Harlock’s Warships (from J Wiki)

[These are translations of the Japanese Wikipedia articles on Harlock’s warships: the Arcadia and the Deathshadow.  I recommend looking at The Captain Harlock Archives first, which has two great English-language pages on these ships: [here] and [here], then coming back and reading these articles.  It goes without saying that if anyone wants to set up the information here on English Wikipedia they are more than welcome.

The Japanese call the two main versions of the Arcadia “sharpnose” and “skullnose” based on the shape of the bow.  Most English-language sites refer to these as the “blue” and the “green” Arcadia.

BTW, there’s already a good article on the Yamato on English Wikipedia.]



The Arcadia is a fictional space battleship appearing in Leiji Matsumoto’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga and anime series, and in related works.  It is also the name of Harlock’s distant ancestor Phantom F. Harlock’s biplane and his son Luftwaffe Captain Phantom F. Harlock II’s Messerschmitt Bf 109.  This article deals with the space battleship.


ARCADIA (the skullnose version’s official name is “Arcadia of my youth”)

Built in:

a) Sharpnose type – Underground Dock in the planet Heavy Melder

(according to the Space Pirate Captain Harlock anime)

b) Skullnose type – Underground Dock directly beneath the Supreme Command Center for the Illumidas Earth Occupation Forces

(according to the Arcadia of my Youth film)

Class: Space Battleship (a.k.a. Pirate Flag Ship, Pirate Battleship)

Length: 400m [1]

Beam: a) 290m [2] b) 260m (skullnose version)

Draft: a) 160m b) 173m (skullnose version)

Propulsion Engines:

Dimensional Hydrokinetic Engine (x2) [employing Gravium energetic ore as its energy source]

Wave Motion Engine (x2) (skullnose version)

Complement: regular crew of 41

Captain: Harlock

Designer: Tochiro Oyama

Main Armament etc:

Main battery – triple pulsar cannon (sharpnose type has 2; skullnose type has 3)

Quickfiring gun (x5)

Missile launching equipment (multiple)

Ram (x1)

Anchor tube for boarding ships for close-quarters combat (multiple)

Cosmoradar (in the skullnose type, it comes out of the bottom external hatch that is opened for its use)

Main Vehicles on Board:

Space Fighter Plane SW-190 Spacewolf (Single-seater high velocity combat type)

Space Fighter Plane Cosmowing

Bullet, which includes:

Space transport medium-sized high-velocity mothership Bullet Z

(carries one Bullet 1 and one Bullet 2)

Bullet 3

Bullet 4

Three-wheeled high-velocity scouting buggy

Space Trailer

Small-sized ship for underwater combat, named Seabike


1. Outline

The ship belongs to Harlock, a man well-known as a space pirate.  As its name (borrowed from the idyllic land of Arcadia) implies, the ship symbolizes Harlock’s life as a lawless man who rebels against any form of oppression (including from Earth) and who flies under his own flag in search of freedom.

The ship was designed by Harlock’s sworn friend Tochiro Oyama.  Since Tochiro’s death, his soul resides within the central computer [2].  The ship is alive and it retains Tochiro’s memories and consciousness, so that it could be considered as a type of cyborg.  Besides Harlock, the ship has a complement of 40 pirates, one bird, one cat, as well one robot [4].

The Arcadia possesses strong heavy armor able to withstand all sorts of missiles and beams.  This, in combination with its overwhelming firepower, allows it to challenge large enemy fleets single-handedly without being at a disadvantage in overall combat power.

According to Harlock Saga the young Tochiro was resolved to build up to seven models of the Arcadia (Part 3: Siegried).  In Part 1 (Rhinegold) the older Tochiro states that there are nine models of the Arcadia.

2. Design and Specifications

At a length of 400m the Arcadia is huge by spaceship standards, and it was designed with the battleships of World War Two in mind (note similarities with the Yamato in its bridge section and its triple cannons).  That said, the stern is equipped with a cabin inspired by the sailing ships of the great Age of Navigation, giving the ship a uniquely beautiful style.  In part because of the ad hoc modifications and improvements performed by the crew under the direction of Tochiro, the ship boasts top-class combat power by any and all standards throughout the universe.  The ship is also fitted with a pirate flag (white skull on black field).  According to Space Pirate Captain Harlock the flag streams due to gravity winds, but Tochiro explains in Harlock Saga that he has designed the mast in such a way that the flag will flutter even in the middle of a vacuum.

