Netflix Picks: Manliest. Space Pirate. Ever.

I have a pretty casual interest in anime on the whole. I’m not nearly as knowledgeable about it as I would like, but goodness knows that never stopped anyone from giving their opinion on the internet. Today’s pick is based on one of the most popular and influential animes of the 70’s, in Japan at least. It’s never really caught on here the states. And that’s really a shame, because it’s a pretty solid franchise on the whole; and this particular movie is a pretty good introduction to it. It also has the manliest character in the history of anime. More manly than a whole barrel full of Kaminas. More manly than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris arm wrestling Grizzly Bears in the middle of the Super Bowl. I speak, of course, of Space Pirate Captain Harlock.

The story itself is relatively simple, or at least as simple as a Leiji Matsumoto plot ever gets. In the far distant future, or possibly the past (that part’s a little hazy), humanity has spread throughout the cosmos. Eventually there was a call to return to Earth. But the planet couldn’t support the sheer amount of people who wanted to come back. Thus began the Homecoming War. Out of the ashes of that war two opposing forces rose to put their stamp on the galaxy. On the one side was the Gaia Coalition, the authoritarian central government. And on the other side stands Captain Harlock, Space Pirate. Harlock is on a mission to exorcise the demons of his past, and save humanity in the process. Maybe. It’s kind of hard to tell with Harlock.

Without giving away a lot of spoilers, this is a pretty damn good movie. The animation is spectacular, with detailed backgrounds and character models. Even if the characters do look a little plastic-y from time to time. Now, there’s a fair amount of techno babble being thrown about during the course of the movie, but I don’t think that it hurts the movie too much. There’s also the story to consider. Without giving too much away, there’s a really big twist about halfway through the movie that could change your perceptions of the characters dramatically. But that’s the whole point of plot twists, and this one didn’t bother me much at all. But as we all know, you don’t go to an action movie expecting a cerebral drama. And that’s where this movie really shines. The action scenes are jaw dropping. There are multiple moments where you just might find yourself jumping up and cheering, even if you’re wearing headphones.

Overall this is one of those “sit back and enjoy the ride” movies. And what a ride it is. It should really say something that after I finished watching it the first time, I immediately put it in my Netflix queue and had to restrain myself from watching it again right away. So, yeah. I think I liked it.

Overall rating: 8/10

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