Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2013

© LEIJI MATSUMOTO/CAPTAIN HARLOCK Film Partners

Originally a massively popular manga written and illustrated by celebrated author Leiji Matsumoto, Space Pirate Captain Harlock has become a franchise with a long-running animation series. Now a feature film with a budget north of $30 million it’s one of the most expensive Japanese films in recent memory. The Shinji Aramaki-directed work, featuring motion capture effects in the animation, had its world premiere at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival just days before it opened in Tokyo on September 7. Set in 2977, the galaxy is ruled by the evil Gaia Coalition while 500 billon displaced humans fight to return to earth. Chief among them is Captain Harlock (Shun Oguri), a daredevil rebel who attacks the Coalition’s space ships and battles for people’s right of return. In fact, Harlock is trying to turn back time to era when the earth was still human. The CG animation is somewhat disappointing for such an expensive production and the plot is filled with tired action scenes in which Harlock slices up countless baddies, but the overall thrust of the piece has momentum and excitement. Fans of the genre should buckle up for an intergalactic ride. (115 min)