Captain Harlock: Endless Odyssey
Tadashi's father, professor Daiba, is killed by the Noo, a group of ghoul-like characters. As they are about to kill Tadashi, he is saved by Harlock and is also invited to board his ship to, in Harlock's words, "become a real man."
Later, when the Earth is brought into an alternate dimension -- where the Noo rule -- the Arcadia sets off to rescue Earth and defeat the Noo.
Captain Harlock is probably known by Matsumoto fans as one of the most badass characters in the Leijiverse. And rightly so, because in all the anime I've seen, he's one of the very few who actually walks up to his opponent to proverbially slap them across the face. By D&D alignment standards, he is practically the prime example of a chaotic good character. I have already seen Arcadia of My Youth, and this summer I was even so lucky as to pick up Harlock Saga. And yesterday, I finally got to see the last volume of this series. Am I pleased with it? Oh yes.
Endless Odyssey is probably set later than just about anything I've seen from the Leijiverse. It's a bit hard to tell, because outside of Harlock himself, Memee and the rest of his ragtag crew, none of the characters in this series is all that well known by me, and haven't been featured in any of the other Matsumoto works I have seen. Since Tochiro is a part of the Arcadia in this series, it is at least post Harlock Saga if nothing else.
However, UNLIKE earlier Harlock features, this one delves more into horror than pureblooded action/sci-fi drama. The Noo -- the main antagonists of this movie -- presents themselves as ghouls, or wraiths, if you will. And their plan is apparently to bring an ancient evil back into the universe.
That's not to say we won't be introduced to subplots along the way, complete with spaceship armadas and such. After all, Harlock is a wanted man, and the first episode thus begins with the arrest of Kei, one of Harlock's crew. (Alright, the very beginning starts with Kei's bathing scene, but who wants to get technical?) So, with the trap set, we get to see Harlock practically walk in the front door, get her out of her pinch and escape from an armada of space police and millitary personell.
That could perhaps be considered one of the main niggles I have with this show. Harlock is practically invincible and deals with every crisis the same way; by walking straight into it and bitch-slapping everyone into submission (both literally and metaphorically.) It's cool to see him do that, of course, but it does remove a lot of tension from the show itself.
The cast is, fortunately, a solid lot, though. Even Tadashi, who comes across as just another punk who looks a bit too much like a young Harlock gets the opportunity to grow as a character. And even Kei, who made one hell of a first impression in the very beginning with her buck-nekkidness, shows herself as far more than the Barbie doll (Matsumoto style) she carries the appearance of.
With Madhouse at the helm of anything related to animation production, you can bet that the art and animation looks just great. This series actually gets a little darker than even the general Matsumoto fare, probably a result of the venture into horror. The music is absolutely workable, though somewhat forgettable. I AM very happy with the dub, though. Especially Harlock's VA, who gives him a rather deep, menacing voice. And while Tochiro's dub is good, this IS the second time I hear him with a completely different voice. (Not counting the sub only Arcadia of My Youth.) But, given that a lot of the Matsumoto works are released by different studios, that is only to be expected, I suppose.
Despite the slight shift in style towards horror, this is a series I seriously (*groan*) liked. The Noo made for an interesting team of adversaries and, lack of suspense taken into consideration, it was an excellent journey nevertheless. This is, again, another safe buy for the Matsumoto fan. And, since it neither requires nor explains anything from other works, it can easily be seen as a standalone series.
What are you waiting for?
Remove one star if you think there absolutely needs to be references to any of Matsumoto's other works in this one. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The DVD is rated 13 and up, which sounds about right. While nothing outright nasty happens here, people are killed, sometimes in large quantities. Also, a lot of people gets sucked into this dream world where one of the Noo plunges her hand into their chests and rip out their hearts (in a non-gory fashion.)
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Captain Harlock: Endless Odyssey © 2002 Leiji Matsumoto / Kobunsha / VAP / NTV
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