Heaping Helping of Harlock

I admit, I kind of wish I haven’t spent so much time talking about anime adaptions here. Oh I enjoy the anime form, some of the properties, and it’s intriguing. But it takes away from valuable time about analyzing game strategies, freaking out over amazing foods, and speculating on really zany stuff we nerds need to do.

Anime movie adaptions keep sucking me back in, and the big black hole of awesome has a name.

Harlock. Captain Harlock.

If you’re not familiar with Captain Harlock, he’s a badass Space Pirate created by Manga and anime god Leiji Mtsumoto. He gave us Harlock, Emeraldas, Galaxy express, and far more. He teamed up with techno-musicians Daft Punk to produce the musical film Interstella 5555 , which you should go buy right now.

So, yes, Harlock has a legacy. Also he’s a kick-butt handsome red-haired Space Pirate who flyies around in a skull-faced spacecraft. He’s sort of what you get when you open the “Captain” file and get the best of Sparrow, Harkness, Kirk, and Red Shanks. So you can pretty much see that if you were going to adapt an anime via CGI . . .

It’s being done. It’s going to be a film.

Toei Animation’s most expensive film to date.


It opens in Japan in the fall of 2013, which means you’ll be finding the bootlegs at the con scene about a week later. Also be on the lookout for intermittent storms of pirate cosplay in the preceeding months, with occasional showers of Emeraldas.

As I noted recently, I think we are entering a state where anime adaptions are getting a chance in Japan, and that Pacific Rim could open America to at least mecha adaptions. After getting a good glimpse of the Harlock film, I’m thinking this one could help as well. Also did I mention he’s a Space Pirate with a skull-faced spaceship? OK, good, I did.

Now I’m enthused to see the adaption (and see the trailer is so good, Harlock is something I could see people figuring sells itself). I think if it’s good, and I think it will be, it will be yet another testimony to “look anime can move outside of animation.”

But there’s one more thing I’m curious about – because this IS animation.

Sure it’s CGI. But that’s the point.

Right now there’s plenty of Live stuff going on in the adaption realm. Gatchaman is there, Robotech-USA is moving forward, Yamato was done well. But again that’s live. This is moving one form of animation to another, to dramatic effect.

See, let’s say the Gatchaman live film does well, and I hope it does. However it’s reach is limited because marketing a dub for wide-scale release isn’t something every studio is up for (I expect audiences are up for it, but studios like predictability here in America). But a successful CGI film is very easy to redub, mores if the animation studio is helpful (you guys saved the files, right?)

So I think a good Harlock adaption moves the anime adaption engine forward. But it also could mean a film more easily adapted to non-Japanese speaking audiences. The kind of thing that might, say, get a small theatrical release, or be an interesting study of how Americans react to a foreign film (I still remember when “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”‘s success blew people way).

Also, with no “live action” competition, it might add Harlock to another property Hollywood turn’s it’s Sauron-like eye towards.

Did I note, Hollywood, it has sexy red-haired space pirates? Look, let’s just keep that in mind, OK? Also, Marvel is doing their “Guardians of the Galaxy” thing, so you know, I wouldn’t suggest it might be a good time. Or that a lot of actors like to play Pirates . . .

You know. Just thinking.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.