Saturday, October 6, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Arcadia Of My Youth

You wanna talk about space operas? This here's one of the pinnacle anime space operas. It's also considered the cornerstone of the "Lejiverse". The Lejiverse is the collected continuity that all the works of Leji Matsumoto, this includes Galaxy Express 999, Queen Emeraldas, and Space Battleship Yamato(or Star Blazers). Arcadia Of My Youth is a retelling of Captain Harlock's origin, the infamous space pirate(or "pirate in space").

Captain Harlock(also known as Herlock)is a military officer for Earth in the 30th Century, where our planet has been conquered by an alien race called the Illumidus. After bringing a group of refugees to Earth, Harlock surrenders his battleship to the occupying forces. He later befriends a short Japanese man, Tochiro, who is a part of a secret freedom faction hoping to liberate Earth. This front is lead by the beautiful Maya, who Harlock falls in love with. They also incorporate the bold female trader, Emeraldas(of whose origins you'll see in Maetel Legend), as well as some other Earth soldiers who are tired of the alien oppression. But before they can try and save their own planet, they hear about another human outpost on another world that is facing extinction. Tochiro reveals his life's work, a giant starcrusier modeled after a WWII battleship, the Arcadia, which he and the others use to go and save the other planet. Leaving Maya and Emeraldas behind, Harlock takes charge of the mission, but they reach the planet too late as they find the last female of that race has died. Harlock sadly brings her body back to Earth, but only to have a scuffle with one of the Illumidus leaders, which causes Maya to be killed. This leads into an epic space battle between the Arcadia and the head alien ship. Harlock then sets off with his new crew to become freedom fighters for humanity in the "sea of stars".

This is admittedly a lengthy film, and probably best for fans of old school anime. It features some fine animation, directed by 70s trailblazer Tomoharu Katsumata. Like most stories from the Lejiverse, there is quite alot of dialogue and long shots in space with not much going on, although it makes for a great visual trip. This movie is very reminiscent of Star Trek II, which actually came out about the same time, especially with the space battles and operatic nature involved. This film has been released in English about three different times. One is in the uncut Japanese subtitled version(which is currently no longer in print), another is the British dubbed version titled My Youth In Arcadia, and in an edited version of the UK dub titled Vengeance Of The Space Pirate. Aside from this, Harlock is featured in several other Lejiverse titles, usually just to make some kind of obligatory cameo, but Arcadia Of My Youth is the definative Harlock story, and one of those required classic anime movies.

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