It is possible to exit the ship from the skull section on the side, and conversely the skull can receive small ships by opening sideways (see ep. 40 of Space Pirate Captain Harlock).  There is an airlock on the bottom side, from which crewmen can take off and land, and which serves as the launching area for combat planes such as the Spacewolf. [5]

The biggest difference between types is to be found in the bow section of the ship.  The type appearing in Space Pirate Captain Harlock has a sharpnosed bow.  However, starting with the film version of Galaxy Express 999 a different Arcadia with the bow resembling the head of a sperm whale and a skull sign chiseled on the front began to appear.  This has since become the main version of the Arcadia in subsequent works.  Beginning in the Nineties  (e.g. in Harlock Saga, Cosmo Warrior Zero) the sharpnose type has been called “Deathshadow”, “Deathshadow 2” etc.  One must keep in mind that in the 999 and Harlock manga the name “Deathshadow” refers to an older ship built by Harlock and Tochiro when they were younger, and which ended up stuck in the sands of Heavy Melder [Japanese Wikipedia article on Heavy Melder here].

The ship is able, through the use of an anti-shock balancer, to plunge into a planet’s atmosphere and straightaway plunge into its oceans without being torn to pieces as it would happen to other ships. [6] The ship displays warp capabilities in the Arcadia of my Youth – Endless Road SSX TV show.  However, although warping is not depicted as such in other works, it is generally understood that the ship can easily travel faster than the speed of light (e.g. in the Harlock manga Mazone Queen Lafresia orders her people to attack ships with warp capability, suggesting that the Arcadia is one of these ships even though no actual warping is described in the story).

According to Harlock Saga, there are four “strongest swords in the universe” with equivalent power levels: the Arcadia, Space Battleship Yamato, Time Sweeper Mahoroba and Queen Emeraldas.

3. Armament

What Harlock calls his “pirate battleship” is equipped a wide array of weapon systems.

· Triple Pulsar Cannon

The Arcadia’s main battery.  The sharpnose type has two; the skullnose type adds to these a third under the ship.  In the original Harlock manga, the Arcadia relied solely on these cannons and the ram, with no space busters being used.

· Quickfiring Gun

The “space buster” quickfiring gun, located immediately below the bridge, has as its primary function the interception of enemy planes.  It is also able to launch a space harpoon, which when driven into an enemy vessel, releases a freezing gas that temporarily freezes the crew inside.

In addition to the space buster discussed above, there are two additional busters, one on each side of the central part of the bridge, as well as one buster on each side of the main body of the ship.  There are therefore 5 quickfiring guns equipped in total.

· Ram

At first only the sharpnose type had a built-in ram in the bow area for decisive battles, but in 2003’s Space Pirate Captain Herlock: Endless Odyssey the skullnose type appeared with its own ram as well.  During battle it can be pushed out from the bottom to be used in a ramming attack reminiscent of the old pirate style of warfare. [7]

· Missile Launching Equipment

The sharpnose type can launch missiles from either side of its main body (near each space buster).

In the case of the skullnose type these areas are located in the bow.  There are three launch silos on each side.  A hatch inside the launch silo slides open when they are about to be used.  These missiles are effective underwater (Harlock anime ep. 28, Endless Road SSX ep. 15).

· Anchor Tube for Close-Quarters Combat

They are used for boarding enemy vessels.  The ends of these tubes can be opened and closed, so users can board ships directly through them once thrown.  Some of these tubes are equipped with drills (for their usage see ep. 23 of the Harlock anime).  According to Harlock, boarding the enemy and fighting in close-quarters is the “traditional pirate way”.

· Anti-Aircraft Beam Turret

The general area of the bridge is surrounded by multiple small-sized turrets.  Their primary use is the interception of small flying objects (an example is the battle against battleship Braves in ep. 17 of the Harlock anime).  There are also several small-sized turrets loaded and ready for anti-aircraft use at the bottom of the ship (Harlock anime ep. 39).

· Anti-Ship Depth Charge

These are only shown in use in Volume 2 of the manga and the initial part of the anime.  After the Arcadia has pulled up near the enemy ship it releases the depth charges from the rear bottom area.

