These two series are both amazing space operas, but not only are both made by Matsumoto, Leiji, but the setting as well is quite similar, the feeling you get of the atmosphere from both space battleships the Arcadia and the Yamato sure make up for an amazing ride of an intense story!
So if you love space related anime and the work of Leiji then these anime series are definitely for you!
Very early in Last Exile, the main characters will encounter Alex Row, which has enormous resemblance with Harlock. They act the same and their appearance is extremely similar. However, this is no coincidence; Alex Row was based on Captain Harlock, and not on appearance/personality only. As we know, Harlock is the captain of a battleship—the Arcadia—, wandering with his crew through space and portrayed as criminals by those wishing to smite them. But Row is also the captain of his own ship, traveling with his crew in the “kill-them-all” Silvana, also being seen as dangerous outlaws due to groundless rumors. The only difference is that the Silvana navigates in the sky rather than in space. Alex Row may be listed has a supporting character but him and his ship has a great importance in the story. I think this similarity is big enough for someone who enjoyed Captain Harlock to be able to appreciate Last Exile even if the core of the scenario isn’t the Silvana and its crew. read more
Space battles in massive ships. Space Pirate Captain Harlock is one of the many sources of TTGL and Simon's design in the final part is actually inspired directly by Harlock. It is a lot of fun and great to watch and note the similarities with today's animes. Harlock was (and still is) a very influential anime.
Harlock and his crew are practically banned from Earth while they fight to protect it from an alien race called the Mazone, which resemble beautiful women in appearance. In Ideon the group who discover the "Solo Ship" and the Ideon end up being pushed away from their homeworld as well, with nowhere to run while being chased by the mysterious Buff Clan that resemble humans themselves. In both shows, the casts home is ... their spaceship, with nowhere else to go.
If you can appreciate old art and animation it's easy to say both shows still look great to this day, with the exception of Ideon's recurring stock footage here and there. The Harlock series has better pacing and a much more likeable and developed cast all around, while Ideon is strikingly a bit more darker in tone and very desperate in nature. Both have incredibly impressive soundtracks, orchestrated and all. By the end of these two shows you yourself might be out of breath, as you'll feel like you went through these huge adventures personally. Typical of Tomino stuff Ideon is a little quirkier at times and has mecha, but overall the show is far more space drama than some of his other works. Overall, both have a lot of similar themes and ideas, with very different styles and executions in terms of writing/directing. But in the end these are two amazing, action packed, and adventure filled classic space dramas.
And please note: Be Invoked IS the ending to Ideon. Episode 39 is just a sampler. read more