Matsumoto Leije is a man with a lot of baggage. His works tend to follow very familiar themes, use similar characters, and follow common plot lines. Queen Emeraldas, despite its up-to-date animation, is no exception. This is merely yet another recycled plot, which even has the audacity to steal scenes from other well-known films.
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.