4. Operation

On a regular ship, the crew will work on a two-shift system, alternating duties so as to have proper time to rest.  However, on this ship everyone (apart from Mimay) sleeps at the same time.  The reason for this is that the Arcadia’s computer can determine the course and navigate by itself.  This is also the reason why the relatively small crew of 40 can operate the ship without problems.  Judging from Space Pirate Captain Harlock, the minimum number of personnel needed to run the ship is substantially less than 40, as several crew members are seen operating the various space warfare vessels such as the Space Wolf and the Bullets [8].

There is no designated helmsman.  Depending on the situation Yattaran, Tadashi Daiba among others can steer the ship.  In the original Harlock manga, as a general rule Harlock sits on the captain’s seat and and gives out directions to his men, but in the anime (and the works following) Harlock often acts as helmsman himself.

There is a helm located within the ship bridge.  In addition to this, the skullnose type has another helm at the back of Harlock’s cabin.  In the first Galaxy Express 999 film and in the last episode of Endless Road SSX Harlock goes out on the deck and steers from a helm placed over the cabin.  It has been noted that the gusts outside the ship must make for a dangerous situation, and the ship’s bridge towering in front will make it very difficult to obtain decent visibility.

Crew members, from First Mate Yattaran all the way down, do not abide by any particular set of rules and are prone to idleness.  The total disorder aboard the ship is especially notable in Harlock Saga, where it is said that the mess hall has not been cleaned for several years.  That said, when a battle situation arises everyone performs his or her function efficiently within the chain of command.  This fact reflects Harlock’s principle: “This ship is also our family, and in families nothing gets done by standing on ceremony.  As long as everyone does what they need to do when the time comes, everything will be fine.”

5. Additional Matter

· On fan sites outside of Japan, the two Arcadia types are usually distinguished by their color: the “Blue Arcadia” (sharpnose type) and the “Green Arcadia” (skullnose type).

· Toa Domestic Arlines (later Japan Air System) painted one of its DC-9 jets with the name “Arcadia” with reference to the space battleship as part of a campaign.  “The destination remains unknown until the very day of travel.  No one knows where this journey will take you.”  The campaign was developed around the concept of a “mystery flight”.

· Bandai produced models of the skullnose type.  At first the name of the “Arcadia” was used but it was changed afterwards to the “Captain Harlock”, probably because of copyright issues.

· Although it is famous as an invincible pirate ship, it does have a dead space (for firing).  Acording to Harlock it is at both sides of the ship’s stern, at 8°5′.  In addition, there is a dome between the bridge and the cabin which is often surmised to be where the central computer is located.  In fact, Harlock has said this is a decoy (at least according to Harlock in ch. 12 of anime).  The real central computer is further down and fully inside the ship.

· The original design of the Arcadia was done by Studio Nue (based on drafts by Leiji Matsumoto).  Because the subsequent design for the skullnose type was based primarily on the notion of making the ship look like it was a ramming vessel, Matsumoto has stated that the original design seemed more balanced.

· There have been revisions to the various dimensions of the ship.  The ship is presented as having a total length of 499m and a weight of 215,000 tons in Kazuaki Koizumi’s “Super Machine Plans”.  From Harlock Saga on these figures seem to be the ones in regular use.

6. Links

· Deathshadow 2 (i.e. the sharpnose type)

· Arcadia of my Youth (i.e. the skullnose type)

7. Sources and Footnotes

[1] However, the box of the plastic model released during the TV broadcast of Space Pirate Captain Harlock listed the length of the ship as 420m.

[2] This is roughly three-fourths the total length, but if you actually convert these numbers into a 3D model the wing area appears to be larger than is usually shown.

[3] It is explained in episode 38 of the Harlock anime that Tochiro’s memory and neurons were ported into the computer.

[4] The robot “Ropet Wawa” does not appear outside of the Harlock TV series.

[5] In Arcadia of my Youth the skullnose version has a broadside hatch from which crew members enter and exit the vessel.

[6] Based on the scene in the Harlock manga where the ship enters the planet Tokarga.

[7] During the SSX pilot film the Arcadia is seen destroying a Mazone carrier ship Zoness with a ramming attack, but the actual ram is not used.

