebel and idealist than Cobra, who tends to be in it for the money (or so he usually claims!)

            Characters like Cobra you can turn loose and have a blast with. The Harlocks of this world… need to be given something to fight for, or against: So – bring on the metanoids for round two? ;P Or go all out and twist “Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years” so it really does all take place in the 30th century!!?

  7. I was unaware the Japanese were indifferent! Harlock and Matsumoto are all but worshipped. They have a statue of Harlock for heaven’s sake, Along with the other important characters in his series. I disagree that Harlock isn’t a main character. In AOMY, that was my absolute favorite of all the series precisely because it told his story, not the story of some silly angst ridden youth. I still wish they would sub SSX. I think the movie would do well in America, France, Belgium, and other places that come to read Fanfiction about Harlock, some of which I write. I loved the first twelve minutes. I think they might have finally gotten Harlock right. Yes, he is a catalyst for others to find truth, but he IS a Pirate Knight Errant. Much can be done with that truth alone. He has a story worth being told. After all, someone has to teach the ignorant about the truth about true freedom. Harlock is best for that alone. I hope that this reboots the entire Harlock possibilities and allows Matsumoto the ability to tie his universes together.

    • Most if not all of the statues are from GE999, not from Harlock-only continuities – of which there are to date only 3, counting this… (animated, at least! – SPCH, E/O and the new film) 999 is hugely popular, I understand – possibly more so than the stand-alone Harlock shows…

      Endless Odyssey is totally disowned by Matsumoto, who’s integrated Harlock with the GE999 timeline ever since he abandoned the Harlock manga – it’s been rare for a long while to see him outside of 999 continuity in manga or tv… even rarer to see the older version!

      You’re not missing a huge amount with SSX unsubbed – it’s actually better when you don’t understand the dialogue!! 😉 There are places I wish I still had the benefit of ignorance! (More down to mind-numbing banality and the stupidity of the writing staff!)

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