Tag Archives: space pirate captain harlock

‘Mantles and sabres are so passé nowadays’

Writes ak of Mouretsu Pirates‘s first episode:

And of course the fact that Space Pirate Captain Harlock was referenced is good: the “password” that Ririka trades with her old friend is the very first line of the Harlock OP song.

This is indeed good, and, as he goes on to say, it would be almost ungrateful not to acknowledge Harlock in a space pirate anime. What interests me is that this isn’t just thrown in the background somewhere: it’s being used as a passphrase. In a show more po-faced than Mouretsu, a passphrase would be something inocuous and definitely not related to piracy. But that show would be boring. In this show the phrase is a bold identification.

Taking the opening words of SPCH‘s opening—which is I think fairly obviously a creed from Harlock himself—as the phrase the pirates use to identify themselves to one another suggests that what makes an anime pirate piratical is that they are in some way Harlockian. Or, more narrowly restricting this to the phrase itself, that they have the Harlockian attitude to space: not a threatening final frontier, but a manageable ocean, and moreover my ocean, for my yacht. Taken this way I think it functions as a nice tribute, intentional or not.

(And was that first episode as a whole any good? Goodness, I don’t know. Ask someone else.)

‘My Father is a Pirate’


It should be no surprise that I’m watching Space Pirate Captain Harlock: it’s about a chap who captains pirates, in space! The presence of pirates – of fictional pirates, not the depressingly prosaic Somali kind, or petty internet pirates like me and (if you use fansubs) you – is almost a guarantee of excitement, and so a story about pirates in space could only really be improved by adding a Gundam. Harlock (recently reviewed by psgels) almost manages to make even that deficiency up by being full of incident and infused with some kind of distilled Spirit of Adventure.

(Since we’re on the subject, I’ve heard rumours that this anime might appear legally on that streaming site – what was its name? ‘Brittlebun’, or something. Since it has had a longstanding presence across the Atlantic (probably despite, rather than because, of Toei’s own efforts), it’s somehow fitting that Harlock might still be at the cutting – or bleeding – edge of anime distribution, whatever one thinks of Brittlebun. Not that it’s available to viewers over here, of course, but it’s still really fitting – and that’s some comfort, isn’t it?)

I’ve only watched roughly the first fifth of the series so far, but I felt the need to try to crystalise a few of my thoughts – stimulated by one or two posts from other bloggers – by writing them down. Continue reading