[8] However, Harlock reluctantly tries out a 12-hour sleep shift in episode 27 of the anime to cope with the crew’s exhaustion after consecutive battles.



The Deathshadow is a fictional space battleship appearing in Leiji Matsumoto’s manga and anime works.

SHIP DIMENSIONS (length and beam have been extrapolated from Bandai’s 1/1600 plastic model)


Commission: Solar System Federation Force → Illumidas Earth Occupation Force

Length / Beam / Draft: 286m / approx. 40m / approx. 70m

Propulsion Engine: Dimensional Heat Engine (fluid-type)

Captain: Harlock → Bentselle → unmanned

Designer: unknown (refitted by Mr. Zone)

Main Armament etc:

Main battery – triple energy beam cannon [1] (x3, two fore and one aft)

Missile launching equipment (multiple)

1. Outline

It first appeared in the story “Great Pirate Harlock” (published by Asahi Sonorama).   The design and circumstances of the ship vary from work to work, but the most common scenario has it that Harlock and Tochiro in their early years used this ship before switching over to the Arcadia.  The design in the majority of the works includes two horn-like structures protruding from the top of the bow and the bottom part of the bow tapering off in a pointed end in front, reminding one of a Triceratops’ head.  In other works, however, the bow design is flat (e.g. in “The Tochiro”).  In most designs both sides of the main body of the ship (toward the back) sport skulls.  In addition, a single engine with the shape of a horn (in keeping with the overall ship design) is found in the stern in most works.  The Deathshadow lacks the wings and cabin in the stern that the Arcadia has.

More recent works have shown a sharpnose-type Arcadia with the name “Deathshadow” attached to it.

2. Design and Specifications

(NOTE: The information given is based mostly on Matsumoto’s animated works: the first Galaxy Express 999 film, Arcadia of my Youth and Arcadia of my Youth: Endless Road SSX.  The same applies to the data relating to the Ship Dimensions given above.)

It is an Admiral class battleship formerly used by Harlock.  Judging from a conversation between Harlock and Tochiro, there were other ships of these class but they were “sunk” by the Illumidas.  According to the specs laid out in volume 1 of the Endless Road SSX novelization, the total length of the ship is 286 meters, it uses a fluid-type dimensional heat engine, and it is fitted with three triple energy beam cannons and multiple missile launchers.  In Arcadia of my Youth, which falls more or less before the events of Endless Road SSX, Harlock was the ship’s captain during the Illumidas invasion of Earth.  The only reference we have to his battle record is mention of his participation in the Battle of the Castlemain Star Cluster Sector.  His last mission as captain was the evacuation of the citizens (mostly immigrants from Earth) from a planetary colony under the rule of the Solar System Federation.  At the beginning of the film it is stated that Harlock ran his ship to the ground with the aim of rendering useless for the Illumidas Forces, but later on the same Forces repaired the vessel and it appears twice in SSX, being used to pursue Harlock.

In the first instance Revi’s father Bentselle functioned as its captain.  The reason was that the Illumidas disliked the idea of fully automating the ship, and they preferred to have a person from Earth or Illumidas lead it.  On this occasion Mr. Zone was not involved in the repairs.  In the second instance Mr. Zone was in charge of repairs and he made the ship fully automatic.  It now became a “self-control ship”.  This ship waged a bitter battle against the Arcadia, but after Bentselle destroyed the central computer room the Arcadia was triumphant and the Deathshadow crashed on Heavy Melder.  Afterwards, Tochiro spends his last days aboard this wrecked ship.

The ship is something like Harlock’s alter ego, and his strategies and the algorithms on which they are based have been inputted into the main computer.  One could think of this computer as the ship’s heart.  In order to prevent destruction from outside, the central computer room is equipped with a beam-type intrusion detector.  Anyone carrying a firearm or an explosive device will trigger a laser cannon which will ruthlessly attack the intruder.  The ship is also equipped with a self-destruct mechanism to be activated if and when the main computer is destroyed.

It is also furnished with a system that can convert a personality into electronic data instantly and then send that data to the main computer aboard the Arcadia.  The details on what happens here differ[2]: in SSX, when Tochiro realizes he is about to die he lies down on on a bed inside the ship and pulls a lever, transmitting his own personality (or soul).  On the other hand, according to the first 999 film, it is Tetsuro Hoshino, who has come in search of information regarding Count Mecha, who effects the transfer of Tochiro’s personality to the Arcadia.

