Based on manga drawn by Leiji Matsumoto in 1978, this OAV series continues the Space Pirate Captain Harlock cycle. Emeraldas, who once loved Harlock, plies the sea of space in the Queen Emeraldas, a starship that resembles a blimp attached to a 17th-century sailing vessel. Sepulchrally thin, with a mane of blond hair and a prominent facial scar, Emeraldas fights injustice--and anyone who dares to fly Harlock's skull-and-cross-bones emblem. In "Departure," the first installment, spunky street urchin Tochiro stows away to the planet Daibaran, hoping to start a new life--and build a starship of his own. Daibaran is a mined-out wasteland with an Old West-style town, complete with a saloon. Tochiro comes into conflict with Eldomain, the captain of the Afressian space pirates, who makes the mistake of defying Emeraldas--with predictable results. The conflict escalates in "Eternal Emblem," as Eldomain kidnaps Tochiro and the other inhabitants of Daibaran in an attempt to trap Emeraldas. She defeats Eldomain, the entire Afressian fleet, and their queen before sailing off. Queen Emeraldas will delight Captain Harlock fans; critical viewers will find the poor integration of the three-dimensional, computer-animated spaceship with the two-dimensional cel animation visually jarring. --Charles Solomon
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As with most Matsumoto, "Queen Emereldas" is heavy on melodrama. "I am.....Emereldas (accompanied by a fierce wind that blows cape in a dramatic fashion.)" His work is pretty firmly Science Fantasy rather than Science Fiction. Spaceships are re-conditioned pirate ships with flags blowing in a non-existant wind as they sail the silent seas. Weapons are based on archaic swords and heavy dragoons. "Queen Emereldas" has all of these Matsumoto touches in spades. Honor and strength matter more than plot, and every scrappy kid has the right to be a man. The orchestral music is sweeping drama.
On the flaw side, as with "Harlock Saga," "Queen Emereldas" has a hard time with computer animation and cel animation. The two styles mix together jaringly. For some bizarre reason, the DVD switches to French about 2/3 of the way through. With a remote control it is easy enough to switch it back, but it is strange that this error got through on a professional DVD.
Storywise, "Queen Emereldas" assumes you are up on your Matsumoto. There are no introductions made for characters like Tochiro or the mechanoids. Backstory is never filled in. Someone not familiar with Matsumoto's previous work would be very confused and disappointed by "Queen Emereldas."
Still, with so little of Matsumoto's work available on DVD, each crumb dropped from the table feels like a feast. It's a fun series and I enjoy it in spite of it's flaws.
matsumoto's universe is vast in one sense that there are many players, but it's also very small -- the major players are clones of each other. Emeraldas is the tall, stark, lone privateer, forever voyaging the Sea of Stars, haunted by the memory of her lost love, Tochiro. Umino Hiroshi (even the character names are getting all to familiar), played by Hayashibara Megumi is the young boy, destined to become great man and builder; a mirror of Emeraldas' lost lover. And you have the leader of the Afressian forces, a person of opposing political views, but of the same spirit as our lead heroine.
This series does bring one new item to the table -- the anime character designs faithfully capture the gnarled look of the minor players, most notably of Le Law, the grizzled old stowaway, and the crew members of the ill-fated freighter.
Even more impressive is the score -- a fully orchestrated piece, which exudes a grandness of scale perhaps better suited for a full-length motion picture. The opening theme's haunting vocals is a more modern version of what we've heard before in the Harlock series, and like its predecessors, it will stick in your memory.
But perhaps even more disturbing than the recycling of old ideas is the outright borrowing of scenes from other films, most notably the showdown between Emeraldas and Eldomain, a scene unabashedly lifted from Batman: The Movie, where Batman, on board his Batwing, faces off against the Joker. This is one series that needs more than a cosmetic upgrade to make it of any worth.
There are 2 things that are keeping me from rating this thing 5 stars. The first is the fact that the DVD encoding is horribly messed up! In episode 2, if you have the Japanese audio track on, it switches to French! The only way to correct this is to switch the audio over to French where it becomes Japanese. Then, halfway through episode 2, the French channel becomes French and you then have to switch the audio back over to Japanese. As you can see, it's sort of confusing, and annoying. I just pray that you all have DVD remote controls with Audio buttons on them, so you won't have to go to the menu every time.
The second is the actual OVA itself. I believe in giving an unbiased review, and to me, unbiased in this case means a review of someone who is not a Matsumoto fan. If I had no knowledge of the Matsumoto universe, I would wish I hadn't bought the DVD. I guess the OVA is sort of like a gift to the long-time Matsumoto fans. Also...with the exception of the very first CG shot, I can't stand the computer graphics.
Most recent customer reviews
Don't get me wrong, I love the work of Matsumoto-sama, I have ever since I caught the original Captain Harlock television series while living in France in 1980 and 1981. Read morePublished on June 3 2000 by S. von Hoerl
DVD & anime is a match made in heaven and QE OVA is a perfect example why. Scene access, dub or sub, all at your fingertips. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2000 by usagibrian
I'm somewhat new to anime, but I can tell you this, Queen Emeraldas is fantastic. My only complaint is that I was left wanting more, a LOT more, as in several more episodes of this... Read morePublished on Dec 18 1999 by W. Bittle
I bought the VHS English dubbed version and had no problems. Understood every bit of it and learned lots more about Emeraldas and Her Love Harisho. Read morePublished on Dec 15 1999 by John Robberstad
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