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Anime Profile: Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years

USA Info
Japanese Info
Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand YearsUchu Kaizoku Kyaputen Harokku ("Space Pirate Captain Harlock")Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years
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Space Pirate Captain Harlock
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Shin Taketori Monogatari Sennen Jo'oo ("The Queen of a Thousand Years")
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The Queen of a Thousand Years
65 TV episodes42 TV episodes (Uchu Kaizoku Captain Harlock)
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41 TV episodes (Shin Taketori Monogatari Sennen Jo'oo)
19851978–79 (Uchu Kaizoku Captain Harlock)
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1981–82 (Shin Taketori Monogatari Sennen Jo'oo)
Harmony GoldZiv International/Toei Animation
Leiji Matsumoto
-- listed below ---- listed below --
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Look for this on Blu-ray or DVD at Amazon.

English Title
Japanese Title
Galaxy Express 999 Ginga Tetsudo 999
Arcadia of My Youth Waga Seishun No Arukadia
Queen Millennia Shin Taketori Monogatari Sennen Jo'oo
Space Pirate Captain Harlock (2013) Uchu Kaizoku Kyaputen Harokku (宇宙海賊キャプテンハーロック)
Maetel Legend Maetel Legend

Characters: Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years

English Name
Japanese Name
English Name
Japanese Name
Captain Harlock Kyaputen Harokku Melody ⊕ Miime (ミーメ) ⊕
Dr. Drake ⊕ --?-- Queen Regina ⊕ Queen Lafresia ⊕
Kay (Harmony Gold); Carrie (ZIV) ⊕ Kei Yuki (有紀 蛍) ⊕ Terry Drake ⊕ Tadashi Daiba (台羽 正) ⊕

Description: Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years

Did you ever wonder if animation importers do this kind of thing just to see how much they can tick off anime fans? You've got a Japanese animated series you want to dub into English, but because of different episode run requirements in the two countries, you find yourself several episodes short of a full U.S. syndicated season. Solution? Grab another series, do a little slice and dice, and try to fix everything when you do the dubbing. The younger tykes probably won't know the difference, but if you listen closely, you can hear the sounds of die-hard anime buffs screaming (or possibly swearing in Japanese) in households across the country.

In Japan, artist Leiji Matsumoto had a string of anime hits, including the saga of Space Pirate Captain Harlock. Set in the year 2977 (in the Harmony Gold version, no date was given), the show focused on the title character, a typical sea dog who was forced to conduct his business in outer space after the oceans had all been destroyed.

Unfortunately, Harlock only conducted his business for 42 episodes, so Harmony Gold (importers of Robotech) added elements from another Matsumoto series, Queen Millennia. Never mind the fact that the latter show was set in 1999 and had nothing to do with space pirates, it was available, and you never know what you can create in the editing room. Coming to American audiences in 1985, the two series were edited and re-dubbed into one 65-episode story, re-titled Captain Harlock and the Queen of 1000 Years.

As for the story, unlike the famed pirates of the past, Harlock actually had a noble purpose to his ship-jacking and cargo-destroying raids. The Earth of the future was a decadent, vice-heavy world (think Ancient Rome with 30th Century technology). Taking to the skies, the Captain set out to destroy loads of drugs, alcohol and other useless pleasure goods. Like any good pirate, though, Harlock cut a dashing rebel figure with his shaggy mane, cape, eyepatch and scar. Note that this more accurately describes the original show than it does the Harmony Gold version, which actually cut out the early scene of Harlock destroying luxury cargo. The dub repeatedly insisted that the charges of piracy against Harlock were "trumped up," despite his display of the Jolly Roger on damn near every available surface.

Most episodes focused on Harlock's conflicts with Queen Regina (Lafresia in the original), the evil alien ruler of the Mazones. These warrior plant-women came from a planet that could no longer support life, and so they set their sights on Earth. Dr. Drake warned of their impending invasion, but he was laughed off as a crackpot theorist. When the Mazones did invade, they killed Dr. Drake, and despite what you may have read elsewhere they did not frame Harlock for the crime and Dr. Drake's son, Terry Drake (Tadashi Daiba in the original) never vowed revenge on the captain. I don't know how that rumor got started but it's not true. Harlock is never framed for the murder, and in neither the original nor in either English dub does Tadashi/Tommy/Terry believe Harlock killed his father. The assassin who killed his father attempts to kill him all of half a minute later, whereupon Harlock intervenes and kills the assassin. Tadashi has no time whatsoever in which to be uncertain regarding who killed his father. This can be seen in the third episode (viewable here at The Hylia) starting around the nineteen-minute mark. Terry joined the crew of Harlock's ship, the Arcadia. Together with a band of like-minded rogues, Harlock and Terry battled the minions of the Mazone queen, Queen Regina, for the rest of the show's run.

For whatever reason (maybe the fact that the two main characters never appeared on screen together), Captain Harlock and the Queen of 1000 Years failed to catch on with American audiences, which was a major disappointment to the merchandisers who had profited from the success of Robotech that same year. Malibu Comics released a different dub in later years, but with the same results.

Regarding name changes, Dr. Drake's Japanese name was Dr. Daiba. Kei Yuki was renamed to Kay in the Harmony Gold dub and Carrie in the ZIV dub, but the name 'Kayla "Kay" Kerry' tends to show up here and there online. This name is a complete fan fabrication which seems to be an attempt to conflate her name in the Harmony Gold dub (Kay) with her name in the ZIV dub (Carrie) and exists in neither dub (and she is given no last name in either). Similarly, Terry Drake is never referred to as "Terrence."

A different ZIV dub of approximately four episodes of Space Pirate Captain Harlock was released on VHS by Malibu Comics in later years, but it also failed to catch on. The initial VHS release of this dub was extremely bad, with audio falling out of sync with the video and dialog being drowned out by the redone music. ZIV dubbed two volumes of two episodes each. Volume 1 (episodes 1 and 9) was a basically faithful adaptation, which changed Tadashi Daiba to "Tommy Dexter." His father appeared in only one brief scene in episode 1 and went unnamed. Volume 2 (episodes 2 and 3) changed to a comedic approach and gave his father the name "Dr. Hairball" (no first name given). Tadashi remained "Tommy," though his last name (presumably also now "Hairball") was not used in either episode in reference to him. The Mazones were renamed Zetons but the name of the Mazone queen, Lafresia, did not change.

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