The ship appearing in both the Harlock manga and the first 999 film buried beside Tochiro’s grave in Heavy Melder is the Deathshadow, although the design is somewhat different.  In the same works Harlock states that this ship he and Tochiro rode once they bet their lives in search of their dreams.

3. Appearances in the Works

· Great Pirate Harlock

The ship first appears here.  Its shape is different from the battleship-style showing up later, resembling instead Captain Okita’s cigar-shaped ship in Space Battleship Yamato (pictured here).  It is equipped with a stealth function[3] so it will not show on a cosmo radar.  This feature resonates well with the ship’s name, making it truly a “Shadow of Death”.  Its main battery is able to pulverize Earth vessels with a single hit and it also possesses powerful explosives.  It is also fitted with small-sized craft able to elude cannon fire with their high speed.  As with the Arcadia, it employs asteroid bases as “pirate islands”.

· Queen Emeraldas Side Story (published in Weekly Shonen Magazine, May 25th, 1979, unavailable in tankobon format)

As in the OVA, a ship whose bow is very similar the Deathshadow shows up alongside the Yamato.

· Space Battleship Deathshadow

As its title indicates, the Deathshadow is the main ship appearing in this one-shot.  The tale appears in the short story compilation Kaerazaru Toki no Monogatari.  In this setting the mind of Harlock’s beloved is used as part of the machinery of the ship.

· Space Pirate Captain Harlock (manga version)

· Galaxy Express 999 (first film)

· Arcadia of my Youth / Arcadia of my Youth: Endless Road SSX

· The Tochiro and The Tochiro 2 (in Harlock of my Youth)

· Harlock Saga

The ship’s design here is a mixture of the classic Deathshadow and the skullnose type Arcadia.  Its designer is Tochiro’s father.  Also, the sharpnose type Arcadia is called “Deathshadow 2” here.

· Leiji Matsumoto 999

A PlayStation game. It appears as Tochiro’s ship, with the design seen in Arcadia of my Youth.

In addition, the movie version of Yamato has Susumu Kodai’s older brother Mamoru calling himself Harlock and using a ship that resembles the Deathshadow.

4. Image Links

Arcadia of my Youth, Endless Road SSX version

Galaxy Express 999 Film (first) version

5. Special Note

· The second “pirate island” serving as a base for the Arcadia in Space Pirate Captain Harlock is called Deathshadow Island.  For more details look here [link in Japanese].

6. Footnotes

[1] According to another view, space shock cannon.

[2] Tochiro’s death scene in Endless Road SSX is actually a scene from the first 999 film edited to feature Tochiro.  Moreover, there is a scene in SSX where Tochiro is seen from a bird’s eye view trying to enter the Deathshadow.  This is actually a recycled scene from the 999 film, but there the character walking was Tetsuro.  Tochiro and Tetsuro wear the same hat and cape and they are about the same height, so they are indistinguishable at a distance.  It can be understood from this why the similarity was used to economize on production time.

[3] When 999 was rebroadcast in the 1990s the Arcadia and the Queen Emeraldas were also given this stealth capability.

5 Responses to “Harlock’s Warships (from J Wiki)”

  1. this is really cool but have they two versions been mixed up when you but here they were build?

    • Leijij has mixed up the Arcadias and the Deathshdow, yes.. You basically have to think that there are several versions of each type, like Tochiro says in Harlock Saga. Otherwise you’ll go crazy!

  2. Thanks for posting that! Are not there any pics / designs of the ship in section around that show what is located where? I think I saw one, but totally forgot where.

    The blue sharpnose is my all-time favorite, though I admit that steering from the deck looks very cool 🙂

    • I haven’t seen one…it’d be great.

      I like the blue arcadia best too…maybe deathshadow second…and freakish skullnose third.

  3. you know my famely use to sail the 7 sea’s ,first whit a 75′ small scooer cargo 8 canon on board, and shit’s append the hide in safe to repare , my grand-gand dad tel me That ship was mod tree times at the end it was125′ n have 18 canon … he said to he like that ship .

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