Harlock Space Pirate (Space Pirate Captain Harlock) (2013)

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Released 19-Mar-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 106:45
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shinji Aramaki
Toei Animation
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     My young sons (11 & 9) and I enjoy Japanese animation and I recently watched and enjoyed Space Battleship Yamato, a live action film with a similar story to this. My sons & I also enjoy science fiction and space adventures like Star Wars. Accordingly we should have been somewhat positively disposed towards liking this new film, Harlock Space Pirate. Unfortunately, this film was a major letdown in all but one area. To focus on the positive, the one area is the wonderful animation and spectacular visuals on display. Outside of that it was very ordinary indeed. It was overly self-important, contained loads of angsty dialogue, featured a confusing story (which probably makes sense to fans of the manga it is based on or the older animated series), included a flat and lifeless English dub as the only audio option and was generally quite tedious.

     The story concerns a time in the future where the Earth has been abandoned and the human race is spread across the galaxy. After a war which occurred when everyone tried to return home to Earth, a coalition known as Gaia has taken up the role of protecting Earth so that no-one can return to it. They are a group who use military muscle to stop people returning. One of the main oppositions to their control is a space pirate called Captain Harlock. He is immortal and has a plan to try and turn back time to before the humans messed up the earth. Gaia opposes this and the Gaian military leader Ezra hatches a plan to put his brother Logan undercover in Harlock's crew. Logan is slowly accepted by the crew and starts to share their views on Gaia. This eventually results (after a lot of discussion) in a showdown between the pirate and Gaia.

     As I mentioned above, this is a lavish and stunningly beautiful animated film with lots of marvellous visuals, however all the other elements such as the clunky dialogue and confusing story make this release impossible to recommend. It might be better in the original Japanese, however with this local release it is impossible to know. My sons were very bored and lost interest quickly. Their main feedback was that the film was confusing and there was too much talking. Possibly they are not the intended audience although a PG rated action adventure animation would normally include them in its audience.

     In short, disappointing. Those with knowledge of the original manga or animated television show may fare better.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is very good but has some issues. I am sure it would look spectacular on Blu-ray, unfortunately this is the DVD version.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was sharp and clear for DVD. Shadow detail was average with some sequences quite murky. The colour was wonderful aiding the display of the great animation.

     There was quite a bit of aliasing at times.

    There are no subtitles.

     The layer change is not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is very good for DVD.

     This disc contains an English dubbed soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand. The lack of a Japanese soundtrack option is annoying.

     The music was just as angsty and self-important as the dialogue.

     The surround speakers were surprisingly well used for atmosphere, surround effects, explosions and the music.

     The subwoofer supported the music and action sequences.

     I have marked the audio down due to the lack of the original soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras


    The menu is still but includes music.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There does not seem to be a Region 1 version of this DVD at this stage. Yesasia lists a Hong Kong version which includes English subtitles and a Japanese soundtrack. This would probably be a better option for English speakers. It does not contain the dub however, so personal choice is needed. The Japanese DVD release does not contain English subtitles. There is also a local collector's edition which contains the extended Japanese version as well as this version. This also might be a better option.


    A disappointing Japanese animated film.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good but lacks the original Japanese language soundtrack.

    The extras were lost in a freak space accident.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, April 14, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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