22nd May2015

‘Harlock: Space Pirate’ VOD Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Yû Aoi, Jessica Boone, Ayano Fukuda, Arata Furuta, Adam Gibbs, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, David Matranga, Haruma Miura, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Rob Mungle, Emily Neves, Shun Oguri, Chikao Ohtsuka, Maaya Sakamoto, Miyuki Sawashiro | Written by Harutoshi Fukui, Kiyoto Takeuchi | Directed by Shinji Aramaki

harlock

2977: Forced to flee a ravaged Earth, humans have now depleted the corners of the galaxy to which they fled. Earth has become the most valued and precious resource of all, controlled by the corrupt Gaia Coalition which governs the human race across the different galaxies. One man, along with his pirate crew, stand against the Coalition, determined to keep it from controlling the universe.

Space Pirates, guys! Come on, what more do I have to say? This review basically writes itself. Pirates. In space. If that’s what you want, this is the film for you. You want dramatic space battles, rather crazy non-stop action and the intense eye-popping ‘wow’ moments that only the CGI anime style can provide? Boom. Harlock: Space Pirate is your jam. I kid you not, he even has a cape which goes ‘swoosh’ every time he is being the badass pirate we all know he is. Swoosh.

However, I will admit that in between the explosions and spaceship battles, there is a storyline which is a little… confused. It starts off strong but loses focus about halfway through, when the story begins to twist and turn like a drunk man in a labyrinth. The result is a headache of plotlines crossing over as the story rushes forward and leaves you behind, busy as you are staring at explosions and whispering ‘Woah’. It does occasionally feel like Harlock: Space Pirate is trying too hard to impress. The start of the film, for example, features text to read about the ‘history’ of the universe and also a voiceover, but the problem is, the voiceover is saying something completely different. I’m trying to read guys, stop talking to me, I can’t listen as well!

I may sound like a broken record, but there are three female characters in the story. Three. One is an alien, one is a pirate and one is, well spoilers, but it isn’t a very nice position to be in. They are all ridiculously thin and ‘pretty’. The rest of the cast, including most, if not all, of the background characters are male. Some of you might not think anything of it, but it is little details like that which tend to get on my nerves (if you hadn’t noticed) and can affect my opinion of a film – not in a good way.

So let’s sum up, shall we? Action? Adventure? Piratey badassness? All present and awesome. Maybe a little too much. Gender equality? Stable storyline? Not so much. Harlock: Space Pirate might be worth checking out if you want two hours of fast-paced fun.

Harlock: Space Pirate is available now on VOD and DVD from Manga Entertainment.

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